The Social Ecology of Religion

By Vernon Reynolds; Ralph Tanner | Go to book overview

body scars can be used as tribal markers indicating membership in the community, so can circumcision. It does also seem that part of the aim of female circumcision is to reduce the intensity of immediate sensual pleasure arising from genital stimulation. This is nowadays widely seen as an aspect of male control over women, a reflection of the dominant status of men in some African societies. Efforts to eradicate the practice, which some but not all men and women in the countries concerned find abhorrent (as do most or all men and women in countries where it does not occur), have met with only partial success at the present time.

In this chapter we have dealt mainly with the way religions become involved in the management of the preadolescent period, but toward the end of the chapter, with the discussion of circumcision, we came on to the period of adolescence itself and even took a forward look toward marriage and childbearing. These different phases of the life cycle can be distinguished analytically, but in real life they are all parts of a single complex. Our job in this book is to analyze, so we tease them apart, but they will always try to grow together again.

In the next chapter we do, however, go on to adolescence proper, a time typified in Western cultures by "Sturm und Drang," or a particularly high level of psychological tension. Here, clearly, is an area of human life for religions to enter into, and indeed very many societies (our own is something of an exception) do have rituals and other processes through which boys and girls must pass at adolescence.


Notes
1.
Levine R. R. "Judaism and some modern medical problems". J Medical Society of New Jersey, 65, 638-39.
2.
Jakobovits I. ( 1965). Jewish law faces modern problems. Yeshiva University Press, New York.
3.
Goldman A. J. ( 1978). Judaism confronts contemporary issues. Shengold, New York.
4.
Hathout H. ( 1972). "Abortion and Islam". J Medical Libanais, 25, 237-39.
5.
Ling T. O. ( 1969). "Buddhist factors in population growth and control: A survey based on Thailand and Ceylon". Population Studies, 23, 53-60.
6.
Davis H. ( 1946). Moral and pastoral theology, vol 2. Sheed and Ward, London, pp. 166-67.
7.
Capellmann C. F. N. ( 1882). "Pastoral medicine". In: Kelly D. F. Emergence of Roman Catholic medical ethics in N. America. Pustet, New York, pp. 39-40.
8.
Erman A. ( 1901). Zauberspruche für Mutter und Kind aus dem Papyrus 3027 des Berliner Museums. Abhandlungen der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.
9.
Hanks J. R. ( 1968). "Maternity and its rituals in Bang Chan". Cornell Thailand Project Report Series, vol 6. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, p. 92.

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The Social Ecology of Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents *
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • 1 - Why Religions? 3
  • Notes 18
  • 2 - Prior Approaches to the Study of Religion 19
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - The Challenge of Modernity 29
  • Notes 50
  • Part II - Religion and the Life Cycle 51
  • 4 - Conception and Contraception 53
  • Notes 75
  • 5 - Infanticide and Abortion 79
  • Notes 97
  • 6 - Birth and Childhood 101
  • Notes 126
  • 7 - Adolescence 131
  • Notes 147
  • 8 - Marriage 149
  • Notes 180
  • 9 - Divorce and Widowhood 185
  • Notes 197
  • 10 - Middle and Old Age 200
  • Notes 209
  • 11 - Death 211
  • Notes 230
  • Part III - Religions and Disease 235
  • 12 - Faith and Sickness 237
  • Notes 261
  • 13 - Religions and the Enhanced Risk of Disease 267
  • Notes 282
  • 14 - Religions and the Reduced Risk of Disease 285
  • Notes 300
  • 15 - General Conclusions 305
  • Notes 312
  • Index 313
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