Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion

By Stewart Elliott Guthrie | Go to book overview

Preface

I am pleased and excited but also a little apprehensive to be offering a new theory of religion. To offer a new theory of anything invites scrutiny, but a theory of something as important as religion may invite skepticism or outright dismissal. I fear, too, that some believers, including some of my own kin, may be dismayed. At the same time, I feel exhilaration and a culmination.

Writing about a modern Japanese religious movement some years ago, I found that the movement resembled other religions primarily in its anthropomorphism—in viewing the world as humanlike. In a later article I developed the underlying idea that all religion is a kind of anthropomorphism. Readers of various persuasions found this theory of religion provocative and wanted more evidence.

In pursuing the idea, I came to see anthropomorphism as pervading human thought and action. It ranged from spontaneous perception in daily life, to art, to science; from voices in the wind, to Mickey Mouse, to the Earth as Gaia. It also seemed central to religious belief, so much so that explaining it would explain religion.

Because the study of religion clearly needs a new theory, the enterprise has been even more exciting. Although theories abound, none is powerful and none prevails. Religious studies remains a welter of ideas and approaches.

In this confused arena, I admittedly am an outsider—not a scholar of religion but an anthropologist—emboldened, perhaps by his innocence.

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Faces in the Clouds - A New Theory of Religion *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Need for a Theory 8
  • 2 - Animism, Perception, and the Effort After Meaning 39
  • 3 - The Origin of Anthropomorphism 62
  • 4 - Anthropomorphism as Perception 91
  • 5 - Anthropomorphism in the Arts 122
  • 6 - Anthropomorphism in Philosophy and Science 152
  • 7 - Religion as Anthropomorphism 177
  • Notes 205
  • References 249
  • Figure Credits 273
  • Index 275
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 290

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.