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Anomalocaris

The Origins of Religion

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Dhurfjooydig
4 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

 I think I get into a lot of arguments here, because others simply haven't read many of the books articles journals etc covering the topics discussed,  and think I make the points of view and opinions up myself, because they are not aware of their academic background or foundation.

On the other hand, I recently referenced a book published by the respected University of Chicago Press ... one of the oldest university presses in the United States ... and without reading it, on the basis of one quote from it, you pronounced the author "completely wrong". So yeah ... maybe it is this kind of behavior that gets you into arguments, rather than you being so fantastically well read and everyone else not reading. 

Edited by No Solid Ground
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GoldenWolf
16 hours ago, I hide behind words said:

But to do the reverse is beautiful.

Don't think The Devil is ever going to change.

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GlitterRose

The origins of religion are simple. We wanted to feel important. 

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Mr Walker
1 hour ago, No Solid Ground said:

On the other hand, I recently referenced a book published by the respected University of Chicago Press ... one of the oldest university presses in the United States ... and without reading it, on the basis of one quote from it, you pronounced the author "completely wrong". So yeah ... maybe it is this kind of behavior that gets you into arguments, rather than you being so fantastically well read and everyone else not reading. 

Well the theory behind it IS wrong because it is based on false premises (both about human cognition and its effect on the evolution of human spiritual and religious thoughts, and on re interpreting archaeological evidences not with an open mind but with a cognitive bias.)   false information a nd possibly on a biased world view   ( plus 2 equals 4 and when you see a book which tells you that 2 plus 2 equals 5 you dont have to do a thorough examination of it to know it is wrong (unless the authors have substituted different values or names for numbers which is what is happening here with words.)

 The fact that  a publishing house is prepared to publish an alternative view of history does not mean that the university or anyone else accepts the validity of the theory.  Theories are interesting and challenging and thus useful,  but they will not survive in academia unless they can be validated by peer review and evidences and are not so outlandish as to be disregarded by other academics.  they are often presented and argued by younger academics seeking to make a name for themselves,where even bad publicity is better than remaining a nonentity in academic circles.

 There is probably a good living to be made from pushing a theory like this in the modern era and it is certainly a way to get your name recognised and talked about. .  . 

Would you trust ANY part of a maths primer which told you that 2 plus 2 equaled 5?

 If you had a good understanding of the many disciplines involved in this debate from anthropology, sociology, human cognition and speech development, through psychology and especially ancient histories and the development of ancient spiritual mythologies and religions,  and an open mind, this theory would also be totally ridiculous to yourself.

 In a sense it is the lack of knowledge and understanding of these disciplines in detail which leaves your mind open to a theory which runs in opposition to all of them. If you understood how the process of human psychology and cognition causes humans to construct spiritual and religious beliefs from birth you would see the theory is wrong .If you really had a good understanding of primitive/ ancient peoples' writings, customs, cultures and practices you would also know it is wrong. If you understood the psychology and sociology behind how belief and religion unified diverse peoples and enabled the establishment of larger communities outside clan/family groups,  based on mutual belief and trust, you would know it is wrong > if you had read much about the connected driving forces behind structures like stonehenge or other ancient megaliths where religious belief combined with a need for a knowledge of nature, drove the buildings, and combined belief allowed the social cooperation required for the construction, then you would not accept this theory.   And so on.   

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Mr Walker
1 hour ago, ChaosRose said:

The origins of religion are simple. We wanted to feel important. 

it is not that simple The first religions were not about us, but about nature and our relative powerlessness in the face of natural forces.Thus beliefs and rituals,and hence shared religions, arose which we thought gave us some power or control over the chaotic power of nature   While sacrificing to the thunder god didn't actually make you safer, if you believed it did then you FELT safer and that is important in allowing you to continue functioning.  For humans  life is generally not about physical reality but about how we perceive and respond to that physical reality.  For example i read the other day that in america your chance of being killed by a foreign muslim terrorist on american soil is something like a billion to one Yet it is one of the most powerful perceived fears and thus political motivators in america today.

 That figure may have been a exaggeration but the calculated odds from this source are interesting.  In america your chances  of being killed by ANY form of illegal immigrant  is 1 in 138,324,873  and thus would be even higher for specifically muslim illegal  immigrants.

 https://www.businessinsider.com.au/death-risk-statistics-terrorism-disease-accidents-2017-1?r=US&IR=T 

And so, our FEARS remain the driver of our beliefs and prejudices, and hence govt policy.

