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Religion (75)
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CH 01.pdf

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Department
Religion
Course Code
RLGA01H3
Professor
Shi

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September 25, 2010
CHAPTER 01
Page 4
Stonehenge
one of several ancient rock structures thought to have been constructed for ritual practices
several stones in a horseshoe pattern in middle stone sitting flat on the ground
in ancient times it was thought to have been a sacrice altar
now and believe it use to stand up straight
observer would stand to watch movements of the sun and the stars
the stone was erected 3500 to 4000 years ago
it was used as burial grounds centuries before that
roughly between the year 3000 and 2500 CE around 240 people probably from the same
family were buried there
structures believed to be used for ceremonial purposes
its orientation [towards the point where the sun rises at the summer solstice] makes one believe it
was designed for astronomical Observatory.
the Romans would celebrate this day as the annual rebirth of the sun, Saturnalia
in the fourth century BC in the Roman Christians chose this time to celebrate the birth of Jesus
Christ
there are few concepts shared by virtually all human cultures that seem fundamental to what we call
religion
powerful gods, secret places, afterlife, the presence of spirits that interact with us
Page 5
humans around the world believe the world consists of three different levels
sky, earth and the underworld
storms the sun and the stars and the planets moving across different patterns may have led
some he means to believe in that heavenly bodies [gods and goddesses]
there is a higher level of the clouds and stars, [heaven] which is the home of the highest deity,
a.k.a. sky father, creator, or King of heaven
the deity is usually male
the underworld
usually home of serpents [cobras, nagas - India]
or reptilian monsters [Dragon Lore]
please creatures are usually associated with dark and hidden places [evil]
between the sky and the underworld was the intermediate level where humans lived
sacred places
sacred means set aside
there some places around the world that are considered to have some unusual energy or power
these places are usually treated with respect
these places are usually mountains or hilltops [closer to sky dwelling deities]
in the Middle East to ritual centres called high places
offer food, drink, praise and prayer [to win favour from deities]
rivers and waterfalls are also recorded a secret places
in Japan all natural landscapes are considered to be animated by its own God or Spirit [kami]
Page 6
animal spirits
another tradition by humans is to respect the animals they kill for food
this ensures the other animals do not run away and allow themselves to be caught in the
future
impressive animals such as pools, Bears, Lions, Eagles said to have power
people wear these parts [beer class or equal feathers] as amulets or
hang them in doorways as protection from evil spirits
death and burial
place body facing east [sunrises]
place putting fetal position [belief in the rebirth]
grades contain some various goods belonging to the person who died
believed that diseased ancestors come back and help guide the members of their family
Japanese Obon, Mexican Day of the dead, Christian all Saints Day, Halloween
all their beliefs that the soul returns to Earth once a year and share a meal
Page 7
why are humans religious?
religion grows out of human experiences
good or bad powers are sensed in dreams, sacred places, certain humans, animals
religion has many emotional dimensions
fear, awe, love and hate
also has intellectual dimensions
what causes things to happen, a sense of order, a drive to make sense out of humans
religion has been around for many years
we cannot consider one certain time period to be the normal religion
Homo sapiens are also called Homo religiousus
10 waves of religion
around 500 BC new religious traditions began to form under various leaders [profits or sage]
by the first century of the common Era humans believed in gods incarnation in human body
religious ideas may actually have been carried from one place to another [culture]
ideas also change due to environmental social or economical conditions
waves have brought similar changes to several traditions around the world
Page 8
Wave 1: shamanism
shaman
priest, widespread among the hunter-gatherer societies, who communicates with the spirit
world on behalf of people
also referred to as medicine man, soul doctor, witchdoctor
work comes from Asia but is now a generic term for person who acts as an intermediary
between humans and the spirit world
hunting rituals
shaman performed rituals secure successful hunt or appease the spirits of the hunted species
[seen on cave drawing]
rituals are usually done prior to dangerous tasks [suggests religious behavior is a way of
coping with dangerous situations]
a belief that spirits which survive death [animals or humans] can communicate with others of
its kind
Page 9
coping with unfriendly spirits
experience [in animal storms Mountain Rivers] are believed to behave similarly as humans
would behave to one another
dealing with them is based on how humans are dealt with
wild uninhabited area has occurred by visiting spirits [monsters]
unfriendly spirits were associated with forests or in pain and diseases
the spirits were driven away by either offerings [chicken]
or by scaring them off with threats of larger spirits [guided by shaman] [loud noises]
the shaman
still live today, the role is usually given to one who has had a revelation or an extraordinary
vision [psychic abilities]
the role is also sometimes passed down from the parent
candidates for the Shaman role have to go through apprenticeship [vision quest]
usually have to scare off or confront terrifying apparitions/spirits [will guide them later]
communicate with the spirit world involves mantra/chants/drumming
contact is made in two ways
shaman soul leaves his own body and enters the spirit world
spirit comes inside the shaman's own body and possess it

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