Nature of Religion:
Religious and non-religious views of reality:
• A religious view of reality acknowledges a divine or transcendent dimension; in other words, it has a belief in a divine being or power whose existence ‘goes beyond’ the known or visible universe. Characteristics: o The meaning of existence
o The origins of the universe
o Cycles of birth and death
o Methods of decision-making
o Ways of acting in the world
• Those who do not hold a religion view of reality include: o Agnosticism: the view that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate either the existence or non-existence of god, and therefore of the immortal soul. o Atheism: the view that does not deny the possible existence of one or more gods, but does deny the permeance and immortality of these gods. o Humanism: any movement that values the intellect, freedom and dignity of human begins and their capacity to learn and improve their whole situation. o Magic: a view variously understood in connection with areas such as incantation and black magic. o Pantheism: a ‘semi-religious response’ that believes everything that exists is, in some way, identical with the divine reality
The great questions of human existence:
• Why am I here?
• What is the purpose of birth, life and death?
• Where did I come from in the first place?
• Where did the universe/cosmos come from?
• Why is there death, suffering and evil in the world? • Is there a greater power than me who is either just there or controlling all that exists?
What is religion?
“Religion is the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern, a concern which qualifies all other concerns as preliminary and which itself contains the answer to the question of the meaning of our life.’
Characteristics of a religion:
• Beliefs and structures, including sacred sites and sacred times • Sacred...
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