a naturalist who had studied elephants only under the microscope would thinkhe knew enough about those animals?" If you take thewrong tool to look at a phenomenon you wont understand it. Religion should be studied according to what it is(that is in a religious way) and not be taken to other categories likepolitics or sociology. Religion must be studied according to itsnature. , areligious phenomenon will only be recognized as such if it is grasped atits own level, that is to say, if it is studied as something religious. True. To try to grasp the essence of such a phenomenon bymeans of physiology, psychology, sociology, economics, linguistics, art orany other study is false; it misses the oneunique and irreducible element in it - the element of the sacred ,Because religion is human it mustfor that very reason be something social, something linguistic, somethingeconomic. You cannot think of man apart from language and society. But itwould be hopeless to try and explain religion in terms of any one of thosebasic functions, which are really no more than another way of sayingwhat man is. , a religious phenomenonwill only be recognized as such if it is grasped at its own level, that isto say, if it is studied as something religious. True. He choses "hierophanies"(manifestations of the sacred), not private mystical stuff like James.Howto choose within the religious facts?which are "simple"and as close as possible to their origins. Notan obvious choice: Is religion less authentic when it is far from the origins?"Ecclesiam suam": There is a delusion, which is to say that the Churchshould be reduced to the primitive Church. Why cut down the big tree you havenow, go back to the seed only to have to grow it again? DIFFICULTIES OF METHODBut, to return to the greatpractical difficulty I mentioned earlier: the extreme diversity of the materialwe are faced with. That is really all the material available to ahistorian of religions: a few fragments from a vast oral priestly learning (theexclusive product of one social class), allusions found in travellers' notes,material gathered by foreign missionaries, reflections drawn from secularliterature, a few monuments, a few inscriptions, and what memories remain inlocal traditions. All the historicalsciences are, of course, tied to this sort of scrappy and accidental evidence.But the religioushistorian faces a bolder task than the historian, whose job is merely to piece together an event or a series of eventswith the aid of the few bits of evidence that are preserved to him; thereligious historian must trace not only the history of a given hierophany, butmust first of all understand and explain the modality of tile sacred that thathierophany discloses. It is not enough to say "they used that in worship" you shouldalso say what it means to them. Imagine a Buddhist trying tounderstand Christianity with only a few fragments of the Gospels, a Catholicbreviary, various ornaments (Byzantine icons, Baroque statues of the saints,the vestments, perhaps, of an Orthodox priest), but able, on the other hand, tostudy the religious life of some European village. No doubt the first thing our Buddhistobserver would note would be a distinct difference between the religious lifeof the peasants and the theological, moral and mystical ideas of the villagepriest. he would be wrong if he refused to judgeChristianity according to the traditions preserved by the priest on the groundsthat he was merely a single individual - if he only held to be genuine theexperience represented by the village as a community What does matter isto realize that this single man has kept more completely, if not the originalexperience of Christianity, at least its basic elements and its mystical,theological and ritual values.Ifyou take a phenomenological approach to study religion, it takes forever.Modernistcrisis: Two tendencies, one Protestant (the real Christianity is the primitiveone, what is older is better), the other says that what is more recent can beconsidered better. Both were a bit extreme. Normally in a religion, if you cutoff the links with the primitive parts (i.e. Christ and the Apostles), you getsomething else, but if you want to cut off the development of the centuries,the organic growth, you also loose something. Relationship to the sacredIn Das Heilige Otto sets himself todiscover the characteristics of this frightening and irrational experience. Hefinds the feeling of terror before the sacred, before the awe-inspiring mystery (mysterium tremendum),in religious experience the person involved is somehowafraid ("I am nothing in front of you") the majesty (majestas)that emanates an overwhelming superiority of power; he finds religious fearbefore the fascinating mystery (mysterium fascinans) "What would I beif I didn#t know you?" in which perfect fullness of being flowers.Otto characterizes all these experiences as numinous(from Latin numen, god), for they areinduced by the revelation of an aspect of divine power. The numinous presentsitself as something "wholly other" (ganz andere), not completely right. John of the Cross wrote "All (God)and Nothing (himself)" because of the infinite difference between both.But he wasn't nothing because at least he wrote the book. This"nothing" or "totally different" are not to be takenliterally Man becomes aware of the sacredbecause it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different fromthe profane.that something sacred shows itself to us.1 It could be said that the history ofreligions-from the most primitive to the most