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Chapter 1

RLG100Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Clifford Geertz, Thick Description, William Lane Craig

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Andre Maintenay

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Religion Toolkit pgs. 77-102, reading for Oct. 9th, 2015
- Some theories of religion are reductionist, meaning they believe religion fills functions
that a easil e filled  othe thigs (e. Dukhei’s theo that it pootes soial
cohesion, which could also be achieved by belonging to a community group)
- Essentialist theories argue that religion cannot be replaced
- Analytic philosophy asks 3 things of theories; Is it clear? Is it coherent? Is it credible?
- Antony Flew = theory of positivism, the idea that a statement is only meaningful if
experience can count as evidence for or against the statement
- Edmund Hursserl = idea of phenomenology, or that noumena are things as they actually
are, and phenomena are things as they appear to us
o Believed subjective things, like memories and emotions, are worthy of study
o Baketig is patied, hee e do ot ask hethe a thig is tue o ot, e
simply study it
- Rudolf Otto = believed the source of religion was a dependence on something greater
than the individual, and worship is a response to this feeling
o Religion comes from encounters with the Holy
o Experience of Holy is utter dependence, a scary and fascinating mystery
o Religion = human response to the divine
- Mircea Eliade = an essentialist who believed that religion is a distinct phenomenon
which reflects not just social and psychological aspects but the sacred as well
o Hierophanies = manifestations of sacred
o Similarities in religious myths around the world reveal deepest human concerns,
human beings are by nature religious
Philosophy of Religion
- William Lane Craig = presented a new version of Argument from Design for the
eistee of God, ased o the a the uiese sees fie-tued fo poduig liig
Anthropology of Religion
- Clifford Geertz = Itodued thik desiptio fo eligio, desiig ot ol hat he
observed, but getting explanations from those observed regarding their actions and
- Believed religion is at the heart of culture, people need it to develop a worldview
- Religion describes the way the world is, and how it should be
- Religion produces moods and motivations in people, teaching them and preparing them
for life, and offering coping mechanisms, making sense of struggle
- Mary Douglas = had the idea of religious purity/impurity
- Proposed impurity means that something is out of place
- Things must be classified and labelled, so we know what to do with it
- Religio’s pupose is to lassif, as lea eas failia ad udestood
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