World Religions 1.4
As I learned briefly in the previous lesson, the concept of “world religions” was constructed in Europe by scholars in the nineteenth century with the aid of political science, economics, and sociology to help understand modern European society. The formation of the three disciplines were formed to help understand the West, while anthropology and Orientalism were formed to study the rest of the world. This helped me better understand that this encouraged the labeling of “major” and “minor” religions, especially when European scholars tended to compare their religion and culture to the rest of the world. This is expanded in Wegner’s “We are Guaranteed Freedom”, as Pueblo Indians had to revert to using the description of “religion”, especially when there’s no equivalent in their own language, to keep their culture and practices from being suppresses by people who considered it primitive. Before these lessons, I didn’t realize how damaging labeling can be towards one’s own beliefs and practices, especially when they are pushed aside for not being as important or considered as real as a “major” religion. As Wegner explained, for the Pueblo Indian’s to be respected and to practice what they believe in with the freedom to do so, they had to state that their “religious liberty” was being threatened. Though something I’m still wrestling to understand is why people were trying to put an end to the traditional dances the Pueblo Indian’s did, and how that impacted anyone outside of it.