1. are the same

  2. Positivism/Scientism– belief that denies that philosophy or theology are valid – the only knowledge is knowledge of the material world

  3. Multiculturalism– that all religions are the same and are good

  4. Atheism– that all religions are the same and are bad generally because of a denial of the existence of the transcendent

  5. Ecumenism– the goal to unite all Christians as one

  6. Interreligious Dialogue– interaction between different religious leaders to foster peace and justice

  7. Syncretism– the lumping together of all of the world’s religions

  8. Religion– not always clear in discussions on the study of different faith systems, but comes from the idea of “binding” oneself to others or something greater than oneself, or reading from a common source

  9. Transtheistic–Describes a religion that allows for belief in divine or semi-divine beings without the belief in an essentially relevant god

  10. Theistic– describes a belief in a god or multiple gods

  11. Nontheistic– Describes a belief system that holds that there is no divine being

  12. Empathy–The capacity for seeing things from another’s perspective, and an important methodological approach for studying religions

  13. Monotheism–The belief is only one god

  14. Polytheism–The belief in many gods

  15. Pantheism–The belief that the divine really exists in everything

  16. Revelation–The transmission of the divine will or knowledge to human beings, typically through myths or some form of religious experience

  17. Faith–Experience of the divine or holy presence, sometimes involving intellectual belief and sometimes emphasizing personal trust

  18. Myth–the big story which explains the meaning of why things are the way they are

  19. Transcendence–The overcoming of normal limitations imposed by the human condition, whether temporarily or abidingly

  20. Mysticism–A category of religious experiences characterized by combining or uniting with the ultimate reality through inward contemplation

  21. Anthropology — the study of human societies and their cultures and development

  22. Epistemology– the study of knowledge

  23. Cosmology–The understanding of the nature of the universe

  24. Ethics–A dimension of religion that deals with how we are to act while living in the world

  25. Natural Law– the moral law observed by everyone

  26. Ritual– Formal worship practice, often based on the reenactment of a myth

  27. Imago Dei-Made in his image and likeness

Chapter One: Introduction to World Religions

Stephen Prothero’s “Separate Truths”(make sure you clearly understand his arguments)

  1. How does Prothero explain the relationships/ commonalities among religions or lack thereof?

    1. He says that each religion is expressing a different truth about the world

  2. What reasons does Prothero cite in his call to take the differences among religions seriously?

    1. It is ignorant because it invalidates the individuality and beauty of each religion

    2. It denies that the differences between the religions matter

    3. Doesn’t take each religions beliefs seriously

    4. Leads to religious violence

  3. Explain why it’s difficult to find the essence of all “religions”.

    1. Religions share family resemblances instead of an essence meaning that they share similar tendencies like similar beliefs or behaviors but they don’t necessarily have to be the same just as siblings have different personalities and looks.

  4. Explain the origins of the idea that all religions are basically the same.

    1. It comes from the rejection that only a certain group will achieve salvation, heaven, paradise, nirvana

  5. Explain the Perennial Philosophy/”Godthink” and Prothero’s critique of it.

    1. People say that religions are different paths up the same mountain, but Prothero says that each religion is different with different goals, so some might not even want to climb the mountain. Each religion is unique in itself, each trying to solve what they think the problem is in the world.

  6. Where does he say religions have something in common?

    1. They share a starting point; they acknowledge that there is something wrong in the world and needs to be solved.

  7. In what ways do the various religions diverge?

    1. Religions are different in diagnosing what the problem is, how to solve that problem, and in their models on living in a way to achieve the goal.

Pope Francis’ “Joy of the Gospel” – Evangelii Gaudium (make sure you clearly understand his arguments)

  1. What are the foundational principles that are the basis of the Church’s interactions with others?

    1. to promote full human development and to pursue the common good

  2. Explain the relationship between evangelization + dialogue.

    1. Evangelization also involves the path of dialogue. In the Catholic church, we use dialogue and communication to preach the gospel and/or convert others to Christianity

  3. With whom does the Church engage in dialogue, and what is her rationale for doing so?

    1. The Church today, engages in 3 areas of dialogue

      1. dialogue with states

      2. dialogue with society(culture+science)

      3. dialogue with other believers who are not part of the Catholic Church.

  4. Explain the importance of both faith and reason.

    1. Faith and reason elevate us to the mystery transcending nature and human intelligence.

      1. Faith is not fearful of reason; on the contrary, it seeks and trusts reason, since “the light of reason and the light of faith both come from God” and cannot contradict each other.

  5. How are scientism and positivism limited, and what else does the Church bring into consideration?

    1. Positivism and scientism refuse to admit other forms of knowledge other than those that have been proven by science. The Church calls for a combination of ideas between the responsible use of methods proper to the verifiable by observation or experience sciences and other areas of knowledge such as philosophy, theology, and faith

  6. What is the Catholic rationale for engaging in ecumenism?

    1. We are pilgrims journeying alongside one another. This means that we must have sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims, putting aside all suspicion or mistrust, and turn our gaze to what we are all seeking: the radiant peace of God’s face. Trusting others is an art and peace is an art.

