What is religion

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  • 1. What is Religion?Re-lig-ion• “bind/tie back,” “bind together” (to be bound) (“Yoga” = to Unite)• “re-connect” – To a Higher Power – To other people, in community – To the world around us – With ourselves
  • 2. Three Dimensions of Religion IntellectualIntellectual - Physical - EmotionalReligion is a way of thinking about:• Origins (where did we come from?)• Purpose/meaning (why are we here?)• Destiny (where are we going? what happens when we die?)• Who we are (the nature of human nature)• Who/what God is (the nature of Ultimate Reality)The basis for our beliefs & doctrine, expressed through myth, scripture, philosophy, theology
  • 3. Three Dimensions of Religion EmotionalReligion is a way of feeling: rejoicing faith bliss peace appreciation loveawe guilt joy ecstasy fear gratitude reverence hope
  • 4. Three Dimensions of Religion PhysicalReligion is a way of acting, of living, a social system:• Spiritual practices: meditation, chanting, prayer, ritual• Physical forms: art and architecture, ritual objects, statues, icons, etc.• Communal celebrations: rites of passage, holidays
  • 5. Religion as a way of acting (continued)• Social regulation: morals & ethics, prohibitions & taboos• Institutions/organizations/communities: – Leaders (gurus/priests/ministers) & followers (disciples, laity) – Hierarchies, obedience & discipline (monastic communities) – History
  • 6. ReflectionThinking about the religion you are most familiar with (likely your own or, if you are non-religious, that you have observed among family, friends, or neighbors)…Identify several examples of each dimension of religion. Why do you identify these examples as you do?
  • 7. Examples• The church building, as a physical structure, is obviously part of the physical dimension of religion.• Celebration of Passover, as a holiday observed in community with family and friends, commemorating an ancient event in the history of the Jewish community, is an example of the practice & social sub-dimensions of the physical dimension of religion.• I feel uplifted (feeling dimension) when we (social/physical dimension) sing songs (practice/ physical dimension) of praise (feeling dimension)• When the preacher gives her sermon (practice/physical) I use my intellect to try to understand (intellectual dimension) the message and how it relates to my life.
  • 8. ReflectionThinking about the religion you are most familiar with (likely your own or, if you are non-religious, that you have observed among family, friends, or neighbors)…Identify several examples of each dimension of religion. Why do you identify these examples as you do?