Monday, September 25, 2017

REL 212 Week 1 Fall 2017

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Student contributions for examples of music related to religion. 
Yolanda Adams, " The battle is not yours"

Week 1 Discussion

"Understanding Religions and Indigenous Sacred Ways"  Please respond to the following:
  • Define indigenous religion, and describe at least one aspect of indigenous religions that exists in a similar form in a traditional mainstream religion.
  • Define religion, and discuss why it is useful in society. Explain why it is important for you personally to understand the beliefs of other religious groups.

REL 212 Week 1

What is religion?

In your own words, what are the three perspectives of why there are religions?

How does Eliade define religion?

What terms help us to define religion?

How do spontaneous rituals, symbols, and/or myths function as contemporary aspects of religion in a secular culture?

What is the difference between the Absolutist and the liberal responses to modernity?

            Is religion violent, or, at least, conflict-ridden?

            Why do some people resist "the Other," or reject those of another faith?

            What is the relationship between science and religion?

            Is the treatment of women different in various religions?

            Key Terms
Intelligent design
Scientific materialism
Comparative religion


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Class Introductions

Week 1
  • Read:
    • Chapter 1: Religious Responses
    • Chapter 2: Indigenous Sacred Ways
  • View the Other Preparation Materials
  • View the lectures contained in the course shell 
  • Participate in the Discussion titled "Understanding Religions and Indigenous Sacred Ways"
  • Review the World View Chart template

Living Religions was formerly Coursesmart but is now VitalSource.

KEY TOPICS Chapter 1

    Attempts to define religion 2

    Why are there religions? 3

    Understandings of Sacred Reality 10

    Ritual, symbol, and myth 14

    Absolutist and liberal responses to modernity 18

    The encounter between science and religion 20

    Women in religions 26

    Negative aspects of organized religions 28

    Lenses for studying religions 29

KEY TOPICS Chapter 2

    Understanding indigenous sacred ways 34

    Cultural diversity 36

    The circle of right relationships 39

    Spiritual specialists 48

    Group observances 55

    Globalization 60

    Development issues 64

Chapter 1 Religious Responses

Week 1 Religion

Week 1 Lecture Notes

Chapter Overview
The sense that there is something or someone, some truth beyond our everyday experience of reality, seems to be common to all cultures throughout history. How people worship or respond to this universal presence, deity, or ultimate reality, sometimes termed “the sacred,” varies greatly throughout the world.
Pictured as a tapestry, religion illustrates that many diverse forms of expression or threads can be distinguished in the fabric underneath the surface of life. The word “religion,” (which probably comes from the Latin religio meaning “to tie again” or “to tie back”) suggests a connecting or a tying back to ultimate meanings and purposes. Humankind’s yearnings to engage a greater reality have taken, and continue to take, a plurality of expressions. Many religions have some or all of the following dimensions: 1) ritual 2) narrative and mythic 3) experiential and emotional 4) social and institutional 5) ethical and legal 6) doctrinal and philosophical 7) material. Despite common elements, religions are complex systems of belief and culture that often stand outside institutional expression, making “religion” itself difficult to define, nevertheless, all religions seem to share a common aim: connecting people back to something greater which lies behind the surface of life, or invisibly permeates the tangible world of our five senses.
Fisher notes the controversies concerning the term “religion” and its applicability, as well as the limitations of applying names or labels to religions. Fisher points out that not all religious behavior takes place within an institutional context; it would be useful to ask students to think of examples of behavior and experiences which might seem religious (or “spiritual” in current parlance) despite not occurring within the framework of one of the major religions.
This chapter is foundational to the entire book. It may be helpful to students to outline the chapter and think through how each section in the chapter relates to the chapter title and the other sections in the chapter. Students may consider questions such as: Why are there religions? How have various thinkers sought to explain the origin and continuation of religion throughout human history? How do the different examples of explanations of religion help us understand and refine our own approach to the study of religion?
Additionally, students should be prompted to pay attention to key terms and names as they work through each section. Fisher has interwoven significant terminology and identifications of important figures that appear in later chapters in this first fundamental chapter. Thus, Chapter One introduces the reader to emphases that will appear throughout the work.
Students should find several sections particularly interesting. Fisher provides examples of different ways of understanding the relationships between religion and science. Students may wish to discuss their own views in the context of the perspectives presented here; this issue also provides the basis for a discussion of how the academic study of religion is different from the study of science.
Often forgotten feminine approaches to the sacred, which have been buried under centuries of patriarchal interpretations not only in the West but in much of the East as well, are discussed in the section “Women in Religions.” Students may find it useful to discuss the roles of men and women in their own experiences.
Another neglected topic in the study of religion is also explored, the negative side of organized religion. That aspect of the religious response may be difficult to examine but must be addressed in any honest effort at interpreting the impact of religions on cultures. Most students will have some awareness of the lives that have been lost through witch-­burnings, inquisitions, crusades, terrorist acts, and international wars conducted in the name of religion. While many of these unfortunate incidents were fought over issues of power and domination, religion has often carried the banner for the cause. Students might here dialogue about the challenging aspects of: religious charisma, guilt, escapism, political applications of faith, and falsehoods.
Subsequent chapters study specific characteristics of particular religions. This chapter lays the foundation for the rest of the text.
Attempts to define religion
This section briefly introduces the difficulty we encounter in naming religions, which may fall outside institutional definition. This section also discusses “spirituality” and the complex, elusive nature of religious belief systems.
pp. 2-3

Click here to view this lesson about Attempts To Define Religion.'

 Attempts to define religion

The labels “Buddhism,” “Hinduism,” “Taoism,” “Zoroastrianism,” and “Confucianism” did not exist until the nineteenth century, though the many patterns to which they refer had existed for thousands of years. Professor Willard G. Oxtoby (1933–2003), founding director of the Centre for Religious Studies at the University of Toronto, observed that when Western Christian scholars began studying other religions, they applied assumptions based on the Christian model to other paths, looking for specific creedal statements of belief (a rarity in indigenous lifeways), a dichotomy between what is secular and what is sacred (not helpful in looking at the teachings of Confucius and his followers), and the idea that a person belongs to only one religion at a time (which does not apply in Japan, where people freely follow various religious traditions).

Not all religious behavior occurs within institutional confines. The inner dimensions of religion—such as experiences, beliefs, and values—can be referred to as spirituality. This is part of what is called religion, but it may occur in personal, noninstitutional ways, without the ritual and social dimensions of organized religions. Personal spirituality without reference to a particular religious tradition permeates much contemporary artistic creation. Without theology, without historical references, such direct experiences are difficult to express, whether in words, images, or music. Contemporary artist Lisa Bradley says of her luminous paintings:

    In them you can see movement and stillness at the same time, things coming in and out of focus. The light seems to be from behind. There is a sense something like a permeable membrane, of things coming from one dimension to another. But even that doesn’t describe it well. How do you describe truth in words?1

Religions can be dynamic in their effects, bringing deep changes in individuals and societies, for good or ill. As Professor Christopher Queen, world religions scholar from Harvard University, observes:

Lisa Bradley, Passing Shadow, 2002.

    The interpersonal and political realms may be transformed by powerful religious forces. Devotion linking human and divine beings, belief in holy people or sacred space, and ethical teachings that shape behaviors and attitudes may combine to transform individual identities and the social order itself.2

Frederick Streng (1933–1993), an influential scholar of comparative religion, suggested in his book Understanding Religious Life that the central definition of religion is that it is a “means to ultimate transformation.” A complete definition of religion would include its relational aspect (“tying back”), its transformational potential, and also its political dimensions.

Current attempts to define religions may thus refer more to processes that to fixed independent entites. Professor of Religious Studies Thomas A. Tweed, for instance, proposes this definition in his book Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion:

    Religions are confluences of organic-cultural flows that intensify joy and confront suffering by drawing on human and suprahuman forces to make homes and cross boundaries—terrestrial, corporeal, and cosmic.… This theory is, above all, about movement and relation, and it is an attempt to correct theories [of religion] that have presupposed stasis and minimized interdependence.3

Religion is such a complex and elusive topic that some contemporary scholars of religion are seriously questioning whether “religion” or “religions” can be studied at all. They have determined that no matter where and at what point they try to define the concept, other parts will get away. Nonetheless, this difficult-to-grasp subject is central to many people’s lives and has assumed great political significance in today’s world so it is important to try sincerely to understand it. In this introductory chapter, we will try to develop some understanding of religion in a generic sense—why it exists, its various patterns and modes of interpretation, its encounters with modern science, its inclusion or exclusion of women, and its potentially negative aspects—before trying in the subsequent chapters to understand the major traditions known as “religions” practiced around the world today.

What is Religion? 2:23

With the goal of increasing awareness about five of the major world religions, I filmed nineteen in-depth interviews with leaders and members of congregations representative of Buddhism, Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant), Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, as well as faculty experts from the Religious Studies Department at Missouri State University. After editing together the interviews and footage from religious services, the result was a series of five videos, approximately ten minutes each, providing an overview of each religion.

In addition to the conversations I had with leaders, members, and experts, I attended four weeks of services at each different religion's congregation. This was a very hands-on learning experience, which really forced me to step out of my comfort zone in seeking to understand others' religious beliefs and practices. My purpose with this project is not only to increase my knowledge of these religions, but also to educate others.I hope these videos will promote understanding of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism as they are expressed in Missouri, and in doing so reduce existing stereotypes and misconceptions regarding these religions -Julie Wrocklage

A BIG thank you to the 20 I interviewed for this project, My advisor Lora Hobbs for her constant support and encouragement, my good friend Marrie Ochieng for her artistic ability in designing the cover and table of contents AND transcribing 10 of my interviews, my grandma Nancy Kuncaitis for transcribing 7 more of the interviews, Jessy Unger for her help in filming the interviews, Kong Thao for his audio work, the MSU Honors College, and the Religious Studies Department.

