Monthly Archives: June 2014

Two Kinds of Religious Texts

When studying religion, either on your own or in university, it is helpful to recognize that there are, almost always, two types of literature associated with a religion, that is, if the religion has a written tradition.

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detail of unnamed sacred Hindu texts from collection of prof Klaus Klostermaier

The two types of religious texts are 1) sacred scripture, and 2) non-sacred, but cherished, traditional writings and commentaries.

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Filed under Religious Literacy, Revelation, Ways to Learn the World Religions

Modern Religion vs Late 18th century Churches

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George Whitefield, preacher of the Christian revivals that became the ‘Great Awakening’ in colonial US.

Many Christian churches of North America have their origins in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and my students often asked me whether these are best studied as Modern Religion or as part of Christianity.

The introductory class on religion is not the place to memorize the hundreds of different sects of Christianity or their origins. Later, when studying Christianity in depth, a student can research the details of sectarianism in European churches and the continued splintering of denominations in the Americas.

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Filed under Christianity, modern religion, Religious Literacy

Transcendental Meditation

I recently went to a screening of a film entitled Meditation, Creativity, Peace for the promotion of the David Lynch Foundation For Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. The film was put together by film students and featured David Lynch as he toured and talked about Transcendental Meditation.

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For anyone interested in understanding religion, in an attempt to start with clarity, I recommend a category of ‘Modern Religion.’ Any religion that has a founder or foundation after the beginning of the nineteenth century should be arranged for study in the category of Modern Religion.

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Filed under Easy Categories, Origins, Religious Literacy