Date Presented

Winter 1-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Access Type

1

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Stephen Dawson

Second Advisor

Annette Evans

Third Advisor

Virginia A. Cylke

Abstract

Anecdotally, the casual observer of anthropological phenomenon may be led to believe that every human is basically the same. Indeed, many may assume that groups of people possess identical beliefs, religions, and expressions that hardly vary across different cultures and generations. Throughout the plethora of different cultures and the countless varieties of religious expression and experience it may seem that all of humanity is merely following the same lifestyles and worldviews as their parents and ancestors with very little change save for the gradual evolution in society. A religious studies scholar, or any scholar of the humanities, however, may notice that each member of the human race is possessed by a distinct uniqueness and freewill all his own. Those of us in the modern West, as this essay will hold, are distinguished by our inalienable ability to choose worldviews and beliefs unique to ourselves. The capacity for changing and improving one’s religious mindset does not follow the same progression that biological evolution does - slowly over time - nor do changes in religiosity occur wholly within the group. The capacity to question, change, and even travel between one religious world view and another is a trait inherent in all of mankind and occurs independently at a unique pace as an individual sees fit. This paper will postulate the existence of a religious seeker as a state of change that anybody under the proper conditions can enter into. That is to say, those of us privy to the eclectic religious melting pot of the west or civilizations connected by Western thought creates the ideal conditions for the genesis of religious seekers within its population. The religious seeker, while subject to the legal assumptions of religion of his country at the time; is free to alter, reject, and obviously: seek a better and more comprehensive worldview in order to better his own existence both individually and socially.

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