Summary of section:

What is religion?

Group Activities

A. What is your definition of religion? Write it down. Thereafter, we will evaluate student definitions to see if they are specific and inclusive enough for use in an objective study of religion. First, try the exercise alone and then in small groups, before we take some samples to discuss with the class as a whole.
Review Activities for Week 2
B. By next week, you are assigned the task of asking people outside class the question “Why are people religious?” In class, in small groups, and then as a whole group we will compare some of the answers received.

C. Bring to class some of the music you listen to that reflects various perceptions of the sacred, or ultimacy. I can play a few examples and discuss how they reflect religion. You may also bring a few of your favorite songs that are not so obviously religious, but which raise religious issues.

Ian Hunter, God (Take 1)


D. "Beyond the Sound Bites:"

A suggestion to be aware of religion is the task of bringing to class at least one article from a recent newspaper, magazine, or Internet story that reflects the roles of religion in modern society. A few students may present their articles to the class. The task will also serve as the basis for a preliminary discussion of the coverage of religion by the popular media.

TOP STORIES *GRAPHIC* Photos of Istanbul Nightclub Slaughter, Selfie Footage of Istanbul Jihadi; CHAOS IN GERMANY: Muslim migrant SEX ATTACKS and EXPLOSIVES thrown at POLICE during NYE events; Muslim Migrants Create Feces and Blood Traps For German Prison Guards; Syrian Refugee Arrested In Germany After Asking ISIS For 180,000 Euros To Make Truck Bombs; Hundreds Riot In Poland After Muslim Migrants Kill Polish Man; 1st PHOTOS inside Istanbul nightclub as Turkey exacts bloody retribution, jets and tanks hit 100 ISIS targets in Syria; BOMBSHELL: Leaked Audio of John Kerry Reveals President Obama Intentionally Allowed Rise of ISIS; Increased Security ‘New Normal’ After Rise In Terror Threats; Trump Wants Netanyahu To Attend Inauguration; Jihadi carrying a bomb shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he passed through security at a major Turkish airport; ‘”They’ll LYNCH us!” Italian church PLEADS with police for assistance in evicting migrants; Run-up to Istanbul massacre: Turks hold Santa at gunpoint to protest non-Muslim celebrations; Schumer Threatens Trump: We’re Drawing Out Confirmations for Cabinet Posts; ISIS Suicide Bomber Blows Up Market in Baghdad, Killing, Injuring Dozens; Church makes nativity scene with Mary in Muslim garb to promote Islam; ISIS Brags Our ‘Heroic Soldier’ Killed Christians in Istanbul New Year’s Shooting.

Anti-Christian Turkey

Christians Most Persecuted

Democratic Party Religion Problem

Religious Admission Test

Obama Lectures a Gold Star Mother on Using Politically Correct Terms, 2:09

Short version


Obama Islamic Terrorism

Anti-Semitism on Eve of Jewish Holiday

Pakistan Threatens Nukes vs. India, Again

1. Muslima Indicted Over Online Threat

2. Jihad in Arizona: Tucson Muslim teen faces terrorism charges

3. Curious George Ramadan


4. Bill-O-Reilly-reveals-pictures-young-Obama-Islamic-wedding-claims-emotion-attachment-Muslim
5. YouTube Enforces Sharia Law


6. Muslim Kids at Camp Learn to Mock Trump

7. Ramadan Bombathon: 350




E. For next week, each student will bring to class one example of a symbol that is not religious and one that is. In small groups the students will explain their symbols and the difference between religious and nonreligious symbols.

United States Flag

Muslim Brotherhood

References for this section

Understanding Religious Life (Religious Life of Man) by Frederick J. Streng, Wadsworth Publishing Company (1984)

Comparative Religion: A History by Eric J. Sharpe, Duckworth Publishers (2006)

Seven Theories of Religion by Daniel L. Pals, Oxford University Press, USA (1996)

Six Ways of Being Religious: A Framework for Comparative Studies of Religion by Dale W. Cannon, Wadsworth Publishing (1995)

Interpreting the Sacred: Ways of Viewing Religion by William E. Paden, Beacon Press (2003)

Why are there religions?

Materialist perspective: humans invented religion
Functional perspective: religion is useful
Faith perspective: Ultimate Reality exists

Why are there religions?
This section briefly introduces a range of theories of religion in three broad groupings, which are not mutually exclusive. First, the materialistic perspective asserts that humans invented religion. For scientific materialists, the supernatural is imaginary; only the material world exists. Feuerbach argued that deities are projections of human qualities. Karl Marx saw religion as derived from economics and the longings of the oppressed, and argued that religion could be used as a tool of oppression.
Some approaches to religion seek to assess religion’s benefits to people without necessarily evaluating the truth claims religions make. The functional perspective holds that religion is useful for individuals and society. Durkheim, for example, saw religion as a glue which holds human societies together. John Bowker has argued that religion serves a biological purpose in protecting gene replication and the nurturing of children. Various studies of prayer and other forms of religious practice demonstrate that faith may have positive physiological effects. Similarly, psychologists have argued that religion is beneficial to psychological well­being. People who find security in specific answers may find dogma and absolute faith comforting.
Finally, the faith perspective is that some form of ultimate reality exists. Some religious people accept belief in a sacred reality on the basis of holy books; others come to their own conclusions. There are two basic ways of apprehending reality: rational thought or reason and non-­rational modes of knowing; religious practitioners may use both methods.
The experience of direct perception of truth, beyond the senses, may be called mysticism. Enlightenment, realization, awakening, and gnosis are some of the terms used for encounters with the supreme, unseen, or ultimate reality; many religions have techniques to bring about such encounters. In ordinary experience, people perceive themselves as separate from the material world, but mystical experience may challenge this typical dualistic form of experience so that the practitioner’s sense of ultimate reality and his or her awareness of it are one. Otto defined this experience of being grasped by reality, or numinous, as the basis of religion; Wach argued that religious experience followed predictable patterns.

Summary of section:
In your own words, what are the three perspectives of why there are religions? 

Understandings of sacred reality
Eliade/38 books
That which has been experienced as the sacred has many faces. Eliade helped develop comparative religion which compares religious patterns found throughout the world. Eliade used the terms sacred and profane; however, not all cultures make a clear distinction between the two.
A vocabulary exists in the study of religions to help us understand the different ways, culturally and historically, in which ultimate reality has been approached and defined.
Sacred reality can be envisioned as immanent, which means present in the world. Reality can also be conceived as transcendent, that is, as existing above and outside the material world. Religions that understand the sacred to be a personal reality and which are based on one’s relationship to the personal sacred are called theistic. In these religions, if ultimate reality is worshiped as a single being, the religion is called monotheistic. On the other hand, if a religion maintains that there are multiple attributes and forms of the divine, then it is designated polytheistic. Religions which maintain that behind the plurality of apparent forms there is one underlying substance are termed monistic. Nontheistic views assert a sacred reality that is not in the form of a personal God. Some religions believe that sacred reality can be manifested in human form or events called incarnations.
Exclusivist religious authorities claim that they worship the only true deity and that all others are pagans or nonbelievers. In contrast, universalism is the view that it is possible different religions are talking about the same thing in different languages, or referring to different aspects of the same unknowable whole.
Atheism is the belief that there is no deity. “New Atheism,” promoted by thinkers such as Richard Dawkins, argues that religious faith is not just wrong, but evil, because it can be used to support violence. Agnosticism is the view that it is impossible for humans to know with certainty about the existence of the sacred. It is important to emphasize to students that these categories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Religions that conceive of a personal sacred reality may think of that reality as simultaneously immanent and transcendent. It is also possible that at times some of these distinctions may blur. Finally, secularism describes the manner in which people go about their daily lives with reference to any religion. Here the emphasis is exclusively on material life.

Summary of section:
How does Eliade define religion?
What terms help us to define religion?  
Mircea Eliade-The Sacred and Profane, 6:41

"Mircea Eliade was a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day-Early in his life, Eliade was a noted journalist and essayist, a disciple of Romanian far-right philosopher and journalist Nae Ionescu, and a member of the literary society Criterion. In the 1940s, he served as cultural attaché to the United Kingdom and Portugal. Several times during the late 1930s, Eliade publicly expressed his support for the Iron Guard, a fascist and antisemitic political organization. His political involvement at the time, as well as his other far right connections, were frequently criticised after World War II.-Eliade argues that religious thought in general rests on a sharp distinction between the Sacred and the profane whether it takes the form of God, gods, or mythical Ancestors, the Sacred contains all "reality", or value, and other things acquire "reality" only to the extent that they participate in the sacred-

Is every object (such as a rock) sacred according to Eliade?

      Does religious behavior identify what is sacred?

      Is modern religiously diminished man, though less religiously observant than in times past, still prone to religious ideas? 


Is every object (such as a rock) sacred according to Eliade?

       Does religious behavior identify what is sacred?

       Is modern religiously diminished man, though less religiously observant than in times past, still prone to religious ideas?

Ritual, symbol, and myth
34 books
Worship seeks to express reverence and may also be used to request help with problems. Rituals, sacraments, prayers, and spiritual practices are used to create a sacred atmosphere or state of consciousness, to bring some human control to situations normally not under human power, to mark key life stages, and provide spiritual instruction. Predictable and repeated worshipful actions are known as rituals. Students should be encouraged to think about their own impressions of rituals and the functions they serve. High school graduation is a helpful example of a ritual that students most likely will have already experienced themselves, and it may be fruitfully compared to life stage religious rituals.
Symbols are images borrowed from the material world that are similar to ineffable spiritual experiences. There are many similarities among symbols used in different cultures. Jung posited a collective unconscious, which contains a store of archetypal symbols.
Also relevant are allegories, narratives which use concrete symbols to convey abstract ideas.
A set of symbols together may become the basis for myths, symbolic stories that explain the universe and people’s place within it. Myths may explain how things came to be, perhaps incorporating historical truth, but are treated as sacred reality. Joseph Campbell suggested that myths serve mystical, cosmological, sociological, and psychological functions and are thus not simply falsehoods or the work of primitive imaginations. 