Ps i actually favour radically restricting all immigration/emigration and also  much tighter controls on human movement around the world  but this is more for economic and social reasons than any fear of terrorism   eg the more diverse a society, is the greater stress on its social fabric and cohesion  .

Humans being humans, diversity does not bring strength, but division. ( UNLESS all citizens can live by a common set of ethical and moral beliefs. )

 After over half a century of relatively free global movement of people around the world, in my opinion it is time to tighten up, and that includes tightening up on  allowing australians to leave the country   yet retain citizenship rights. And resticting immigration from ANY country to people we want and need for economic development. 

Edited by Mr Walker

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GlitterRose
4 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

it is not that simple The first religions were not about us, but about nature and our relative powerlessness in the face of natural forces.Thus beliefs and rituals,and hence shared religions, arose which we thought gave us some power or control over the chaotic power of nature   While sacrificing to the thunder god didn't actually make you safer, if you believed it did then you FELT safer and that is important in allowing you to continue functioning.  For humans  life is generally not about physical reality but about how we perceive and respond to that physical reality.  For example i read the other day that in america your chance of being killed by a foreign muslim terrorist on american soil is something like a billion to one Yet it is one of the most powerful perceived fears and thus political motivators in america today.

 That figure may have been a exaggeration but the calculated odds from this source are interesting.  In america your chances  of being killed by ANY form of illegal immigrant  is 1 in 138,324,873  and thus would be even higher for specifically muslim illegal  immigrants.

 https://www.businessinsider.com.au/death-risk-statistics-terrorism-disease-accidents-2017-1?r=US&IR=T 

And so, our FEARS remain the driver of our beliefs and prejudices, and hence govt policy. 

You might believe it's not that simple, but I stand by what I said. It has been all about ego from the start, and shame on us for thinking we were being spiritual.

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Mr Walker
3 minutes ago, ChaosRose said:

You might believe it's not that simple, but I stand by what I said. It has been all about ego from the start, and shame on us for thinking we were being spiritual.

Yet early religions and spiritual beliefs were not about making us more important , but about  making us feel safer. Yes our sense of awareness of self makes us prioritise our own importance, but many religions argue against this and for  the equality of human beings, social justice, and  our duty to care about and help others. They argue for humility and  wisdom and against greed and materialism . 

Spiritual thinking takes many forms 

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Clarakore
6 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Thank you for your kind words and thoughts . Forgive my pomposity.  Sometimes praise is harder to accept than criticism. 

Never held it against you mate.

6 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Guns germs and steel is a fascinating and informative book.

Love the book and will finish it eventually. It has helped me continue my quest to understand why conquests and colonialism happened.

Being part of a conquered group there is lots of bitterness and hatred I have slowly rose above and continue healing on that front. From a teen and young adult nationalist desiring self determination I am now more interested in the brotherhood and sistren of humanity. But that is all interlude.

Since as a child without any political consciousness I hace overall just wanted to know everything about history and how things came to be. And Jared Diamond is a gold mine.

Quote

It was given to me as part of a teaching award for geography, and then lost in the bushfire The colleague who nominated me for the award kindly organised for the geography teachers association to replace not only the certification  but the book  It remains the ONLY book of many thousands which  were burned, which was directly replaced.  

Glad to know this and my admiration for educators is grande. It is joyous to know that both of those were restored to you. 

Quote

 I think I get into a lot of arguments here, because others simply haven't read many of the books articles journals etc covering the topics discussed,  and think I make the points of view and opinions up myself,

Tell me about it. You think you have it bad when still around the educated, try being around people who never read or learn at all!!! So many times offline I have been accused of making stuff up. 

Quote

because they are not aware of their academic background or foundation.  You are clearly well read and have thought about these issues and thus, while i might not agree with every point you make, i can understand where you are coming from and can argue civilly with those opinions. And I agree with most of your  interpretations 

Hey thank you and likewise. After a harsh day it is nice to interact with a kindred soul.

Edited by I hide behind words

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Sherapy
19 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

Mr. Walker: I was explaining how someone without a knowledge of  fractal patterns , inertia, momentum,  gravity, wave movement. etc. would be thinking (as children today think) 

No Solid Ground: And there ya go again ... saying ancient people had the mental capacity and conceptual ability of children.

