Chapter 1: Introduction: Why Religion Matters

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Secularization Theory

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14 Terms

1

Secularization Theory

predicts that as societies modernize, they will become less religious.

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2

Discourse

________ (written or oral) that concerns issues transcendent to the contingent, finite human world.

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3

Essentialism

is the act of reducing particular religious traditions to hard- and- fast things.

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4

Religion

evolves and changes over time, and religious influences are embedded in all dimensions of culture.

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5

the problem with perennialism

those who affirm it cannot agree who or what resides on their mountaintops, even though they believe all religion connect at the peak

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6

Secularization Theory

predicts that as societies modernize, they will become less religious

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7

Substantive

they exclude too much

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8

Functional

include too much

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9

What is the 1st way of discussing religion in class?

The Way of Faith and Devolution

  • this is the way people talk about Judaism or Christianity in Sunday school, or how Hindus sing of their love of Krishna

  • basically, the nonreligious study of religion

  • KEYWORD: insider view

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10

What is the 2nd way of discussing religion in class?

A Nondevotional and Nontheological Way

  • it is the way of religious studies. aim is not to do religion but to study it

  • KEYWORD: outsider’s view

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11

What is the four-part model that the author employs?

  1. an analysis of the human PROBLEM

  2. a SOLUTION to that problem

  3. TECHNIQUES for achieving that goal

  4. EXEMPLARS who chart the path toward the goal (saints, gurus, etc.)

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12

What are the seven dimensions of religion according to Ninian Smart?

  1. the ritual dimension (rites and ceremonies)

  2. the narrative or mythic dimension (myths and other stories related to sacred things)

  3. the experiential or emotional dimension (experience of awe, guilt, bliss)

  4. the social or institutional dimension (religious organizations)

  5. the ethical or legal dimension (laws and moral codes)

  6. the doctrinal or philosophical dimension (creeds, theologies)

  7. the material dimension (prayer beads, icons, temple architecture)

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13

What are the four domains of religion according to Bruce Lincoln?

  1. Discourse (written or oral) that concerns issues transcendent to the continent, finite human world

  2. a set of practices who’s purpose is to produce a proper world (or proper human character)

  3. a community whose members construct their identity with reference to such discourses and practices

  4. an institution that regulates discourse, practices, and community (with the goal of reproducing this into the future)

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14

How to address Essentialism

  • be suspicious of the religious categories, avoid bad generalizations, and acknowledge ourselves and others that the generalizations we make are just generalizations

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