10c Seven Classic Theories of Religion - Emile Durkheim, totemism, 6:02

Part three in a screencast lecture in six parts on seven classic theories of religion. Screencast lectures by Dr. Dale Tuggy, for his INDS 120 World Religions - a college course surveying the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and introducing students to the terms and classic theories of Religious Studies., search ritual Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, or,

    How do spontaneous rituals, symbols, and/or myths function as contemporary aspects of religion in a secular culture?

        Absolutist and liberal responses to modernity
        Traditional religious understandings are under increasing pressure due to the phenomenon of globalization. Each religious community has different ways of interpreting its traditions. Particular labels for these modes of interpretation have arisen. Four of these labels are the subjects of this section: orthodox, absolutist, fundamentalist, and liberal. Orthodox refers to those who stand by a historical form of their religion, strictly following established practices, laws, and creeds. Absolutist refers to those who reject contemporary influences on their religion The term fundamentalism is often applied to a selective insistence on parts of a religious tradition, but the term frequently carries misleading and negative connotations. Liberal refers to those who take a more flexible approach to their religious tradition.
        Non-faith-based research treats scriptures as literary collections from particular cultural and historical contexts rather than as the absolute word of God. Such research has sought to identify the earliest forms of scriptures, the historical aspects of scriptures in comparison to other historical data, the intended audience of scriptures, the language and meaning of the words, the literary form of scriptures, redaction or the editing and organization of scripture, as well as the contemporary relevance of scripture. Such historical-critical studies are often at odds with the views of those who consider their scripture to be the product of divine revelation rather than human composition. Historical-critical studies neither accepts nor rejects the particular truth-claims of any religion and may be seen as offensive and/or false by orthodox believers. Additionally, scriptures serve different purposes in different traditions, and those differences should be understood.

        The Secular Benefits of Christianity, 2:02

        Geller vs. Choudry


        p. 18

        What is the difference between the Absolutist and the liberal responses to modernity?

        Is religion violent, or, at least, conflict-ridden?

        Why do some people resist "the Other," or reject those of another faith?

        Click here to view this lesson about Enculturation.

        "Those who resist contemporary influences and affirm what they perceive as the historical core of their religion could be called absolutists. . . . They may encourage antipathy or even violence against people of other religious traditions (p. 18)."

        The encounter between science and religion
        75 books
        Science, like religion, searches for universal principles to explain reality as we experience it. Since ancient times, the two have often gone hand-in-hand. While some of the ancient Greek nature philosophers sought to understand the world through their own perception, Plato argued that the testimony of the senses differs from that which is determined through reason. Plato considered the soul superior to the body, and reason superior to the senses, a judgment which has had profound influence on Western thought.
        The eighteenth-century Enlightenment placed greater respect on rational knowledge than religious knowledge. In the nineteenth century, Darwin’s theory of evolution challenged the biblical view of creation. As evolutionary biology has continued to develop since Darwin, more is known about the role of genetics in natural selection. Also, studies are revealing more and more evidence of gradual changes in organisms from fossil records and the genetic records encoded in DNA.
        More recently, however, some scientists have sought to understand religious belief without necessarily rejecting it outright, and have also questioned the nature of science itself. Scientists studying the cosmos have encountered virtually insurmountable complexity and have also acknowledged the complicating factor of our own role as observers. Some physicists have proposed models of the universe that have certain affinities with some religious models, to the extent that their work may be seen as approaching metaphysics or philosophy based on theories of subtle realities that transcend the physical world.
        More dynamic biological models are emerging, as science moves beyond earlier mechanical models. James Lovelock has proposed the Gaia Theory of the earth as a complex, self-regulating organism instead of the work of a Grand Planner.
        The conflict between science and religion is exemplified in the opposing views of creationism — religious concepts of intentional divine creation of all life forms, and Darwin’s scientific concept of a universe evolving mechanistically. The intelligent design movement holds that scientific discoveries may be seen as proving the existence of an Intelligent Designer. Some scientists have also argued that there appears to be some evidence of purpose or intention in the development of the universe, again revealing a potential affinity with religious views of creation. Finally, some scientists find scientific discovery itself an experience that may deepen their own religious faith.
        There are four general positions in the current dialogue between science and religion: the conflict model, the view that science and religion deal with separate realms, a position of dialogue in which scientists and religious believers find common ground in interpreting religious propositions as metaphors, and an integrationist position which sees an overlap between religion and science.
        Science vs. Religion, 2:05

        Are Science and Religion in conflict? Have you got the notion from pop-culture that science and religion are in constant conflict? Like two rival boxers vying for the title of heavy weight champ. We're reminded about the Catholic Church's opposition to Galileo, the Scopes trial and more recently, the creation evolution debate or discussions around stem cell research.

        It's called The conflict thesis, and holds that religion and science has and always will be in conflict throughout history, and it was made popular in the late 1800's, by John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White. However, today much of the scholarship that the conflict thesis was first based on, is considered to be inaccurate. An example is the claim that people of the Middle Ages widely believed that the Earth was flat. That idea is still very common in popular culture.

        But this claim is mistaken, as historians today know "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge that earth was a sphere and even knew its approximate circumference." Regarding the model in itself, historical research indicates that religion has a much more complex and close relationship with science than the conflict thesis acknowledges.

        Today historians know that many scientific developments, such as Kepler's laws were explicitly driven by religious ideas and organizations. But one reason for the current appeal of the conflict thesis is the existence of ongoing debates that seem to follow a pattern of religion versus science, or religion versus what some claim to be social progress, where this supposed progress is linked in some way to science or technology. But hopefully, as time passes so will the misinformation, because to the nonpartisan both science and religion have important parts to play in our world. Science tells us how the world works and religion tells us why.

        What is the relationship between science and religion?

        Women in religions
        A central but often understudied dimension of religion is the exclusion of women and the feminine; most institutionalized religions are patriarchal, i.e. having male leaders who are like father figures. Women may hold only supporting roles in religious organizations, and in some instances may be considered incapable of spiritual realization and/or a danger to male spiritual progress. While the founders of religions may have challenged dominant cultural patterns that rendered women inferior, institutional forms of religion have typically not actively challenged gender imbalance.
        Throughout the world, people are challenging the inferior roles to which women have been relegated in various religious traditions. Scholars are attempting to learn more about women’s roles in religion throughout history, and feminists are challenging the patriarchal structures of their own religions, including rules excluding women from full participation in religious life, gender-exclusive language in religious texts. Many female religious believers are also advocating an active engagement between religion and social problems.
        As students work through the book, they should be alert to the roles of women in each religion and each religion’s view of the feminine. Are women of equal status to males in these religions? Are changes taking place in regard to women in religions?

        AFDI EXCLUSIVE: Columbia University Students Support Female Genital Mutilation, 4:28

        Why Don't Feminists Defend Muslim Women?


        Is the treatment of women different in various religions?

        Which religions tend to treat women in a negative manner, and, in which religions is the treatment of women more positive?

        Why Don't Feminists Fight for Muslim Women? 5:35

        Are women oppressed in Muslim countries? What about in Islamic enclaves in the West? Are these places violating or fulfilling the Quran and Islamic law? Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an author and activist who was raised a devout Muslim, describes the human rights crisis of our time, asks why feminists in the West don't seem to care, and explains why immigration to the West from the Middle East means this issue matters more than ever.

        Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Dutch), born Ayaan Hirsi Magan, on 13 November 1969) is a Dutch-American activist, author, and former politician of Somali origin. She is a leading opponent of female genital mutilation, and calls for a reformation of Islam. She is supportive of women's rights and is an atheist. Her latest book was released in 2015 and is called: Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.
        Ayaan has been a vocal critic of Islam. In 2004, she collaborated on a short movie with Theo van Gogh, entitled Submission, the English rendering of the word "Islam", a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The documentary sparked controversy, which resulted in death threats against the two and the eventual assassination of Van Gogh later that year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a second-generation migrant from Morocco.
        Hirsi Ali emigrated to the United States, where she was a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute.[10] She founded the women’s rights organization the AHA Foundation.[11] She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2013 and that year was made a fellow at the Kennedy Government School at Harvard University and a member of The Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center.[12][13]


        Negative aspects of organized religions

        Fisher indicates some key problem areas to which the reader should pay close attention:
        • · Religions may split rather than unify humanity.
        • · Religions may devote more energy to preserving the outer, institutional form of the religion than its inner spirit (Weber’s “routinization of charisma”).
        • · Those in religious power have the ability to dominate and manipulate the faithful; people may put their faith in unethical or misguided spiritual leaders.
        • · Religion may lead to an exaggeration of guilt in people with perfectionist or paranoid tendencies; religion may become a form of escapism; religion may be psychologically harmful to some.
        • · Religion is a potential center for political power, and may be used as a rallying point for wars against other peoples or nations.
        •  Max Weber (1864–1920), an influential early twentieth-century scholar of the sociology of religion, referred to this process as the “routinization of charisma.” Charisma is the rare quality of personal magnetism often ascribed to founders of religion. When the founder dies, the center of the movement may shift to those who turn the original inspirations into routine rituals, dogma, and organizational structures.

          Lenses for studying religions
        Scholars use different lenses for studying religions, including: history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, theology, politics, economics, feminist studies, and phenomenology – a special field devoted specifically to the study of religions. Phenomenology studies religion from the perspective of the believer or practitioner. Others approach the study of religion through hermeneutics – the study of the theory and practice of interpretation. This study involves an awareness of the intersubjective dimension of how people internalize and transform what we learn.

