- Slides: 19
What is Religion? rituals faith conflict RELIGION belief church prayer
Institutionalised Religion Established Religious traditions l Characterised by publicly acknowledged and demonstrated beliefs, public places and worship. l l Eg, l mosques, churches, synagogues and temples Recognisable religious leadership.
Religious Tradition l l l A term used to refer to the integrated structures of religious traditions. The components of the religion make up the structures of religious traditions. The Studies of Religion Course refers only to 5 main religious traditions. These are: l l l Christianity Islam Buddhism Hinduism Judaism
Early Religion l Early hunting and gathering societies have practices and ideas that go back thousands of years and may be seen in tribal groupings found in places such as Australia, South America and Papua New Guinea. l First clear evidence of any religious activity were found in the archaeological remains from the Stone Age. l They indicate ritual activity from the time 50, 000 — 10, 000 BCE. l Ritual and a symbolic or mythic understanding have been found to exist in the lives of hunters and gatherers since the Paleolithic period.
Early Religion Cont. l Shamans and sorcerers have been depicted in paintings during the pre-agricultural period. l Hunting societies felt a close kinship with the animals because they provided their food and clothing. l Hunting was the most important aspect of early human life and thus it was ‘overlaid with enormous religious significance’ especially because the success of the hunt meant the difference between life and death. (Religion focused on “ultimate concern”. )
Some characteristics that may have described early religion: Prayers and rites in preparation for the hunt. l Appeasement of the spirit of killed animals. l Eventually sacrifices to the spirits controlling nature. l
TOTEMISM Hunting and gathering societies have a special relation with a particular animal which serves to bind people to their ancestors l Social concept with religious overtones. l Identification with the totem is a way of uniting with sacred reality. l Early religion connected with panvitalism = that everything is alive. Death seems unreal — spirit world. l
Preoccupation with death. l As early as the Stone Age there are clear signs of a type of ritual associated with death. l Ornaments, bracelets, tools and weapons arranged around the dead body. Red ochre poured over bones. a Primal intuition that something about the body survives after death. l Death and religion → coping with mortality (still important in modern era)
Neanderthal people bury a young man, along with stone tools and bear meat, in this lifesized diorama based on a 70, 000 year-old site in France. The placement of tools and food along with the deceased suggests that these people believed in life after death. http: //www. si. edu/harcourt/nmnh/human 3. html
ANIMISM Spiritual dimension exists along with the bodies of animals and humans. l Goes hand in hand with panvitalism — life and death. l Animism — souls continue to live on earth as a consoling presence or to haunt / torment / punish. l Primitive religion — response to ‘presence’ → Communion with sacred/holy powers. l
OTHER CHARACTERISTICS OF EARLY RELIGION l Symbol: naturally points to one thing directly and points to another directly. Point beyond themselves. Primary language of religion. l Myth: Symbolic narrative — expressing the essence of mystery.
Ritual Communal acting out of the symbolic and mythic sense of having found a path through the most severe limitations on human existence. l Most important rituals are called Rites of Passage. —* Transition from one stage of life to another. l
l For the Inca, a fermented beverage called chicha was an essential component of all religious and public activities. During religious ceremonies, chicha was drunk from q'iru, named for the tree from which they were carved. http: //www. si. edu/harcourt/nmai/exhibit/excreat 4. htm Inca q'iru (wooden drinking goblet). Carver unknown. Cuzco, Peru. Mid 16 th century. (10. 5860)
Magic l purpose of early rock paintings. ‘Picture magic”— renounces this control.
Prayer l petition and gratitude to sacred powers → differentiate humans from animal life. l Sacrifice not only to appease but to show gratitude also.
Characteristics of Religion Belief in spirit-forces or invisible powers l Close ties to a particular area or locality l A prescientific world view l Concern with survival l Manipulation and coercion of the world of spirits l Concern about death l
Characteristics of Religion Cont. l Moral systems (ethics) l Theology l Scripture l Prophecy l Sacrifice l Designated places of worship