The Nature of Religion and Beliefs

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Preliminary Religion Notes
Nature of Religion and Beliefs

The Nature of Religion
Religion: A constituted set of beliefs, actions and account of some concept of a ultimate reality, a system of beliefs and practices that are relative to super human beings. The Supernatural Dimension

* Religious thought and practice which emerges from unaided human reasons. * Makes known reference to divinities or divine revelations. * Something above and beyond what is natural - not able to be explained by known natural laws. * Exceeds the ordinary limits of human existence

* Abnormal, miraculous
World Views
World view: the way in which a society sees the world
Immanent Dimensionu:
* A world view that recognises a divine being or powers as a constant reality – an active and continuing presence among believers and in this world. * Emphasises the presence of God or gods within human existence, rather than above and beyond it. * “Inner”

* EXAMPLE: Buddhism and Hinduism
Transcendent Dimension:
* The belief in a divine being or powers whose existence ‘goes beyond’ human limitations. It is often contrasted with the world immanent. * Enables humans to surpass the limits of their creatural existence and earthly concerns to focus on heavenly or spiritual matters * “Out there”

* EXAMPLE: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Characteristics of Religion
* Beliefs and Believers
* Sacred texts and writings
* Ethics
* Rituals and ceremonies
Beliefs and Believers
* Sustain all religions
About:
* Gods or spirits - forces beyond nature
* The world - its origins and destiny
* Life - the meaning and purpose of it all
* Morality – how to out rightly
* Ideas considered true and express the self-understanding of the tradition Sacred Texts and Writings
* Hold stories and beliefs of the religion
* Form of power, the primal power of religion
* Concern
* The act of creation of the world
* Founder of hero religions
* Beliefs, ethics
* Ethical guidelines
* Eg. Bible, Qur’an, Torah
Ethics
* A code of behaviour that every tradition possesses
* Outlines the guidelines for how individuals can live as a members of a community * Purpose
* To clarify what is right from wrong
* Guidelines
* What followers should freely do or refrain from doing * Calls on believers to:
* Live a life in service of others
* Follow the example of the founds
Rituals
* Express beliefs
* Provide opportunities for members of a tradition to enact the beliefs and commemorate the important past events by bringing them into the present * Preparation of a special or sacred space that is prepared before enactment or ritual * Are enactments or systems of actions and beliefs with have a beginning and an end * Symbols:

* play a part in making the ritual world
* focus beliefs
* communicate meanings
* promote community identity
* enliven faith experience

 | Islam| Christianity| Judaism| Buddhism| Hinduism| Deity (god)| Allah| Trinity, God, Monotheism| Yahweh - Monotheistic| Buddha| Polytheistic - Shiva and Vishnu| Founder/date| Muhammad 622CE| Jesus Christ 4BC| Abraham, 3000 BC| Buddha 566/63 - 486| No actual founders, guru (teachers). 1500BC| Sacred Texts| The Qur'an| Bible| Torah| Tribitaka or Pali Cannon| Vedas| Ethical teachings| Shariah Law and halla is good and Halam Bad| Ten Commandments, Beatitudes | Mitzvot, Halachah| Nobal eight fold pass| Varnas, Ashramas| Rituals| Prayer, Hawj, Ramadan| Rites of Passage| Circimcision, Bah mitzvah, Seder Meal| Puja - Buddhist prayers| Puja, incense, food offerings| Symbols| Star and crescent| Crucifix, Alpha and Omega, dove| Star of David| Darhmashakra, Statues of Buddha| Aum, Lotus| Sacred place| Mosque e.g. Mecca, Jerusalem| Church, Chapel, Vatican, Jerusalem|...
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