The essay is an in depth examination of theories of religion as brought forth by three major theologians Smith, Tillich and Eliade. The major four theories of religion are discussed from Marxist, postmodernism, feminism and functionalism. According to Eliade, religion is a special thing and autonomous and cannot be reduced to social, economic or psychological aspects. Sacred was a fundamental point in religion. Personal life he believes is linked to by being sacred. He said that ancient men wish to have taken part in sacred. The sacred becomes known to man because it manifests itself as different from the profane world.
The modern man as suggested by Eliade seems to experience the existing space as being similar. Space has been calculated and homogenized by reducing the existing space to be equal to various units of measurements. Differences in space are only as a result of personal experiences. Religious individuals hold the belief that some spaces are different from other as some are chaotic, profane or even meaningless. Traditional man can't thrive in profane space. To gain orientation, there is need for him to have a center. This is important as all other spaces derive their meanings from the center. He acknowledge the impact nature play; "No modern man, however irreligious, is entirely insensible to the charms of nature."
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In his book, The Meaning and End of Religion Smith is of the view that religion is a peculiarly European concept of recent history. The issue of religion in the present world is nothing more other than a product of identity political affairs and apologetics. One's own 'religion' may be piety & faith, obedience, worship & a vision of god. An alien 'religion' is a system of beliefs or rituals, an abstract & impersonal pattern of observables. Dialectic ensues, however. If one's own 'religion' is attacked, by unbelievers who necessarily conceptualize it schematically, or all religion is by the indifferent, one tends to leap to the defense of what is attacked, so that presently participants of a faith--especially those most involved in argument-are using the term in the same externalist & theoretical sense as their opponents. Religion as a systematic entity, as it emerged in the 17th & 18th centuries, is a concept of polemics & apologetics.
According to Smith, religion initially meant attitudes linked to a relationship between gods and human has now been changed to mean "system of observances or beliefs". Compared with faith which superseded religion, Smith prefers to use the former. Smith maintained in this vastly important work that Westerners have misperceived religious life by making "religion" into one thing. The conclusion arrived at by the author are that religion has four meaning; personal piety, "an overt system of beliefs, practices, values" (Smith, 32) made up of ideal information as well as empirical formation in history as well as sociology and it is a general outline or universal category.
Tillich in his religious thought he had a close relationship with arts that expresses would help in uncovering his thought about religion. According, to him, he looked at religious art as one that should be interpreted according to their import rather than their subject matter. He further said that no matter how much a certain art portrays a traditional figure, he does not always refer to it as religious art (Tillich 21). Rather, he say that he see the expressionist art that takes landscape or still life to be a religious art. He affirms this by saying that the importance of the religious art does not lay on the subject matter rather the reality that it express.
It has been said that Tillich saw arts in the religious perspective and makes light of its significant. Nevertheless, his theory of art is supposed to be interpreted within theological arguments limit. Therefore, through the study of metaphysics, it became easy to understand the framework of his theological argument.
Tillich insisted that the ordinary, non-symbolic, literal language is not appropriate when speaking of God. He emphasizes that words cannot be in their ordinary meaning be used to significantly mean God. He argued that God ultimately stand for what concernn human being. If then ordinary words can be used to describe him, then it would be possible to have theoretical knowledge of whom we are describing which in the real sense it is impossible. Then if this is also possible, the religious arts can be transferred from the aspect of ultimate concern to philosophical or scientific aspect, which is generally ignored (Tillich 42). Therefore, Tillich makes an assertion that God cannot be apprehended without ones fully commitment and supreme dedication to him.
According to Tillich the picture, picture cannot in any way be used to symbolize the religious art. According top the picture, there no much reality that has been attached to it which can portray anything that has in real life exists. Therefore, there is no way according to Tillich that the state of art portrayed can be used to understand the supremacy of God or his deity.
According to the picture and the number of artistic sculptures that are seen around the centered human being, according to smith, they are put there through the western culture to intimidate human being to comply with the political autonomy of the country. This is because he believed that religion has been politicized in search of making the human being comply with the ruling that has put in place through religious intimidation. Through looking at the picture that can be interpreted as a person in the throne, it can be prove by looking at smith theory of religion.
Otherwise, according to Eliade, the centering of the picture as show has a greater meaning in operates life. He says that a sacred spec is strong and meaningful. Therefore, according to the picture shown, the interpretation can be that a man should establish himself at the centre, which is now having relationship with God. This centre cannot be arrived by speculation rather it is given through divine intervention. therefore, to be as calm as the person in the picture in this world, a profane man should orientate himself in the centre through revelation, and the centre establish his world as other spaces establishes his center as shown.
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