The Origin of Religion

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The Origin of Religion
Diana Mackey
Christianity in a Pluralistic World
May 12, 2013

There are three major views on the origin of religion; subjective, evolutionary, and original monotheism.
Subjective is defined: existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than the object of thought. Subjective theory explains that religion originates with man. We as humans have psychological needs for an abstract being. We have faith, love, and hope in this being. Theologians and philosophers have all tried to define what they feel is the origin of religion through the subjective theory.

Friedrich Schleiermacher described subjective theory as dependence. Ludwig Feuerbach described subjective theory as human traits. Sigmund Freud described subjective theory as being needy. Rudolf Otto described subjective theory as being in our subconscious. They all had different approaches in trying to summarize the subjective theory. They all did specify that we as humans have feelings and thoughts.

Next is the evolution theory and it has five stages; mana/fetishism, animism, polytheism, henotheism, and monotheism. Mana/Fetishism is believed to be a supernatural force or power, usually within objects or people. People believe that they accomplishment in life that they had positive contact with mana. Magic comes into play with this level of evolution. Magic is a considered manipulating someone to gain benefits for themselves. Animism is the next step and it visualizes spirits. They define two different types of spirits; nature and ancestor. In the nature spirit it may be human form but not necessarily human. It can be humans, animals, and anything in nature. The ancestor spirit has to with family members that have deceased. Polytheism is when the spirits become gods. They are considered more powerful and knowledgeable than spirits. Henotheism is that someone believes in many gods but they only worship one god. Monotheism is when someone believes in one god but...
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