What Are Religion And Spirituality In Anthropolgical Sence? (TOP 5 Tips)

What is spirituality in anthropology?

  • Spiritual anthropology is particularly focused on ’spirits’, the ’reality’ of these spirits, and the ways to come in ’contact’ with this spiritual realm. By doing so the attention for the spiritual meaning of the material culture has been pushed to the background.


How do you define religion and spirituality?

Religion is a specific set of organised beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group. Spirituality is more of an individual practice and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose. It also relates to the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life and connection with others.

What is the anthropological concept of religion?

Anthropology of religion is the study of religion in relation to other social institutions, and the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across cultures.

How is religion related to anthropology?

DEFINING RELIGION. Because ideas about the supernatural are part of every human culture, understanding these beliefs is important to anthropologists. To study supernatural beliefs, anthropologists must cultivate a perspective of cultural relativism and strive to understand beliefs from an emic or insider’s perspective.

What is spiritual anthropology?

Spirituality shaped through cultural understandings, Stanford anthropologist says. Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann finds that social, bodily and cultural contexts shape and give meaning to spiritual experiences. Bodily or mental sensations have different meanings in different spiritual traditions, Luhrmann said.

How do you define spirituality?

Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. An opening of the heart is an essential aspect of true spirituality.

How is religion and spirituality similar?

Religion and spirituality are both rooted in trying to understand the meaning of life and, in some cases, how a relationship with a higher power may influence that meaning. Religion is an organized, community-based system of beliefs, while spirituality resides within the individual and what they personally believe.

What is religion Slideshare?

A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. Glory.

What are the functions of religion from an anthropological perspective?

It provides guidelines for right living and identifies what values to hold. Religion gives groups a set of social rules that help to maintain order, invoking a supernatural punishment if its tenets are not followed.

What are the element of spirituality?

Five characteristics of spirituality include: meaning, value, transcendence, connecting (with oneself, others, God/supreme power and the environment), and becoming (the growth and progress in life) (2).

What are the 4 types of religious beliefs anthropology?

Identify the four elements of religion ( cosmology, belief in the supernatural, rules of behavior, and rituals ) and explain how each element contributes to religious practices. Define rites of passage, rites of intensification, and rites of revitalization and explain the purpose of each type of ritual.

What is religion anthropology quizlet?

Religion. Any set of beliefs and practices pertaining to supernatural powers. Supernatural. Powers that are not human or subject to the laws of nature. Ritual.

How is religion related to geography?

Whether it is religion or other beliefs, we are influenced by the cultures and regions we are from. Geography does not only affect where particular religions or belief systems, such as the world’s major faiths, are located but it can affect how specific beliefs are practiced and behaviors that it encourages.

Is spirituality a religion?

What’s the difference between religion and spirituality? Religion: This is a specific set of organised beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group. Spirituality: This is more of an individual practice, and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose.

What is spirituality in culture?

Spirituality is a deeply intuitive, but not always consciously expressed, sense of connectedness to the world in which we live. Its most common cultural representation is religion, an institutionalised system of belief and ritual worship that usually centres on a supernatural god or gods.

What is spirituality in sociology?

Sociology also studies spirituality, which may be defined as individual and group efforts to find meaning for existence within or independent of organized religion. Sociology also examines conditions associated with the rise of religious fundamentalism.

Spirituality shaped through cultural understandings, Stanford anthropologist says

When it comes to one’s identity, religion can play a crucial role. A Latin word that means “to tie or bind together” is the source of the word religion. A religion, according to modern dictionaries, is defined as “an organized system of beliefs and rituals that revolves around the worship of some supernatural being or beings.” It is common for religions to require more than just adhering to their beliefs and participating in their rituals; belonging to a religion can imply belonging to a community and, in some cases, a culture.

There are rituals in all religions, as well as scriptures, as well as holy days and places of gathering for believers.

1 Three major world religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—all trace their origins back to the biblical figure of Abraham, who is also known as the father of all three.

It is important to some people that their lives are guided by their religious beliefs and rituals.

  • Even those who identify as religious adherents but do not engage in religious rituals may experience a sense of belonging to the religion’s culture.
  • Others believe that they have been born and reared in a certain religion and are hesitant or unable to change their religious beliefs and practice.
  • Turkey’s Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), which has served as both a Greek Orthodox Christian church and a mosque throughout its history, is the setting for a Ramadan picnic.
  • Teenagers share excerpts from their religious experiences in the following thoughts.
  • Rebekah, who was then 17 years old, describes the impact that her religion, Judaism, has had on her life as follows: A total of 613 commandments are contained inside the Bible’s Torah.
  • A sort of how-to manual for living.
  • Certain types of meat must be slaughtered and processed in a specific manner in order to comply with dietary regulations.

