Archives For Religion


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

‘”Animism” , belief in spiritual beings that are capable of helping or harming human interests. In Primitive Culture (1871), SIR EDWARD BURNETT TYLOR proposed the term and the view that animism is the first stage in the development of religion.

To the intellectuals of the 19th century, profoundly affected by Darwin’s new biology, animism seemed a key to the so-called primitive mind-human intellect at the earliest knowable stage of cultural evolution. At present this view is considered to be rooted in a profoundly mistaken premise, as all contemporary cultures and religions reflect a fully evolved human intelligence.

In order to undertake a systematic study of the evolution of religion, Tylor required “minimum definition of religion” and found it in “the Belief in Spiritual Beings.” If it could be shown that no people was devoid of such minimal belief, then it would be known that all of humanity already had passed the threshold into “the religious state of culture.” He assembled ethnographic cases and arranged them in series from what seemed to him the simplest or earliest to the most complex or recent. In this way he argued that religion had evolved from a “doctrine of souls” arising from reflection upon death, dreams, and apparitions to a wider “doctrine of spirits,” which eventually expanded to embrace powerful DEMONS and gods. Tylor asserted that humans everywhere would be impressed by the vividness of dream images and would reason that dreams of dead kin or of distant friends were proof of the existence of souls. The simple belief in these spiritual beings independent of natural bodies would, he thought, expand to include more elaborate religious doctrines, accompanied by rites designed to influence powerful spirits. Tylor showed that animistic beliefs exhibit great variety and often are uniquely suited to the cultures and natural settings in which they are found.

The term animism covers a range of spirits, from sojourning ghosts and mortal witches to perennial beings, whose natures and dispositions to humanity are attributed by categories. Spirits represent particular powers and must be handled accordingly. When trouble is encountered, the responsible witch, demon, or disgruntled spirit must be identified by the diviner. The cure ma rely upon ritual cleansing, propitiation, or even the overpowering of the malevolent force through supernatural counteragency.

(Comeback on 11/01/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn more about “Anitya”.

#ReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Animal Worship”, veneration of an animal, usually because of its connection with a particular deity. The term was used by Western religionists in a pejorative manner and by ancient Greek and Roman polemicists against theriomorphic religions-those religions whose gods are represented in animal form. Most examples given for animal worship in early religions, however, are not instances of worship of an animal itself. Instead, the sacred power of a deity was believed to be manifested in an appropriate animal regarded as an EPIPHANY or incarnation of the deity.

The universal practice among hunting peoples of respect for and ceremonial behavior toward animals stems from the religious customs attendant on the conducting of the hunt and not from worship of the animal itself. Another phenomenon that has been confused with animal worship is TOTEMISM, in which animal or plant categories fulfill a social classificatory system.

In contemporary scholarship, the term animal worship seldom occurs, because it has been rejected as a misleading interpretive category. Indeed, apparent evidence for the practice is often misleading. Religious ICONOGRAPHY and ALLEGORY has sometimes used animal symbolism to draw on popular associations of certain qualities with certain animal species (e.g., the association of wisdom with the owl lay behind ancient Greek depictions of ATHENA, the goddess of wisdom, with the owl).

(Comeback on 10/31/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn more about “Animism”.

#ReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Master of the Animals”, supernatural figure regarded as the protector of game in the traditions of early hunting peoples. The name was actually devised by Western scholars who have studied such hunting societies. In some traditions, the master of the animals is believed to be the ruler of the forest and guardian of all animals; in others, he is the ruler of only one species, usually a large animal of economic or social importance to the community. In some traditions he is pictured in human form, at times having animal attributes or riding an animal; in other traditions he is a giant animal or can assume animal form at will.

The master controls the game animals (or fish) or their spirits (in many myths, by penning them). He releases a certain number to the hunter as food. Only the allotted number may be killed, and the slain animal must be treated with respect. The master of the animals, if properly invoke, will also guide the hunter to the kill. The souls of the slain animals return to the master’s pens and report their treatment. If this system is violated, the master will avenge an animal improperly slain, usually by withholding game. A ceremony then must be held to remove the offense of a SHAMAN sent to placate the master.

Master of animals or Hero with two griffins

(Comeback on 10/30/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn more about “Animal Worship”.

#ReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Aniconism”, opposition to the use of ICONS or visual images to depict living creatures or religious figures. Such opposition is particularly relevant to the Jewish, Islamic, and Byzantine artistic traditions.

The biblical Second Commandment (part of the First Commandment to Roman Catholics and Lutherans), “You shall not make yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything,” which had been intended as a protection against idol worship, came to have a restricting effect on Jewish art, though this effect varied in strength in different periods and was strongest on sculpture. Figural representations were absolutely prohibited in the early period of ISLAM and under the Berber dynasties of Africa and the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria, though under the ‘Abbasids and most of the SHI’ITE and Turkish dynasties, it was excluded only from public buildings. In the Byzantine Empire, during the ICONOCLASTIC CONTROVERSY (725-843), a ban was imposed on the representations of saintly or divine personages.

Rhodes. Circa 408-394 BC. AR Hemidrachm (1.87 gm). Facing head of Helios.

 

(Comeback on 10/29/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn more about “Master of the Animals”.

#ReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Anglican Communion”, religious body of national, independent, and autonomous churches throughout the world that evolved from the Church of England. The Anglican Communion is united by loyalty to the archbishop of Canterbury in England as its senior bishop and titular leader and by agreement with the doctrines and practices defined in the BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.

From the time of the REFORMATION, the Church of England followed explorers, traders, colonists, and missionaries into the far reaches of the known world. The colonial churches generally exercised administrative autonomy. It was probably not until the first meeting of the Lambeth Conference in 1867 that there emerged among the various church and councils a consciousness of an Anglican Communion. Since its inception, the Lambeth Conference has been the principal cohesive factor in Anglicanism.

The DIOCESE, under the administration of a bishop, is the basic administrative unit throughout the Anglican Communion. The diocese is made up of parishes, or local church communities, each under the care of a pastor (rector). In many national churches, dioceses are grouped into provinces. In some, parishes may be grouped also below the diocesan level into rural deaneries and archdeaconries.

In the 20th century the Anglican Communion has played a prominent role in the ecumenical movement. A milestone in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations was reached in 1982 when POPE JOHN PAUL II met with Robert Runcie, the archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury to discuss prospects for reconciliation between the two churches.

(Comeback on 10/28/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn more about “Aniconism”.

#ReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Angel”, (Greek: angelos, “messenger”), primarily in Western religions (i.e., ZOROASTRIANISM, JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY, and ISLAM), any of  numerous spiritual beings, powers, or principles that mediate between the real of the sacred and the profane realm of time and space.

Functioning as messengers or servants of the deity or as guardians of individuals or nations, angels have been classified into ranks or into hierarchies by theologians or philosophical thinkers, by sects that have become religions in their own right (for example, the DRUZE religion), and by syncretistic movements (for example, the dualistic sect GNOSTICISM).

The number of such celestial beings in the rankings—often 4,7, or 12—was generally based on the theory of planetary spheres in Hellenistic or Iranian ASTROLOGY or on the hierarchy derived from Oriental monarchical government. In Zoroastrianism, the AMESHA SPENTAS, or bounteous immortals, of AHURA MAZDA, the Good Lord, are arranged in a hierarchy of seven: SPENTA MAINYU (the Holy Spirit), VOHU MANAH (Good Mind), Asha (Truth), Armaiti (Right Mindedness), Khshathra Vairya (Kingdom), Haurvatät (Wholeness), and Ameretät (Immortality).

In Judaism, the hierarchy of angels—often called in the OLD TESTAMENT the “hosts of heaven” or the “company of divine beings”—is not strictly defined. In postbiblical Judaism—especially in apocalyptic literature, which describes God’s dramatic intervention in history—seven angels, sometimes called ARCHANGES, lead the heavenly hosts that in that TALMUD are viewed as countless. These seven, noted in the noncanonical First Book of Enoch (chapter 20), are: Uriel (leader of the heavenly hosts and guardian of sheol, the Underworld); Raphael (avenger of God against the world of lights); Michael (guardian of ISRAEL); GABRIEL (ruler of paradise, the seraphim, and the cherubim); and Ramiel, also called Jeremiel (guardian of the souls in sheol). Of these two, (Michael and Gabriel) are mentioned in the Old Testament and two others (Raphael and Uriel) in the APOCRYPHA, a collection of noncanonical works. In rabbinic literature, angels are classified into two basic groupings, higher and lower. Included among the higher group are the cherubim and seraphim, winged guardians of God’s throne or chariot, and the ofannim (Hebrew: “wheels”), all of which are noted in the Old Testament. Among the sects associated with the DEAD SEA SCROLLS, the higher angels include the angels of light, darkness, destruction, and holiness.

