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Religious Studies
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Lecture 1 IntroductionThe CrossCultural Approach oOccult hiding something hidden meaningoMagic k manipulating powerful forcesoSlight on hand stage magic distraction entertainment oHand is faster than the eyeoForce that surrounds us and can only be used by those who are trained as it is occulted oSimilar to electricity oMagical willmust be trained to useoReligion systemic belief oSupreme being higher than the human being CanadaoMany claim they arent religious as they arent part of an institution but have spiritual beliefs oSpiritual beliefs are part of religionoCulture oNot biologically programmed oTabootabybased on identity oTeaches us identity and how to live as human beings oSocial constructs oWe embed culture at a young ageoCulture shockculture opposed from oursoWitch 5 categories1 Anthropological Shaman witch doctor comes from Tungus people one who controlsmasters spirits White malesif not there religionconsidered witchcraft one point of view2 HistoricalIn lead with the devil Witch huntingburning Evil doers Warlockmale witch3 Religious Description of a persons spirituality Witch instead of example Jew catholic19501960Wiccah 4 Feministgoddess Political statementidentityfor women represents power19705 Satanist 1966Anthropology is the study of humanity Anthropologists study human societies as integrated wholes an approach called holism This approach is seen in the broad scope of anthropology archaeology linguistics and cultural anthropology This approach requires that societies be studied over long periods of time during which the investigator lives within the community and participates in the lives of the people under study a technique known as participant observation The final product is an ethnography a descriptive study of a human society An outside observer of a community usually imposes his or her system on analysis on the group under study etic perspective It is natural to use ones own society as a basis for interpreting and judging other societies a tendency called ethnocentrism Many anthropologists attempt to see the world through the eyes of the people being studied emic perspective and describe and understand peoples customs and ideas but do not judge them an approach called cultural relativism The goal is to study what people believe not whether or nor what they believe is true A central concept in anthropology is culture In 1871 Taylor wrote Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge belief art morals laws customs and any other capacities and habits acquired by man as a member of society Culture includes all aspects of the human experience that are passed down from generation to generation Culture gives means to reality we live in a real physical world but our minds interpret this would though a cultural lens and even create new realties Religion is a difficult concept to define when we try and include all human societies An analytic definition focuses on the way in which religion manifests itself or is expressed in a culture A functional definition is concerned with the role that religion plays in society Finally an essentialist definition looks at what the essential nature of religion is and emphasizes that fact that religion is the domain of the extraordinary Our definition looks at religion as a set of cultural beliefs and practices that usually include a basic set of characteristics and draws on elements of all three of these approaches There have been many theoretical approaches to the study of religion The evolutionary approach developed in the late 1800s focused on the questions of when and how religions began and how they evolved from the simplex to the complex This evolution was seen as a natural consequence of human nature and the religions of primitive peoples were remnants of an earlier simpler evolutionary stage Early religions included animism the belief in spirits and ghosts and animatism the belief in a generalized supernatural force The Marxist approach is based on the writing of Karl Marx who saw religion as being a construction of those in power designed to divert peoples attention from the miseries of their lives This misery was seen as being the result of exploitation of the masses by those in power under the capitalist system He saw religion both as a means of compensation and as a way og getting people to go along with a capitalist culture that is not in their best interests
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