Although Lawson’s Religions of Africa has the strengths of being compact and normative for leisure reading, the productivity of Lawson for this introductory class is the way his approach and content raise the important questions of research methods, gender selectiveness, and comparison of writing styles for our discussions. As stated previously, Religions of Africa is compact and normative which can be considered strengths for a reader who wants a general overview of a couple of religions in Africa, but these strengths can also be considered weakness for this class. For a general reader, the title itself can be confusing. It is no surprise that Africa has many religions just based on the sheer size of the continent, so one can assume that this book would contain multiple religions based in Africa. The assumption would make sense but it is incredibly incorrect. Lawson only includes two religions in the 100 page book. It is very compact which is beneficial for a reader looking for just an overview but to a class that is interested in the world’s religions, not just two from Africa but multiple, it seems a bit too brief. To Lawson’s defense, he does address this problem in the introduction of the book by stating, “The sheer massiveness of Africa is sufficient to overwhelm anyone who wishes to study some aspect of its contours… Decisions have to be made, therefore, as to what one will study,” (pg. 5). Lawson then goes to say what he decided to include in this book, saying, “Rather than spreading ourselves too thin, we shall narrow our focus down to two African peoples,” (pg. 8). Even with stating the fact that there is too much to study about the African religions in one book, the compactness of the book makes it difficult to see the diversity of the continent in our class. For the general reader this is not the only strength Lawson has. Being normative when talking about any religion can be beneficial and destructive. Lawson’s choice to be normative, I believe, is a good choice for the purpose of appealing to a general audience but not so much to a scholarly audience. To generalize a religion and make it appear as though the religion has no variation and the people practice the religion all the same makes it easy to understand the general appearance of the religion. To fully understand and study the religion, though, is to understand the controversies and differences between regions, families, and even individual people. When talking about the Zulu people and where they reside, Lawson says, “… the Zulu kraal is the primary locus for ritual action. It is in this religious space that crucial religious performances occur periodically,” (pg. 17). This, along with the rest of the description of the kraal, seems to have the assumption that every Zulu person lives in a kraal. This assumption can be disproven by watching the documentary Zulu Zionists where some Zulu people live in cities and work instead of living on a hill in a kraal and living out a religious life. Some Zulu people are even Christian along with being Zulu. This surprising revelation in the documentary seems to contradict Lawson’s writing. Not addressing any variation in a religion can hurt one’s study of a religion and the credibility of the author if read scholarly but for a general reader just looking for an overview, normative writing is an easy way to provide good information without overwhelming the reader. Now while it has been discussed that these strengths can also raise some concerns, these are not the only concerns within Religions of Africa. Other concerns of Lawson’s research methods and gender selectiveness and the comparison of his writing with other researcher’s raise questions in our discussions. Lawson’s research methods are never mentioned throughout the book. Usually an author states his or her creditability in the introduction or in the first couple of pages of the writing but Lawson doesn’t do so. The only mention of research or…
with Nelson Barbour – preached his views on Christianity, based on what the two had published in their book Three Worlds. After his death, Joseph Rutherford was appointed president of the Watch Tower Society, soon changing the name of the organization to what is now The Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As an organization, the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not consider Russell the founder of a new religion. You will find such a statement on their website that aims to clarify that misconception: “The goal of Russell and…
World Religious Traditions 1
April 23, 2013
Dr. Clayton Mills
World Religious Traditions 1
People may have different meanings for the ideal person and we all have our own opinion but Confucius had his own meaning and he had different concepts and they are ren, li, and shu, xiao and wen I am going to explain what he meant by these concepts and illustrate a better understanding.
According to the chapter 6 of Experiencing the World Religions the Chinese character…
Christina M. Epps
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are three world religions. It is a common misperception that these three religions have nothing in common. While Christianity, Islam, and Judaism do have many differences, thay also have some of the same ideals. One similarity that the three religions share is there belief in one God, the God of Abraham (The Origins of Islam, 2012). All three religions also believe in angels and demons (ReligionFacts…
4 December 2014
Expressing unity through the Eucharist
The Seven Sacraments are one of the many essential factors that is part of the Christian belief system. They are Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, an Anointing of the sick. One of these important sacrament, which plays an important role in expressing the unity in all Christians, is Eucharist. By partaking the body and blood of Jesus Christ, all Christians are brought…
February 25, 2013
Buddhism originated from Indian prince named Siddhartha Gautama who said, “He whose aim will be accomplished”. Being aware of human suffering the prince was determined to penetrate the root cause of frustration and pain and discover a more deeply satisfying way of life. After he accomplished his goal, prince Siddhartha became known as the Buddha, the Awakened one. But even before he was born and was just in the womb his mother had…
The historic roots and origin of Judaism started in the near east and the sacred text the Torah tell us how Jews became a people chosen by god to serve him. Two major festivals of the Judaism Religion are Passover and the Shavuot. “In ancient times, three of Judaism’s seasonal festivals Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot, were directly linked to the agricultural cycle of the year and were celebrated with a seasonal rite of pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem” (Lieber 2012). Passover, Shavuot…
Relationships in Judaism
The religion of Judaism focuses mainly on relationships between god, mankind, Jewish people
and the land of Israel which binds people together with their common practices and beliefs. Judaism is
a monotheistic faith which means that they only believe in one god rather than multiple gods, like a lot
of other religions did at the time Judaism was created, which was about 4,000 years ago. Judaism’s
beliefs other than relationships with people are the Ten Commandments and Rambam’s 13 principals…
22 July 2013
If Humans Were Immortal
“Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11 25:26). For the Christian faith, as well as, many other religions, religion provides a promise of life after death. However, that is not the only purpose of religion. If human beings were incapable of dying, religion would still be a primary…
After reading all different types of Theories of Religions in the textbook, I came more interested in theories of Religions as Projections of Human Needs by German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach.
He saw that religions were basically projections of the wishes and essentials of humanity. He also said people tend to see themselves as helpless and dependent when they are facing challenges of life. For that reason, they strive to overcome their fear or problems through imagination. Feuerbach thought that…
World Religions Report
Yvette L. Renwicks
University of Phoenix
2. Background on Our Lady of Constellation
3. Interview questions;
How did you come to this religion?
Has your family been practicing this religion?
How long have you been practicing this religion?
What are your major practices of worship?
What are the basic beliefs of this religion?
What are your holidays?
What is the meaning behind these holidays?
What do you like about this religion…