RLG101H5- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 43 pages long!)

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Published on 28 Mar 2018
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RLG101H5
Final EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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INDIGENOUS TRADITIONS: TRICKSTERS
- Tricksters were developed by scholars to categorize a certain type of character that
appears in stories of many cultures ex. Greeks had Hermes
- They’re referred to as cultural heroes and are central figures of a community’s stories and
serves to teach important lessons in history, ethics and relationships
- They are zoomorphic meaning they take forms of animals ex. Coyote. Crow, fox
- They can change genders and sometimes put women’s clothing on and mimic female like
characteristics ex. Wichikapache transforms himself into a perfect woman to teach a
conceited man a lesson who refuses to marry since no one is good enough for him, the
trickster even become pregnant and wolf cubs are born and the trick is revealed
- They’re related to both spirit and material/human worlds, theyre more than human but
less than gods
- They can be selfless or greedy, kind or cruel, fools or serious
- They’re behaviours are scandalous, violating social order that’s because social order
needs to be violated
SELF AND OTHERS
- When to imitate the trickster’s example or do the opposite is by looking at the trickster’s
motivation: whether an action is intended to help others or driven by self-interest
- Our judgement depends on understanding what’s good for the community
CHAOS AND ORDER
- Red willows attribute the creation of aspects of our world to violent and destructive
activity
- Tricksters show how we should or should not behave and helps us to explain the origins
of the world and connect a community more deeply to specific locations, they embody
the extremes of humanity and all of our contradictions: our weaknesses and strengths, our
selfishness and compassion
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INDIGENOUS TRADITIONS: CHANGE AND SYNCRETISM
- Discusses that the indigenous religions don’t exist as they did before the contact with the
outside world which is a result of syncretism, the merging of elements from diff cultures
such as many Native American religions being affected by Christianity and some African
rituals having incorporated elements of Islam
- It doesn’t mean that the real indigenous religions have disappeared since change and
syncretism takes place among all religions through history
- Their religious practices can be found anywhere such Yoruba funeral rites in London,
their religions may be connected to history but they’re not buried by it
- It wasn’t till recently that anthropologists studied aboriginal people since they assumed
there was no aboriginal history to look at
- Since such cultures were unchanged from the start, the Europeans referred to them as
primitive which means first, for them history was assumed to begin when they first
encouraged civilized cultures
- Europeans at the time were Christian and believed in superiority of their own culture and
wanted to spread their religion to those who hadn’t heard the gospel, indigenous cultures
were the ideal recipients for the word of god and blank states with no real history or
religion of their own, we know these assumptions weren’t true, all available evidence
shows that indigenous ppl had dynamic histories full of change long before they were
discovered
An idea that stuck out to me this week was syncretism. Syncretism is combining different
religious practices and cultures. When I was reading the ‘Change and Syncretism’ article, I read
about how the Europeans thought of the Aboriginals as blank slates and thought they had no
religion of their own. If by chance they acknowledged that the Aboriginals had their own religion
and history, they would label their religion as uncivilized and would attempt to convert them
because for the Europeans, Christianity was believed to be superior and above all religions. But
in Nye’s textbook, it reinforced the idea that mixing cultures and practices shouldn’t always be
considered a bad thing since barely any religion is pure, meaning many religions have a variety
of rules, practices, morals in common, they all deliver the same message and enforce peace. This
contrast in ideas made me realize how merging elements from different religions could be a good
thing as well. Before this reading, I used to believe that all religions were independent, made of
their own practices and cultures, but even if many religions share these aspects, it helped me to
realize that they can still remain authentic in their own ways.
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