         Clifford Geertz (1926–2006)
        Phenomenology involves an appreciative investigation of religious phenomena from the perspective of the practitioners and believers—an “insider’s” rather than an “outsider’s” point of view. This includes “thick description,” a term used by the cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz (1926–2006)—not only reporting outward behaviors but also attempting to explain their meaning for members of particular cultural systems.

        Ultimately, such exploration may have an impact on our own inner landscape. Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2002), philosopher of hermenuetics, uses the term “intersubjectivity” to refer to this possibility. Hermeneutics is the study of the theory and practice of interpretation. It covers not only exegesis of written texts but also interpretation of all other forms of communication—written, oral, artistic, geopolitical, sociological, and so forth—and it delves into past conditions such as prior understandings and suppositions. 

        Key Terms
        Intelligent design
        Scientific materialism
        Comparative religion

        Assignments and Activities

        1. What is your definition of religion? Thereafter, we will evaluate student definitions to see if they are specific and inclusive enough for use in an objective study of religion. First, try the exercise alone and then in small groups, before we take some samples to discuss with the class as a whole.

        2. By next week, you are assigned the task of asking people outside class the question “Why are people religious?” In class, in small groups, and then as a whole group we will compare some of the answers received.

        3. Divide the class in half, with one side taking the position, and the other opposed: is everyone religious? Is religion functional or dysfunctional for human beings and/or societies? Does our future depend on peoples’ willingness to understand sympathetically other people’s religions?

        4. Bring to class some of the music you listen to that reflects various perceptions of the sacred, or ultimacy. I can play a few examples and discuss how they reflect religion. You may also bring a few of your favorite songs that are not so obviously religious, but which raise religious issues.

        5. Each of you are assigned the task of bringing to class at least one article from a recent newspaper, magazine, or Internet story that reflects the roles of religion in modern society. A few students may present their articles to the class. The task will also serve as the basis for a preliminary discussion of the coverage of religion by the popular media.

        6. The class will be divided into groups and each group will defend one of the ways religion and science are related to one another, using the questions of the origins of the universe and the development of life on earth as a case study.

        7. For next week, each student will bring to class one example of a symbol that is not religious and one that is. In small groups the students will explain their symbols and the difference between religious and nonreligious symbols.

        9. In small groups and then in the class as a whole brainstorm a list of questions that could be raised about religion during the course.

        8. I will divide the class into small groups. Each group will consider the dimensions in the framework for understanding religion suggested in Chapter 1. Each group will brainstorm possible responses for their respective dimension. Each group will share its list with the class as a whole. We will take an anonymous class survey, letting each student choose the response for each dimension that best represents his or her own perspective. We will use the results to create a class “religious profile.” (It would be a good idea to repeat this exercise at the end of the semester and compare the results.)


        945/3,634 books

        Key Works in Religion

        Eliade, Mircea, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. This work popularized a “history of religions” approach, which argued that religious phenomena should be analyzed and compared within their own distinct historical and phenomenological contexts.

        Lincoln, Bruce, Holy Terrors. The West’s understanding of religion as private and apolitical is intensely at odds with other modes of religious understanding that are highly political.

        Otto, Rudolf, The Idea of the Holy. This is one of the most famous German theological texts of the 20th century, and it has become a standard work in the method and theory of religious studies.

        Plaskow, Judith, Image of God as Dominating Other. Plaskow calls for expanding Torah by bringing to light neglected valorizations of women in Jewish texts, and reconstructing Jewish history and memory along non-patriarchal lines.

        Tillich, Paul, Lost Dimension in Religion. Tillich describes the modern individual’s loss of a “dimension of depth” and the threat of one’s becoming “a thing among things”, pointing toward a non-literalistic, existential understanding of religious symbols as a response to this situation.

        A Brief History of Religion (same as Geography of Religion below)

        How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!

        This Land Is Mine by Nina Paley, 3:34

        Who's Killing Who? A Viewer's Guide Because you can't tell the players without a pogrom! Early Man This generic "cave man" represents the first human settlers in Israel/Canaan/the Levant.

        Whoever they were. Canaanite What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don't know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.

        Egyptian Canaan was located between two huge empires.

        Egypt controlled it sometimes, and... Assyrian ....Assyria controlled it other times.

        Israelite The "Children of Israel" conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.

        Babylonian Then the Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.

        Macedonian/Greek Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!

        Greek/Macedonian No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.

        Ptolemaic Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander's competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)

         Seleucid More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.

         Hebrew Priest This guy didn't fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.

        Maccabee Led by Judah "The Hammer" Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah.

        Until... Roman ....the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire... Byzantine ....which split into Eastern and Western Empires.

        The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don't know if "Romans" ever fought "Byzantines" (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.

        Arab Caliph Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.

        Crusader After Crusaders went a-killin' in the name of Jesus Christ, they established Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

        Mamluk of Egypt Wikipedia sez, "Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies...In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be "true lords", with social status above freeborn Muslims.[7]"

        And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.

        Ottoman Turk Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.

        Arab A gross generalization of a generic 19-century "Arab".

        British The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine.

        This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general. Palestinian

        The British occupied this guy's land, only to leave it to a vast influx of.... European Jew/Zionist Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but... PLO/Hamas/Hezbollah were the people that lived there.

        Various militarized resistance movements arose in response to Israel: The Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/TerroristState of Israel Backed by "the West," especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.

        Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don't.

        Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region.

        Who's Next? and finally... The Angel of Death The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.

        A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945, 14:24

        Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project's "Trinity" test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan's nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea's two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear). Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing"the fear and folly of nuclear weapons." It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.

        Chapter 2: Indigenous Sacred Ways

        Animism (from Latin animus, -i "soul, life") is the worldview that non-human entities (animals, plants, and inanimate objects or phenomena) possess a spiritual essence.

        Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of some indigenous tribal peoples, especially prior to the development of organized religion. Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, "animism" is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples' "spiritual" or "supernatural" perspectives. The Animistic perspective is so fundamental, mundane, everyday and taken-for-granted that most animistic indigenous people do not even have a word in their languages that corresponds to "animism" (or even "religion"); the term is an anthropological construct rather than one designated by the people themselves.

        Sir Edward Tylor was responsible for forming the definition of Animism currently accepted in anthropology.
        Largely due to such ethnolinguistic and cultural discrepancies, opinion has differed on whether Animism refers to a broad religious belief or to a full-fledged religion in its own right. The currently accepted definition of Animism was only developed in the late 19th century by Sir Edward Tylor, who created it as "one of anthropology's earliest concepts, if not the first".

        Animism encompasses the belief that there is no separation between the spiritual and physical (or material) world, and souls or spirits exist, not only in humans, but also in some other animals, plants, rocks, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment, including thunder, wind, and shadows. Animism thus rejects Cartesian dualism. Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as words, true names, or metaphors in mythology. Examples of Animism can be found in forms of Shinto, Serer, Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology, Jainism, Paganism, and Neopaganism. Some members of the non-tribal world also consider themselves animists (such as author Daniel Quinn, sculptor Lawson Oyekan, and many Neopagans).

        The term Animism appears to have been first developed as Animismus by German scientist Georg Ernst Stahl, circa 1720, to refer to the "doctrine that animal life is produced by an immaterial soul." The actual English language form of Animism, however, can only be attested to 1819. The term was taken and redefined by the anthropologist Sir Edward Tylor in his 1871 book Primitive Culture, in which he defined it as "the general doctrine of souls and other spiritual beings in general." According to Tylor, Animism often includes "an idea of pervading life and will in nature"; i.e., a belief that natural objects other than humans have souls. This formulation was little different from that proposed by Auguste Comte as fetishism.

        As a self-described "confirmed scientific rationalist", Tylor believed that animistic beliefs were "childish" and typical of "cognitive underdevelopment", and that it was therefore common in "primitive" peoples such as those living in hunter gatherer societies. In fact, Tylor based his theory of Animism on his experience of modern seances thereby constructing a model of 'primitive thought' (of which he had no first hand experience) from his first-hand knowledge of spiritualism. Stringer (1999) notes that his reading of Primitive Culture led him to believe that Tylor was far more sympathetic in regard to “primitive” populations than many of his contemporaries, and that Tylor expressed no belief that there was any difference between the intellectual capabilities of “savage” people and westerners. To Tylor, the fundamental distinction between western and “primitive” cultures was education; and education was a social-cultural evolutionary process that produced differing levels of sophistication, or “progress,” in different places.

        A tableau presenting figures of various cultures filling in mediator-like roles, often being termed as "shaman" in the literature.

        There is ongoing disagreement (and no general consensus) as to whether Animism is merely a singular, broadly encompassing religious belief or a worldview in and of itself, comprising many diverse mythologies found worldwide in many diverse cultures. This also raises a controversy regarding the ethical claims Animism may or may not make: whether Animism ignores questions of ethics altogether or, by endowing various non-human elements of nature with spirituality or personhood, in fact promotes a complex ecological ethics. In modern usage, the term is sometimes used improperly as a catch-all classification of "other world religions" alongside major organized religions.


        Tylor argued that Animism consisted of two unformulated propositions; all parts of nature had a soul, and these souls are capable of moving without requiring a physical form. This gives rise to fetishism, the worship of visible objects as powerful, spiritual beings. The second proposition was that souls are independent of their physical forms. It gives rise to 'spiritism', the worship of the souls of the dead and the unseen spirits of the heavens. Others such as Nurit Bird-David, associate Animism with various aspects of shamanism.