This is a humorous anecdote that my folks like to tell me.

The moment I spotted the sign, I screamed out, “That sign reads Burger King!

They were things I was aware of at the time.

Immediately, I realized how vital it was.

As a result, there are a slew of restrictions governing what you may and may not do.

It has a spiritual significance for me.

I spend a significant amount of time with my family, starting on Friday night at dusk and continuing until Saturday night at midnight.

The encounter is truly spiritual in nature.

Every Saturday and Friday night since high school, I have avoided seeing a movie.

Friday evenings are reserved for school plays, after all.

Also, I used to participate in sports, such as softball.

People often ask themselves, “How can you give up all of these material because of your religious beliefs?” The way you look at it is all that matters!

However, it was a more good experience in my opinion.

2 During the beginning of the Passover seder, a mom and her daughter light a candle.

She recounts how her Muslim religion and practice have evolved as she has gotten older.

It’s true that at the age of fifteen I was quite religious.

I began to spend more time with my friends and less time praying.

That’s just the way things work in our world.

Given my schedule, I am still unable to pray five times a day (though I do try to pray as often as I can).

Every day, I make an effort to wage a personal jihad with the hope of becoming a better person.

I think fourteen is a good age to stop doing things.

With increasing freedom as you grow older, the rules are no longer black and white; instead, there is a lot of gray space to navigate.

Rituals are important to me.

Is it my intention to fast for the entire thirty-day time period?

Those things aid me in my efforts to become a more virtuous Islamic practitioner.

Prayers replenish the spirit four or five times a day, just as individuals consume food four or five times a day to keep their bodies nourished.

It allows me to detach myself from the things in my environment that are negative influences.

3 Unlike Rebecca and Maham, Sara, who is 18 years old, has a distinct perspective on the rites and worship practices of her religion: However, I feel a strong sense of connection to my Jewish community while feeling less engaged to the religious practice component of my faith.

That doesn’t seem to me to be absolutely required at this point in the game.

That is no longer the case.

Ich am planning a night out with my buddies,” says the speaker.

Occasionally, I attend services, but I find that doing my own thing and praying on my own makes me appreciate it a great deal more.

After I started becoming really involved with things in high school, it didn’t occur to me to think about it.

That small piece of me that will always be Jewish distinguishes me from everyone else, as if I’m no different than everyone else except for that one little piece of me that will be Jewish forever.

He says, “I know the Christian religion in which I was raised is correct for me because.

And if they are, why do millions of Muslims throughout the world pray to Allah five times a day if they are not?

“Can you tell me why I believe this one particular faith is genuine?

To put it another way, it’s quite difficult to describe.

I go to church, and I see the cross, and we’re all in prayer—it feels like it’s exactly what I should do.

Christians are the only religious tradition in which I feel this way.

In my opinion, this is the best option.

It may be inappropriate for me to say this given that I am a Christian and we are supposed to go out into the world and save the world by converting people to Christianity, but I truly believe that there are a large number of people who believe that their religion, whether it is Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism is the best religion for them.

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with it. There is no way for me to state that they are the correct faiths, but you just get a feeling when something is suitable for you. 5

Mental, bodily sensations

Open-ended interviews were performed with 33 American members of evangelical congregations in Northern California, as well as 20 members of a Thai Buddhist community in northern Thailand, by Luhrmann and Cassaniti. The individuals were given questions such as “What has been your most memorable spiritual experience?” and “Would you say that you hear from God?” throughout the course of an hour-long session. Their experiences with sleep paralysis, overpowering feelings (such as times of delight), adrenaline rushes, uncontrolled shaking, and demonic presences were also inquired about, as was how they interpreted these sensations through their own spiritual perspectives The outcomes of the study demonstrated that local culture has a significant impact on spiritual views.

  • According to Luhrmann, if a spiritual experience is given a specific name in the local religion, the physiological feeling that is believed to be an indication of that experience is more likely to be reported to the study team.
  • In the eyes of a Buddhist, such a sensation is seen to be in opposition to spiritual aspirations.
  • A unique word for sleep paralysis exists in Thai language; the Thais were far more aware of the condition than Americans were.
  • “When sleep paralysis occurs, the person believes they are awake yet is unable to move.
  • It was the contrasts in the way people in two distinct cultures reported sleep paralysis that most startled Luhrmann.
  • However, this is not the case.
  • In fact, according to Luhrmann, there are likely to be major cultural differences in the experience of sleep paralysis around the world.
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Varieties of religious experiences

According to the findings of the study, different religions place a varied value on different sorts of experiences. “Buddhism does not believe in a supreme being or an omniscient presence. The ultimate objective for a Thai Buddhist is to detach from and feel untethered from the circle of suffering, according to the religion’s teachings “Luhrmann penned the script. Thai individuals were more likely than other subjects to use the term “weight” to express their sensations of lightness and calmness, which is commonly associated with meditation practices.

