1.4 World Religions

When jumping further into the subject of world religions, I can understand that it has a major impact on today’s society as well as the past and it continues to change as a result of the cultural context of our reality. We often consider Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism as the major religions that are categorized into this list of “world religions.” However, we should also examine what this rundown excludes, like what Megan Goodwin expressed in her podcast, and what it means to be in this “list” and how they are treated equally.

From the lessons before, we understood that there was definitely a form of inequality when comparing religions and how some “do not have the same legal protection” as others possess. When studying our primary source Wenger's discussion of defining religion, I am able to see how the term “religion” is strictly a Western term and there is not generally an interpretation of “religion” into the Native American language. When the Pueblo Indians were being threatened for their culture and used the term American “religion” to justify their traditional way of life, it gave a new meaning to religious freedom and we get a more clear comprehension of how studying religion can lead to the tie with culture.

The concept of world religions was established in the 19th century from the Europeans as a means to study religions. I was fascinated with the introduction of the three social disciplines: political science, economics, and sociology when reading “The Discourse of Religions as a Discourse of Othering” by Tomoko Masuzawa. These three distinct principles were to comprehend the modern European Society and fundamentally to “understand the West.” When we start to look at the rest of the world, we get two more academic disciplines to look at those societies: anthropology and orientalism. Something that I am still unclear on is the notion of postcolonialism and its influences on religion. I understand that it’s a methodical approach to understanding the history of religion, but what else?



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Anna L.

A female student attending the University of Houston. Interested in learning about new concepts and ideas.