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World Religions midterm chapter notes.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Perley

World Religions RLGA02 Chapter Notes Chapter 1 About Religion Looking Back From Stonehenge Stonehenge A group of standing stones on Salisbury Plain in southern England Dating to c 20001800 BC the megaliths are enclosed by a circular ditch and embankment that may date to c 2800 The arrangement of the stones suggests that Stonehenge was used as a religious center and also as an astronomical observatory Few concepts shared by all human cultures to what we call religion powerful gods sacred places a life of some kind after death after life presence in this world of spirits that interact with humans Three WorldsHistorically it seems that humans around the globe have imagined the world to consist of three levels sky earth and underworld1 Sky uppermost level has been considered the home of the greatest godsgoddesses We dont know how this developed but we can guess that the power of storms was one factor Another was the movement of the sun stars and the planets across the sky2 Underworld Under the earth lived the spirits of serpents and monsters Associated with dark and hidden places Evil3 Earth between the sky and underworld lay the earth the level where humans liveSacred Places Humans around the world tend to feel they are in the presence of some unusual energypower Among these sacred places include mountains and hilltops places closest to the sky godsAnimal Spirits Another common human movement has been to attribute spirits to animals The animals they kill for food are treated with respect Body parts from lions eagles bulls have often been used as power objects to help make contact with the spirits of these animals
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