For example, according to Baz Luhrmann, “overwhelming emotions that feel out of control become evidence of that supernatural being since the governing agency is assigned to God.”

Paying attention to the mind

People’s expectations for future spiritual experiences are lower if they’ve previously had significant ones that meet the criteria of their culture, according to Luhrmann. According to the researchers, “when people pay more attention to their minds with greater care and greater interest in the supernatural, the partial perceptions and fleeting thoughts, the often unnoticed shifts in awareness, and the often ignored shifts in awareness that get ignored in most daily life, are allowed to flower into meaning.” As a result, Luhrmann believes that Christianity may elicit distinct types of spiritual experiences than Buddhism.

The way in which individuals think about spiritual experiences, according to Luhrmann, will influence the spiritual experiences that they remember and report on.

Media Contact

Anthropology Professor Tanya Luhrmann may be reached at (650) 521-1243 or (650) 723-3421, or via email at [email protected] Contact Clifton B. Parker of the Stanford News Service at 650-725-0224 or [email protected]

Anthropology of Religion

In the Western world, most people have a clear idea of what religion should look like: it takes place in a building that has been designated specifically for the purpose (a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc.), revolves around appeals to a higher, all-powerful deity, and involves the articulation of beliefs (often set down in texts) that the general population might or might not subscribe to.

However, anthropologists have investigated religious practices in such environments as well as in circumstances where religious practice appears to be extremely different.

For that matter, the western concept of ‘belief’ does not make much sense in situations where concepts about gods and spirits are taken for granted and are not questioned by other religions or the findings of natural science.

More specifically, they are interested in how religious concepts convey a people’s cosmology, that is, their views about how the cosmos is organized and the function of humans in relation to the world.

Additionally, the conduct of religious professionals, whether they be priests, prophets, shamans, or spirit mediums, are scrutinized in detail In many countries, such professionals play key roles in politics, economics, and religion, among other things.

Text written by Dr. Simon Coleman (reproduced with the author’s permission)

Aberdeen University is a public research university in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Recommended Resources

Films The following trailer is for the filmHoly Hustlers, which is being released by the Royal Anthropological Institute in the United Kingdom.


Films It is the Royal Anthropological Institute who distributes the film Holy Hustlers, which has the following trailer:

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for information and guidance only. It should not be interpreted as endorsement or otherwise by the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) for any external institution listed.Furthermore, the RAI accepts no responsibility for material created by external parties or the content of external websites.

The study of religion in connection to other social institutions, as well as the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across cultures, is known as anthropology of religion.


Written between 973 and 1048, Ab Rayhn Brân authored thorough comparative studies on the anthropology of faiths and cultures across the Mediterranean Basin (including what is now known as “the Middle East”) and the Indian subcontinent, which are still in print today. He spoke about the peoples, cultures, and faiths of the Indian subcontinent, among other things. In the nineteenth century, cultural anthropology was dominated by an interest in cultural evolution; most anthropologists assumed a simple distinction between “primitive” and “modern” religion and attempted to provide accounts of how the former evolved into the latter.

  1. Most anthropologists in the twentieth century were opposed to this method.
  2. The study of religion by anthropologists is particularly interested with the ways in which religious beliefs and practices may reflect political or economic factors, as well as the social roles that religious beliefs and practices may serve.
  3. Since at least the early 1930s, the perfect continuity of magic and religion has been a presupposition of modern anthropology.
  4. Feuerbach was the first to use this notion as the foundation for a comprehensive critique of religion, when he published his work in 1841.

Definition of religion

One of the most difficult problems in the anthropology of religion is defining what religion is in the first place. Anthropologists used to believe that some religious practices and beliefs, such as belief in spirits and ghosts, the use of magic as a means of controlling the supernatural, the use of divination as a means of discovering occult knowledge, the performance of rituals such as prayer and sacrifice, and the performance of rituals such as sacrifice as a means of influencing the outcome of various events through the use of a supernatural agency, were more or less universal to all cultures at some point in their development.

Specifically, according to Clifford Geertz, religion is (1) a system of symbols that acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) cloaking these conceptions in an aura of factuality that (5) makes the moods and motivations appear uniquely realistic.” Religious anthropologists today question, and in some cases reject, the validity of these categories across cultural boundaries (often viewing them as examples of Europeanprimitivism).

Anthropologists have looked at a variety of criteria for defining religion – such as belief in the supernatural or reliance on ritual – but few believe that any of these criteria is generally applicable.

Wallace, each succeeding classification subsumes the preceding classification.

