Brands of Faith Chapter 9-Has religion marketing gone too far?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9th, 2011 by jgraves

This chapter brought a lot of things about religion in the media to my attention. Certain TV shows, book series, and authors I grew up witnessing in the stores as a teenager, have played a part in this marketing technique.  It’s overwhelming to see the amount of topics that have expanded in a book store like Barnes and Nobles, and even the sections created when I regularly visited the store. Oprah was yet again mentioned as a promoter of certain individuals as well throughout the chapter.  The New Age religion seems to dominate a lot of the media. I think it’s obvious to see how well this type of religion works within advertising and appealing to the masses.  Presenting things in new ways to a younger audience makes positioning themselves today even easier and more successful.

One of the more interesting thoughts the chapter provoked was the way that religion adapts and works in relation to culture. As time progresses and the world changes, so do the way people seem to look at their faith? Since people are more in tuned with their culture, it seems to change the focus of faith. It even demonstrates the way new beliefs are almost created or revamped based on the changes in the world around us. I can relate to the fact that people attending church has been in a decline, since even in my own Catholic Christian church, over the past few years have noticed less people attending. I always wondered why after so many years when I was younger unable to find a seat in church, possible reasons people have gone astray from some of their original beliefs or rituals. It seems most people mix their faiths, or are in between in their beliefs. We are presented with such an overwhelming amount of spiritual ideas and religions in the world today. The new generation is growing up during this time, and are placed in a position to choose, and therefore are more likely to get mixed into a lot of new ideas as it relates to their lives. It could be harder for them to decipher between original beliefs and new ideas, as well as feel confused or manipulated by advertising and the “commodification of the self” and never truly feeling fulfilled.  

The overall topic of this chapter is demonstrating the way religion has been used to sell as a product in the same way big businesses use marketing strategies and techniques to sell their products to consumers.  In order for people to stay connected to faith, they are constantly reinventing and using new forms to introduce certain ideologies and “spiritual” practices to individuals.  Much like products, it seems people get tired of certain ideas after awhile, and constantly looking for something new. One of retails stores main ideas is to constantly keep people coming back, spending money, and feeling like they “need” all the products (clothing, cars, jewelry) they have in order to feel complete. Many products have taken away the spiritual aspects like yoga, which has been in an overall increase the past year, and made more about being fit and the body and mind than spiritual. I think once the material world and money is mixed too much into any religion, things may have begun to go too far.

Religion the Marketplace

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9th, 2011 by oporter

I agree with the idea that religion has become a product in the religious marketplace.  The religious marketplace is a “competitive environment”, with a supply and demand market.  Multiple religions compete to accommodate the demands of religious consumers.  Religion is produced, packaged, marketed, and sold to the consumer.  From there consumers try out, try on and practice which ever religion satisfies them.  We have become a selfish society obsessed with instant gratification and our own needs.  However, when religion becomes commercialized and secular versus being sacred, I am disappointed.  I am not against people having options and worshipping the way they want.  Even though religious competition has become steep with catholic schools closing and churches combining to save money.  But I am against religion evolving to become more acceptable in society’s eyes and make people more comfortable.  Religion is one f those sacred things that shouldn’t be persuaded to evolve or be anything other than religion.

Introduction to Brands of Faith

Posted in Uncategorized on May 8th, 2011 by andrew

One of the first things that I found interesting from the first chapter of Brands of Faith was the fact that Einstein states that what gets people into the movie theaters are marketing, and advertising.  This was interesting, yet not surprising because how else would someone want to leave their house to do something that wasn’t sleeping or just sitting on the couch being a couch potato.  The passion of the Christ example that was given is a good example in how marketing can help make someone go to the movies as it came out during a time when Catholics being to mourn the death of their savior Jesus Christ as well as prepare for the resurrection from his as well .  Thanks to its marketing and its creative timing, it allowed others to see a religious movie in the theaters.  With advertising we can see that besides promoting sales for movies, it can generate sales in other fields as well such as music soundtracks as well as the book publishing, which according to Einstein is the most successful segments of religious media.

Religion and marketing can have similar relationships as both have meaning and both identify with the choice of creation that one has, as both make creation a big part of their identity.  I can agree to this because without creation , the world would not be formed, as well as, creative and unique advertising would not be created by individuals.

Nye, Gender Reading

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2nd, 2011 by tynoa16

From reading the Gender chapter from the Nye book, it made me open my eyes and explore a different aspect of religion I did not see before.  I always knew a male wrote the bible and that males controlled the churches.  But I never thought it had anything to do with the oppression of women.  Now that I think about It women can never become priests, or be a huge role model for its followers to believe.  If this is the case then Christian has similarities to Islam.  Where women are only seen to be the mother figure but never achieve to be the authoritative of the house.