        In many animistic world views, the human being is often regarded as on a roughly equal footing with other animals, plants, and natural forces. Therefore, it is morally imperative to treat these agents with respect. In this world view, humans are considered a part of nature, rather than superior to, or separate from it.
        Totemism (or fetishism) includes one or more of several features, such as the mystic association of animal and plant species, natural phenomena, or created objects with unilineally related groups (lineages, clans, tribes, moieties, phratries) or with local groups and families; the hereditary transmission of the totems (patrilineal or matrilineal); group and personal names that are based either directly or indirectly on the totem; the use of totemistic emblems and symbols; taboos and prohibitions that may apply to the species itself or can be limited to parts of animals and plants (partial taboos instead of partial totems); and a connection with a large number of animals and natural objects (multiplex totems) within which a distinction can be made between principal totems and subsidiary ones (linked totems).

        Ancestor reverence

        Many animistic cultures observe some form of ancestor reverence. Whether they see the ancestors as living in an other world, or embodied in the natural features of this world, animists often believe that offerings and prayers to and for the dead are an important facet of maintaining harmony with the world of the spirits.


        A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing. Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.

        Distinction from pantheism

        Animism is not the same as pantheism, although the two are sometimes confused. Some religions are both pantheistic and animistic. One of the main differences is that while animists believe everything to be spiritual in nature, they do not necessarily see the spiritual nature of everything in existence as being united (monism), the way pantheists do. As a result, Animism puts more emphasis on the uniqueness of each individual soul. In pantheism, everything shares the same spiritual essence, rather than having distinct spirits and/or souls. Additionally, Pantheism posits a source of this "monism". This source may or may not have agency. In contrast, in Animism, the soul or essence or spirit of objects and living things are novel and separate from the whole, while still seen as irrevocably intertwined with one another in a community.

        Examples of animist traditions

        • Shinto, the traditional religion of Japan, is highly animistic. In Shinto, spirits of nature, or kami, are believed to exist everywhere, from the major (such as the goddess of the sun), which can be considered polytheistic, to the minor, which are more likely to be seen as a form of Animism.
        • Many traditional beliefs in the Philippines still practised to an extent today are animist and spiritist in origin in that there are rituals aimed at pacifying malevolent spirits or are apotropaic in nature.
        • There are some Hindu groups which may be considered animist. The coastal Karnataka has a different tradition of praying to spirits (see also Folk Hinduism). Likewise a popular Hindu ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala, India is the Tabuh Rah blood offering to Theyyam gods, despite being forbidden in the Vedic philosophy of sattvic Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, Theyyam deities are propitiated through the cock sacrifice where the religious cockfight is a religious exercise of offering blood to the Theyyam gods.
        • Mun, (also called Munism or Bongthingism) is the traditional polytheistic, animist, shamanistic, and syncretic religion of the Lepcha people.
        • Many traditional Native American religions are fundamentally animistic. See, for example, the Lakota Sioux prayer Mitakuye Oyasin. The Haudenausaunee Thanksgiving Address, which can take an hour to recite, directs thanks towards every being - plant, animal and other.
        • The New Age movement commonly demonstrates animistic traits in asserting the existence of nature spirits.
        • Some Neopagan groups, including Eco-Pagans, describe themselves as animists, meaning that they respect the diverse community of living beings and spirits with whom humans share the world/cosmos.
        Week 2 Hinduism
        Shiva It appears to be earth goddesses and figures of a man seated cross-legged, who has been interpreted as predecessor of the god Shiva.
        28 books
        Hinduism is the dominant religion, or way of life, of the Indian subcontinent, and consists of many diverse traditions. It includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism among numerous other traditions, and a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of "daily morality" based on karma, dharma, and societal norms. Hinduism is a categorisation of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs.
        Mangal Mahadev, 108-foot statue of Shiva at Ganga Talao, Mauritius
        Shaivism or Saivism is one of the four most widely followed sects of Hinduism, which reveres the God Shiva as the Supreme Being.
        The so-called Shiva Pashupati seal, Indus Valley civilization.
        Vaishnavism is focused on the veneration of Vishnu. Vaishnavites, or the followers of the Vishnu, lead a way of life promoting monotheism, which gives importance to Vishnu and his ten incarnations.
        Shaktism or Shaktidharma (Sanskrit: Śāktaṃ, शाक्तं; lit., 'doctrine of power' or 'doctrine of the Goddess') is a denomination of Hinduism that focuses worship upon Shakti or Devi – the Hindu Divine Mother – as the absolute, ultimate Godhead.
        Western scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no single founder. This "Hindu synthesis" emerged around the beginning of the Common Era, and co-existed for several centuries with Buddhism, to finally gain the upper hand in most royal circles during the 8th century CE.
        Puja Ritualized worship, or puja, can be done at home or at a temple under the leadership of a brahmin. One may adore one’s chosen deity as parent or child, friend or lover.
        Hindu practices include daily rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Select group of ascetics leave the common world and engage in lifelong ascetic practices to achieve moksha.
        Bhakti Growing tolerance for difference broadened the number of methods permitted for pursuit of the highest goal, mukti. When meditation and study proved too complex for some people, bhakti, the devotional yoga, was launched.
        Valmiki, a contemporary of Rama, composes the Ramayana.
        Hindu texts are classified into Śruti ("revealed") and Smriti ("remembered"). These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna and agamic rituals and temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads (both Śruti), Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Manusmṛti, and Agamas (all smriti).
        Vedas The four original Vedas are attributed to brahmins (priests) and consist mainly of creation myths, prayers, hymns, and spells directed to the Aryan pantheon.
        Mahabharata The Mahabharata (Great Story of Bharat/India), world’s longest known poem, centers around a struggle for temporal power between a good family and its evil cousins. Embedded within one chapter is the Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord), the most beloved and frequently translated Hindu scripture in the world.
        Is religion characterized by violence?
        Though Islam came to Indian subcontinent in the early 7th century with the advent of Arab traders and the conquest of Sindh, it started to become a major religion during the later Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent. During this period Buddhism declined rapidly and large number of Hindus converted to Islam. Numerous Muslim rulers or their army generals such as Aurangzeb and Malik Kafur destroyed Hindu temples and persecuted non-Muslims.
        With the onset of the British Raj, the colonization of India by the British, there also started a Hindu renaissance in the 19th century, which profoundly changed the understanding of Hinduism in both India and the west. Indology as an academic discipline of studying Indian culture from a European perspective was established in the 19th century, led by scholars such as Max Müller and John Woodroffe. They brought Vedic, Puranic and Tantric literature and philosophy to Europe and the United States. Western orientalist searched for the "essence" of the Indian religions, discerning this in the Vedas, and meanwhile creating the notion of "Hinduism" as a unified body of religious praxis and the popular picture of 'mystical India'. This idea of a Vedic essence was taken over by Hindu reform movements as the Brahmo Samaj, which was supported for a while by the Unitarian Church, together with the ideas of Universalism and Perennialism, the idea that all religions share a common mystic ground. This "Hindu modernism", with proponents like Vivekananda, Aurobindo and Radhakrishnan, became central in the popular understanding of Hinduism.
        Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and USA, raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion.
        "Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) is a figure of great importance in the development of a modern Hindu self-understanding and in formulating the West's view of Hinduism." Central to his philosophy is the idea that the divine exists in all beings, that all human beings can achieve union with this "innate divinity", and that seeing this divine as the essence of others will further love and social harmony. According to Vivekananda, there is an essential unity to Hinduism, which underlies the diversity of its many forms. According to Flood, Vivekananda's vision of Hinduism "is one generally accepted by most English-speaking middle-class Hindus today."
        Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was "one of India's most erudite scholars to engage with western and Indian philosophy". He sought to reconcile western rationalism with Hinduism, "presenting Hinduism as an essentially rationalistic and humanistic religious experience." According to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan,
        Hinduism is not just a faith. It is the union of reason and intuition that cannot be defined, but is only to be experienced.
        Influential 20th-century Hindus were Ramana Maharshi, B.K.S. Iyengar, Paramahansa Yogananda, Prabhupada (founder of ISKCON), Sri Chinmoy, Swami Rama and others who translated, reformulated and presented Hinduism's foundational texts for contemporary audiences in new iterations, raising the profiles of Yoga and Vedanta in the West and attracting followers and attention in India and abroad.
        In the 20th century, Hinduism also gained prominence as a political force and a source for national identity in India. With origins traced back to the establishment of the Hindu Mahasabha in the 1910s, the movement grew with the formulation and development of the Hindutva ideology in the following decades; the establishment of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925; and the entry, and later success, of RSS offshoots Jana Sangha and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in electoral politics in post-independence India. Hindu religiosity plays an important role in the nationalist movement.
        Vedic Hinduism: World's Most Ancient Religion of the world - TIMELINE
        Concept of God
        Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism, panentheism, pantheism, pandeism, monism, and atheism among others; and its concept of God is complex and depends upon each individual and the tradition and philosophy followed. It is sometimes referred to as henotheistic (i.e., involving devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of others), but any such term is an overgeneralization.
        The Nasadiya Sukta (Creation Hymn) of the Rig Veda is one of the earliest texts which "demonstrates a sense of metaphysical speculation". It says:
        Who really knows?
        Who will here proclaim it?
        Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?
        The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
        Who then knows whence it has arisen?
        The same hymn also speaks of "The One":
        Then there was neither death nor immortality
        nor was there then the torch of night and day.
        The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
        There was that One then, and there was no other.
        At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
        All this was only unillumined water.
        That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
        arose at last, born of the power of heat.
        Most Hindus believe that the spirit or soul – the true "self" of every person, called the ātman — is eternal. According to the monistic/pantheistic theologies of Hinduism (such as Advaita Vedanta school), this Atman is ultimately indistinct from Brahman, the supreme spirit. Hence, these schools are called non-dualist. The goal of life, according to the Advaita school, is to realise that one's ātman is identical to Brahman, the supreme soul. The Upanishads state that whoever becomes fully aware of the ātman as the innermost core of one's own self realises an identity with Brahman and thereby reaches moksha (liberation or freedom).
        The schools of Vedanta and Nyaya states that karma itself proves the existence of God. Nyaya being the school of logic, makes the "logical" inference that the universe is an effect and it ought to have a creator.
        Krishna, the eighth incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu or Svayam bhagavan, worshiped across a number of traditions.
        Dualistic schools (see Dvaita and Bhakti) understand Brahman as a Supreme Being who possesses personality, and they worship him or her thus, as Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, or Shakti, depending upon the sect. The ātman is dependent on God, while moksha depends on love towards God and on God's grace. When God is viewed as the supreme personal being (rather than as the infinite principle), God is called Ishvara ("The Lord"), Bhagavan ("The Auspicious One") or Parameshwara ("The Supreme Lord"). However interpretations of Ishvara vary, ranging from non-belief in Ishvara by followers of Mimamsakas, to identifying Brahman and Ishvara as one, as in Advaita. In the majority of traditions of Vaishnavism he is Vishnu, God, and the text of Vaishnava scriptures identify this Being as Krishna, sometimes referred to as svayam bhagavan. However, under Shaktism, Devi or Adi parashakti is considered as the Supreme Being and in Shaivism Shiva is considered Supreme.
        The multitude of devas are viewed as avatars of the Brahman. In discussing the Trimurti, Sir William Jones states that Hindus "worship the Supreme Being under three forms — Vishnu, Siva, Brahma...The fundamental idea of the Hindu religion, that of metamorphoses, or transformations, is exemplified in the Avatars.
        Krishna displays his Vishvarupa (Universal Form) to Arjuna on the battlefield.
        In Bhagavad Gita, for example, God is the sole repository of Gunas (attributes) also as:
        His hands and feet are everywhere, He looks everywhere and all around,
        His eyes, ears and face point to all directions, and all the three worlds are surrounded by these.
        Atheistic doctrines dominate Hindu schools like Samkhya and Mimamsa. The Samkhyapravachana Sutra of Samkhya argues that the existence of God (Ishvara) cannot be proved and hence cannot be admitted to exist. Samkhya argue that an unchanging God cannot be the source of an ever changing world. It says God was a necessary metaphysical assumption demanded by circumstances. Proponents of the school of Mimamsa, which is based on rituals and orthopraxy states that the evidence allegedly proving the existence of God was insufficient. They argue that there is no need to postulate a maker for the world, just as there is no need for an author to compose the Vedas or a God to validate the rituals. Mimamsa considers the Gods named in the Vedas have no existence apart from the mantras that speak their names. To that regard, the power of the mantras is what is seen as the power of Gods.
        Concept of God in Hinduism, 3:08
        Hindu Students Association and Hinduism Today, brings you series of videos to educate Hindus, and non-Hindus on basics of Hinduism. It is our intentions to make this videos brief, and easy to digest.