Mr. Walker: No I did not say that. i actually said the opposite, but your cognitive bias is not allowing you to comprehend. 

---

Wow :blink:

OMG! My two cents is sometimes it is better to just walk away from some dialogues. 

Your posts are well understood, it isn't you, like Stubbs said take a deep breath and know it is not about you.

 

 

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GlitterRose
10 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

Yet early religions and spiritual beliefs were not about making us more important , but about  making us feel safer. Yes our sense of awareness of self makes us prioritise our own importance, but many religions argue against this and for  the equality of human beings, social justice, and  our duty to care about and help others. They argue for humility and  wisdom and against greed and materialism . 

Spiritual thinking takes many forms 

And if we agree that some of it was about fear and self-preservation...that somehow makes us more spiritual?

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Dhurfjooydig
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

The fact that  a publishing house is prepared to publish an alternative view of history does not mean that the university or anyone else accepts the validity of the theory.

REVIEW QUOTES

Choice
“Written with remarkable clarity, this book makes an excellent contribution to the study of the interface of traditional Japanese religions and politics. Highly recommended.”
 
H-Shukyo
“The range of Japanese primary sources consulted in his book is prodigious, as is his familiarity and usage of multidisciplinary theoretical works. . . . Josephson has used well-documented examples of the creation of various Japanese belief systems in the modern era to suggest a new model for understanding the colonial past of religious studies and to provide new tools and models for grappling with continuing change in religious studies theory. . . . Josephson’s book is erudite, informative, and interesting. It should be a worthwhile read for Japan scholars as well as scholars and students interested in religious studies theory and history.”
 
Japan Review
“Josephson’s book is a highly insightful and ingenious application of the constructivist approach to religion—the method of reverse-engineering the clockwork that makes the concept tick in particular historical and cultural cases. . . . By putting the stress on invention, Josephson foregrounds this backstage business of making, and in doing so, he demonstrates, to brilliant effect, the novelty and power of the products that resulted. . . . Josephson’s book will no doubt be generating further exciting inventions for some time to come.”
 
Paul L. Swanson | International Bulletin of Missionary Research
“Jason A¯nanda Josephson’s book on the ‘invention of religion’ is an informative, well-argued, and stimulating discussion of an important topic that should be fascinating to anyone interested in religion in modern Japan or religion in any historical or cultural context.”
 
Religious Studies in Japan
“Jason Josephson’s The Invention of Religion in Japan offers a creative theoretical apparatus that many students of Japanese religion and history will find immediately useful. . . . Josephson boasts a formidable linguistic skill set and a corresponding fluency with theoretical material; he puts both to extensive use in this wide-ranging book. . . . Josephson upends the familiar Saidian account of Europe’s masterful encounter with the passive ‘Orient,’ showing that Japanese interpreters played active roles in formulating European understandings of the new academic field of ‘Japanese religions.’”
 
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
“Josephson admirably traces the development of ‘religion’ in Japan and the West, and he constantly reminds of how this invention was inextricably interwoven with international politics and diplomatic relationships. . . . Josephson presents a sophisticated analysis of the invention of religion in Japan by applying theoretically and empirically based explanations that rely on primary source data in multiple languages to contest previous notions of ‘religion’ and assumptions within the academic study of religion. In that respect, The Invention of Religion in Japan can help scholars of religions in Japan and elsewhere continue to refine and shape our understanding of ‘religion’ in modernity.”
 
Journal of Religion in Japan
“This book is an advance in the literature. Tightly edited, it synthesizes a heavy mass of information and uses judicious combinations of primary, secondary, and theo retical literature to tell its story. The author’s linguistic abilities are exceptional, and he has done deep background research into varied European and Japanese literatures that help him address the various specific problems raised in his enterprise. Readers who are not Japan specialists will find the issues framed by interesting anecdotes and well-chosen historical information.”
 
