Thursday, January 26, 2006

I am glad we took the time on Wednesday to discuss in smaller groups and as a class the four theorists and each of their essays because when I first read some of them, I must say I was very confused as to what they were trying to prove. I think we should do that more often because I know for myself personally that I don't always know exactly what the authors mean or their viewpoint on things. I hope I am not the only one who doesn't always completely understand the readings. Sometimes I wonder if I should have even taken this course. Oh well.

So, I haven't made an entry concerning the readings for awhile, so here it goes. I like Yearley's theory of spiritual regret because I agree, to a certain extent, with the whole idea of not abandoning your own religion for another set of beliefs or practices. However, there are two aspects of his essay that I don't like. For one, people convert all the time. It's not like there has never been a circumstance where a person has converted to another religion. When I said I agreed with his theory to an extent, I meant that I would not be opposed to converting to another religion. I believe that if a person is not satisfied or completely happy with their own religion, they have the right to convert to another one if it meant that the religion brought fullfillment and happiness to his or her life and it in the end made that individual a better person who could contribute to his or her community.

As for Paden and his comparative, analytical approach to comparing religions (a very risky act), I like the idea of breaking down the religion into its differents parts and analyzing its inner structure. I think that breaking the religion into its individual parts makes it less dangerous when comparing and contrasting religions.

Proudfoot....hmmm....Proudfoot. I am still a little confused with his theory of descriptive and explanatory reductionism because it says in the essay that both don't actually identify the religious experience according to how the person identified it. I don't know, maybe I am completely missing the entire point. I think the major difference between description and explanation is that a description includes aspects of persuasion and explanation is strictly informative. For example, when a friend of mine who had experienced being "saved" or finally realizing that his path was to follow God and look to God in everything he did told me about this experience of his, I immediately felt the sense that he was attempting to persuade and convince me that I should do the same. He did this by using vivid description in a very positive way, making it seem as if any other way besides his was wrong. An explanation would not include such bias.

Lastly, I strongly believe that people make conscious decisions as to what they will believe in and follow as a religion. Boyer's "sleep of reason" theory is total CRAP. However, I do see everyday that what people say they believe in does not match what they actually practice on an everyday basis, which means that we can not always take someone's word when they tell us, "This is what I believe and why."

Well, that's it for now. I have to get started on my other homework, which includes studying for the wonderful subject of Chemistry. :)

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