I feel Nye was just trying to point out how the male figure is seen as the supreme power of a family and of the religious role models. I am a Catholic and I never felt like I was being oppressed from my religion. I was taught that that men usually take care of their wives financially, etc and women usually handle the home life and children if they desire to be a housewife.

To be a Catholic woman is to be on the receiving end of such questions with an assumption on the part of the questioner that the answer will be an automatic “Yes.” Indeed, the questions are seen as rhetorical.  Everyone knows that women may not be ordained as Catholic priests, that they are oppressed by a vision of marriage and family life that treats them as childbearing serfs within the home.
The reality is hugely different. Catholic women are not oppressed by the church.

There were more women than men at the foot of the Cross. It was to a woman (at the well) that Christ first revealed himself as the Messiah. A woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first person to see and speak to our risen Savior on Easter Sunday.

Reading this chapter helped me understand what Muslim women go through with the assumption that they are oppressed when they are not.

PERSPECTIVE ON GENDER AND RELIGION

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2nd, 2011 by monty

“[The Goddess] has to do with the earth, the human woman does give birth as the earth gives birth to the plants. She gives nourishment as the plants do. So woman magic and earth magic are the same, they are related. And the personification, the of this energy which gives birth to forms and nourishes forms is properly female…And when you have a goddess as the creator, it’s her own very body that is the universe. She is identical with the universe.” — Joseph Campbell

– This quote actually stuck out most in my head in this talk about the role of women within various religions. The reason why I found this quote appealing is because of the simple fact that I have thought of women in a similar light. Joseph Campbell refers to women as the creators of life and equates their ability to give birth to the way that the earth gives birth to plants. In a relative comparison, I have noticed the same relation of the power of women to the power of God, of course on a smaller scale. God is known as the creator of all mankind and the earth, moon, sun, and stars above. I’ve always wondered if women were special beings sent by God to creat and expand to population of the world. I feel that it is somewhat of an honor, although much pain must be endured, that women have the ability to give birth- which is something that is physically impossible to do. So does this rationalize the reason why men have been appointed and have assumed the role of world leaders and representatives of strength and power? Is it safe to say that it is because of the gift of creation has been given to women can equate to the leadership responsibility that men are seen to have in religion. I actually do not know, but it is an interestin way to look at things.  We can also look at this argument from the other side of the equation. Maybe it is because women have a God-given ability to create, that they should all be respected relied on just as highly and extensively as men within the realm of religion. Obviously times have changed  with out a doubt, and ambitious women on a mission to progress in depth of their voice is very common at this point in time. Outside of religion, we have women in the runnings for presidency – Hilary Clinton. But as far as religion goes, an increasing number of female priests and pastors is definitely a sign of the empowerment of women. It is only right to consider the fact that the voice of females in the brink of leadership of churches and other religious settings can possibly bring a new and enlightened perspective on the lives of those that listen.

Karen Armstrong- Perspectives on Gender and Religion

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2nd, 2011 by jgraves

I think this reading reiterated a lot of the points made in the Nye reading, and reemphasized where some of these ideas may have originated. It was interesting to see when mentioning the Divinci Code the way women may have not always been represented in religion the same way they are now.  Mary Magdalene was thought of to play a much more centered role than she is portrayed to today. This caught my attention and made me think about the way men possibly would change the position of women in the church over time, and to think of a conspiracy of them removing women from the Christian traditions is manipulating. It makes me wonder what we can actually trust as true or false in the faiths text versions. I wonder if other faiths had possible altered material similar to this.

It was also addressed here the same stereotypes mentioned in Nye about women and how they are portrayed. They are portrayed as gullible and weak which is a part of our cultural attitude, while men are stronger and capable of keeping things in order. This brings us back to the way religion can have an impact on the way we think, and the way we look at each other even outside of our faith. Gender is one of the many things that we must consider when discussing religion and culture. Although some things have changed giving women more power in the church, I think a majority of our views of women would be hard to alter since it’s been a core ideology for a long time.

Gender in Religion- Nye Chapter 4

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2nd, 2011 by jgraves

While reading the chapter in Nye Religion the Basics, I came across a few interesting facts that made me think about how much men actually dominate religion in a way that I never really had focused on before.  One of the main points that Nye is making in this chapter is the fact that gender is a very important part of analyzing the study of religion and culture. I always thought this was important when looking into different religions, but never realized how much of an impact it really had over each faith especially Christianity. I agreed with Nye and believe most of the points she made was true, and that males dominate religion in the same way they do in the society. I think the same amount or more on an overall scale. Even deity’s in other religions like Jesus Christ, and Buddha are referred to as male role model figures. The books in the bible are all written by males and the priest in the churches are male dominated. Nye also raises the idea that religion plays a role in oppressing and subjugating women to some degree. I could see this for example when women have to cover most of their bodies like in Islam, and having a limited amount to their dominance in the workplace or freedom of choice. In abiding by the regulation of each religion are we contributing to our own position? I don’t think this is completely and if we stopped practicing alone would make a change, but rather slowly work for more equality the way we have over time.

