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Chapter 1

Study Guide Chapter1 - Indigenous Religions

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Department
Religion
Course
RLG100Y1
Professor
Andre Maintenay
Semester
Winter

Description
CHAPTER ONE: INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS N Indigenous religion: The particular type of tradition created by a particular group of people for whom that tradition is part of what defines them as a distinct community N Syncretism: new traditions that have developed that integrate ideas and practices from both indigenous and foreign traditions N AFRICA: indigenous religions still flourish despite centuries of proselytizing by Muslims and Christians N SOUTHEAST ASIA, MALAYSIA, INDONESIA: influenced by Hindu and Buddhist traditions for nearly 2 millennia, by Islam for nearly a 1000 years, by Christianity for nearly 500 years N NORTHEAST ASIA: indigenous coexisted with Buddhism for well over a 100 years, with Islam for about 800 years and with Christianity for about 500 years N MONGOLIA, SOUTHERN SIBERIA, TIBET, JAPAN: the interaction between Buddhism and indigenous religions has been so prolonged that it is difficult to separate the one from the other N SIBERIA: many converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity N indigenous religious clusters generally developed in isolation until the 19 century N only after the expansion of the Islamic and Christian worlds, that they were exposed to other religious traditions Indigenous Religions and Western Scholarship N Totem: a spiritual kinship between a particular animal or species and a particular individual, family or clan N Mana: a free-flowing power in the universe capable of either enhancing or diminishing life N Applied to religious traditions all over the world N Tapu or taboo: a sacred prohibition N Shaman: the primary ritual specialists in that culture, whose souls could leave their bodies and travel into other realms to encounter spirits N General term for the visionaries in many cultures who use ecstatic trances and out of body experiences to communicate with spiritual beings on behalf of the community N Accounts of indigenous religions often exaggerated their exotic aspects N Minimizes their similarities to the dominant world religions and presenting them as fundamentally different N Perceive indigenous as living replicas of the traditions their distant ancestors followed before embracing Judaism or Christianity N Every indigenous has its own history, and some of them have experienced more changes over time than some world religions N Many early accounts of indigenous religions were written by explorers and traders who did not stay long enough to learn the local languages www.notesolution.com N Relied on interpreters unschooled in religious concepts and terminology Africa N Edward Tylor saw Africans as animists (believing that there were souls in all things) N Charles de Brosses and James Frazer thought that Africans worshipped fetishes (objects endowed with special powers) N Others suggested that Africans were polytheists (worshippers of many gods who were often represented by statues and masks) African Religious Thought N Their diversity reflects the diversity of the communities in which they developed, each of which has its own history, patterns of contact, ecological environment and economic system N African religions share a focus on a supreme being N Traditions differ on whether the supreme being actually created the world or delegated that task to subordinates N Yoruba of Nigeria and Benin believe that Olodumare (lord of heavens) delegated the creation to lesser gods called orisha N Dogon of Mali believe that their supreme being, Amma, began the task of creating the world but left it to be completed by spirits known as Nummo N The Nuer and Dinka of southern Sudan, the BaMbuti of Congo, and the Khoisan of South Africa emphasize that the supreme being alone created the world N Different traditions also differ in their views of the role that the supreme being plays in their daily lives N Yoruba Olodumare reigns but does not rule N Igbo of southeastern Nigeria supreme being is far removed from human beings and has created lesser spirits, divine servants to handle specific problems N Matters controlled by supreme beings are the most critical ones N Ie, life transitions of birth and death, water (the precious, life sustaining resource) N Some believe that the supreme being is the source of the vital force that enters into a Z42,38Z42-94.70,90OL10 N Most African religious communities do not have a specific shrines for the worship of the supreme being N But they do have many shrines dedicated to the lesser spirits or deities who assists humans in daily life N Nuer people of Sudan N supreme being is Kwoth Nhial, lesser spirits are Kwoth N Yoruba N Recognize 401 orisha (can possess their devotees and use their bodies to make themselves present and communicate information. Continue to develop new functions in community life) N lesser spirits have distinct personalities, extraordinary independence, and rich bodies of sacred traditions or myths describing their activities N Bantu speaking people of Equatorial, east, southern Africa www.notesolution.com
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