Ian Reader | Monumenta Nipponica
“The book is a linguistic and textual tour de force that challenges many preconceptions about the development of studies of religion in Japan as well as about religion as a defined, or definable, category in Japanese contexts. Its thesis, that “religion” as a conceptual category did not exist prior to Western incursions into Meiji Japan and that it thus needed to be invented by the Japanese, is argued convincingly and will make many who have held alternative viewpoints think again. Josephson also offers some new insights into the contentious terminology of the religious and the secular by focusing on Japanese concerns with heresy and “superstition,” which were critical definitional categories through which the “religious” and the “secular” were framed. . . . One hopes very much that people outside of religious studies do not look at Josephson’s title and think this is a book solely about religion. Indeed, it would not have been amiss to have titled the book “Politics, Diplomacy, and the Invention of Religion,” for it is as much of relevance to students of politics, diplomacy, international relations, and law as it is to those of religious studies.”
 
Cross-Currents
“Theoretically sophisticated and intellectually ambitious, Josephson’s book challenges the long-held assumption that religion is a universal component of human experience….Josephson’s work is a skillful exercise in semiotic analysis, drawing on sources in Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish, and Italian, and it illuminates the role of the Japanese as observers of the West, not merely as objects of Western observation….In this way, Josephson uses the transnational approach not only to revise a long-standing problem in Japanese historiography but also to deconstruct hegemonic Western concepts.”
 
Jeff Schroeder | The Eastern Buddhist
“Josephson weaves together a fresh narrative of Japanese nation-building in its relation to religion. . . . Sophisticated yet highly readable, The Invention of Religion in Japan will be edifying reading for general readers and students as much as for specialists.”
 
Inken Prohl | Religion
“[C]onvincingly describe[es] the reception of the term ‘religion’ in Japan not as an ‘imposition’ and thus passive reception of a foreign concept but as an active and deliberate acquisition. . . . [Josephson] does a brilliant job in showing how ‘religion’ was used by state officials, scientists, and other protagonists in late 19th-century Japan as exactly what it is: a free-floating signifier with a strong discursive force that can be of great use for different processes of negotiation and naturalization.”
 
Journal of Japanese Studies
"This is an important book. . . . It requires us to rethink how we understand and classify Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity in both premodern and modern settings. . . . [Josephson's] analysis of Japan is Foucauldian in virtually every dimension—not only of its religion, but also of its use of knowledge as power and of the 'disciplining of bodies' by authorities through regimens on hygiene, mental illness, sexual deviance, and imprisonment."
 
Journal of Asian Studies
“The book brilliantly weaves two genealogies of scholarship, making it deeply interesting to students of either one: studies examining the construction of State Shinto in the Meiji period as a nonreligious expression of modern Japanese identity with a generation of critical scholarship on the academic study of religion. . . . [Josephson] has produced an elegant argument that religion (including its co-products, the secular and the superstitious) was not so much imposed on Japan, but rather, in the discursive gap created by Western missionary and diplomatic incursions, invented in Japan by the Japanese to serve the late nineteenth-century modernization project. In short, the book describes, in far-ranging discussions, how religion became the first modern manufactured product with the origin label ‘Made in Japan.’”
 
Mark W. MacWilliams | Numen
“Presents an exciting challenge to the field of Japanese religious studies. . . . Josephson sheds much light on how the Western category of religion was adapted, interpreted, and transformed in Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. . . . A powerful addition to the field and a must-read.”
 
Russell T. McCutcheon | Numen
“An important contribution. . . . Studies such as Josephson’s . . . that examine classification as a collaborative, situationally-specific exercise linked not just to ideas but to social interests, legal systems, and administrative structures . . . are an important corrective to those who understand situations of contact as merely involving the passive vanquished simply doing the bidding of invading conquerors.”
 
Jacqueline Stone, Princeton University
“Jason ­Ananda Josephson astutely analyzes how Japanese definitions of religion sought to contain Christian missionary agendas and to position Japan advantageously vis-à-vis Western nations while at the same time radically reconfiguring inherited traditions and articulating new ideological norms for Japanese citizens. His broad erudition allows him to place the case of Japan in transnational perspective and to offer persuasive theoretical insights into the mutually constitutive nature of religion, superstition, and the secular. This study is illuminating reading for anyone interested, not only in modern Japan, but in the complex interconnections of religion, modernity, and the politics of nation states.”
 
Sarah Thal, University of Wisconsin–Madison
The Invention of Religion in Japan is truly revolutionary. Original, well-researched, and engrossing, it overturns basic assumptions in the study of Japanese thought, religion, science, and history. Jason ­Ananda Josephson comes up with a provocative and convincing new way to look at what has commonly been seen as religion in Japan. This book will absolutely reshape the field.”
 
