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Exam review.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Joseph Bryant

RLG 210 April 13 – Review Focus on really big themes of the course Review: How sociology of religion can be placed: 2 key concepts: ontology, epistemology Key point: religion is based on a distinct ontology: supernatural/transcendent realm beyond re- ality we inhabit terresterally Social scientific approach to relgin can’t address truth claim to religion. Instead, approach is how religion operates in this world on basis of ontological claims + faith statements of religion are not susceptible to scientific proof or disconfirmation – declarative, performative, emotive i.e. not factual Evidence or proof for faith statements that religious actors are “internal” to each particular reli- gious tradition. i.e. not accepted by other faith traditions Parable of Two Explorers – insider/outsider subjective/objective ways of knowing Ex: religious visions corresponds to traditional beliefs (virgin mary on store window Stand 1: berger – methodiogical atheism 2. Smart – methodological agnosticsm i.e. sociological, historical Tension between external and insider subjective: Ex. Carlos Castanda example of sorcery in n. Mexico. Don Juan.Approached from objectivist but ran into doubt that the external point of view could identify the reality of the religious experi- ences of people he was studying, so he crossed over to apprentice under Don Juan. Books: from anthropology to mystical… Jaguar, fly Religion: a system of complex of social relationships that human beings create and modeify in history with sueprnatureal or divine powers for purushposes of establishing order and protection and for security meaning and purpose • way of making sense = cognitive fundtion • way of gaining security, support, protection – practical function How religions deal with claiming transcendant to make it part of this reality ie. Transcendent ob- jective – times, actions,… Religions link macrocosm with microcosm Ex: Aztec society and sacrificial context Establishing connection between transcendent and natural and social worlds – movites, purop- soes, moods, identities,e tc. Esalbished through • cosmic descriptions • mythologiacal or theological • cultic./ritual means Fundamental feature of human condition: hbs are biologically world open creatures – limited or only general in genetic programming, must establish order culturally and socially. We are order- seeking, animal, chaos, disoreder is stressful. We are more of a cultural animal based on growth of brain size, vocalizations. Culture and social life define our lives. i.e. don’t rely on biological/instinctive Geertz: we all being with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of life • religion organizes unknown, explans suffering, establishes norms for action • wards off chaos and meaninglessness – sense-,aoking • way of seeing, comprehending, acting Religion and Society 4 pillars of religion • belief – Kurtz 2nd and 3rd – mappings of reality, worldviews • ritual – sanctify important social activities (birth, marriage, etc.) • spiritual experience – awe, reverence, security • communities – group identities, solidarities, boundary-maintenance SociologicallY: Cultural and sociological aspects Religion can’t be studied independently from other aspects of social life i.e. embedded with other institutions: kinship, politics, war, eduaiton, etc. Social Scientific Theories of Religion *2 basic approaches: • projection theory • Social control theory Xenophanes: Homer and Hesiad: turn gods into human beings. If cattle and horses or lions had hands, horses would draw the forms of gods like horses,….ethnocentric view Aristotle: men create gods after their own image – form and manner of life Projection: representations of divine will have earthly correlates Social Control: Kritias (Platos uncle): notion of gods invented by clever lawgiver. HBs prone to wrong doing, violence….Gods function as supernatural police – all knowing/seeing, punish. 1) cautious about committing crimes 2) post-mortem punishments i.e. religion as stabilizing function/restraint Ludwig Feuerbach: historico-philosophical analysis of religion Theology is anthropology Definition of providence, faith, prayer: hbs tryiong to address their greatest anxieties – religion as expression of fundamental existential human needs and anxieities. World better than they have. Death as form of immortality/paradise Marx: projective alienation Social alienation vs. Feuerbach existnail aliencation Felt F. failed to understand social conditions of alienation. Religion: sigh of the oppressed creature. Religion offered a critique, limitations of our real world. Opium because not real solution, only imaginary Illusory happiness Religion: as reification, fetishism (irrational devotions to images) Magic, Science, Religion – anthro theories • Evolutionary models • Psychic unity of human kind Magic,, Animism Tylor: dream states. Animism. Reality is ensouled/spirited. Higher reality, ordinary reality. Death: when no longer has breath, i.e. something in breath that is essence of life. “breathing” is word for “soul”, “spirit” Projected breath to explain world around them. Nature has spirit in it Frazer: Magic. Law of similairity and contagion Malinowski: Frazer wrong. Argued: not from primitive to modern mentality: instead hbs have had same psycholigicaql always, so no growth in human rationality. Based on field work (unlike Tylor and Frazer). Papua, New guinea/Trobriand. Boat in lagoon.Not less capable: difference was relationship between magic and technical is where overlap and go toghether. Defiition of magic: anxiety reducation mechanism Stages: misleading, false to real anthro record. Emile Durkheim: sacred/profane Imp. of social solidarity – group function Genesis of religious beliefs out of experience living in society – totemism/clans Emblem of the group – gods Collectice effervescence – rituals Forces come out of social life, not the transcendant Feminism Patriarchy • Major of religious traditions emerged historically, and culturally, in patriarchal socieities and therefore religions are patriarchal in core beliefs and practices. Historical develop- ment vs. natural condition • Inferiority and necessary subjugation./subordination of women to men • As a result of patriarchal arrangments, women are systematically discrmited against in reli- gious life • Female ritual functions as domestic rather than public • Physically segregated (time and place) within sites of worship • Special purifications • Excluded from official roles • Primary deities are masculine • Sacred myths commonly denigrate or blame females for humanity’s troubles Mother Goddess thesis Outline of World Reigions Hisotry • Pre-history • History and rise of the state Emergence of polytheistic religions Chart of occident/orient Religion and Pre-History: Study of pre-history: seem to be forms of religious activity in earliest human communities (Ne- anderthal and Homosapiens) • Attempts to contgorl through symbolic actions – anticay/commerative *****Bruhl not on final Evans-Pritchard – fits in with Malinowski position Not higher an lower forms of rationality Robin Horton Religion and Rise of the state: Basics to know is good enough Max Weber: ***** know his basic theory: distinction between virtuoso and heroic Charisma and routinization Bulliet’s S curve – not on test, before Sect-Church model Christianity in model Situated Jesus movement as millenarian/eschatological cult Jesus as Charismatic Sect to church How and why succeed slowly: external / internal pressures (purity requirements) Pentiential practices Hardliners/rigorists – know sequence* Modernists soften requirements as time goes by Shepard of Hermes Dicean – forigive idolatry Mortal/venial sins distinction Hardliners broke off sect – callistus/Hippolytus Mainstream grew larger, more forgiving Protestant Ethic Protestantism/modernity theme Why capitalism in west at a particular time? W. Europe not economically advance, education – others had more advanced features. Why not first? Prot: first religion that gives worldly economic activity full religious backing (historically neu- tral to economic pursuits). Protl ethic: effort to trace one side of the picture i.e. shifts in religious values playh
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