- Arrival of immigrants was bringing new religions to Canada
- The new religions brought challenges to Canada
- Religions lost their roles in health care, and social services as governments began
to take the lead.
- Transformation of Canadian society
o Growth of multicultural ethnic organizations
o Diversity of religious organizations
- “Freedom” and “human rights” – free citizens could choose whether to practice a
religion or not.
- Multiculturalism policy – 1980s
o Matters of ethnicity and ethnic identity
o Support ethnic communities in the preservation of their languages and
- Ethnic diversity – strength of Canadian society
- Religion is in no danger of becoming irrelevant.
Understanding “World Religions”
- Theorists believed religion was a premodern phenomenon – wrong
o Survived the spread of a modern scientific worldview
- “The clash of traditional religions with modern science and secular society is
a major theme of this book.” (page 7)
- Present time – modern era
o Began with the rise of science after 1500 CE
- Taxonomy – a European construct
o Helps organize knowledge about religion in general and about specific
- Indigenous religions – “the collective name used to designate a group of local
religions that share enough common themes or characteristics to make
Understanding Religious Experience and Its Expressions
- Ancient people – nature govern their destiny
o “nature evoke in human beings ambivalent feelings of fascination and
MYTH AND RITUAL
- Myth – “mythos” – “story”
- Myth – symbolic story about the origins of human beings and the world
- Individual and the community are related through ritual activities.
- Ritual may continue but the myth explaining it may change.
- Orthopraxy – acting in the prescribed manner
- Orthodoxy – accepting the often intricate doctrines set forth in texts and
formulated by scholars MORALITY
- Rite – ritual patterns of behaviour that keep life sacred
- Quran and hadith are the ethical way of life for Muslims.
- Religion requires morality.
- Don’t interpret it literally.
o It is symbolic.
“God is our rock”
- Analogy: describes something less familiar
- Negativia – negation
The Great Transition: From Tribal Life to Urban Life and the Emergence of World
- Urban life led to the specialization of labour.
- Society was divided into classes.
- Identity was collective in the tribe.
o All shared same stories and activities.
- Cities – all strangers.
- Urban life enhanced awareness of how one person differs from another.
- Tribe – eternal
- Tribe – ritual
- Cities – laws enforced
The Great Religious Stories of the World
THE MYTHS OF NATURE
- Forces of nature govern human destiny – “Shamanism”
- Time is the enemy.
o Brings decay, old age, sickness and death
CHINA AND THE MYTHS OF HARMONY
- All of the creation works via the opposites.
- The ideal of life is balance and harmony.
INDIA AND THE MYTHS OF LIBERATION
- Life understood through the metaphors of the natural cycles and rhythms of
- Life was seen as suffering