PVM63 - Folk Religions
2,280 Standard Tuition Fee
16 credit points of core foundation level units.
Learning outcomesOn successful completion of this unit, students will
Know and understand
- The basic theory and concept of religious study
- The major theory of folk religions from cultural anthropological perspective
- The worldview theory and form and meaning theory
- The major difference between Christianity and folk religions
Be able to
- Identify the main characteristics, issues and problems of folk religions
- Evaluate the major folk religious phenomenon in Australian Context
- Formulate the significant biblical teaching about folk religions
- Discuss the folk religious practice(s) of contemporary Australian Churches
Be in a position to
- Critique folk religions and its religious meaning using worldview theory and form and meaning theory
- Evaluate the effects of folk religious practices in Church
- Formulate a missional strategy to evangelize the folk religions followers from theological, biblical and anthropological perspectives
Approaches of the study of religions
Part A: Folk religions as systems of beliefs and meaning: The problems and solutions
- The phenomena of folk religions
- Great Traditions and Little Traditions
- Nature of folk religion
- Mechanistic and organic religious phenomena
- The “Excluded Middle”
- Worldviews as systems of explanation
- Theories and examples of worldviews
- Modern and tribal worldviews
- Post-modern worldviews
- The meaning of life and death
- Ghosts, souls and ancestors
- Avoiding adversity and gaining success
- Calamities and misfortune
- Sin, sacrifice, spirit possession, soul, loss demons, exorcism
- Witchcraft, sorcery, magic, taboo, and other forces of evil
- Guidance and supernatural knowledge
- Inspiration, possession, glossalia
Part B: Folk religions as systems of behavior: Symbols, rituals, myths, religious institutions and movements
- Symbolism, rituals, myths and sense of the sacred
- The relationship between beliefs and behavior
- Religious leaders: Shamans, prophets, and priests
- Ethnomedicine: religion and healing
- The Occult
- Cults, sects, denominations and ecclesia
- Religious institutions, institutionalization and renewal
- Religious movements
- New religions movements
- Old and new religions: the search for salvation
Paul G Hiebert, Understanding Folk Religion: A Christian Response to Popular Beliefs and Practices (Grand Rapids: Baker 1999).
David Baker, ed., Biblical Faith & Other Religions: An Evangelical Assessment (Grand Rapids: Kregel Pub., 2004).
*J.H. Bavinck, The Impact of Christianity on the Non-Christian World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948).
Recommended (those marked with a * is classic for this unit, those in bold font is for 600 level only)
*J. Yutaka Amano and Norman Geisler. The Infiltration of the New Age (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale,1989).
John Ankerberg & John Weldon, eds, Encyclopaedia of Cults and New Religions
(Eugene; Oregon: Harvest House Pub, 1999).
*J.H.Bavinck, ‘General Revelation and the Non-Christian Religions’. Free University Quarterly 4 (1955): 43-55.
________, The Church Between the Temple and Mosque (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966).
David Burnett, World of the Spirits: A Christian Perspective on traditional and Folk
Religions (London: Monarch , 2000).
Mac Charlesworth, Francoise Dussart, Howard Morphy, eds., Aboriginal Religions in Australia: An Anthology of Recent Writings (Aldershot; England: Ashgate Pub Ltd., 2005).
Adam Yuet Chau, Miraculous Response: Doing Popular Religion in Contemporary
China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.
Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham:
AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.19-45.
*Harold Coward, Life After Death in World Religions (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1997).
Lorne L. Dawson, Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader (Oxford:
________, Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movement, 2nd ed
(Canada: OUP, 2006).
Ronald Enroth, A Guide to New Religions Movements (Downers Grove: IVP, 2005).
Bruce David Forbes, Jeffrey H Mahan, Religions & Popular Culture in America (Left Behind) (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006).
*Norman Geisler and David K. Clark. Apologetics in the New Age: A Christian Critique of Pantheism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1990).
*Charles Y. Glock, “The role of deprivation in the origin and evolution of religious groups”, in R. Lee and ME Marty, eds, Religion and Social Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964).
Christoffer H Grundmann, “Inviting the Spirit to Fight the Sprits? Pneumatological Challenges for Missions in Healing and Exorcism” International Review of Mission, 94 no. 372 (2005):51-73.
Barend J Haar, Telling Stories: Witchcraft and Scapegoating in Chinese History (Leiden: Brill, 2006)
Jim Harries, ‘The Magical Worldview in the African Church: What is Going On?’ Missiology 24, No 4(2000): 487-502
Graham Harvey, Readings in Indigenous Religions (London: Continuum, 2002).
Jean Holm, & John Bowker, eds., Human Nature and Destiny (London: Printer Publishing, 1994).
Stephen J Hunt, Alternative Religion: A Sociological Introduction (Aldershot: Ashgate Pub Ltd, 2003).
FPM Jespers and Carla Vermeulen (Translator), “The Paranormal market in the Netherlands: New Age and Folk Religion” Fieldwork in Religion, 5 no.1 (2010):58-77
Michael Keene, World Religions (Oxford; UK: Lion Pub., 2002).
*Hendrik Kraemer, The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World (Grand Rapids: Kregel Pub., 1938).
Charles Kraft, Christianity in Culture (Maryknoll: Obris, 1979).
Lester R Kurtz, Gods in the Global Village (Thousand Oaks; Calif.: SAGE, 2007).
Arthur Lehmann, James Myers & Pamela A Moro, eds., Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion: An Anthropological Study of the Supernatural, 6th ed. (New York: The McGrow-Hill Company, 2000).
Brian Levack, ed., Anthropological Studies of Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion (New York: Garland Publishing, 1992).