In my faith as a Catholic Christian, I can see the way it has formed most of the ideologies of our faith. A woman could never be a priest. I always thought about how women are portrayed in a certain light due to Adam and Eve, and as original “Sinners” as mentioned in the chapter. I think it’s interesting in our society, as previously mentioned in class discussion, the way men can get away with a lot more than women, especially when it comes to sexuality. Women being the gender that actually has the baby you would think had some more say in this topic. Most faiths don’t believe in women having contraception’s and believe it’s ok if women spend most of their lives home bearing children even if that’s not what they ultimately want. Viewing men as the decision makers rather than women, help form certain ideologies in culture which plays an important role in the society and culture.  I wonder if this dominance would ever fully change, even if women slowly have more of a role in society and independence, if it would always be more male dominated due to most conditioned religious beliefs.

Religion and Gender

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2nd, 2011 by leohorowitz

Throughout history, the area of gender politics has been an oft analyzed and discussed topic. The facts that women were (and are) frequently regarded as second to men, more frequently criticized than men, and, in the words of Karen Armstrong (as quoted in Bill Moyer’s “Perspectives on Gender and Religion”) susceptible to “degradation…and oppression,” are undeniable and have permeated many aspects of our society.
Moyer’s article touches on one such arena—religion—with interesting observations. First pointing out that “For centuries, women have essentially been relegated to the shadows of the major monotheistic faiths while male-dominated religious hierarchies have determined the course and content of their particular creeds,” he then elaborates on that thesis, and examines the progressive changes in the dismissal of women, through Christianity, Islam, and, ancient mythology. Most interesting to me was that last section, which discussed women of power in religions. To speak from my own religious viewpoint, certainly Judaism is filled with strong religious role models. The Four Matriarchs—Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah—are the most renowned, but throughout the Pentateuch and continuing through the Prophets and Writings, the canon of the Hebrew Bible is filled with strong women. Tamar, a character in Genesis, who took matters into her own hands when her father-in-law denied her the rites of ‘yibbum’—levirate marriage—and so tricked him into marriage, a union that resulted in the bloodline that will one day bear the Messiah. Ruth, who chose to convert to the Jewish faith even after her Jewish husband passed away, and also pursued her rightful widow inheritance to continue the Jewish family. Deborah, a Jewish prophetess who successfully led the Jewish people in battle against the Canaanites, and Yael, who contributed to that victory by killing the Canaan leader Sisera. I can actually go on for pages in recounting the strong female leaders in Jewish history.
Yet interestingly, despite the strong presence and importance of women in literally establishing, protecting, and spreading Judaism, there has always been a gender divide in Jewish tradition. Men are viewed as the head of the family, and while men have more obligations than women due to women’s exemption from commandments required to be performed at specific times (which dates back to the time of Moses and specifically his sister Miriam), many feel that there are certain restrictions placed on women that do not necessarily jibe with Jewish Law, and especially with modern culture and society. And there have in fact been lighter opinions on certain gender issues that have evolved over the past few years. There are Orthodox prayer services that deem themselves participatory services, meaning that they allow for women to receive certain blessings and even to read from the weekly portion of Torah required each Sabbath. There have also been opinions that have lightened the law that states that religious women shouldn’t wear pants: some Rabbis say that in today’s day and age, the prohibition against “men’s clothing” (the source of the not-wearing-pants-law) doesn’t really apply when pants are made specifically for women. Moyer discusses the ways in which religions have loosened their restrictions on women, and it has certainly been interesting to see that through my own religion.
While I recognize that this post has not had much to do with pop culture, I was just very interested in the way that Moyer broke down the religious influences on gender, and how they applied to my own religion in trends that I happen to be noticing a lot of lately.

I do however want to bring in something small that I happened to come across today and made me thing of this week’s topic. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane on AMC’s Mad Men had this to say about gender and pop culture within the context of his show:
EW: Betty’s got to be the most polarizing character on the show. Where do you stand on her?

RS: Of course I find her endlessly infuriating, but I also love her. I guess I get why people are bothered by her, because she makes some pretty terrible decisions, but no worse than anyone else on the show.

EW: Certainly no worse than Don.