highly developed-is constitutedby a great number of hierophanies, by manifestations of sacred realities. Fromthe most elementary hierophany - e.g., manifestation of the sacred in someordinary object, a stone or a tree - to the supreme hierophany (which, for aChristian, is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ) by the same mysterious act-the manifestationof something of a wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to ourworld, in objects that are an integral part of our natural "profane"world.Bymanifesting the sacred, any object becomes something else, yet it continues toremain itself, for it continues to participate in its surrounding cosmic milieu.A sacred stone remains a stone; apparently (or, more precisely, from theprofane point of view), nothing distinguishes it from all other stones. But forthose to whom a stone reveals itself as sacred, its immediate reality istransmuted into a supernatural reality. In other words, for those who have areligious experience all nature is capable of revealing itself as cosmicsacrality. The cosmos in its entirety can become a hierophany.by the same mysterious act-the manifestation of something ofa wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to our world, inobjects that are an integral part of our natural "profane" world.Profane,desacralized world: Not better or worse orequal, just more recent. Religion and unity of the individual with the cosmos.Religionhelps me to find where I fit into the world. How does believing help youpersonally to understand where you fit in the world? You go to a place youdon't know (Angelicum, i.e.) and find people who share your faith. This helps.You feel less lost.symbolism effects a permanentsolidarity between man and the sacred (though this is somewhatindistinct in that man only becomes conscious of it from time to time) the symbolic makes the experience familiar. You use objectsyou take with you (clothes, rosaries, books, hangers). The presence of thedivine experience as different, sometimes frightening, becomes familiar for religious man, every existential decision to situatehimself in space in fact constitutes a religious decision. By assuming the responsibility of creating theworld that he has chosen to inhabit, he not only cosmicizes chaos but also sanctifies hislittle cosmos by making it like the world of the gods. The symbols have a function. The rosary is something manynon-Cahtolics do not understand. Symbols are understandable, if you have beenintroduced to them. With them you are in touch with a divinity and a community.And both things are important. Symbols require an introduction. Inshort, the symbolism ofclothing made a human being one both with the cosmos and with the community towhich he belonged, while making his fundamental identity clear to the eyes ofevery member of that community. Several ideas are expressed togetherhere - becomingone with the cosmos, making clear one's position in regard to society -as so many functions with the same urge and the same object. They all convergetowards a common aim: to abolish the limits of the " fragment" man iswithin society and the cosmos, and, by means of making clear his deepest identity and his social status,and making him one with the rhythms of nature-integrating him into a largerunity: society, the universe.a symbol always reveals the basic oneness of several zones of the real. Zonesof the real: Me, community, community on another level and we have tools to getin touch with the divinity.What we may call symbolicthought makes it possible for man to move freely from one level of reality toanother. Indeed, "to move freely" is an understatement:symbols, as we have seen, identify, assimilate, and unify diverse levels andrealities that are to all appearances incompatible. Further still: magico-religious experience makes it possible for man himself to betransformed into a symbol. Saint: A permanent presence helping us to be in touch with God. Amanifestation of the sacred, not completely transparent, but at least the bestkind of incarnation of the sacred you can findThe cosmic myths and the whole world of ritual thus appear as existential experiences to primitive man:he does not lose himself, he does not forget his own existence when he fulfils a myth or takespart in a ritual; quite the reverse; he finds himself and comes tounderstand himself,because those myths and rituals express cosmic realities which ultimately he isaware of as realities in his own being. the real existence of primitive man was not thebroken and alienated existence lived by civilized man today.Impossibility of a lifewithout any religion..It must be added at once that such a profane existence is never found in the purestate. To whatever degree he may have desacralized the world, the man who has made his choice in favor of a profane life never succeedsin completely doing away with religious behaviorIn short, the majority of men "without religion" still hold to pseudoreligions and degenerated mythologies. There is nothing surprising in this, for, as wesaw, profaneman is the descendant of homo religiosus and he cannot wipe out his own history- that is, the behavior of his religious ancestors which has made him what heis today. This is all themore true because a great part of his existence is fed by impulses that come tohim from the depths of his being, from the zone that has been called the"unconscious." A purely rational man is an abstraction; he is never foundin real lifeWe do not mean to say that mythologies are the"product" of the unconscious, for