  1. Individualistic: the most fundamental
  2. The most straightforward. As an illustration, consider the phrase “vision quest.” Shamanistic: a religious practitioner who works part-time and utilizes religion to heal and divine on behalf of others, generally on the client’s behalf. The Tillamook have four different types of shamans to choose from. Spiritualists, faith healers, and palm readers are all examples of shamans. Religious authority that has been obtained via one’s own efforts
  3. The term “communal” refers to a complex system of ideas and practices
  4. A group of people who are organized into clans by ancestry, age group, or religious society
  5. People take on responsibilities based on knowledge and ancestral worship
  6. Agricultural communities and governments are dominated by ecclesiastical institutions that are centrally structured and hierarchical in structure, paralleling the organizational structure of states. Individualistic and shamanistic cults that compete with each other are typically denigrated.

Specific religious practices and beliefs

  1. “It appears to be one of the postulates of modern anthropology that there is total continuity between magic and religion,” wrote Ernst Cassirer in 1944. In fact, there is no factual evidence to suggest that there was ever a period of magic that was followed and eventually supplanted by a period of religion
  2. The religious anthropologist T. M. Manickam wrote: “Religious anthropology suggests that every religion is a product of one race or people’s cultural evolution, more or less coherent
  3. And that this cultural product is further enriched by their interaction and cross-fertilization with other peoples and their cultures, in whose vicinity the former originated and evolved.” As a final note, a word on a fairly banal matter must be stated, as R. R. Marett has written: These practically inarticulate rites of extremely humble persons would be refused the term of religion by many famous anthropologists, including the author of The Golden Bough, who would reject the word outright or in large part. I am concerned, though, that I will be unable to keep up with them. But I would never exclude a whole continent from a study of the faiths that have existed throughout history only for the sake of amusement with the most famous of my friends. This is because these practices cannot be classified as religious, such as a wedding in a church, nor can they are classified as civil, such as a formal marriage registration at a registry office, because they are not religious. They are mysteries, and as such, they are at the very least conceptually similar to religion. Furthermore, they are held in the greatest regard by the general public as being of incalculable worth, whether in themselves or in terms of their impacts. To label them with the opprobrious name of magic, as if they were on a par with the mummeries that enable certain knaves to batten on the nerves of fools, is quite unscientific
  4. For it confounds two things that the student of human culture must keep rigidly apart, namely, a normal development of social life and one of its morbid by-products, which are two things that the student of human culture must keep rigidly apart. As a result, they fall within the category of religion, although primitive religion—that is, an early phase of the same global institution that we recognize by that term among ourselves. Because of this, I am obligated to hypothesize the closest continuity between these stages of what I have committed to interpret as a natural growing process


  1. Adams 2017
  2. Eller 2007, p. 2
  3. Weber 2002
  4. Eller 2007, p. 4
  5. Durkheim 1912
  6. Bowie 1999, pp. 15, 143
  7. AbCassirer 2006, pp. 122–123
  8. AbManickam 1977, p. 6
  9. AbCassirer 2006, The original version of this article was published on November 27, 2003. Retrieved on November 22nd, 2017


