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Smart's dimensions

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Major Religions Of The World
Major Religions Of The World
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Smart's dimensions

  1. 1. Study of Religion Smart’s 7 Dimensions A framework to assist understanding
  2. 2. Mythological = Story Stories are fundamental to every day life Stories are fundamental to religion ‘Myth’= a story which interprets reality in a chosen way To the people who hold them - myths are always true Shared stories are what hold people together The key to identity of a religion lies in stories the group holds in common A ritual only makes sense to those who know the story behind it
  3. 3. Ritual = Symbolic Action A ritual only makes sense to those who know the story behind it The myth – ritual dynamic is crucial to understanding and assessing the identity of a religion
  4. 4. Doctrinal = teachings/beliefs Beliefs come after and out of stories and rituals Doctrines (or formal beliefs) of any group are those which must be believed in order to belong Beliefs concern God/s, spirit forces, nature of the world, meaning and purpose of life, how we should live
  5. 5. Ethical = personal behaviour Practical ethics and day to day moral decision making are tied to what is believed through mythology and taught through doctrine
  6. 6. Social = community organisation A religion’s claims about the nature of the invisible world and how one’s life aught to be lived leads to Social organisation and structure Community customs and institutions reflect understandings and beliefs of the religion. They may include: Places of worship Special people who conduct ceremonies Times when the whole community celebrate together
  7. 7. Material = concrete objects and symbols Most religious groups reflect their beliefs through the material dimension of buildings, art works, icons, music, sacred places, artifacts
  8. 8. Experiential = experience of the invisible world The experiential dimension is concerned with ways individuals seek a personal experience of God or to experience the peace and insight of higher levels of consciousness
  9. 9. In summary MYTH = STORY RITUAL = SYMBOLIC ACTION DOCTRINE = TEACHING / BELIEF ETHICS = PERSONAL BEHAVIOUR SOCIAL = COMMUNITY CUSTOMS/INSTITUTIONS MATERIAL = CONCRETE WORKS/OBJECTS EXPERIENTIAL = INNER EXPERIENCE OF GOD
  10. 10. A definition? The human response to whatever the mystery of life is for a particular person or group

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