        The goal is to assist young Hindu's learn about Hinduism, and to dis-spell common misconception about Hinduism

        This first video addresses the question, "Why does Hinduism have so many Gods?" A quick answer to this question is very simple, it goes, "Hindus all believe in one Supreme God who created the universe. She (or He, OR whatever your experience makes you see the supreme reality as) is all-pervasive. She created many Gods, highly advanced spiritual beings, to be Her helpers." From What is Hinduism? by Editors of Hinduism Today

        Swami Bodhinatha Veylanswami :
        The narrator of the video is Swami Bodhinatha Veylanswami. Swami Bodhinatha Veylanswami is a 163rd preceptor of the NandinathaSampradaya's, Kailasa Parampara.

        Most of the year finds him on the island of Kauai, where he oversees the varied publications of Himalayan Academy and serves as publisher of the international magazine, Hinduism Today. At the 458-acre monastery-temple complex, he trains the younger monks in both their service duties and their spiritual practices, and guides the lives of hundreds of families around the globe. Bodhinatha is actively immersed in a series of educational projects and international seminars that focus on bringing spiritual instruction to Hindu youth.

        Hindu Students Association :
        Hindu Students Association is a independent organization for the education and awareness of the Hindu religion for university/college students, graduate students and young professionals.

        If you would like to have any of your question answered by us, please leave a comment, or email us at

        The information, views and commentary herein is provided by Hinduism Today and does not necessarily represent the gamut of opinions within Hinduism or those of the Hindu Students Association.
        View of Human Nature

        View of Good and Evil
        Hinduism's Take on Evil and Suffering, 5:46 (the video, unfortunately, is difficult to hear since it

        Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami of Kauai's Hindu Monastery answers the first of five questions posed to a panel of diverse religious leaders at the Permian Basin's first interfaith gathering held at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in Midland, Texas, on April 7, 2011.
        This question: How does your faith help you understand evil and suffering?

        View of "Salvation"

        Are monks seeking salvation selfish? 3:17

        View of After Life
        The Hinduism Afterlife in Under One Minute, :53

        Practices and Rituals
        Offerings to Agni during Vivah-homa in a Hindu wedding
        The vast majority of Hindus engage in religious rituals on a daily basis. Most Hindus observe religious rituals at home. but this varies greatly among regions, villages, and individuals. Devout Hindus perform daily rituals such as worshiping at dawn after bathing (usually at a family shrine, and typically includes lighting a lamp and offering foodstuffs before the images of deities), recitation from religious scripts, singing devotional hymns, meditation, chanting mantras, reciting scriptures etc. A notable feature in religious ritual is the division between purity and pollution. Religious acts presuppose some degree of impurity or defilement for the practitioner, which must be overcome or neutralised before or during ritual procedures. Purification, usually with water, is thus a typical feature of most religious action. Other characteristics include a belief in the efficacy of sacrifice and concept of merit, gained through the performance of charity or good works, that will accumulate over time and reduce sufferings in the next world. Vedic rites of fire-oblation (yajna) are now only occasional practices, although they are highly revered in theory. In Hindu wedding and burial ceremonies, however, the yajña and chanting of Vedic mantras are still the norm. The rituals, upacharas, change with time. For instance, in the past few hundred years some rituals, such as sacred dance and music offerings in the standard Sodasa Upacharas set prescribed by the Agama Shastra, were replaced by the offerings of rice and sweets.
        Occasions like birth, marriage, and death involve what are often elaborate sets of religious customs. In Hinduism, life-cycle rituals include Annaprashan (a baby's first intake of solid food), Upanayanam ("sacred thread ceremony" undergone by upper-caste children at their initiation into formal education) and Śrāddha (ritual of treating people to a meal in return for prayers to 'God' to give peace to the soul of the deceased). For most people in India, the betrothal of the young couple and the exact date and time of the wedding are matters decided by the parents in consultation with astrologers. On death, cremation is considered obligatory for all except sanyasis, hijra, and children under five. Cremation is typically performed by wrapping the corpse in cloth and burning it on a pyre.
        Hindu Religious Practice 1/3, 9:36
        The first part of a lecture by Dr Nick Sutton. Part of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Continuing Education Department's online initiative.

        Celebrations and Festivals
        Festivals Hindu festivals can be like extended devotional services, although some are extremely playful and carefree. These vary tremendously according to occasion and regin, and the best advice for first-time participants is to observe the Hindus.
        Hindu festivals (Sanskrit: Utsava; literally: "to lift higher") are considered as symbolic rituals that beautifully weave individual and social life to dharma. Hinduism has many festivals throughout the year. The Hindu calendar usually prescribe their dates.
        The festivals typically celebrate events from Hindu mythology, often coinciding with seasonal changes. There are festivals which are primarily celebrated by specific sects or in certain regions of the Indian subcontinent.
        Some widely observed Hindu festivals include:
        Diwali - Festival of Lights, 3:05
        In India, one of the most significant festivals is Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. It's a fiveday celebration that includes good food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps.
        The festival of lights- Diwali, is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.

        Wendy Doniger 'On Hinduism' 15:18
        Through this magisterial volume which she calls "the book of my books" Wendy Doniger, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest and most original scholars of Hinduism, enlarges our understanding of an ancient and complex religion. Comprising a series of connected essays, 'On Hinduism' examines many of the most crucial and contested issues in Hinduism, from the time of the Vedas to the present day: Are Hindus monotheists or polytheists? Is it possible to reconcile images of god with qualities (saguna) and without qualities (nirguna)? How can atheists be Hindu, and how can unrepentant Hindu sinners obtain salvation? Why have Hindus devoted so much attention to addictions, and why have they always been ambivalent about non-injury (ahimsa)? How have Hindu ideas about death, rebirth and karma changed in the course of history, and what do dogs and cows tell us about Hinduism? How and under what conditions does a pluralistic religion remarkable for its intellectual tolerance foster intolerance?

        The book closes with short autobiographical essays in which Doniger looks back upon her academic career complete with its Orientalist heritage, self-critiques and controversies and talks eloquently and movingly about the influence of Hinduism on her own philosophy of life.
        Drawing upon Doniger's writing over forty years, 'On Hinduism' is scholarship of the highest order, and a compelling analysis of one of the worlds great faiths.