Christianity developed a hierarchy of angels based on the Judaic tradition. In addition to angels, archangels, seraphim, and cherubim, five other spiritual angelic groups—named in the letters of Paul in the New Treatment—were accepted in the church by the 4th century: virtues, powers, principalities, dominions, and thrones. Together they made up a hierarchy or choir of angels. As objects of devotion, special attention has been given to the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael in ROMAN CATHOLICISM and EASTERN ORTHODOXY.

Belief in angels (Arabic mal’ika) is a fundamental component of iman (faith) in Islam, often listed after belief in God (QUR’AN 2:285). Employing concepts of angelology familiar to Jews and Christians, the Qur’an speaks of winged angelic hosts gathered at God’s throne, praising hi, blessing the Prophet MUHAMMAD, assisting the faithful in battle greeting the righteous in paradise, and torturing the damned in hell. At adam’s creation they voiced the fear that humans would “do evil and shed blood on earth” (Qur’an 2:30), but Adam, instructed by God, bested them in a naming contest. The Qur’an thus signals that humans rank above the angels and all other creatures in God’s eyes, an ideas echoed later in SUFISM.

Angels with specific traits and names, such as the Spirit (ruh), usually identified with Gabriel (Arabic JIBRIL), the angel of death (‘IZRA’IL), and the keeper of hell (Mälik) are mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith. By the 11th century, Muslim theologians and visionaries had constructed elaborate hierarchies of angels, described as luminous creatures responsible for carrying out God’s commands throughout the universe. Gabriel, perhaps the most esteemed archangel in the Islamic tradition, acts as intermediary between God and man and as bearer of revelation to the prophets, most notably to Muhammad. Muhammad could not at first identify the spirit that revealed itself to him, but once he accepted his calling he recognized Gabriel as his constant helper. It was Gabriel who accompanied Muhammad on his night journey and ascension (MI’RAJ). He is described variously as a black-haired man in white clothing, or as an awesome being with 600 wings, each pair so enormous that they crowd the space between East and West.

Many Muslims also believe in personal angels who record their good and evil deeds; they salute them at the conclusion of their prescribed daily prayers. The angels Munkar and Nakir (not mentioned in the Qur’an) interrogate the dead in their graves, providing them a preview of the bliss or suffering they will experience after the final judgment. IBLIS (SATAN), who refused to bow to Adam with the angels (Qur’an 2:34), is sometimes regarded as a fallen angel. Among Twelver SHI’ITES it is believed that the IMAMS receive divine guidance through angelic intermediaries, and are protected by them. Angels’ names are also invoked in talismans and AMULETS designed to protect the wearer from illness or evil, a practice that has roots among the pre-Islamic religions of Africa and Asia. See also HARUT AND MARUT; JINN.

the archangel.jpg

(Comeback on 10/27/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn more about “Anglican Communion”.

#ReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver


Taken from the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions

Here is a dose of daily religion from A to Z.

Today’s religious topic is as follows:

”Angad”, also called Lehna, or Lahina (b. 1504, Matte di Sarai, India—d. 1552, Khadur), second GURÜ of Sikhs (1539-52). Angad was a sakta (“worshiper of the goddess,” see SAKTI) before coming to the fold of Gurü Nanak. Angad was appointed Gurü in 1539 and was able to sustain the community after the death of Gurü Nanak and prepare it for later phases of expansion. In Sikh lore, Gurü Angad is credited with having established a set of crucial institutions; he is also said to have originated the Punjabi script, Gurmukhi, in which the ADI GRANTH is written, and to have promoted the practice of community meals (langar) that broke down CASTE barriers. However, no historically credible documents support these attributions.

Gurü Angad

(Comeback on 10/25/14 and continue to learn about religion. Tomorrow you’ll read and learn more about “Angel”.

#ReligiousTopicOfTheDay, #poetsareangels.com, @FelinaSilver