Journal of Religion
“Josephson’s investigation of the category of religion as it developed in modern Japan is a helpful addition to the field, and, to be honest, I have already begun assigning it in seminars. . . . This book [will be] useful in comparative and theoretical courses on religion and will no doubt appeal to anyone studying Japanese religions and Japanese history. . . . Moreover, his consideration of diplomacy and domestic law as key factors in the construction and negotiation of conceptual categories will be of interest to scholars in many fields. I highly recommend this book.”
Edited by No Solid Ground
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Dhurfjooydig
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

The fact that  a publishing house is prepared to publish an alternative view of history does not mean that the university or anyone else accepts the validity of the theory.  Theories are interesting and challenging and thus useful,  but they will not survive in academia u

AWARDS

American Academy of Religion: AAR Best First Book in the History of Religions
Finalist

Society for the Scientific Study of Religion: SSSR Distinguished Book Award
Won

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Clarakore
2 hours ago, Mystic Crusader said:

Don't think The Devil is ever going to change.

Change is the only constant and progress in every category will occur.

The Devil if Satan is an employee of God. Dualism is an illusion.

And every knee shall bow and not for punishment but blessings. 

As a matter of fact I convert demons and cast them out by telling them to leave and to tell others they all can be forgiven if they ask for it and to return and help us as we need their help now.

A simple and humble work. No theatrics no fighting evil. It is all about healing for all generations.

God is not going to send angels to help us as that is our job to help others. As a matter of fact we are the angels and the demons. It is all part of humanity.

 

Edited by I hide behind words

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Sherapy
4 minutes ago, No Solid Ground said:

AWARDS

American Academy of Religion: AAR Best First Book in the History of Religions
Finalist

Society for the Scientific Study of Religion: SSSR Distinguished Book Award
Won

Walker's eyes are bigger than his stomach when it comes to actual knowledge on a subject. Lol 

Wonderful to have you aboard your posts are very interesting. 

And, if BTE tips his hat to ya that is even better. 

Posters don't come any sharper than him on History. Whistles. 

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Sherapy
6 minutes ago, I hide behind words said:

Change is the only constant and progress in every category will occur.

The Devil if Satan is an employee of God. Dualism is an illusion.

And every knee shall bow and not for punishment but blessings. 

As a matter of fact I convert demons and cast them out by telling them to leave and to tell others they all can be forgiven if they ask for it and to return and help us as we need their help now.

A simple and humble work. No theatrics no fighting evil. It is all about healing for all generations.

God is not going to send angels to help us as that is our job to help others. As a matter of fact we are the angels and the demons. It is all part of humanity.

 

MC is just saying that some posters don't change their spots. And, this is a fair assessment, it has nothing to do with devils or demons just years of the same posting style.

 

Edited by Sherapy
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Clarakore
Just now, Sherapy said:

MC is just saying that some posters don't change their spots. And, this is a fair assessment. 

I knew that but chose to focus on the greater theme which makes it evident I disagree that people cannot change spots. And to do it again beautiful Sheri, you not only helped change mine personally but evolution also tells me spots will come and spots will go.

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Dhurfjooydig
14 minutes ago, Sherapy said:

Wonderful to have you aboard your posts are very interesting. 

Thanks Sherapy :)  

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Sherapy
12 minutes ago, I hide behind words said:

I knew that but chose to focus on the greater theme which makes it evident I disagree that people cannot change spots. And to do it again beautiful Sheri, you not only helped change mine personally but evolution also tells me spots will come and spots will go.

Ahh, but this is where we differ, if you enlarged your perspective to include other ways to see things the credit belongs to you, not to me. You did the work. Don't give away your effort to anyone. It isn't easy to change, to put your cherished beliefs up for questioning,  it is hard work, and not for the faint of heart.  I have known you along time, it is not a surprise to me you have opened your mind.:wub:

 

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Dhurfjooydig
1 minute ago, Sherapy said:

It isn't easy to change, to put your cherished beliefs up for questioning,  it is hard work, and not for the faint of heart.

Ain't that the truth! 

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GoldenWolf
19 minutes ago, Sherapy said:

MC is just saying that some posters don't change their spots. And, this is a fair assessment, it has nothing to do with devils or demons just years of the same posting style.