        Week 1 Discussion

        "Understanding Religions and Indigenous Sacred Ways" Please respond to the following:
        • Define indigenous religion, and describe at least one aspect of indigenous religions that exists in a similar form in a traditional mainstream religion.
        • Define religion, and discuss why it is useful in society. Explain why it is important for you personally to understand the beliefs of other religious groups.
        Question 1 What does the word religion, probably derived from Latin, most likely mean?
        the reality of souls a greater reality to tie back or tie again spiritual practice a collective consciousness End of Question 1
        Question 2. What common goal do all religions share?
        A belief in a greater reality. A similar organized structure. An unaltered origin. A view of the world that can be perceived through the five senses. A sense of shared purpose. End of Question 2
        Question 3. Who are the believers that claim they worship the only true deity?
        atheists agnostics exclusivists numinists universalists End of Question 3
        Question 4. What is the intuitive ability to perceive spiritual truths directly beyond the senses typically called?
        materialism intellectualism rationalism symbolism mysticism End of Question 4
        Question 5. What is the discipline which seeks to understand and compare religious patterns from around the world known as?
        transcendent religion non-theistic religion comparative religion universalism exclusivist authority End of Question 5
        Question 6. Personal, non-institutionalized patterns of prayer, meditation, or direct experience of an inexplicable presence may be referred to as what?
        spirituality ritual extrasensory perception religion subconscious connection End of Question 6
        Question 7. What are religions that worship the deity in a singular form known as?
        monistic polytheistic exclusivist monotheistic theistic End of Question 7
        Question 8. Like religion, what other discipline searches for universal principles that explain the facts of nature?
        agriculture literature science psychology history End of Question 8
        Question 9. What theory proposes that scientific discoveries of the complexities of life are proof of the existence of a creator?
        superstring Gaia metaphysics intelligent design nature End of Question 9
        Question 10. What is another name for the symbolic stories that communities use to explain the universe and their place within it?
        myths satires allegories proverbs models End of Question 10
        Question 11. What is another name for the rare quality of personal magnetism often ascribed to founders of religion?
        dogma animism reverence charisma phenomenology End of Question 11
        Question 12. Which of the following is NOT an encounter with ultimate reality?
        awakening oppression enlightenment self-knowledge gnosis End of Question 12
        Question 13. What is the belief that sacred reality is one underlying substance known as?
        monism universalism monotheism incarnism exclusivism End of Question 13
        Question 14. Which of the following is true of scientific materialism?
        Science and religion complement one another. Only the supernatural is real. Deities are supreme beings that exist outside of human beings. Mysticism is an important tool in gaining knowledge of the material world. Only the material world exists. End of Question 14
        Question 15. How does the psychologist Carl Jung explain similarities among symbols in different cultures?
        Geographic associations of the sacred are universal among cultures. Different cultures came into contact with one another through trade. Societies share the universal need to create order from chaos. Humanity has a collective unconscious from which it draws symbols. Symbols are logical associations with the natural world. End of Question 15
        Question 16. What did the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believe about religion?
        It is a universal obsessional neurosis. It is a surrender of the ego. It empowers women. It is a source of human guilt. It is a way of avoiding an unsatisfactory life. End of Question 16
        Question 17. Which of these terms is the closest opposite to the term transcendent?
        sacred immanent polytheistic incarnate monotheistic End of Question 17
        Question 18. What is the appearance of sacred reality in human form known as? luminosity indivisibility monism incarnation invisibility End of Question 18
        Question 19. Which of these terms is the closest opposite to the term monotheistic?
        polytheistic theistic sacred agnostic monistic End of Question 19
        Question 20. What is dogma?
        A means to ultimate transformation. A system of doctrine proclaimed as absolutely true. An organized system that serves to bring people together for their common survival. A tool of religious oppression. A system of deep questioning.
        Recommended Films
        Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers." 1988. (DVD released by Mystic Fire Video, 2001). Six hours of interviews in total; selections that may be useful for class discussion include discussions of the hero’s adventure and the message of the myth, as well as clips from “Star Wars” and an interview with George Lucas.
        Women Serving Religion.” Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1995. 29 minutes. Addresses the roles of women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
        Review questions
        1. In what ways has the term “religion” been defined?
        2. What are some of the different perspectives for understanding religion?
        3. Describe absolutist and liberal interpretations of religious traditions, how they relate to globalization and modernity, and how each might react to historical-critical studies of religious texts.
        4. What are the major positions that have emerged in the dialogue between science and religion?
        Discussion questions
        1. To what extent do you find materialistic arguments rejecting the reality posited by religion and spirituality useful in understanding religion
        2. What relationship does spirituality have to institutional religions?
        3. In what ways is the patriarchal nature of institutional religions changing?
        4. What factors do you believe contribute to the negative aspects or organized religions?
        5. Discuss possible benefits and disadvantages to using different lenses for the study of religion.
        Additional Class Discussion/Essay Questions
        1. How is the study of religion different from the study of subjects such as mathematics or other sciences? How best can we approach our study when religions make claims with which we may or may not agree?
        2. Explain what a myth is, and describe some of the different ways that the function of myth has been explained.
        3. Give two examples of scientific materialist explanations of religion. To what extent are such explanations useful in understanding religion? What aspects of religion might they miss?
        4. What is involved in the historical-critical study of scriptures? How does this approach differ from an absolutist approach?
        5. In trying to understand the negative side of organized religion, some people have argued that religious violence is carried out when people misuse or misinterpret their religion. Others, however, argue that the widespread nature of religious violence suggests that religion itself may be the problem. Which view do you find more convincing? Why?
        Beyond the Sound Bites

        Embedded Video Player: Palestinians: What do you know about the Holocaust?

        Palestinians: What do you know about the Holocaust?
        Duration: (11:49)
        coreygilshuster - Added: 8/31/14
        Films for the Religious Studies Classroom
        Rock songs with Hinduism
        iH-121. Ravishankar and Beatles part of blast of Indian philosophy in American History, 3:40

        Norwegian Wood, 2:03

        The Beatles - Love You To (Lyrics), 2:59

        The Beatles Within You and Without You with lyrics, 5:05
        The basic tracks for "Within You Without You" featured only Harrison and a group of uncredited Indian musicians based in London. Producer George Martin then arranged a string section, and Harrison and assistant Neil Aspinall overdubbed the tambura. According to Prema Music, dilruba player Amrit Gajjar played on the track. Hunter Davies wrote that Harrison "trained himself to write down his song in Indian script so that the Indian musicians can play them." With "Within You Without You", Harrison became the second Beatle to record a song credited to The Beatles but featuring no other members of the group (Paul McCartney had previously done so with "Yesterday").
        "Within You Without You" is the second of Harrison's songs to be explicitly influenced by Indian classical music (the first being "Love You To", released on Revolver the previous year). Harrison said "I was continually playing Indian [sitar exercises] called Sargam, which are the bases of the different Ragas. That's why around this time I couldn't help writing tunes like this which were based on unusual scales." The song is Harrison's only composition on Sgt. Pepper after "Only a Northern Song" was omitted from the album. Harrison wrote "Within You Without You" on a harmonium at the house of long-time Beatles' associate Klaus Voormann ("We were talking about the space between us all, And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion— never glimpse the truth").
        "Within You Without You" was heavily influenced by George Harrison's interest in Indian music and Vedanta philosophy.
        The song is mostly in Mixolydian mode or rather Khamaj thaat, its equivalent in Indian music.
        The song, in the tonic (I) key of C (sped up to C# on the finished recording), is structured around an exotic Mixolydian melody over a constant C-G 'root-fifth' drone that is neither obviously major nor minor. It opens with a very short alap played by the tambouras (0:00-0:04), then dilruba (from 0:04) while a swarmandal is gently stroked to announce the pentatonic portion of the scale. A tabla then begins (at 0:23) playing a 16-beat tintal in a Madhya laya (medium tempo) and the dilruba plaintively backs the opening line of the verse (Bandish) or gat: "We were talking about the space between us all." The opening words "We were talking" are sung to an E-F-G-B♭ melody tritone interval (E to B♭) that enhances the spiritual dissonance sought to be evoked. Soon an 11-piece string section plays a series of unusual slides to match the Indian music idiom where the melody is often "played legato rounded in microtones, rather than staccato as in Western music." The instrumental after the second verse and chorus involves the tabla switching from the 16 beat tintal to a 10 beat jhaptal cycle. As a pointed counterpoint to the verse echoes of ancient Vedantic philosophy ("wall of illusion" "When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there") a sawal-jawab (musical dialogue) begins in 5/4 time between first the dilruba and Harrison's sitar, then between the full Western string section and Harrison's sitar, this tellingly resolving into a melody in unison and together stating the tihai that closes the middle segment. Gould describes Martin's strings as here making "their way through the bustle and drone of the Indian instruments with the slightly shaky dignity of a procession of sahibs in sedan chairs." After this, the drone is again prominent and the swarmandal plays an ascending scale, followed by a lone cello in descending scale that leads to the final verse in 16-beat tintal ("And the time will come when you see we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you") ending with the notes of the dilruba left hanging, until the tonal and spiritual tension is relieved by a muted use of canned laughter.
        Pollack considers that there two likely interpretations of the use of canned laughter. The first is that the presumably xenophobic Victorian/Edwardian-era audience implicit in the Sgt. Pepper band and concert concept "is letting off a little tension of this perceived confrontation with pagan elements." The second holds that the composer is engaging in "an endearingly sincere nanosecond of acknowledgement of the apparent existential absurdity of the son-of-a-Liverpudlian bus driver espousing such other-worldly beliefs and sentiments".Two slightly different laugh tracks were used for the mono and stereo mixes. The laughter is slightly quieter than the instrumental track in the stereo version. However, it comes in more sudden and louder in the mono version.

        The Beatles - Across the Universe (with lyrics), 3:52

        Ravi Shankar Warm Up Concert for Bangladesh, :29

        The Concert For Bangladesh - Bangla Dhun, 14:40

        George Harrison - My Sweet Lord - Lyrics, 4:49

        David Bowie - Karma Man, 2:37
        The Deram Anthology (1966-1968)

        Instant Karma - John Lennon, 1970, 3:38

        Kashmir, Led Zeppelin, 1975

        Gobind Sadan 2015, 8:06

        Gobind Sadan New Delhi India 2015. Music by Rajwant Singh (Bhagat Ji).

