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The anthropology of religion on wikipedia is correct?


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they say this about religion.


that every religion is a cultural product created by the human community that practices it.

Quote from Guthrie 2000 (page 225-6)

They also present a definition on religion by Clifford Geertz but I am not clever enough to get that one

So I hope somebody read up on Anthropology can confirm that the quote from year 2000 still holds

or if the consensus has changed after 13 years?


My own naive definition would be like this

Religious traditions are expressions of a particular culture

and each such culture have their own particular religions and gods.

Features of a particular God is part of the way that culture made up the tradition.


That means that if their God has features like being alive and real and existing

and supernatural and the creator of all there is all such claims are part of how

they made that religious tradition their particular way to express that tradition.


Sadly I have no talent for to structure such text so my confusing text only makes a mess out of it.

What I try to ask for is a confirmation and a better text than the very short one from Guthrie

and the very complex one from Geertz. Some comprimize that is for the lay person and not the academic.


Edit I guess I have to add that this is Anthropology and not philosophy like ontology or epistemology.


I know that atheists love to change everything to logical questions like

Do you believe that these gods really exists?


An answer from

Anthropology of religion

then would be "

that every religion is a cultural product created by the human community that practices it.

Quote from Guthrie 2000 (page 225-6)"


the philosophy is part of each particular expression. The religious traditions

each of them has their way to deal with the philosophy of their religious tradition

one has to ask each one of them.


I just believe that every religion is a cultural product created by the human community that practices it.

I don't deal with the philosophy part that is for philosophers to do if them find it interesting.

Edited by science4ever
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Seems that Guthrie has quoted this old text



In 1841, Ludwig Feuerbach was the first to state the anthropologic principle

that every religion is created by the human community that worships it

So Guthrie at most added the words cultural product and changed worship to practice?


that every religion is created by the human community that worships it

that every religion is a cultural product created by the human community that practice it


so Guthrie build on Feuerbach making the words more modern maybe relating it to Cultural Anthropology

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I guess my confused thinking throw everybody off guard?


I try to get the logical implications of this claim they make.


every religion is a cultural product created by

the human community that practices it.


That is a quote from Steward Guthrie that he wrote year 2000 and

he has reused a very similar text by Ludwig Feuerbach that he wrote 1841.


So if it had been something very few agree with then the anthropologists

would have asked for some better definition to be in wikipedia by now.


If one ask atheists about the definitions of atheism they say that the default

weak definition makes everybody into an atheist even if that person don't want to be one.


The only way to not be an atheist is to really believe that God exists and are supernatural.

Now some atheists are not that categorical they allow theists to construct their gods but

the most strident atheists say that if the believer know they believe in a constructed faith

then they are not true believers.


A true believer have to trust that God is real and logically if all gods are as anthropologys says

then all gods by definition are created gods by the community that practice that faith.


So does that not make all believers into deceived atheists.


The weak atheist definition makes everybody born into an atheist.


You can only be theist if you truly believe in a real God you have to be in a kind of delusion

not knowing that your religious tradition created the god they believe in.


Only these theists are true theists the others know there is no real god only

the god their tradition created.


Compare with the title of the famous book by Richard Dawkins.


the God Delusion.


that titles show that atheists see God as a delusion. Logically a believer

is a delusional atheist deceived to think that they are true theists.


I contrast anthroplogy with atheist philosophy. They have to be consistent

or one of them get it all wrong?


Now somebody may suggest there are real gods. But that is not what Anthropology says.


Every religion ... So if there exists real gods then no religion knows about these real gods.

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I think the quotes are merely saying that religion (note: not necessarily god) is an essentially cultural artifact. There is no evidence to be found that anything outside the experience and knowledge of society created any religion. The agriculture of a people is moulded by cultural, geographic, and meteorological factors (amongst others) - but religion flows only from the culture of the people.


Remember that anthropology is a science - albeit one in which experimental testing is difficult - and that philosophy is not a science. It is difficult, if not impossible, to put them into contradiction and show that one proves the other wrong when both are being correctly applied.

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Yes I agree there can be a real existing god but that the culture of a community

still create their interpreation and try their best to get what that real God really is.


So one have kind of the real God that maybe is beyond human grasp

and one have the cultural norms and tradiitons on how to relate to that God

but that these practices has no way to know anything evidential about God.


So the religions and their images and stories about god are human creations even if a real god would exist.


Yes philosophy being set up as it is have made itself kind of immune that way.

it does not have to care about such things they deal with words and their usages

and relate to if the usage is consistent with definitions.


it makes me highly skeptic of philosophy. I mean Ludwig Feuerbach 1841

wrote almost identical text as Steward Guthries wrote 2000 and both are anthropology minded

and despite that I have been atheist since before 1964 I never heard a philosopher refer to that quote

by Feuerbach.


Philosophers kind of don't have to care about real people and what goes on in our heads

Feuerbach cared about us already 1841. He see God as a projection of man idealized but

described to be features of God. Man see himself reflected in God. A projection. a created mirror image.


Much appreciated that you cared. Anthropology seems to not be very popular :)

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