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Geertz = Weberian interpretive anthropology What religion does: 1.

Objectivizes moral and aesthetic preferences by depicting them as the imposed conditions of life implicit in a world with a particular structure as common sense given the unalterable shape of reality 2. Supports these received beliefs about the worlds body by invoking deeply felt moral and aesthetic sentiments as experimental evidence for their truth. My comments: For instance, suppose I feel it is bad to drink alcohol. This is a moral preference. But everyone around me is drinking and is pressuring me to drink too. Eventually I might start thinking that my moral feelings are mistaken, and give in. But if my religion tells me that if I do that I will go to hell, then it would be common sense to abstain. My preference has been objectivized. Suppose then I start questioning whether hell really exists, etc. and then I try to drink just to see what happens I will feel very guilty. This will be like a taste of hell for me. So I will be likely to believe that drinking will lead me into hell. My preference is supported by sentiment. Thus I will be able to maintain my moral preference. Definition of religion: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.

symbol concrete embodiment of ideas, attitudes, judgments, longings or beliefs. Symbols are used for cultural programming of human beings. The unique characteristic of human thought is that it can make models of things, not merely models for them. Models for like DNA codes for the organism. Models of like we can write down our genome as a sequence of letters AATTGCC Basically, models of things can be expressed in alternate mediums whereas models for things cannot. The human mind can perceive this structural congruence across different mediums . Religion is a system of such models of things. moods/motivations a motivation is a persisting tendency or chronic inclination to perform certain sorts of acts and experience certain sorts of feeling in certain sorts of situations e.g. courage is the tendency to face danger unflinchingly motivations are meaningful with respect to the goals they seek to achieve a mood is a feeling, a state of mind that does not have any goal, but just changes a persons worldview completely eg. when we are in a sad mood everything seems dreary moods are meaningful with respect to the sources from which they spring Religion is a system of models of things that can be used to establish strong tendencies to perform certain acts or have particular classes of feeling. general order of existence

The opposite of order is chaos. Chaos occurs when we have no way to interpret the world. We cannot create, grasp and use symbols in a chaotic world. Geertz claims that there are 3 main spheres in which we are always threatened with chaos. 1. analytic explanation of the world the problem of confusion 2. endurance the problem of suffering 3. morality the problem of evil breakdown of analytic capacities = metaphysical anxiety religion cures this by explaining the ultimate reality breakdown of powers of endurance = loss of expressibility of emotion religion cures this by allowing expression of suffering breakdown of moral order = we cannot make sound moral judgments religion cures this by telling us why all apparently unjust things are actually just Religion is a system of models of things that can be used to establish strong tendencies to perform certain acts or have particular classes of feeling by giving us ways to mitigate bafflement, pain and injustice. aura of factuality In rituals or cultural performances, the moods and motivations meet the conceptions of general order of existence and both reinforce each other. For e.g. an enactment of a myth brings the emotional world and the objective external world together for the actors since they are actually experiencing the emotions as they play their roles, and things happen in the enactment as they should happen according to the principles of the religion. Thus it all starts to seem real. Religion is a system of models of things that can be used to establish strong tendencies to perform certain acts or have particular classes of feeling by giving us ways to mitigate bafflement, pain and injustice which effect it achieves through rituals or cultural performances. uniquely realistic There are 2 modes of being the religious experience during which the individual is transported from the common sense world, and the normal everyday mode in which he lives in the common sense world. The moods and motivations established during the religious experience fade away to some extent in the common sense world, but not completely. They influence it a little bit. Thus the individual is changed. Those moods and motivations begin to merge with common sense and seem to be a way of life. This way of life is different for every religion. Religion is a system of models of things that can be used to establish strong tendencies to perform certain acts or have particular classes of feeling by giving us ways to mitigate baffl ement, pain and injustice which effect it achieves through rituals, or cultural performances involving interactions of these symbols in the objective external world and evocations of the corresponding moods and motivations that color the individuals perception of everyday life.