Introduction of religion essay


Definitions, concepts, and interpretative contexts

Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life , the universe , and other things. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs. The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology , comparative religion and social scientific studies.

Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief. Religion from O. One possible interpretation traced to Cicero , connects lego read, i. The definition of religio by Cicero is cultum deorum , "the proper performance of rites in veneration of the gods.

Augustine , following the interpretation given by Lactantius in Divinae institutiones , IV, In classic antiquity, 'religio' broadly meant conscientiousness, sense of right, moral obligation, or duty to anything. In the ancient Greece, the Greek term threskeia was loosely translated into Latin as religio in late antiquity. The term was sparsely used in classical Greece but became more frequently used in the writings of Josephus in the first century CE. It was used in mundane contexts and could mean multiple things from respectful fear to excessive or harmfully distracting practices of others; to cultic practices.

It was often contrasted with the Greek word deisidaimonia which meant too much fear. The modern concept of religion, as an abstraction that entails distinct sets of beliefs or doctrines, is a recent invention in the English language. Such usage began with texts from the 17th century due to events such the splitting of Christendom during the Protestant Reformation and globalization in the age of exploration, which involved contact with numerous foreign cultures with non-European languages.

The concept of religion was formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, [31] [32] despite the fact that ancient sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, and others did not have a word or even a concept of religion in the original languages and neither did the people or the cultures in which these sacred texts were written. Threskeia is sometimes translated as religion in today's translations, however, the term was understood as worship well into the medieval period.

The Sanskrit word dharma , sometimes translated as religion, also means law. Throughout classical South Asia , the study of law consisted of concepts such as penance through piety and ceremonial as well as practical traditions.

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Medieval Japan at first had a similar union between imperial law and universal or Buddha law, but these later became independent sources of power. Throughout the Americas, Native Americans never had a concept of "religion" and any suggestion otherwise is a colonial imposition by Christians. Though traditions, sacred texts, and practices have existed throughout time, most cultures did not align with Western conceptions of religion since they did not separate everyday life from the sacred.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the terms Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and world religions first entered the English language. What is called ancient religion today, they would have only called law. Scholars have failed to agree on a definition of religion. Religion is a modern Western concept. An increasing number of scholars have expressed reservations about ever defining the essence of religion.

The very attempt to define religion, to find some distinctive or possibly unique essence or set of qualities that distinguish the religious from the remainder of human life, is primarily a Western concern. The attempt is a natural consequence of the Western speculative, intellectualistic, and scientific disposition. It is also the product of the dominant Western religious mode, what is called the Judeo-Christian climate or, more accurately, the theistic inheritance from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The theistic form of belief in this tradition, even when downgraded culturally, is formative of the dichotomous Western view of religion. That is, the basic structure of theism is essentially a distinction between a transcendent deity and all else, between the creator and his creation, between God and man.

The anthropologist Clifford Geertz defined religion as a.

We just know that it is done, annually, weekly, daily, for some people almost hourly; and we have an enormous ethnographic literature to demonstrate it. The theologian Antoine Vergote took the term supernatural simply to mean whatever transcends the powers of nature or human agency.

Peter Thiel's Religion — David Perell

He also emphasized the cultural reality of religion, which he defined as. They define religion as. According to the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religions, there is an experiential aspect to religion which can be found in almost every culture:.

Religion Essay #1

When more or less distinct patterns of behavior are built around this depth dimension in a culture, this structure constitutes religion in its historically recognizable form. Religion is the organization of life around the depth dimensions of experience—varied in form, completeness, and clarity in accordance with the environing culture.

His contemporary Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel disagreed thoroughly, defining religion as "the Divine Spirit becoming conscious of Himself through the finite spirit.


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Edward Burnett Tylor defined religion in as "the belief in spiritual beings". He also argued that the belief in spiritual beings exists in all known societies. In his book The Varieties of Religious Experience , the psychologist William James defined religion as "the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine".

Sacred things are not, however, limited to gods or spirits. Religion is the substance, the ground, and the depth of man's spiritual life. When religion is seen in terms of sacred, divine, intensive valuing, or ultimate concern, then it is possible to understand why scientific findings and philosophical criticisms e.

Traditionally, faith , in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.

Relics, remains, and religious cultures

The interplay between faith and reason, and their use as perceived support for religious beliefs, have been a subject of interest to philosophers and theologians. Ancient polytheistic religions, such as those of Greece , Rome , and Scandinavia , are usually categorized under the heading of mythology. Religions of pre-industrial peoples, or cultures in development, are similarly called myths in the anthropology of religion. The term myth can be used pejoratively by both religious and non-religious people.

