Religion and magic.

What is religion and what is magic?
Why do people use all kinds of amulets or perform ritual dances etc?
Both give us something to believe in. Neither can be proved to exist.
Please share your views on this.

why don’t you, it’s your thread.

Well, i dont really have much to say. Im not religious, so i dont really know much about it.
I have an assignment to do about religion and magic and i dont know where to srart. :confused:

That’s one way to kill a thread :wink:

What is religion? It is a moral & legal system based on a spiritual experience.

what is magic? The belief that a ritual or action will cause a effect that is not normaly causable.

Why do people preform rituals? Because they belive that with out them what ever they fear will happen.

Why do people use amulets? People use amulets as a way to try to control what they beforehand could not.

A religion CAN be proved to exist. The spiritual experience it is based on, only has circumstantial evidence to prove it happend.

Magic that works is a form of physics and science. What doesnt work is just fiction.

You don’t know where to start? I can help ya there. First, define religion. Look through the oxford books, webster, get perspectives from other individuals and of different faiths what they find religion to be. Then look to its etymology.

On that, my currect philosophy teacher of oriental religions has presented us with a new perspective that religion is not the noun we catagorize it as but is the action, the three verbs to re-read, re-choose, and re-bind. Granted I have heard arguments “this isn’t a certain definition” but has been highly accepted, at least two of the three have as being the roots of the word, but I believe it was either augusta or aquanas and I think also ciscero who really brought these three verbs together again as the basic understanding of what religion is.

Understanding that perspective I would say is a very hard task because it means throwing away your occidental perspective of it being objectified into our connotative “label” of what religion is (which was the first task of the class to truely understand the oriental perspective).

Now, what is magic? I would say study shamanism. “Religion and Magic in the life of Traditional peoples” by Child and child is a great book on this. It is the anthropological search into religion and the magical practices which ARE a part of what religion is (as it is all an act we live and as many have, especially to my surprise, in my class have equated religion to the act of living life itself or as I say to continue living or going on living each day). Essentially the book covers traditional (tribal, island people, natives, etc) and their religious practices.

To give you an answer though, I believe in the three-fold definition of religion (obviously) now, and as for magic hmm. Magic is the ability to alter this world by supernatural means. To be more specific on how this is done, the shaman changes a dream aspect, something in the spirit world which in response alters something in this world. We get Vudun practices like this, witchcraft (healing magic), or even harmful magics such as negative witchcraft, sorcery, etc. Also, just to note, shamans are not held to traditional peoples at all. The priest can be considered a shaman (but generally isn’t, but is up in the listing of religions practionars with medicine people, and shamans).

There’s a lot to study in this area, I suggest getting some books on it if you’re really intereted, I don’t have any websites off hand to help though.

Oh, and to touch on runes and power objects. Well, that’s what they are. We use these power objects and images to help us project something or connect us to the spirit/dream/timeless/divine world. This brings up the concept of Mana. It is an energy (the Force?) that is within EVERYTHING. Some things collect more of it than others. It can be passed through to others by many means and can be deadly. Tribal Chiefs usually are the ones with a lot of Mana and use it to make sure things stay in order (great social structure control this way). He also has to prove it though, keeping the crops growing, etc. Now, mana isn’t directly related to shamanism or magic in any universal sense but mana in one form or another is always present. Even in Christianity the ark of the covinent(sp?) was to hit you with a powerful energy, electricity if touched or something, this is mana. The same thing was with chiefs. Normal people cannot touch him, they will die! Objects, plants, rocks, etc can have mana within them too. We get totem polls which bring the spirit of animals to help us, this could be considered a way of bringing energy to the totom. We can use shamans to try and put power (mana) into objects to help us in life. Gri-gri is a great example of a Vudun practice by which you have something that protects you from bad magic. But as I already stated there are objects by which we can use to help us do magic or go to the spirit world or whatever. Also mana can be considered to be located in places like Stone hendge maybe or many chruches were built on “holy ground” which the “pagans” would go for their holy practicies to connect with nature or feel the energy or use it, etc (the churches also picked those locations to lure the pagans into the church, but i’m not getting into history here :stuck_out_tongue:).

So yeah, there’s a lot on this subject. Magic is very much involved in religion, even modernly. Prayer is a form of magic, spiritually connecting with the Divine and making something happen that way. Is that so far different from the shaman connecting with the Divine, the spirit world and making somethng happen? Of course not. So as I said, research shamanism, you’ll find a lot of what you’re looking for in there. That book is also cheap and found on amazon, it covers a lot of this from the anthropological perspective.

And trust me, I could go on a lot more on this subject! lol But i’ll shut up now.

To: DarkWolfofVoid

From: Jay Brewer

Interesting take on shamanism, particularly the part about the shaman having the power to change something in the spirit world (an ectoplasmic metaphor or copy of the real world) and have the real world reflect that change.

Indeed, it is sort of similar to my idea of SUPERCHRISTIANITY, whereby Christ can affect the real world by thinking certain thoughts and having the nature of those thoughts (with said thoughts being literal “interpretations” of the real world or fantastic metaphorical imagery)reflected in physical reality through humans.

I think all of the views on what religion is and what magic is are all similarities of (perhaps!) one deeper metaphysical truth, atheism notwithstanding.

But, that is only my view,
Jay M. Brewer