What is religion?
• Religion is defined, following Wallace, as belief and ritual concerned with supernatural
b_____________, p_____________ and f_____________
• So defined, religion is a c_____________ u_____________
• No known group of people anywhere on the face of the earth, at any time over the past
_____________years, have been without religion.
Origins of religion
• N__________________________ mortuary remains provide the earliest evidence of what
probably was religious activity.
Functions of Religion
• All religions serve a number of important functions:
o They reduce a_____________ by explaining the unknown and offer comfort in
times of crisis.
o They provide notions of r_____________ and w_____________, setting
precedents for acceptable behavior.
o Through ritual, religion may be used to enhance the l_____________ of oral
• Edward T_____________ first studied religion anthropologically and developed a
• Animism is seen as most primitive
o A belief in s_____________ that derives from the first attempt to explain dreams
and like phenomena
o These spirit beings are closer to humans than gods and goddesses and are
concerned with human activities.
o Animism is typical of peoples who see themselves as a part of n_____________
rather than superior to it.
Mana and Taboo
• Mana – belief in immanent supernatural domain or l__________________________,
potentially subject to human manipulation
o Polynesian mana and related concept of t_____________ related to the more
hierarchical nature of Polynesian society
o Melanesian mana defined as sacred impersonal force that is much like the
Western concept of l_____________
• Magic refers to supernatural techniques intended to accomplish specific a_____________
• Magic is an instrument of c_____________, but r_____________ serves to provide stability
when no control or understanding is possible
• Malinowski saw t_____________ religions as being focused on life c_____________
Two Types of Magic
• Imitative magic
o Magic based on the principle that l_____________ produces l_____________
o Sometimes called sympathetic magic.
• Contagious magic
o Magic based on the principle that things once in c_____________ can influence
one another after separation.
• A 100 year old carved wooden figure from the C_____________ believed to have magical
• During a special ritual, iron n_____________ were driven into this traditional African fetish
with the motive of causing pain, disease, or death to someone feared or detested.
• Rituals are f_____________ and performed in a s_____________ context
• Rituals convey information about culture of participants and, hence, participants themselves
• Rituals inherently s_____________, and participation in them necessarily implies social
• Rituals play an important role in creating and maintaining group s_____________________
o In C__________________________, orthodox believers subscribe to the doctrine
of transubstantiation, which holds that in Holy Communion the consecrated red
wine and wafer change into the divine blood and flesh of Christ, the Son of God.
Rites of Passage
• Rites of passage are religious rituals which mark and facilitate a persons m_____________
from one (social) state of being to another
• Other examples?
Rites of Passage- 3 Phases
• Separation – the participant(s) w_____________ from the group and begin moving from
one place to another.
• Liminality – the period b_____________ states, during which the participant(s) has left one
place but has not yet, entered the next.
o Liminality is part of every rite of passage, and involves the temporary suspension
and even reversal of everyday social distinctions.
o Communitas refers to collective liminality, characterized by enhanced feelings of
• Incorporation – the participant(s) reenters society with a new s_____________ having
completed the rite.
• Totemism is a religion in which elements of nature act as sacred templates for society by
means of s_____________ association.
• Totemism uses n_____________ as a model for society
o Each descent group has a totem, which occupies a specific niche in nature.
o S_____________ differences mirror the natural order of the environment.
o Unity of human social order enhanced by symbolic association with and imitation
of natural order
• In totemic societies, each d_____________ group has an animal, plant, or geographical
feature from which they claim descent.
o Totems are the apical a__________________________ of clans
o Members of clan did not kill or eat their totem, except once a year when the
members of the clan gathered for ceremonies dedicated to the totem
Religion and Cultural Ecology
• A_____________ is Hindu doctrine of nonviolence that forbids the killing of animals.
Respect for animal life has been a central theme in H_____________ life.
• C_____________ are considered to be “second mothers”
• In India and Nepal, milk continues to hold a central place in religious r_____________
• In honor of their exalted status, cows often roam free.
• In some places, it is considered good luck to give one a s_____________, a bit of bread, or
fruit before breakfast.
• On the other hand, a citizen can be sent to jail for killing or injuring a cow.
• Western economic development experts often use this principle as example of how religion
can stand in the way of d__________________________
• Hindus seem to irrationally ignore a valuable f_____________ source (beef)
• Hindus also raise scraggly and thin cows, unlike the bigger cattle of Europe and the U.S.
• Views of experts are e__________________________
o Cattle play important adaptive role in Indian ecosystem that has evolved over
thousands of years
o Hindus use cattle for transportation, traction, and manure
o Bigger cattle e______________, making them more expensive to keep
• The p_____________ of religion affects a_____________
o Religion can be used to mobilize large segments of society through systems of
real and perceived r_____________ and p__________________________
o Many religions have a formal code of ethics that prohibit certain behavior while
promoting other kinds of b_____________
o Religions also maintain social control by stressing the fleeting nature of life.
Social Control- In the News
• The T_____________ are invoking a very strict interpretation of the Koran as the basis for
o W_____________ are required to wear veils, remain indoors and are not allowed
to males that are not blood relatives.
o Men are required to grow bushy beards and are barred from playing
c_____________, flying kites, and keeping pigeons.
