Chapter 3: The Sacred and the Holy
Chapter 3 discusses the sacred or holy as the root of religious experience and practice. This chapter explored the nature of sacred power and the ambiguity of the sacred as taboo, that is, as the source of wonder and purity as well as of fear and danger. It also touches on the psychological or personal experience uniquely associated with the encounter with the holy, and how the sacred, or holy, is manifested in special places and times. Lastly, is explores a family resemblance between religion as the response to what is perceived as sacred and religion as commitment to what is held to be of ultimate meaning and value or as the source of ultimate transformation. Key themes in this chapter include a discussion of sacred space. It states that sacred space is an opening to the holy or divine, a place where communication with sacred power is made possible.
Chapter 4: Sacred Symbol, Myth, and Doctrine
The previous chapter discussed what is considered sacred in religion. This chapter discusses how we convey these sacred things. Human beings either do not have direct access to the sacred or we cannot describe or communicate our experience of the scared directly. We use human language, images, and gestures, that is, symbolic means of communicating our experience. The chapter begins with a discussion of our uniquely human capacity for symbolic expression and then proceeds to explain different kinds of symbolic communication. This is followed by a number of illustrations of the ways in which religious symbols can bridge or bring together the profane and the sacred. The chapter then explores several forms of symbolic communication such as metaphor, parable, and story. This is followed by a discussion of religious myth and its characteristics, and why it is considered and indispensable form of human expression. The chapter concludes with a discussion on... [continues]
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