  • Adams, Charles Joseph (Charles Joseph Adams) (2017). “The Classification of Religions” is an abbreviation. The Encyclopaedia Britannica is a reference work that provides information on a wide range of topics. Bowie, Fiona (November 2017)
  • Retrieved 22 November 2017. (1999). In this article, we will look at the Anthropology of Religion: An Introduction. Ernst Cassirer’s book is published by Blackwell in Oxford (2006). Maureen Lukay is a writer and editor (ed.). An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture, in the form of an essay about man. Meiner, ISBN 978-3-7873-1423-2
  • Cotrupi, Caterina Nella (Hamburg, Germany) (2000). Northrop Frye and the Poetics of Process (Northrop Frye and the Poetics of Process). University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-0-8020-8141-4
  • Durkheim, Émile, ed., Toronto: University of Toronto Press (1912). The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
  • Eller, J. D. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
  • Eller, J. D. (2007). Introducing the field of Religious Anthropology. Feuerbach, Ludwig, ed., New York: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-203-94624-4
  • Feuerbach, Ludwig (1841). Clifford Geertz’s The Essence of Christianity is a classic work (1966). “Religion as a Cultural System,” says the author. Michael Banton is credited with creating the term “inBanton” (ed.). Approaches to the Study of Religion from an Anthropological Perspective Tavistock Publishing, London (published 2006). Pages 1–46. Stephen Glazier is the author of ISBN 978-0-415-33021-3. (1999). Handbook of Anthropology of Religion (Anthropology of Religion: A Handbook). Praeger Publishing Company, Westport, Connecticut
  • Guthrie, Stewart Elliott (2000). “Projection”. Among those who have contributed to this work are Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon (eds.). This book is a guide to the study of religion. Harvey, Van A., et al., eds., London: Cassell, ISBN 978-0-304-70176-6
  • Harvey, Van A. (1995). Feuerbach’s The Interpretation of Religion is a fascinating read. Cambridge University Press is based in Cambridge, England (published 1997). ISBN978-0-521-58630-6
  • s-(1996). “Projection: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory?” is the title of this article. Philips, D. Z. (ed) (ed.). Is it possible to explain religion away? Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion are a series of seminars held at Claremont College in Claremont, California. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 66–82. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Mackey, James Patrick
  • Doi: 10.1007/978-1-349-24858-2 4.ISBN978-1-349-24860-5
  • ISBN978-1-349-24860-5
  • (2000). The Critique of Theological Reason is a critique of theological reasoning. Cambridge University Press
  • T. M. Manickam, T. M. Manickam, T. M. Manickam, T. M. Manickam, T. M. (1977). Dharma The stories of Manu and Moses tell us that Dharmaram Publications, Bangalore
  • Marett, Robert Ranulph
  • Dharmaram Publications, Bangalore (1932). In primitive religion, faith, hope, and charity are all important. The Macmillan Company publishes in New York. Nelson, John K., et al., eds., retrieved on November 21, 2017. (1990). On the Anthropology of Religion, a Field Statement has been developed. The University of California, Berkeley is located in Berkeley, California. The original version of this article was archived on March 2, 2007. Jacob Pandian’s article from the 21st of November, 2017 was retrieved (1997). A study of religion using an anthropological approach is entitled “The Sacred Integration of the Cultural Self: An Anthropological Approach to the Study of Religion.” Stephen D. Glazier’s book, “Glazier’s Guide to the Bible,” is available online (ed.). Handbook of Anthropology of Religion (Anthropology of Religion: A Handbook). Praeger Publishers, Westport, Connecticut
  • Walbridge, John (1998). “Explaining Away the Greek Gods in Islam” is the title of this article. Journal of the History of Ideas, volume 59, number 3, pages 389–403. Weber, Max
  • Doi: 10.1353/jhi.1998.0030.ISSN1086-3222
  • Max Weber (2002). Peter R. Baehr and Gordon C. Wells are co-authors of this work (eds.). Writings on the Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism, as well as other works. Baehr, Peter R., and Wells, Gordon C. worked together to translate this work. Penguin Books (New York, NY), ISBN 978-0-14-043921-2
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External links

  • The Society for the Anthropology of Religion (inside the American Anthropological Association) has a website, which is called the Anthropology of Religion Page. Professor M.D. Murphy of the University of Alabama
  • Andrew Lang, Anthropology and Religion, The Making of Religion, (Chapter II), Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd. of London, New York and Bombay, 1900, pp. 39–64
  • M.D. Murphy of the University of Alabama
  • And M.D. Murphy of the University of Alabama.

Religion and mental health: the contribution of anthropology

A detailed summary of the rapidly developing literature on religion and mental health is provided by Pargament and Lomax in this book. In their perspective, they strike a fair balance between the beneficial and negative effects of religion and spirituality on human well-being. This commentary focuses on certain areas in which my approach, which is derived from social anthropology, differs from that of Pargament and Lomax, with the goal of advancing conversation regarding future research into religion and mental health.

  1. According to my professional opinion as an anthropologist, the findings presented should be expanded to include other religious groups as well as civilizations and regions.
  2. For example, the lived experience of Islam may change in different cultures depending on where you are in the world.
  3. This has ramifications for both theoretical and clinical considerations.
  4. Also possible is an emic understanding of the manner in which ideas such as religion, spirituality, coping, belief, and mental illness are produced in a culturally built environment.
  5. Data from anthropological research can be used to modify current measuring scales so that they are more responsive to cultural differences.
  6. Most anthropologists, particularly when considering religious convictions2, have expressed reservations about the concept of belief in general.
  7. Furthermore, in the existing research, the relationships between belief, knowledge, and faith are frequently ambiguous and ill-defined.
  8. To date, the cognitive emphasis has been placed on the importance of emotional elements in the maintenance of belief, which has been overlooked.

Firth3 defined religious belief as a collection of beliefs that are more or less integrated by reason, but that are maintained with conviction that they are true — that they have significance in connection to reality He points out that we may discriminate between parts of knowledge, emotion, and volitional conduct that is motivated by a particular belief.

  1. While I agree with Pargament and Lomax’s (who themselves cite the anthropologist C.
  2. Anthropologists have long acknowledged the relevance of unique religious experiences in preserving community well-being, as well as the role that rituals play in engendering such experiences, in their research.
  3. However, there has been no research on the mental health effects of specific rituals in the literature to far.
  4. It is recommended that future study in this area focus on religious experience and rituals, as well as their influence on wellbeing4.
  5. It enables for a more in-depth understanding of the parallels and contrasts between normative religious experience and psychopathology.
  6. T.

Physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions have been identified in the anthropological literature as being present in conceptualizations of wellbeing, and healing has been shown to reflect the restoration of a harmonious relationship with whatever communities identify as the transcendent through a variety of rituals.

Turner has seen in his work among them, healing is as much about repairing the social fabric as it is about treating the body, mind, and spirit of those who suffer.

Final words on treatment: there is a growing body of literature on cross-cultural psychotherapy and the advantages of matching patients and therapists, which is now under review8.

These findings might be applied to research on spiritually integrated therapy, which would examine the ways in which religious matching may enhance or detract from treatment success, among other things.


The current state of debates and future directions in religion, spirituality and mental health are summarized in 1.Dein S, Cook CC, and Koenig H. 2012; 200:852–5. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 2012; 200:852–5. 2.Tambiah S.Magic, science, religion, and the limits of logic are all explored in his work. The Cambridge University Press, New York, published this book in 1990. 3.R. Firth, Religion: A Humanist Interpretation, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

  • 4.S.
  • Int J Transcult Psychiatry.2010;47:523-547.
  • The voice of God in the wilderness.
  • 6.Tamara Luhrmann, Hallucinations and sensory overrides in cinema.
  • Annual Review of Anthropology, vol.
  • Seventh (and last) chapter: Turner, V.
  • Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1967.
  • Intercultural therapy.

The evidence of the senses and the materiality of religion

Religious behaviors are frequently used as proof for something else, such as religious beliefs, in the literature. When attempting to define religion, there are a variety of issues that arise from prioritizing beliefs or concepts above others. As an alternative, it is possible to reexamine how the materiality of religious activity interacts with the concepts that have been used to describe what it is to be a religious person. The use of this technique may also be a fruitful way to examine religious activities in a variety of situations without losing sight of their inherently historical nature.


The practices of religion are frequently viewed as evidence of something else, such as a person’s religious beliefs. Alternatively, the practice of prioritizing religious beliefs or ideas while attempting to define religion raises a number of issues. Another approach is to rethink the relationship between the materiality of religious activity and the ideas that have been used to define the term “religion” in the past. This approach has the potential to be fruitful in that it allows for the examination of religious practices in a variety of contexts without losing sight of their fundamentally historical nature, which is important.

Leslie Sponsel on Spiritual Ecology, Connection, and Environmental Change

We recently spoke with Leslie Sponsel, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Anthropology at the University of Hawaii, to discuss his recent book, Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution (2012), as well as the book’s broader contributions to environmental movements and policy decisions around the world. An ENGAGEMENT series that investigates how environmental-anthropological book projects have deep and significant influence on the world around us continues with this interview, which is the newest installment.

EE: In what way does your new book relate to the topic of your previous work?

The importance of religion and spirituality in indigenous peoples’ lives and communities is likely to be recognized by those who have had the benefit of undertaking ethnographic study with them in the past.

Also included is a critical examination of the so-called “myth of the environmentally virtuous primitive” in one of the book’s chapters.

If spiritual ecology is viewed broadly, it can be defined as a vast and complex environment with a diverse range of intellectual and practical activities occurring at the interface of religions and spiritualities on the one hand and environmental issues such as ecosystems, ecologies, and environmentalalisms on the other.

  • In accordance with the notion of cultural relativism, the book is inclusive and non-judgmental when it comes to faiths and spiritual practices.
  • It’s interesting to note that some atheists are also spiritual ecologists in their own right.
  • LS: Environmental and ecological anthropology is concerned with fundamental concerns such as: What is nature and how does it function?
  • What is the role of people in the natural world?
  • All four of these concerns are addressed by spiritual ecology.
  • (Sponsel 2011).
  • As recently published in Beyond Nature and Culture by Philippe Descola, spiritual ecology calls into question various dichotomies such as the one between man and animal.

Rapport and Richard K.

Posey and Eugene N.

Since the late 1980s, an increasing number of individuals and groups, both scientific and religious, have come to the conclusion that measures other than secular ones are necessary to minimize, if not completely eliminate, many environmental issues.

One chapter in my book is devoted to Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai and her Green Belt Movement, which centered on planting trees, starting in local communities but eventually spreading throughout Kenya and beyond to other African nations and even throughout the world.

EE: During the course of your research for your book, how did you interact with members of various communities?

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LS: Rather than field research, the book is heavily based on library research, though the first five chapters draw on my intermittent fieldwork with Yanomami, Ye’kuana, and Curripaco in the Venezuelan Amazon from 1974 to 1981, as well as my research on spiritual ecology and sacred places in Thailand since the mid-1980s.

