Studies of Religion 1 Unit Notes

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Nature of Religion

Nature of Religion

* Supernatural Dimension: Beyond the natural, measurable world. It acknowledges the existence of a deeper reality beyond surface appearances. * Transcendent: A spiritual presence that is not confined by time or space. Exists in a realm outside human understanding. * Immanent: Presence of a spiritual being within the individual and in every aspect of one’s life. * Characteristics: Beliefs and believers

Sacred texts/ writings
Rituals/ ceremonies
* Contribution:
* Individual- find true meaning/ place in life, discover fulfilment of life, source of hope/comfort, explain key questions e.g. suffering and evil, provides an ethical system * Society- sense of community and belonging from joint purpose, creation of relationships

Aboriginal Spirituality

* Nature of the Dreaming
* Background:
* The Dreaming is the essence of Aboriginal spirituality. It encompasses the spiritual and physical reality, establishes a code of morals and rules, incorporates the spirit ancestors and their creative activity in forming the world, and is the continuing and sacred relationship with the land. * The Dreaming does not exist in the world of ordinary space and time; instead, it completely surrounds, contains and sustains the physical world, it is not the past, present or future, but transcends time. * The Dreaming integrates all these aspects into one idea; however, it is not vague or surreal as the name may suggest, it is a reality. * Origins:

* Before time, the land was believed to be featureless, a mass of matter like a bare plain. It was then that the Dreaming began; the spirit ancestors rose from their eternal sleep and assumed a variety of forms, both human and creature. * It was these spirit ancestors who created the earth through an intense burst of creative action. They shaped the physical features of the land, determined the design of nature and granted life with order. They are responsible for bringing all living things into existence and providing them with a system of law and morality. * Once their activity was complete, the spirit ancestors returned to their original slumber; however, they still experience a powerful and aware existence.

* Sacred Sites:
* Sacred sites are a result of important events, which occurred during the Dreaming creation period. * Dreaming tracks are the trails of the lives and movements of ancestral spirits; they connect sacred sites and contain the spirit children who are not yet born as plants, animals or humans. * Undergoing a pilgrimage along these ritual paths is called going ‘Walkabout’. It is similar to a moving meditation where body, life and mind are completely committed to aligning oneself with the powers of the Dreaming. Progressing through the sacred sites in order of significance develops higher states of consciousness and experience. * Stories of the Dreaming:

* Stories of the Dreaming are a vital tool in education particularly to children. The stories assist in explaining how the universe was created, how to behave and how to survive. They recount events during the period of Dreaming creation and compose an integral aspect of life for Aboriginals.

* Diversity of the Dreaming
* Whilst all Aboriginal people have a core understanding of the Dreaming as a source of spiritual and temporal identity, it is represented and celebrated differently between groups and peoples. (Over 900 aboriginal nations). * The Dreaming is manifested in songs, sacred sites, traditional paintings and particularly rituals. The Dreaming is fully re-created in the present time and space * Each area has a particular plant/ animal which is a totem for that group of Aboriginal people. Because of this, the people have a kinship with that spirit and are the...
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