“Salvation”: The essential aim of religion
A. Deliverance or redemption. Being delivered or liberated from an enemy, danger, ignorance, sin, pollution, finitude – whatever is considered evil or threatening.
B. Wholeness, completion, perfection, health, strength, well-being, bliss (van der Leeuw, “power experienced as good”)
C. Can refer to both personal and collective
a. Establishment of cosmos – sacred order
Can refer to
something “this-worldly” and/or something other-worldly,
All definitions entail deliverance from the disorder, evil, meaninglessness of the profane world.
1. Personal: Humanistic conceptions
a. Non-theistic, focused on powers and capacities that reside within us – rationality, creativity, capacity for moral thought and action.
Tend to view the
cosmos as in and of itself meaningless – we need to shape our own lives,
establish our own meaning
c. Psychotherapies – “cure of souls,” transferred from priest to therapist. The therapeutic movement.
i. A means of liberation in scientific age: heightened consciousness, ability to tolerate frustration and delay gratification, skills for establishing and maintaining close relations with others
1. Eric Fromm – becoming able to see the truth, establish personal agency, take responsibility, become more fully aware and appreciative of the richness of life and one’s own existence.
d. Spiritual psychotherapies: Yoga, Taoism, Zen
i. Maslow and peak experiences – extend beyond
realm of religious
2. Judaism – Kingdom of God
a. This-worldly, oriented to future, collective
b. No emphasis on individual life after death
c. Messianic hopes: in exile, under persecution (Egypt, Babylon)
a. Resurrection of the body, heaven and hell, Eternal life
i. An earthly body and a spiritual body
ii. Final judgement
2. Pure Land Buddhism – Western paradise
1. Hindu Moksha
a. Liberation from rebirth and suffering
divine; realization of one’s divine identity
2. Buddhist Nirvana
a. “Blowing out” of desire and craving for permanence
b. Total awareness in moment; mindfulness