  • The book is also based on what I’ve learned through class preparation and from students themselves over the three decades that I’ve worked at the University of Hawaii’s Ecological Anthropology Program.
  • My participation in three of the breakthrough series of conferences on religion and environment at Harvard University, which served as a third important source for the book, is discussed in detail in the book (see Tucker and Grim 2013).
  • Nukul Ruttanadakul, a biologist, and Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel, a psychologist, are interrogating a monk.
  • Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel, I continue to do field study on holy sites in Thailand and their significance in biodiversity protection, which we have been doing since 2004.
  • Guest lectures are a great method to disseminate knowledge and ideas about spiritual ecology, and in Thailand, they are also a great opportunity to express gratitude for the most gracious and generous hospitality and aid from others.
  • LS: The main theme of the book is divided into two parts.
  • For the second time, the plethora of varied methods grouped together under the banner of spiritual ecology may very well represent our species’ final hope for survival.
  • This is especially true in light of the mounting challenges of global climate change (assuming that this does not reach a catastrophic tipping point).
  • Using data from another article (Sponsel 2001), the first table describes the trajectory of cultural change from prehistory to the present, highlighting the gradual intensification and acceleration in the scale of the human ecological footprint as time progresses.
  • According to Ralph Metzner’s book Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth, the information in that table is taken from his work.

In my book, I refer to this as the “silent revolution of spiritual ecology,” which refers to a fundamental re-thinking, re-feeling, and re-visioning of the human role in nature in order to prevent, or perhaps merely to adapt to, crucial environmental concerns such as global climate change, among others.

EE: Where does your book fit into the greater conversation about environmental conservation efforts that the public is having today?

The book gives a comprehensive overview.

When looking at the big picture of spiritual ecology, it helps to put the initiatives of numerous environmental and conservation organizations that are turning to religion as a significant resource for their work into a broader context and perspective, such as the recent investigation into the role of sacred places in biodiversity conservation by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (e.g., Versuuchen, et al., 2010).

  • (See also the Alliance for Religions and Conservation, which partners with the World Wide Fund for Nature, and Dudley et al., 2006, for further information.) .
  • LS: Ecologists have come to know that everything is interrelated and dependent on one another.
  • As examples, go no farther than the chapters on Joanna Macy and Wangari Maathai, as well as those that critically assess the controversial film Avatar and the dreadful situation in Tibet, all of which raise questions of social and environmental justice.
  • In the case of deforestation, animal extinction, mining, and toxic waste dumps, the latter is the outcome of the destruction of the environment for the insatiable economic exploitation of natural resources.
  • The fatal assumption that endless development is feasible from a constrained starting point is at the heart of their argument.
  • Spiritual ecology aims to help people become more aware of such issues and to assist them in determining their own path toward a more sustainable, green, just, and peaceful future in their lives.
  • the cosmos is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects,” wrote Thomas Berry (2006:17) in his short summary of the situation.
  • Do requests to speak with new groups of people about your ideas come as a result of your success?
  • However, there are a few instances that may be provided.
  • The primary message and methodology of the book, according to IUCN director Jeffrey A.

I was interviewed about spiritual ecology on the local Native television station by Lynette Cruz, a Native Hawaiian anthropologist, for her program “Issues That Matter,” and I was also interviewed over the phone by Joanna Harcourt-Smith for her radio program ” FuturePrimitive ” in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

  • Additionally, it disseminates information on spiritual ecology to a much wider audience.
  • A revolutionary concept, spiritual ecology poses a serious challenge to fundamentalists not only in religion but also in business, government and the media, as well as in science and academia.
  • Furthermore, it presents radical alternatives, such as those presented in the chapter on Joanna Macy.
  • Taylor 2010).
  • Spiritual ecology is a silent revolution in the sense that it is peaceful, decentralized without any single leader or group, and not yet well-recognized and appreciated.
  • Ultimately this is by far the most crucial decision we have today, between ecosanity or ecocide.
  • While the environmental condition is becoming bleak and sad, the spiritual ecology is good and encouraging.

(e.g., Tucker and Grim 2013).

By now it should be obvious that this quiet revolution of spiritual ecology is of considerable relevance to ecological and environmental anthropologists, and vice versa.

Leslie E.

In August 2010 he retired to devote full time to research and writing concentrating on spiritual ecology, although he still teaches one course each semester.

Within ecological anthropology his previous books includeIndigenous Peoples and the Future of the Amazon, andTropical Deforestation: The Human Dimension.

Johnston, Lucas F., 2013,Religion and Sustainability: Social Movements and the Politics of the Environment, Equinox, Bristol, CT.