RS: And Don gets a pass. You can into the whole gender politics of the thing, but we let Don off because he’s a guy and we really are hard on Betty because she’s not. And I think that that’s dumb. Yeah she makes some poor decisions absolutely, and she’s not been the nicest mom in the world, but she is trying and she is also in a s—-y situation and has been from day one. I can’t imagine Don, I can’t imagine the show, without Betty.

I just thought this was an interesting, timely tidbit considering tomorrow’s discussion.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1st, 2011 by M Oliver

Nye, Gender

by M OLiver

While reading Nye’s chapter on gender a quote from Mary Daly, a feminist writer, made me laugh.  She said “we must castrate the maleness from our conceptualism of God”.  OK why didn’t she just say she would personally part the Red Sea?  This is such a farfetched statement.  Seriously you have roughly two billion Christians worldwide.  The only people who are going go along with the idea, that will never be implemented, because it can’t, are hard core feminists.  To try and eliminate the male God in the Roman Catholic group of the Christian faith is crazy.  The church is so tightly structured and male dominated and that will never ever change.  Listen I am all for women’s rights but come on, to implement something of this magnitude would change the world as we know it.  And that will never happen.

  I do agree that women are oppressed in many different religions and this is a tragedy and horrific in some cases.  The male God is written into scripture and there is no changing that.  Women since the beginning of time have been evaluated and unjustly scrutinized due to their sex.  We are just as smart, strong both mentally and physically (childbirth) and will never be treated equally.  We are quite capable of doing pretty much anything a man can do.  The women’s role in life is so diverse in different cultures and only the culture itself can make the changes to treat women equally and with respect.  Seriously are the Christians blaming Eve for it all?  In the realm of religion and equal rights it will unfortunately NEVER happen.

The Lion King

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12th, 2011 by Catherine's

Disney’s movie The Lion King is a child’s movie. Although it is an animated “family” film that teaches children conduct, morality, and societal codes it also has subliminal messages that can relate to theme based on religion and rituals. Those who have not seen the movie, it’s about a Lion family.

The Lion father is the king of the village Mufasa, gave birth to a son “Simba”. In Simba’s youth, Simba had dreams of becoming the king of the village. Simba spoke to Mufasa’s brother, Scar who envied Mufasa. Scar told Simba he will fulfill Simba’s wish.  Mufasa  then was murdered by scar. Throughout  Simba’s youth, Scar led him to believe that he murdered his father, but in all actuality Scar murdered Mufasa to become king himself. Simba left the village, years later Simba came back to the village and realized that Scar lied to him. The village kills scar and Simba becomes the King.

The opening scene to “The Lion King”, Simba is introduced to society.

During Simba’s birth, Rafiki (primate) cracks open the fruit and places it on Simba’s head. That practice/ritual is similarly used in the Hindu Community. It is also popular throughout India. The ritual of breaking the coconut takes less than a few minutes. Children at very young ages watch the ritual.

According to an article “The Hindu Ritual of Breaking The Coconut”, the hardest coconut is used with the water inside.  In order to break the coconut, it is broken on a slab of stone. Coincidentally, The Lion family, and the ritual takes place on stone.

The significance of the coconut ritual is to humble yourself before ”god”  Coconuts are also broken during normal worship for the same purpose. Usually the village attends this ritual for support.

The song, “Circle of Life” is a representation of the Hindu Caste System.After the coconut was placed on Simba’s head,  Hindu’s place markings on one’s head to distinguish the caste system, the color also have important symbolism, which is considered to be a blessing.

The representation of nature and animals is sacred. The animals are to produce food oxygen clothing etc… again part of  “The circle of life.”

Below is an actual example of  “The Coconut Ritual”

Continuing the notion of the ritual; Simba’s birth, Rafiki introduces Simba to society. Rafiki is considered to be the enlightened one. As Rafiki walks through the path of villagers, the path is lit, which again is symbolism of “god” shining light. As Rafiki continues the ritual, Rafiki lifts Simba and presents him to the village and  gods, while the sun is lit upon him.

During Hinduism Rituals, welcoming a honored guest, or saint there is singing, clapping etc. is apart of the ritual. Int he movie, the animals/ villagers were excited to see Simba.

Towards the end of the movie,  Mufasa was murdered by Scar. The question is who will take the place as the “King”?

This scene starts off Rafiki meditating doing yoga. In the Hinduism belief,yoga is a practice of freedom of the flesh in fulfillment of knowledge. Yoga is used for self control, religious observance, meditation, posture.

After Rafiki meditated, he taught Simba his role in society as well as a religious like observance because Rafiki was able to contact Mufasa.

Based on  Hindu’s belief in reincarnation, Mufasa lived in Simba after he died.

The verdict is out. What is the Lion King actually teaching?

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