 

Actually, I was talking about The Devil.  What you said makes sense though.

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Sherapy
2 minutes ago, Mystic Crusader said:

Actually, I was talking about The Devil.  What you said makes sense though.

Ha ha ha thanks for the correction, duly noted in my humble opinion I forgot to add. . :wub:

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Sherapy
6 minutes ago, No Solid Ground said:

Ain't that the truth! 

Yes, good grief I was so limited in scope when I came to UM years ago, I have such gratitude to my peers for pushing me to question, and am so humbled by the incredible minds that find their way here and take the time to post so that I can learn. Thank you for your posts, they are very profound and educational. 

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Mr Walker
1 hour ago, No Solid Ground said:

REVIEW QUOTES

Choice
“Written with remarkable clarity, this book makes an excellent contribution to the study of the interface of traditional Japanese religions and politics. Highly recommended.”
 
H-Shukyo
“The range of Japanese primary sources consulted in his book is prodigious, as is his familiarity and usage of multidisciplinary theoretical works. . . . Josephson has used well-documented examples of the creation of various Japanese belief systems in the modern era to suggest a new model for understanding the colonial past of religious studies and to provide new tools and models for grappling with continuing change in religious studies theory. . . . Josephson’s book is erudite, informative, and interesting. It should be a worthwhile read for Japan scholars as well as scholars and students interested in religious studies theory and history.”
 
Japan Review
“Josephson’s book is a highly insightful and ingenious application of the constructivist approach to religion—the method of reverse-engineering the clockwork that makes the concept tick in particular historical and cultural cases. . . . By putting the stress on invention, Josephson foregrounds this backstage business of making, and in doing so, he demonstrates, to brilliant effect, the novelty and power of the products that resulted. . . . Josephson’s book will no doubt be generating further exciting inventions for some time to come.”
 
Paul L. Swanson | International Bulletin of Missionary Research
“Jason A¯nanda Josephson’s book on the ‘invention of religion’ is an informative, well-argued, and stimulating discussion of an important topic that should be fascinating to anyone interested in religion in modern Japan or religion in any historical or cultural context.”
 
Religious Studies in Japan
“Jason Josephson’s The Invention of Religion in Japan offers a creative theoretical apparatus that many students of Japanese religion and history will find immediately useful. . . . Josephson boasts a formidable linguistic skill set and a corresponding fluency with theoretical material; he puts both to extensive use in this wide-ranging book. . . . Josephson upends the familiar Saidian account of Europe’s masterful encounter with the passive ‘Orient,’ showing that Japanese interpreters played active roles in formulating European understandings of the new academic field of ‘Japanese religions.’”
 
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
“Josephson admirably traces the development of ‘religion’ in Japan and the West, and he constantly reminds of how this invention was inextricably interwoven with international politics and diplomatic relationships. . . . Josephson presents a sophisticated analysis of the invention of religion in Japan by applying theoretically and empirically based explanations that rely on primary source data in multiple languages to contest previous notions of ‘religion’ and assumptions within the academic study of religion. In that respect, The Invention of Religion in Japan can help scholars of religions in Japan and elsewhere continue to refine and shape our understanding of ‘religion’ in modernity.”
 
Journal of Religion in Japan
“This book is an advance in the literature. Tightly edited, it synthesizes a heavy mass of information and uses judicious combinations of primary, secondary, and theo retical literature to tell its story. The author’s linguistic abilities are exceptional, and he has done deep background research into varied European and Japanese literatures that help him address the various specific problems raised in his enterprise. Readers who are not Japan specialists will find the issues framed by interesting anecdotes and well-chosen historical information.”
 
Ian Reader | Monumenta Nipponica
“The book is a linguistic and textual tour de force that challenges many preconceptions about the development of studies of religion in Japan as well as about religion as a defined, or definable, category in Japanese contexts. Its thesis, that “religion” as a conceptual category did not exist prior to Western incursions into Meiji Japan and that it thus needed to be invented by the Japanese, is argued convincingly and will make many who have held alternative viewpoints think again. Josephson also offers some new insights into the contentious terminology of the religious and the secular by focusing on Japanese concerns with heresy and “superstition,” which were critical definitional categories through which the “religious” and the “secular” were framed. . . . One hopes very much that people outside of religious studies do not look at Josephson’s title and think this is a book solely about religion. Indeed, it would not have been amiss to have titled the book “Politics, Diplomacy, and the Invention of Religion,” for it is as much of relevance to students of politics, diplomacy, international relations, and law as it is to those of religious studies.”
 
