World Religions: Course Notes

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- Nature of Religion and Beliefs
- Christianity
- Islam
- Buddhism
- Religions of Ancient Origin
___________________________________________________________________ Nature of Religion and Beliefs
- Religion eludes exact definition
- the supernatural dimension = transcendent and immanence dimension - ‘something beyond the ordinary’ – a transcendent dimension - Transcendent religion helps in some way to map a course through life’s obstacle and the limitations of human existence = Judaism, Christianity and Islam - Immanence = the idea that God’s or spiritual forces come from within, are internal = Hinduism and Buddhism - The characteristics of Religion:

1. Beliefs and Believers Beliefs are the key views, doctrines or values which emphasise the religious practice in which a believer is to follow 2. Sacred Texts and Writings beliefs of religions are contained in the oral and written sacred texts and writings, help explain to believers how they are connected to this supernatural dimension 3. Ethics the religious reflection of moral decision making, the laws which highlight the set standards and give direction towards the behavior that one must follow 4. Rituals and Ceremonies systems of actions and beliefs with a start, middle and end. Involve special and deliberate behavior which assets the values and purposes shared within a tradition 5. Myths and Stories the stories and narratives told over history for a tradition as well as a symbolic and instructive concept of religion. 6. Symbols focus on the beliefs within a religion, communicate meaning, enliven faith, tell stories and identify with the believer BUDDHIST| |


- Five Major Religions = Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism - The Sematic Religions = Judaism, Christianity and Islam = Transcendent (out there aspect) - Eastern Religions = Hinduism, Buddhism = Immanent (inner aspect) - Monotheistic = One God

- Polytheistic = Many Gods
- Contribution of Religion to Society a sense of self, a sense of belonging, challenges society, practical and concrete, Is there a supreme being? Does God exist? Why do evil, pain and suffering exist? Is there life after death? Dynamic living religions, Individual = map for life, society = bringing together, cultural context, characteristics of religion

- linked to the land and the land remains alive with religious significance - dreaming = a complex concept of fundamental importance to Aboriginal culture that embraces the long-ago creative era of the Ancestral Beings as well as the present and the future - dreaming stories contain and the information needed to live in a lace, prosper and understand the story of the land - demonstrated through Aboriginal art, stories, ceremonies and song - the ‘layers of meaning’ are all Aboriginal rituals and ceremonies full of religious symbolism - first layer = most obvious, open and accessible to all

- middle layers = not so obvious and require some degree of experience or relationship with others - deepest layers = secret/sacred only available to elders and initiated Aboriginal peoples - ‘ the land is my mother’ = land is personalized and identified as there source of identity - Importance = ethical behavior, advice on food gathering and preparation, lives of the ancestors, how to operate love magic, information about performing rituals, explanations of why the land looks like it does, passport to the land, how to make things - Connection between the Dreaming, land and identity = connection with animals, indigenous people are born from the land, ceremonies, art, stories, dance, music ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Christianity

- Describe in detail...
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