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J. Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum's Midnight Movies, round up everyone from Émile Durkheim to Parker Tyler to explain the quasi-religious evanescent delirium of cinema.
If the origins of art are to be found in religion, the movies are surely the universal secular faith of the twentieth century.--Parker Tyler, 1944, The Hollywood Hallucination
catholicism - christianity - cult - diva - god - mythology - nun - paganism - protestantism - sacred - spiritual - supernatural - witchcraft
Time magazine cover, April 8, 1966
DefinitionA religion is commonly defined as the social expression of attitudes, beliefs, and practices related to the supernatural or the sacred. Religion also functions in many human communities as a means by which the origin of the world around them, and such mysteries as life, death, and their meaning are explained. However, what actually constitutes a religion is subject to much dispute in the fields of theology, sociology, anthropology, and among ordinary people. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion [May 2004]
Spirituality is, in a narrow sense, a concern with matters of the spirit, however that may be defined; but it is also a wide term with many available readings. It may include belief in supernatural powers, as in religion, but the emphasis is on personal experience. It may be an expression for life perceived as higher, more complex or more integrated with one's worldview, as contrasted with the merely sensual. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirituality [Nov 2005]
CultIn anthropology, an organization for the conduct of ritual, magical, or other religious observances. Many so-called primitive tribes, for example, have ancestor cults, in which dead ancestors are considered divine and activities are organized to respect their memory and invoke their aid. A cult is also a religious group held together by a dominant, often charismatic individual, or by the worship of a divinity, an idol, or some other object. (See animism, fetish, and totemism.) --Bartleby.com
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_%28disambiguation%29 [Oct 2004]
- A practice within a religion; see cult (religion).
- A religious group often existing on the margins of society; see cult and new religious movement.
- A group which exploits and destroys its members or even non-members; see destructive cult
- Some of these cults have been known to participate in cult homicide and/or cult suicide.
- Some religions in the South Pacific are refered to as cargo cults.
Negative theology With the advent of the first truly revolutionary means of reproduction, photography, simultaneously with the rise of socialism, art sensed the approaching crisis which has become evident a century later. At the time, art reacted with the doctrine of l'art pour l'art, that is, with a theology of art. This gave rise to what might be called a negative theology in the form of the idea of 'pure' art, which not only denied any social function of art but also any categorizing by subject matter. (In poetry, Mallarmé was the first to take this position.) --WAAMR, 1936
Sociology of religion
Social scientists tend to assume no supernatural intervention in the formation of religions, viewing them in the same way they view the development of other social structures.
According to what is at present the most common typology among sociologists, religious groups are classified as ecclesia, denominations, cults or sects. Note that sociologists give these words precise definitions which are different from how they are commonly used. Note especially that the words 'cult' and 'sect' as used by sociologists are free from prejudice, even though the popular use of these words is often highly pejorative.
The Encyclopedia of Unbelief (1985) - Gordon Stein
The Encyclopedia of Unbelief (1985) - Gordon Stein
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This comprehensive work covers the philosophy, history, and biography of the various branches of unbelief from skepticism to atheism. Stein, who edits the American Rationalist, has compiled an excellent series of articles by more than 100 authorities. All articles are well written, signed, and include short bibliographies. The cross-referencing is quite good. Along with thorough coverage of such expected subjects as ``Existentialism and Unbelief,'' there are some novel additions such as one on ``Conjuring and Unbelief in the Supernatural.'' The five appendixes include one on ``Periodicals of Unbelief,'' which lists nearly 500 periodicals and newspapers on the subject. There is no comparable work, so academic and public libraries will wish to consider this for their reference collections. Recommended. C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., West Lafayette, Ind.--amazon.com
The Varieties of Religious Experience (1901-1902) - William James
The Varieties of Religious Experience (1901-1902) - William James [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Amazon.com "I am neither a theologian, nor a scholar learned in the history of religions, nor an anthropologist. Psychology is the only branch of learning in which I am particularly versed. To the psychologist the religious propensities of man must be at least as interesting as any other of the facts pertaining to his mental constitution. It would seem, therefore, as a psychologist, the natural thing for me would be to invite you to a descriptive survey of those religious propensities."
When William James went to the University of Edinburgh in 1901 to deliver a series of lectures on "natural religion," he defined religion as "the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine." Considering religion, then, not as it is defined by--or takes place in--the churches, but as it is felt in everyday life, he undertook a project that, upon completion, stands not only as one of the most important texts on psychology ever written, not only as a vitally serious contemplation of spirituality, but for many critics one of the best works of nonfiction written in the 20th century. Reading The Varieties of Religious Experience, it is easy to see why. Applying his analytic clarity to religious accounts from a variety of sources, James elaborates a pluralistic framework in which "the divine can mean no single quality, it must mean a group of qualities, by being champions of which in alternation, different men may all find worthy missions." It's an intellectual call for serious religious tolerance--indeed, respect--the vitality of which has not diminished through the subsequent decades.
Thomas Traherne: Poetry and Prose
Thomas Traherne: Poetry and Prose [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Thomas Traherne (1636 or 1637 - October 10, 1674) was an English poet and religious writer. He was born in Hereford, son of a shoemaker, and got the name Traherne from a wealthy innkeeper who raised him after his parents’ death. He entered Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1652, achieving an M.A. in arts and divinity nine years later. In the meantime, he worked for ten years as a parish priest in Credenhill, near Hereford, before becoming the private chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the Lord Keeper of the Seals of Charles II, in 1667. He died in Teddington after seven years in this service. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas Traherne [Sept 2005]
See also: 1600s - religion - UK
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