- Slides: 9
The Origin of Religion
Beginnings Religion= the response to the mysteries of life that is organized, ritualized and agreed upon by a group of people Religio: something done with attention to detail or fervor v. Religare: to bind things closely together Survival was key to early humans, so life and death and the rituals around these were important
Shelter for survival vs. shelter for worship • Whatever was needed for survival and protection was of the utmost importance • Survival- physical • Protection- Cultural • When protection is achieved, exploration (both internal and external) could be undertaken
Deeper questions emerged How did we get here? What is our purpose? What happens to us after death?
Stories were created Passed on by word of mouth Sacred texts Some purport to be the revelations of God and therefore become authority for many
Systems are established Worship of nature for survival Attempts to find answers and change outcomes for things like: Natural disasters Scarcity of food Death Established rituals, prayers, and ceremonies Including feasts, silence, fasting, sacraments and others
Characteristics of Ancient Religions Belief in spiritual realm- what are the gods like? Close ties to geography Prescientific worldview Concern with survival Systems of worship Theology: religious belief and behavior Scripture: religious story
Terminology Cosmologies: accounts of how the world began Scripture: sacred texts (or stories) of a religion Faith: what is affirmed in a religion is trustworthy Ritual: the enacted language (actions of a religion) through which human hopes and fears are articulated and renewed Secularization: the breaking of or threat to metaphorical boundaries in religion Fundamentalism: the insistence that there are nonnegotiables in a religious tradition
Ancient Religions Assignment Choose one of the six religions of which to be a part of a group Research the setting of this religion: time, place, geography, and culture in which it thrived. • Who/what are their gods? • How does the religion answer questions of creation, death, survival? • What are some of the rituals? Why do they have this in their theology? • What/where is their scripture? Create or re-enact a ritual from this ancient religion. Half your group will preform this task and the other half will explain it. On your blog, • include a picture and the written elements you contributed to this presentation • Your hypothesis about why this religion was so central to the civilization at the time.