_, 2010, “Religion and Environment: Exploring Spiritual Ecology,” Religion and Society: Advances in Research1:131-145._, 2011, “The Religion and Environment Interface: Spiritual Ecology in Ecological Anthropology,” in Environmental Anthropology Today, edited by Helen Kopnina and Elanor Shoreman-Quimet, eds., Academic Press, San Diego, CA, 3:395-409._, 2011, “The Religion and Environment Interface: Spiritual Ecology in Environmental Anthropolog Bron Taylor’s Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Future of the Planet was published by the University of California Press in Berkeley, California in 2010.

Tucker, Mary Evelyn, and John A.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) published Sacred Natural Sites Conserving Nature and Culture in 2010, edited by Bas Versuuchen et al., Earthscan/International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), London, UK.

Anthropology of Religion: Overview of Religion

As you progress through this course, you will have a better understanding of the religious experience in general as well as some of its variants throughout the world. The sorts of religious beliefs and religious leaders that exist, particularly in small-scale cultures, will be the primary emphasis. It is beyond the scope of this lesson to go into detail about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or any other significant religious tradition. Using the concept of cultural relativity, religious practices or beliefs are not judged in terms of their “correctness” or “sophistication,” but rather in terms of their usefulness within the society in which they are practiced and believed.

  • The term “religion” refers to a system of beliefs that typically involves the worship of supernatural powers or creatures.
  • To put it another way, they bring a feeling of order to what could otherwise be considered a chaotic state of life.
  • For the vast majority of religious individuals, their beliefs in the supernatural are at the very heart of their worldviews and beliefs.
  • Rites are performed in all faiths and are a fundamental element of their practices.
  • Almost often, they entail the use of symbolic items, words, and gestures to convey their meaning.
  • The wearing of somewhat different apparel and engaging with others in a certain manner in a sacred area are frequently required.
Maya Temple in Guatemalabuilt on a high pyramid baseto make it a sacred location

The majority of religious rituals are done in unique settings and under special circumstances, such as a dedicated temple or a hallowed location. A deliberate division exists between the secular and the sacred in this instance. The believers’ appreciation of sacred deeds is strengthened as a result of their separation from the regular world. The rituals become more effective as a result of the isolation. It is also possible to achieve the same result by only permitting those who have been initiated to participate in religious rites.

A common example is that during the Roman Catholic mass, the “partaking of the host” is a symbolic participation in Jesus’ “last supper,” and as a result, it is an acknowledgment that one has come to embrace his teachings.

People’s elevated sensations that they experience throughout rituals serve as positive reinforcement for continuing to participate in them.

Brushing your teeth in the same place and manner every morning is a non-religious ritual that can be performed anywhere.

It has the same effect as religious rituals in that it can make you “feel good,” which encourages you to continue with the practice. It is unusual, however, that it is accompanied by a belief in supernatural creatures or powers.

Children displaying theirnational flag-a powerfulsecular symbolic object

Political ideologies and movements frequently include rituals that may be quite meaningful to individuals, especially when they become the focal point of nationalist sentiment and fervor. In several nations, communism and radical nationalism movements have evolved into secular religions throughout the course of the twentieth century. They had their rituals, which were basically sacred items, as well as their beliefs, which offered meaning and order for millions of individuals. Many political objects and rituals are associated with symbolic political objects and rituals, even in democratic countries with a more international orientation than others.

  1. In spite of the fact that the flag is merely a piece of cloth with different areas coloured red, white, or blue, it takes on a profound significance for which people have given their lives.
  2. Functions of Religion in the Psychological and Social Sphere Religions meet the psychological requirements of people.
  3. They aid in the alleviation of our concerns and anxiety about the unknowable.
  4. Religions can assist to alleviate stress amid personal life crises such as birth, marriage, major sickness, and death, among other things.
  5. Moral norms that have been “divinely provided” provide us with psychological comfort as well.
  6. A great deal of psychological peace comes from simply knowing what to do without having to think about it too much.
Formal North American Church wedding(religious ritual is central to this rite of passage)

Religions also serve to meet societal demands. They have the potential to be strong and dynamic forces in society. They contribute to the formation of social homogeneity by enforcing group norms. They can serve as a foundation for a shared purpose and set of values, which can aid in the preservation of social cohesion. A common set of beliefs serves to bond individuals together and strengthens their sense of belonging as a community. Religions have a vital role in social regulation in most countries, defining what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

In the event that they do something wrong, they may be subjected to supernatural punishment.

It not only contains precise lists of particular types of crimes and associated worldly penalties, but it also contains recommendations of how to perform ordinary things such as eating various types of food.

The stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Noah, Job, Moses, Solomon, and even Jesus, which are included in the Judeo-Christian Bible, serve as models for how virtuous people should conduct their lives.

Wednesday, October 06, 2009 was the most recent change to this page. Dennis O’Neil owns the copyright for the years 2000-2009. All intellectual property rights are retained. Credits for the illustration

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