        White Gospel 01, 14:55

        The story of White Gospel starts with a look at its early roots and the music of the Sacred Harp. It then shows how gospel quartets started as sheet music salesmen and then became famous in their own right. Featuring the Dove Brothers and Donnie Sumner and some nice clips of Elvis and the Jordanaires,

        THE SAM COOKE STORY 01, 14:17

        Ry Cooder - Jesus On The Mainline - Live 1977, 4:35

        Ry Cooder and the Chicken Skin Band play 'Jesus On The Mainline' (traditional) live at Shepherd's Bush Television Theatre, London in 1977. Ry is playing his Martin D-45 guitar in this clip, with backing vocals from Eldridge King, Terry Evans and Bobby King.

        Argent - God Gave Rock And Roll To You, 6:24

        A performance of the 1973 hit single by Argent from the Old Grey Whistle Test. Written by Russ Ballard.

        Produced by Rod Argent & Chris White.

        Larry Norman - 9 - Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music - Only Visiting This Planet

        (1972)">Larry Norman - 9 - Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music - Only Visiting This Planet (1972), 2:37

        The Midnight Special, 1975, Doobie Brothers - Jesus Is Just Alright, 1972, #35, 4:31
        This is a gospel song written by Arthur Reynolds and first recorded by Reynold's own group, The Art Reynolds Singers, on their 1966 album, "Tellin' It Like It Is." The song's title makes use of the American slang term "all-right", which during the 1960s was used to describe something that was considered cool or very good.

        The song was later recorded by The Doobie Brothers, who included it on their 1972 album, Toulouse Street, which - together with "Listen to the Music" - brought the band their breakthrough success.

        1966, Art Reynold Singers - Jesus Is Just Alright.wmv, 1:54

        It was in 1966 that Art took the 5 best singers from his choir at the St. Vestal C.M.E. church and created the gospel singing group, the "Art Reynolds Singers". As the first gospel group to record for Capital Records, they soon became pioneers in the development of "gospel rock". Many considered their music too secular for the time. Their first album "Tellin' It Like It Is", went on to become one of the biggest selling albums for a new gospel group. It received local and national acclaim. "Jesus Is Just Alright" was the first song recorded by other groups from the "Tellin' It Like It Is" album. The song was recorded and made famous by the Byrds, the Doobie Brothers and DC Talk. Four other albums followed: "Long Dusty Road", "The Soul-Gospel Sounds of the Art Reynolds Singers" and "It's a Wonderful World". Art later recorded an independent live gospel concert album titled, "A Work of Art". One of the original members of the Art Reynolds Singers was Thelma Houston, who went on to become a Grammy Award-winning singer with her recording of "Don't Leave Me This Way", an anthem of the disco era. Art later changed the name of the group to the "Art Forms Limited" and produced 2 singles for RCA records, "I'm a Bad Man" and "Time to Call It A Day". Wolfman Jack described Art's vocal on "I'm a Bad Man", as the birth of a new Isaac Hayes.

        The Doobie Brothers' version of "Jesus Is Just Alright" was one of a number of religiously themed songs to reach the U.S. charts during 1972 and 1973, along with "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens, "Jubilation" by Paul Anka, "Speak to the Sky" by Rick Springfield, "Jesus Was a Capricorn" by Kris Kristofferson, and "I Knew Jesus (Before He Was a Star)" by Glen Campbell. Lyrics follow:

        Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
        Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright.

        I don't care what they may say, I don't care what they may do
        I don't care what they may say, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
        Jesus is just alright.

        Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
        Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright.

        I don't care what they may know, I don't care where they may go
        I don't care what they may know, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah.

        Jesus, He's my friend, Jesus, He's my friend
        He took me by the hand, led me far from this land
        Jesus, He's my friend.

        Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
        Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright.

        I don't care what they may say, I don't care what they may do
        I don't care what they may say, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah.

        "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens, "Jubilation" by Paul Anka, "Speak to the Sky" by Rick Springfield, "Jesus Was a Capricorn" by Kris Kristofferson, "I Knew Jesus (Before He Was a Star)" by Glen Campbell, "Jesus Christ Superstar," cast of "Hair," "Spirit in the Sky," Norman Greenbaum

        Cat Stevens Morning has Broken 1972, #6, 3:02

        Keep the beauty and peacefulness of this hit song in mind until a subsequent Week and I will refer to Cat Stevens again.

        Paul Anka Jubilation lyric, 6:54

        Kris Kristofferson - Jesus Was A Capricorn (Owed To John Prine), 2:46

        Jesus Christ Superstar - Superstar, 4:12

        Carl Anderson performing "Superstar" on the movie Jesus Christ Superstar made in the 70´s. I can tell for sure this is the BEST performance i´ve ever seen of JCS ever. Carl Anderson (Judas) and Ted Neeley (Jesus Christ) are just GREAT.

        Norman Greenbaum Spirit in the Sky (Rare Original Footage French TV 1970), 3:53

        Kansas - Dust in the Wind (Official Video), 1973, 3:19

        • Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren wrote this after reading a book of Native American poetry. The line that caught his attention was "For All We Are Is Dust In The Wind."

          This got him thinking about the true value of material things and the meaning of success. The band was doing well and making money, but Kerry realized that in the end, he would eventually die just like everyone else. No matter our possessions or accomplishments, we all end up back in the ground.
        • Kerry Livgren wrote this song when he was under pressure to write a follow-up to the group's hit, "Carry On Wayward Son." While playing his acoustic guitar exercises, his wife suggested that putting lyrics to the patterns would yield his hit song. "I didn't think it was a Kansas-type song," he said. "She said, Give it a try anyway. Several million records later, I guess she was right." (for more on the song, check out our Interview with Kerry Livgren.)
        • Kansas was almost done writing and rehearsing the Point of Know Return album when their producer, Jeff Glixman, asked if they had any more songs. Livgren reluctantly played this song for his bandmates on acoustic guitar, insisting they wouldn't like it because it was not Kansas. To his surprise, they loved the song and insisted they record it. Livgren then fought against his own song, but was overruled. "Dust In The Wind" became their biggest hit, but Livgren never did think very highly of it. "I tend to like the more bombastic things, like 'The Wall,' he told us.
        • This slow, acoustic song was not typical of Kansas, whose previous singles included "Carry On My Wayward Son" and "Point of Know Return." It put the band in the position of having their best-known song be one that doesn't reflect their sound.
        • Kerry Livgren became an evangelical Christian in 1980. He says of his songwriting in the '70s, "I was only expressing my own searching for something," adding, "If you look at my lyrics, even 'Dust in the Wind' is a song about the transitory nature of our physical lives. That falls under the umbrella heading of God."
        • This was the second big hit for Kansas, following "Carry On My Wayward Son." With two hits under their belt, they were able to headline arena rock shows into the late '70s. Later hits for the band include "Play the Game Tonight" (1982, #17 US) and "All I Wanted" (1986, #19 US).
        • In the movie Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill and Ted go back in time and share philosophy with Socrates, who is impressed when Ted, played by Keanu Reeves philosophizes "All we are is dust in the wind."
        • This was the first acoustic Kansas song, and perhaps the most famous acoustic rock song ever recorded. The song crossed over to a variety of formats, as rock, country, and adult contemporary radio stations all played it.
        • This song was featured in the comedy Old School starring Will Ferrell and Luke Wilson. Frank (played by Ferrell) sings it at Blue's funeral to commemorate the death of the 90 year old fraternity member. (thanks, Aislinn - Hamilton, Canada)
        • There was one more verse to this song that Livgren wrote, but never recorded.
        • The song has been covered and featured in thousands of artistic and commercial entities. It was used in an episode of The Simpsons, and baseball player Bernie Williams played a jazz guitar version of this on an album he released in 2003 called The Journey Within.
        Although there are many versions originating from the Leonard Cohen version this is a version from the Saint Ralph movie:
        Also, This Bitter Earth, that has also been redone a few times but here is a version from the movie Shutter Island:
        City In The Sky, Staple Singers, #79, 1974

        Chi-Lites-There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God is seated at the conference table), 1974, #63, 5:17

        L-O-V-E / AL GREEN, 1975, #13, 5:54

        Buddhism: Monk’s Enlightenment Begins with a Marathon Walk, PROGRAM: Morning Edition, May 11, 2010Christianity: Jesus and the Hidden Contradictions of the Gospels , PROGRAM: Fresh Air, March 12, 2010Christianity: Life In Year One': The World As Jesus Found It, PROGRAM: Talk of the Nation, March 31, 2010Christianity: Pilgrims And Progress: 3,000 Years Of Christianity, PROGRAM: Weekend Edition Saturday, May 25, 2010Hinduism: Long Days and Short Nights for a Hindu MonkIslam: Devout Muslims Sometime Split on Beliefs, PROGRAM: All Things Considered, 11/12/2009Islam: Class Teaches New Muslim's About Faith's Practices PROGRAM: All Things Considered, March 25, 2008.Jainism: India's Diverse Faiths, As Told Through 'Nine Lives', PROGRAM: Morning Edition, 6/24/10Judaism: Rabbi Describes Finding Religious Identity in Judaism PROGRAM: Tell Me More, September 29, 2008Judaism: For Holy Week, a Primer on Passover, PROGRAM: Tell Me More, March 29, 2010Religion in the Twenty-First Century: Day of Prayer Becomes Culture War Skirmish, PROGRAM: Morning Edition, May 5, 2010Religion in the Twenty-First Century: Modesty And Faith Connected In Many Religions, PROGRAM: Talk of the Nation, 5/10/10Religion in the Twenty-First Century: 'Nomad' Ayaan Hirsi Ali On Reclaiming Islam, PROGRAM: Talk of the Nation, May 18, 2010
        Beyond the Sound Bites
        What We Can Learn From Israel About Carrying Guns

        Islam is Islam, 5:43

        #5235 - Michigan Islamist Lina Allan Lambasts People who Prohibit Stabbing of Jews by Palestinians: It's Like Defending Animal Rights at Best
        The Internet - December 28, 2015 - 03:07
        State Department Reveals Islamist is Connected to State Department
        State Department