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Chapter 1

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Department
Religion
Course
RLGB10
Professor
Simon Appolloni
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 1 Notes Jan 8 th World Religion Chapter 1 Notes Looking back from Stonehenge: Stonehenge: - Created in 3,500-4000 yrs ago - Romans celebrated the winter solstice in December as an annual rebirth of the sun (Saturnalia) - Christmas was combined of Roman midwinter festival (feasting, giftgiving, and general merriment) with mix of celebration of the coming to earth of a deity incarnate Many concepts shared with all religions: • Powerful gods • Sacred places • A life of some kind of after death • Interaction of spirits (existence of spirits) Three worlds: - Humans believed that our world consists of three levels: 1. Sky  Upper most level  Considered the home of the greatest deities  Observing the varying patterns of the sun, star etc could have led humans to believe that the heavenly bodies were living entities (gods, goddesses)  Higher deities in the sky were named—Sky father, Creator, or King of Heaven (This deity was the main belief of a monotheistic religions) the belief of one god only 2. Earth  Intermediate level where humans lived 3. Underworld  Mostly spirits of serpents etc lived in the underworld  associated with dark and hidden places  Usually imagined as evil Sacred (“set aside”) places: - A certain place where human beings feel that they are in the presence of some sort of unusual energy or power Chapter 1 Notes Jan 8 th World Religion - Treated with special respect - These places are set apart from the everyday world - Sacred= set aside - These places consist of= mountains and hilltops that are closest to the sky-dwelling deities  Ex: Ancient middle east= worship was often held at places known as “high places”  People gathered at these place to win the hearts of the deities by offering food, drink, praise and prayers  Ex: The cliff above the ancient city of Petra in Jordan - These places consist of= Great rivers and waterfalls  Ex: in Japan every feature from natural landscape such as from the great mountains and waterfalls to trees and stones were believed to be animated by its own god or spirit (kami) Animal spirits: - Many cultures use bear claws or eagle feathers (magical properties) are used to for protection from the evil spirits Death and Burial: - Head must face east (where the sun rises) or the fetal position (hope for rebirth into a different realm) ***Obon (Japanese), Day of the Dead (Mexican), All-saints day/Halloween (Christian) all reflect the belief that the souls of the dead return to earth once a year to share a ritual meal with the living. Why are humans religious? - Curiosity (e.g. what causes things to happen?) - Many emotional dimensions (fear, awe, love and hate) - Sense of order (superior power/powers) - Fear of death - Idea of after life Ten waves of Religion: - These waves have brought many changes to several traditions around the world\\ - Model that academics created in order to tell us about different forms and origins (doesn’t really mean there is only a limit of 10 there can be more than 10) Chapter 1 Notes Jan 8 th World Religion Wave #1: Shamanism - Who is a shaman? medicine man, soul doctor/witchdoctor, fortune tellers - Where the word originated from?  Asian culture - Term is used for a person who acts as an intermediary (middle person) between humans and the spirit world. Shaman’s were able to foretell the future and communicate with god and the underline reality - ***E.g In Sri Lanka, those suffering from certain illnesses were advised to have a “shaman” sacrifice a chicken as an offering to the “graveyard demon” (bribing them to go away) - Most important resource is a “shaman” - Had healing powers - A “shaman” will be called to the role by his or her psychic abilities OR they would follow their parents footsteps - Shamans have a guiding spirit which serves as a guide and protector throughout the shaman’s life (of a particular animal or a human-like spirit e.g. god or goddess) - Process of communication with the spirit world  1. Shaman’s soul leaves his body and travels to the realm where the spirits live (ecstatic **to stand outside)  2. Shaman calls the spirit into her own body and is possessed by it (may take on the voice/personality of the spirit) Wave #2: Connecting to the Cosmos - Inspired the building structures (**e.g. Stonehenge) - Important to eastern religions - People in the Neolithic (‘new rock’) era went to extraordinary lengths to create sacred areas by assembling huge stones in complex patterns **Two reasons why this was done   1. To show power 2. To express religion (e.g. space for ritual essentials to the society, weddings, puberty rites, funerals etc) - Function of priests was to track th
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