• Witch hunts play an important role in limiting social d_____________ in addition to
functioning as leveling mechanisms to reduce differences in wealth and status between
members of society.
• Effective way for people to explain away personal misfortune without having to shoulder any
of the b_____________ themselves.
• Provides an outlet for feelings of hostility and frustration without disturbing the norms of the
• In North America, interest in and practice of witchcraft have g_____________ over the past
thirty years, often among highly e_____________ segments of society.
• Contrary to popular belief, witchcraft is not concerned exclusively, or even primarily, with
• All human societies include individuals who guide and supplement the religious practices of
• Such individuals are seen to be highly skilled at c_____________ and i_____________
supernatural beings and manipulating supernatural forces.
• They may have undergone special t_____________ and may display certain distinctive
personality traits that make them particularly well suited to perform these tasks.
Anthony F. C. Wallace’s Typology of Religions
• Religious forms vary from culture to culture but there are correlations between
p_____________organization and religious type.
Types of Religion
• Wallace defined religion as consisting of all a society’s cult institutions (rituals and
associated beliefs) and developed four categories
• Shamanic religions- shamans are p_____________religious intermediaries who may act as
curers--these religions are most characteristic of f_____________
• Communal religions have shamans, community rituals, multiple nature gods, and are more
characteristic of food p_____________ than foragers.
• Olympian religions first appeared with s_____________ have full-time religious specialists
whose organization may mimic the states, have potent anthropomorphic gods who may exist
as a pantheon.
• Monotheistic religions have all the attributes of Olympian religions, except that the
pantheon of gods is subsumed under a s_____________ eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and
Religion in States
• Christian Values
• Weber linked spread of capitalism to values central to the P___________________ faith:
o Hard working
o Free thinking
• The emphasis Catholics place on immediate happiness and security, and idea that salvation is
attainable only when a p_________ mediates on one’s behalf did not fit well with capitalism
Religion in NA Today
• Religious affiliation in North America varies with e_____________ background, age, and
• In the U.S. Protestants outnumber Catholics, but in Canada the r_____________ is true
• Religious Composition (in Percentages) of the Populations of the U.S., 1990 and 2001, and
Canada, 1991 and 2001
• Religions of the World, by Estimated Number of Adherents, 2005
• Major World Religions by Percentage of World Population 2005
Religion and Change
• Religion helps maintain social o_____________
• Religious leaders also may seek to alter or revitalize their society
• Nativistic or Revitalization Movements
o Social movements that occur in times of change
o Example: The colonial-era Iroquois reformation led by H_____________ Lake
• Religious movements that act as mediums for social change are called revitalization
• They are social movements, often of a religious nature, with the purpose of totally reforming
o Prophecy of Renewal
o Ceremonial dance
o Ghost Shirts
When the Sun died, I went up to Heaven and saw God and all the people
who had died a long time ago. God told me to come back and tell my
people they must be good and love one another, and not fight, or steal or
lie. He gave me this dance to give to my people.
• A syncretism is a cultural mix, including religious blends, that emerge when two or more
cultural traditions come into contact
o Examples: V_____________, santeria, and candomlé
o Cargo cults of Melanesia and Papua New Guinea are syncretisms of Christian
doctrine with aboriginal beliefs
• Often emerge when traditional, non-Western societies have regular contact with
• Syncretisms attempt to explain European domination and wealth and to achieve similar
success magically by m_____________ European behavior and symbols.
• Example- Members of the Church of Zion, an indigenous Christian church with a Zulu
congregation, perform a baptism in the Indian Ocean near Durban, South Africa.
o Over h_____________ of Christian church members in South Africa belong to
churches that combine traditional African beliefs and rituals with Christianity.
• Spiritual movements in Melanesia in reaction to disruptive contact with Western capitalism
o resurrection of deceased r_____________,
o destruction or enslavement of white foreigners, and the
o magical coming of utopian r_____________.
o Location of Melanesia
Antimodernism and Fundamentalism
• Antimodernism – rejection of the modern in favor of what is perceived as an earlier, purer,
and better way of life
o Barber contends that tribalism and globalism are two key – and opposed –
principles of our age
o Argues that Jihad and McWorld operate with equal force in opposite directions
• Fundamentalism – antimodernist movements in various religions
o Assert an identity separate from the larger religious group from which they arose
o Seek to rescue religion from absorption into modern, Western culture
o Strive to protect distinctive doctrine and way of life and of salvations
o Many fundamentalists are politically aware citizens of nation-states
A New Age
• Since the 1960s, there has been a decline in formal organized religions.
• New Age religions have appropriated ideas, themes, symbols, and ways of life from the
religious practices of Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, east Asian religions.
• Number of Americans giving no religious preference grew from 7% to 13% between 1990
• Number of Canadians rose from 12%
• In U.S. official recognition of a religion entitles it to a modicum of respect
o Exemption from taxation on income and property
• Not all religions receive official recognition
o Scientology recognized as church in U.S. but not in Germany
• It is difficult to distinguish between sacred and secular rituals as behavior can simultaneously
have sacred and secular aspects.
o Americans try to maintain a strict division between the sacred and the profane, but
many other societies do not.