Martin Lindhardt, “More than Just Money: The Faith Gospel and Occult Economies in Contemporary Tanzania” Nova Relgio, 13 no.1 (2009): 41-67.
Arthur J Magida, Opening the Doors of Wonder: Reflections on Religious Rites of Passage (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006).
Allan S Maller, “Folk Religion can Grow Piety” Dialogue & Alliance, 29, no.1
Brian McLaren, Church on the Other Side (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).
Armson Morandir, “The Search for Meaning: Occult Redefinitions and the Internet” The Pomegranate, 16 no. 1 (2014):55-79.
Terry Muck, Christianity Encountering World Religions: The Practice of Mission in the Twenty-first Century (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009).
Kenneth Nehrbass, “Dealing with Disaster: Critical Contextualization of Misfortune in an Animistic Setting: Dealing with Disaster”. Missiology: An International Review, vol. 39, (4 October 2011): 459-471.
Jordan D Paper, The Deities are Many: A Polytheistic Theology (Albany: State University of New York, 2005).
Adam Possamai, In Search of New Age Spiritualties (UK: Ashgate, 2005).
Adam Possamai, John Bellamy and Keith Castle, “The Diffusion of New Age beliefs and Practices among Australian Church Attenders” Fieldwork in Religion, 2 No.1 (2006): 9-12.
Stephen Prothero, The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World: God is not One (New York: Harper One, 2010).
*Bong Rin Ro, Christian Alternatives to Ancestor Practices (Taiwan: Asia Theological
Thomas A Robinsn & H. Rodrigues, World Religions (UK SCM Press, 2006).
Carl E Rockrohr, Are Lutherans Ready for 21st Century Ministry and Mission? Understanding Folk Religion” Missio Apostolica, 8 no.2 (2000):88-93.
*Edward Rommen & Harold Netland, Christian and the Religions: A Biblical Theology of World Religions (Pasadena: William Carey, 1995).
Catherine Sanders, Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 2005).
Henry N. Smith, “Chinese Ancestor Practices and Christianity : Toward a Viable
Contextualization of Christian Ethics in Hong Kong Setting”. Missiology
17, vol 1 (1989):27-38.
Ivab Strenski, Thinking about Religion: An Historical Introduction to Theories of Religion (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
Richard Warms, James Garber, Jon McGee, eds., Sacred Realms: Essays in Religion, Belief & Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Matthew Wood, Possession, Power and the New Age (UK: Ashgate, 2007).
John Wolffe, ed., Global Religious Movement in Regional Context (Milton Keynes; UK: Ashgate, 2002).
Nigel Scotland, Sectarian Religion in Contemporary Britain (UK: Paternoster, 2000).
James N. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 4th edition (Downers Grove: IVP, 2004).
Richard Valantasis, Centuries of Holiness Ancient Spirituality Refracted for a Postmodern Age (New York: Continuum, 2005).
Far East religions Resources:
Ching, Julia. "The Falun Gong: Religious and Political Implications." In: Tun-Jen
Cheng & Deborah A. Brown [eds.], Religious Organizations and Democratization: Case Studies from Contemporary Asia. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2006. Pp. 41-54.
Julia Ching, Chinese Religions (London: MacMillan, 1993).
Feucht Wang, Stephan; Shih Fang-Long; Paul-François Tremlett. "The Formation and
Function of the Category 'Religion' in Anthropological Studies of Taiwan." Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 18(2006)1: 37-66.
Haar, Barend J. ter. Telling Stories: Witchcraft and Scapegoating in Chinese History.
Leiden: Brill, 2006.
James Miller [ed.], Chinese Religions in Contemporary Societies. Santa Barbara, CA:
ABC-CLIO, 2006. Pp.123-145.
Aijmer, Göran. "A Family Reunion: The Anthropology of Life, Death and New Year
in Soochow." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 15(2005)2: 199-218.
Betty, Stafford. "The Growing Evidence for "Demonic Possession": What should
Psychiatry's Response Be?" Journal of Religion and Health 44(2005)1: 13-30. [Note: Author draws (among other sources) on a description of an exorcistic ritual observed by Peter Goullart in the 1920s.]
Jonathan Y Tan, “Rethinking the Relationship between Christianity and World
Religions, and Exploring Its Implications for Doing Christian Mission in Asia”
Missiology: An International Review, vol. 39, 4 (October 2011): 497-509.
Anthony F.C. Wallace, “Revitalization Movements”, in Arthur C Lehmann, James
Myers & Pamela A Moro, eds., Magic , Witchcraft, and Religion:
Anthropological Study of the Supernatural, 6th ed. (New York: The McGrow-
Hill Company, 2000), pp.361-66.
Geoffrey Walker, “Folk Religion: Is Churchmanship Really an Attitude Predictor?”
Modern Believing , 43 no 2 (2002):22-31.
* Web Resources:
Internet copy of Articles of Cult and Alternate Religions; New Ages Movement and
Occult. The Watchman Expositor Magazine, Watchman Fellowship. http://www.watchman.org/articles/. Accessed in 2016.
Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, The Jesus and the New Ages Movement. Downloadable Articles. Part one and two. http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/JesusNAM.html. Accessed in May, 2016.
PEW Research Center (2012, Dec. 18). “Folk Religionists.” The Global Religious
Landscape. Source: http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-folk/. Accessed on 22nd April, 2016.
Lausanne movement Occasional Papers 16-18 and other online papers. Face to face
Intercultural website. http://www.facetofaceintercultural.com.au/resources-for-studying-folk-religion/. Accessed on 22nd April, 2016.