By defining another person's religious stories and beliefs as mythology, one implies that they are less real or true than one's own religious stories and beliefs. Joseph Campbell remarked, "Mythology is often thought of as other people's religions, and religion can be defined as mis-interpreted mythology. In sociology, however, the term myth has a non-pejorative meaning. There, myth is defined as a story that is important for the group whether or not it is objectively or provably true.

But from a mythological outlook, whether or not the event actually occurred is unimportant. Instead, the symbolism of the death of an old life and the start of a new life is what is most significant. Religious believers may or may not accept such symbolic interpretations. Religions have sacred histories , narratives , and mythologies which may be preserved in sacred scriptures , and symbols and holy places , that aim to explain the meaning of life , the origin of life , or the Universe.

The practices of a religion may include rituals , sermons , commemoration or veneration of a deity , gods , or goddesses , sacrifices , festivals , feasts , trances , initiations , funerary services , matrimonial services , meditation , prayer , religious music , religious art , sacred dance , public service , or other aspects of human culture.

Religions have a societal basis, either as a living tradition which is carried by lay participants, or with an organized clergy , and a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership. A number of disciplines study the phenomenon of religion: theology , comparative religion , history of religion , evolutionary origin of religions , anthropology of religion , psychology of religion including neuroscience of religion and evolutionary psychology of religion , law and religion , and sociology of religion.

Daniel L. Pals mentions eight classical theories of religion, focusing on various aspects of religion: animism and magic , by E.

Introduction to cultures and religions for the study of AP Art History

Tylor and J. Evans-Pritchard , and Clifford Geertz. Michael Stausberg gives an overview of contemporary theories of religion, including cognitive and biological approaches. Sociological and anthropological theories of religion generally attempt to explain the origin and function of religion. The origin of religion is uncertain.

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Religious Influence in Society

There are a number of theories regarding the subsequent origins of religious practices. According to anthropologists John Monaghan and Peter Just, "Many of the great world religions appear to have begun as revitalization movements of some sort, as the vision of a charismatic prophet fires the imaginations of people seeking a more comprehensive answer to their problems than they feel is provided by everyday beliefs. Charismatic individuals have emerged at many times and places in the world.

It seems that the key to long-term success—and many movements come and go with little long-term effect—has relatively little to do with the prophets, who appear with surprising regularity, but more to do with the development of a group of supporters who are able to institutionalize the movement.

The development of religion has taken different forms in different cultures. Some religions place an emphasis on belief, while others emphasize practice. Some religions focus on the subjective experience of the religious individual, while others consider the activities of the religious community to be most important. Some religions claim to be universal, believing their laws and cosmology to be binding for everyone, while others are intended to be practiced only by a closely defined or localized group.

In many places, religion has been associated with public institutions such as education , hospitals , the family , government , and political hierarchies. Anthropologists John Monoghan and Peter Just state that, "it seems apparent that one thing religion or belief helps us do is deal with problems of human life that are significant, persistent, and intolerable.

One important way in which religious beliefs accomplish this is by providing a set of ideas about how and why the world is put together that allows people to accommodate anxieties and deal with misfortune. While religion is difficult to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz , who simply called it a "cultural system". One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism , says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings.

The social constructionists argue that religion is a modern concept that developed from Christianity and was then applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures. Cognitive science of religion is the study of religious thought and behavior from the perspective of the cognitive and evolutionary sciences. The field employs methods and theories from a very broad range of disciplines, including: cognitive psychology , evolutionary psychology , cognitive anthropology , artificial intelligence , cognitive neuroscience , neurobiology , zoology , and ethology.

Scholars in this field seek to explain how human minds acquire, generate, and transmit religious thoughts, practices, and schemas by means of ordinary cognitive capacities. While this number varies across cultures, this had led to theories about a number of influential religious phenomenon and possible relation to psychotic disorders. A number of prophetic experiences are consistent with psychotic symptoms, although retrospective diagnoses are practically impossible. Religious content is also common in temporal lobe epilepsy , and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

introduction of religion essay Introduction of religion essay
introduction of religion essay Introduction of religion essay
introduction of religion essay Introduction of religion essay
introduction of religion essay Introduction of religion essay
introduction of religion essay Introduction of religion essay
introduction of religion essay Introduction of religion essay
introduction of religion essay Introduction of religion essay

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