the mode of being of the myth isprecisely that it reveals itself as myth, that is, it announces that something has been manifested in a paradigmatic mannerYet the contents and structures of the unconscious are the resultof immemorial existential situations, especially of critical situations, andthis is why the unconscious has a religious aura. . As we saw, it is the experience of the sacredthat founds the world, and even the most elementary religion is, above all, an ontology. In other words, in so far asthe unconscious is the result of countless existential experiences, it cannotbut resemble the various religious universes. For religion is the paradigmaticsolution for every existential crisis. It is the paradigmatic solution not onlybecause it can be indefinitely repeated, but also because it is believed tohave a transcendental origin and hence is valorized as a revelation receivedfrom an other, transhuman world. The religious solution not only resolves thecrisis but at the same time makes existence "open" to values that areno longer contingent or particular, thus enabling man to transcend personalsituations and, finally, gain access to the world of spirit. Religion doesn't disappear easily. That is right, but weprobably haven't seen the last of secularization as well. 1.) Is the older religion the purer one? Notnecessarily. Is the newer the better? Not necessarily. The simple fact of agedoes not prove anything.2.) Religious phenomenon: A communicationof asacred reality. Makes kind of sense. It is the "wholly other". Not really, because if God iseverything I am still not nothing, because I can say at least talk about the"wholly other"3.) Religious symboly and rites help to be relatedto the sacred and to a specific group. In that way religion is not unrelated tothe cosmos. A global ecological attitude can turn into some kind of religion,which is not completely a substitute for religion and can never be. A primitive(more ancient, not better or worse) feels some connection to the nature atlarge beause of the religion to the divinity. Communion with God helps to be in communion witheverything.3. Transiency.- Mystical states cannot be sustained for long. If you attend a liturgy it is difficult to be constantlyconscious of what is happening.4. Passivity.- Although the oncoming of mysticalstates may be facilitated by preliminary voluntary operations, as byfixing the attention. In the end you are passive. You face someonefar higher than you and give in to that. This latter peculiarity connectsmystical states with certain definite phenomena of secondary oralternative personality, such as prophetic speech, automatic writing, orthe mediumistic trance. Basic content of religion.there is a certain uniform deliverance in which religions all appear to meet. It consists oftwo parts: 1. An uneasiness; and 2. Its solution.1. Theuneasiness, reduced to its simplest terms, is a sense that there is somethingwrong about us as wenaturally stand.2. Thesolution is a sense that we are saved from the wrongness by making proper connectionwith the higher powers.Tendsto understand all religions from the protestant background. Luther'sview of the essence of man is that we are sinners. But it still remains thatyou could begin with something else ("The world is beautiful, God made it:Thanks!"). Truth of religion.Yet the unseen region in question is not merely ideal, for it produceseffects in this world. When we commune with it, work is actually done upon ourfinite personality, for we are turned into new men Yet the unseen region inquestion is not merely ideal, for it produces effects in this world. When wecommune with it, work is actually done upon our finite personality, for we areturned into new men But that which produces effects within another reality mustbe termed a reality itself, so I feel as if we had no philosophic excuse forcalling the unseen or mystical world unreal. Religionexists in the world and changes something (some would say "Yeah! Wars,inquisitions…", or that religion could be a collective illusion). Still,you see that religion exists. So, is it true? You see things differently whenyou look at religions from within . If you are on the outside you only think ofa common illusion. Mircea Eliade (1907-1986).Religion must be studied according to its nature.2. Noetic quality: Although so similar to states of feeling, mysticalstates seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge.They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by thediscursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full ofsignificance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and asa rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time. Means that you leranfrom these states although (as said in "Ineffability") youcannpt express it well enough. It is still better to express somethingessential inadequately than to express something adequately that doesn'tmatter at all. So, what ismost important is also a bit more difficult to explain.Ineffability: The handiest of the marks by which I classify a state ofmind as mystical is negative. The subject of it immediately says that itdefies expression, that no adequate report of its contents can be given inwords. Doesn't mean that nothing can be said, causehow else would we know that there is a mystical state of consciousness. Itfollows from this that its quality must be directly experienced; it cannotbe imparted or transferred to others. In this peculiaritymystical states are more like states of feeling than like states ofintellect.