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Can you think of any examples of magical thinking from your own life?

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Module 7
Question 1: Can you think of any examples of magical thinking from your own life?
Question 2: How does magic differ from science? Do non-Western people have science?
Question 3: Astrology in mainstream American culture issometimes labeled as entertainment (e.g., horoscopes are in the entertainment section of the newspaper). However, many people take them quite seriously. Are horoscopes and other forms of divination just harmless entertainment? Are there any negative consequences of living one’s life relying on astrology and fortunetelling? Are there any positive consequences?
Question 4: Several individuals who claim they can contact the dead have become popular on television. Do you they really possess this
ability? Why or why not? Does it matter if they really can? Is it harmless and just providing solace to the bereaved or could it actually do harm?
Module 8
Question 1: How does the nature of the gods, how they are conceived of in a particular society, influence the nature of the rituals that are conducted?
Question 2: How do we know when someone is dead? What do you think of brain death as the criteria? Would you personally be willing to be an organ donor? Why or why not?
Question 3: Why do you think a belief in a soul is universal?
Question 4: What are mainstream American funerals liketoday? How much emotional expression is allowed at the funeral? How long are you supposed to grieve afterwards?
Question 5: How do Hollywood depictions of ghosts, vampires-and zombies differ from the descriptions of these entities as they appear in actual cultural systems? Why do you think stories and movies about vampires and zombies are so popular?
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Question 6: What customs are associated with the current festival of Halloween? Are there any religious elements in the modern holiday?
Question 7: Why do you think cremation is becoming a more popular option in the United States?
Module 9
Question 1: Why do you think that the conception of people who have the innate ability to do evil is found in so many different cultures?
Question 2: Do you think Mary from Roman Catholicism should be classified as a goddess? Why or why not?
Question 3: Given the Catholic beliefs in the Trinity, do you believe that the religion should be labeled from an etic perspective as or polytheistic? Why?
Question 4: Why do you think atheism is uncommon in the United States? Why is it more common in Europe?
Module 10
Question 1: Why do you think that the conception of people who have the innate ability to do evil is found in so many different cultures?
Question 2: Do we have any similar ideas in our modern culture?
Question 3: What conceptions do modern Americans have of witchcraft and witches?
Question 4: In what ways does witchcraft reflect human culture and human nature?
Question 5: What is meant by the statement that the main way of becoming a witch is to be accused of being one? What are the implications for understanding the ways in which witchcraft accusations function in a society?
Question 6: What do you think of the role of the church in theEuropean witch craze? How has the Catholic Church in more modern times dealt with such issues in its past as the Inquisition and the Crusades? Does the modern church bear any responsibility for these past
actions?
Question 7: In many cultures witches are equally male or female, but in Europe and America witches are predominantly female. What was the underlying gender ideology that made this the case? Do you think this is still true? If so, to what extent?
Module11
Question 1: Under what conditions do revitalization movements occur? Do any of these conditions exist in the United States?
Question 2: In what ways are the Satanist and Wiccan religions similar? In what ways are they different?
Question 3: Why do people join high demand religious groups?
Question 4: Why do we label some religions as cults? Do you think this term should be used to describe any religious groups? If so, in what cases?
Question 5: Do you think mind control is possible?
Question 6: Should there by any limits to the free exercise of religion? If so, what?
Question 7: Are UFO religions really religions? Why or whynot? In what ways are descriptions of alien abductions descriptions of religious experience?
Question 8: The past decades in the United States have seen a decline in membership in traditional mainstream religions but an increase in membership in both New Age/Pagan religions and fundamentalist religions. In what ways are these two types of religious movements
very different? In what ways are they similar? Why do you think they have been popular while traditional religions have declined?
Question 9: Why do you think religiously motivated violence has increased in recent decades? Why do you think people commit such acts?
Question 10: Mark Jurgensmeyer argues that acts of religious terrorism are highly symbolic and can be analyzed in much the same way that religious ritual is. What are the symbolic elements of such an act? In what ways are they like rituals?

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