  7. For what reasons does he identify that Christians and Jews should engage in dialogue?

    1. The Church, which shares with Jews an important part of the sacred Scriptures, looks upon the people of the covenant and their faith as one of the sacred roots of her own Christian identity. the Church also is enriched when she receives the values of Judaism. We can also share many ethical convictions and a common concern for justice and the development of peoples.

  8. What exhortations does he have for Christians in dealing with relationships with both Jews and Muslims?

    1. We must have an attitude of openness in truth and love which will characterize the dialogue with the followers of non-Christian religions, even if there are various obstacles and difficulties, especially forms of fundamentalism(upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture)on both sides. Interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and so it is a duty for Christians as well as other religious communities.

      1. We learn to accept others and their different ways of living, thinking, and speaking

      2. We can then join one another in taking up the duty of serving justice and peace

  9. How does Francis critique syncretism, and what should characterize true interreligious dialogue?

    1. A facile syncretism(combining of religions) would ultimately be an extreme authoritarian gesture on the part of those who would ignore greater values of which they are not the masters. True openness involves remaining steadfast in one’s deepest convictions, clear and joyful in one’s own identity, while at the same time being “open to understanding those of the other party” and “knowing that dialogue can enrich each side”. What is not helpful is a diplomatic openness which says “yes” to everything in order to avoid problems, for this would be a way of deceiving others and denying them the good which we have been given to share generously with others

  10. What concerns does Francis express in regards to questions of religious freedom vs. the privatization of religion?

    1. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. This includes manifesting one’s beliefs in public. A healthy pluralism(a form of society in which the members of minority groups maintain their independent cultural traditions)does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them or to dismiss them to the enclosed walls of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would be a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism. The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace.

Seven Dimensions of Religions + the Big Questions

  1. In what areas are religions the most similar, and why? In what areas are they different?

    1. All religions want to answer the existential question of the human condition but they all different in what that exact question is and how to solve it.

  2. Explain the three transcendentals (truth, beauty, goodness) and why looking at these is a good starting point for dialoguing with people of other faiths

    1. All religions seek for truth, beauty, and goodness

      1. Truth – correspondence with reality; sought by the intellect; fullness of truth is Christ

      2. Beauty – allows us to be drawn out of ourselves towards the integrity and clarity of the infinite; brings true joy and awa; sought by the soul

      3. Goodness – fulfillment of purpose; object of the will; realm of morals

  3. What are the seven dimensions of religion and what do they include?

    1. Experiential – involves an encounter, or experience of something beyond oneself

      1. Ex: Siddhartha Gautama’s enlightenment → buddha; Muhammad receiving the messages from Allah through the angel Gabriel; becoming one with the Brahman in Hinduism; visions, mystical experiences of Christ, Mary, saints, angels in Christianity

    2. Mythic – conveys essential truths of life – the big story of origin, destiny, and reason

      1. Ex: often tells about the origins of humanity and the world

    3. Doctrinal – belief aspect; make rational sense of experience and gives direction to lives, make assertions about the nature of reality and truth

      1. Ex: creeds, doctrines, and teachings

    4. Ritual – formal practices

      1. Ex: Seder meal, Mass, pilgrimage to Mecca

    5. Social – community → levels of membership, organization, models of spiritual perfection

    6. Ethical – moral principles, rules of conduct; assert what is right + wrong

      1. Where religions hold the most in common bc of natural law

        1. Ex: 10 Commandments, Buddhist compassion

    7. Material – physical aspects of the world – viewed as sacred

      1. Ex: cathedrals, icons, paintings, scripture, natural phenomenon

  4. What do the seven dimensions say about human beings?

    1. Human longing

  5. How did J.R.R. Tolkien + C.S. Lewis explain the idea of myth as it relates to Christianity?

    1. Christ is “myth become fact”

  6. What fundamental questions do religions ask/ attempt to answer?

    1. They question the meaning of existence, why people suffer, whether human beings are good or evil

  7. How does Christianity answer these fundamental questions?

    1. Humans are sinful, but by repenting and following God we can achieve eternal happiness with God in heaven

  8. What are examples of the seven dimensions in Catholicism?

    1. Experiential – Our Lady of Lourdes apparition

    2. Mythic – Genesis (Adam + Eve)

    3. Doctrinal – Immaculate Conception

    4. Ritual – Mass

    5. Social – Magisterium, Parish

    6. Ethical – 10 Commandments

    7. Material – Crucifix

  9. From your observations about “In God’s Name”, what does it reveal about the commonalities among human beings vs. the different answers religions provide to questions?

    1. Everyone is seeking for something to believe to answer the why question; each religion has it’s own way of explaining our existence