What is religion? (Three-step process)
a) Original Binding (Humanity and creator in direct relation with each other)
b) Unbinding (relationship between created and creator is severed)
c) Re-Binding (Religion) (GOAL: reconnect with the divine and make things right)
Myth vs. reality: (Religion has mythical elements, includes aspects of ritual, morality, theology, and mystical elements. Cannot be reduced to a myth)
What does it mean to be religious?
a) Existentialism: a focus on being human/human tendencies. Grappling with “purpose of life
b) Phenomenology: rigorous description of human experience (Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.)
c) Hermeneutics: study of interpretation. (How messages are interpreted differently.)
RELIGION IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIP, RELIANCE, THE DESIRE FOR CONNECTION AND BELONGING, AND INTERDEPENDENCE.
What are religious studies?
An academic study that borrows from different studies—secular, or, open to all religions. Unbiased.
Religious Studies is not…
a) Sectarian theology: scholars do not all belong to same religion
b) Apologetics: defense of any particular religion
c) Study of or justification for any doctrinal creed
d) Uncritical adherence or blind faith
(Approaches to Religion) Atheism: God doesn’t exist Agnostic: Could be a god, but not sure
Naturalism: scientists that believe nature is all we are Non-theism: not helpful (god is whatever)
Humanism: believe in human potential Apatheism: indifference toward religion Animism: things are spiritual
Secularism: Government perspective—Open to all religions
Deism: organizing principle to the world (orderly) Polytheism: “Many Gods”—different gods for different things
Monotheism: there is but one God Dualism: There are two Gods (Zoroastrianism=good/bad God)
Henotheism: monotheism and polytheism combined (divine one shows up in many avenues)
Pantheism: that which is the world and which is the divine is the same Fidelism: “Faithful” not challenging beliefs
(What is Theology): Concerns intellectual problems of existence, nature, and attributes of the divine
(How to study world religions): open minded, with maturity, respectfully, seriously and critically, first person perspective.
(10 aspects of world religions): origins, historical development, aspects of divine, sacred texts or symbols/images, sacred persons, ethical principles, sacred space, sacred time, death/afterlife, society and religion.
(32% Christianity, 23% Islam, 15% Hinduism, 7% Buddhist, .2% Judaism, 6% Folk tribal religions, 16% nonreligious attitudes)
Most people in India are HINDU
No single founder, prophet, or creed, no single teacher, no community agreed set of teachings (UNUSUAL)
HINDUISM: fairly new term—refers to many religions that have evolved in India (nicknames: Brahmanism/ Shivaism)
“Santana Dharma” or “Never Ending” --is (HENOTHEISTIC) (One superior God named Brahman that appears as other gods, or Deities/Avatars.
Reincarnation (death is not the end)—Your soul comes back in another form (SAMSARA or “Recycled soul”)
Human Soul is called (ATMAN); influenced by (KARMA) (treat others how you would like to be treated)
HINDU WORLDVIEW: human fate is bound to endless cycles of reincarnation (SAMSARA) unless some method of attaining liberation is achieved (MOKSHA: realization)---THERE ARE VARIOUS PATHS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH KARMA
(DHARMA): truth, duty, law, teaching, order, tradition, religion, path
(Bhagavad Gita): MAJOR TEXT OF MAHABHARTA—there is a battle; ARJUNA is the warrior and KRISHNA (GOD) is the carriage driver. KRISHNA tells ARJUNA he must fulfill his duties as a warrior. His duties to his caste system are KARMA YOGA.
SOME AVATARS (gods): BRAHMAN (creator), VISHNU(preserver), SHIVA(destroyer), KRISHNA, DURGA, GANESHA.
(ATMAN): soul, eternal self ---ATMAN AND BRAHMAN ARE ONE (TAT TVAM ASI)
1) Not just one particular phenomena 2) it is also not “nothing” (can’t see/touch but it is not nothing)