Cross-Currents
“Theoretically sophisticated and intellectually ambitious, Josephson’s book challenges the long-held assumption that religion is a universal component of human experience….Josephson’s work is a skillful exercise in semiotic analysis, drawing on sources in Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish, and Italian, and it illuminates the role of the Japanese as observers of the West, not merely as objects of Western observation….In this way, Josephson uses the transnational approach not only to revise a long-standing problem in Japanese historiography but also to deconstruct hegemonic Western concepts.”
 
Jeff Schroeder | The Eastern Buddhist
“Josephson weaves together a fresh narrative of Japanese nation-building in its relation to religion. . . . Sophisticated yet highly readable, The Invention of Religion in Japan will be edifying reading for general readers and students as much as for specialists.”
 
Inken Prohl | Religion
“[C]onvincingly describe[es] the reception of the term ‘religion’ in Japan not as an ‘imposition’ and thus passive reception of a foreign concept but as an active and deliberate acquisition. . . . [Josephson] does a brilliant job in showing how ‘religion’ was used by state officials, scientists, and other protagonists in late 19th-century Japan as exactly what it is: a free-floating signifier with a strong discursive force that can be of great use for different processes of negotiation and naturalization.”
 
Journal of Japanese Studies
"This is an important book. . . . It requires us to rethink how we understand and classify Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity in both premodern and modern settings. . . . [Josephson's] analysis of Japan is Foucauldian in virtually every dimension—not only of its religion, but also of its use of knowledge as power and of the 'disciplining of bodies' by authorities through regimens on hygiene, mental illness, sexual deviance, and imprisonment."
 
Journal of Asian Studies
“The book brilliantly weaves two genealogies of scholarship, making it deeply interesting to students of either one: studies examining the construction of State Shinto in the Meiji period as a nonreligious expression of modern Japanese identity with a generation of critical scholarship on the academic study of religion. . . . [Josephson] has produced an elegant argument that religion (including its co-products, the secular and the superstitious) was not so much imposed on Japan, but rather, in the discursive gap created by Western missionary and diplomatic incursions, invented in Japan by the Japanese to serve the late nineteenth-century modernization project. In short, the book describes, in far-ranging discussions, how religion became the first modern manufactured product with the origin label ‘Made in Japan.’”
 
Mark W. MacWilliams | Numen
“Presents an exciting challenge to the field of Japanese religious studies. . . . Josephson sheds much light on how the Western category of religion was adapted, interpreted, and transformed in Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. . . . A powerful addition to the field and a must-read.”
 
Russell T. McCutcheon | Numen
“An important contribution. . . . Studies such as Josephson’s . . . that examine classification as a collaborative, situationally-specific exercise linked not just to ideas but to social interests, legal systems, and administrative structures . . . are an important corrective to those who understand situations of contact as merely involving the passive vanquished simply doing the bidding of invading conquerors.”
 
Jacqueline Stone, Princeton University
“Jason ­Ananda Josephson astutely analyzes how Japanese definitions of religion sought to contain Christian missionary agendas and to position Japan advantageously vis-à-vis Western nations while at the same time radically reconfiguring inherited traditions and articulating new ideological norms for Japanese citizens. His broad erudition allows him to place the case of Japan in transnational perspective and to offer persuasive theoretical insights into the mutually constitutive nature of religion, superstition, and the secular. This study is illuminating reading for anyone interested, not only in modern Japan, but in the complex interconnections of religion, modernity, and the politics of nation states.”
 
Sarah Thal, University of Wisconsin–Madison
The Invention of Religion in Japan is truly revolutionary. Original, well-researched, and engrossing, it overturns basic assumptions in the study of Japanese thought, religion, science, and history. Jason ­Ananda Josephson comes up with a provocative and convincing new way to look at what has commonly been seen as religion in Japan. This book will absolutely reshape the field.”
 
Journal of Religion
“Josephson’s investigation of the category of religion as it developed in modern Japan is a helpful addition to the field, and, to be honest, I have already begun assigning it in seminars. . . . This book [will be] useful in comparative and theoretical courses on religion and will no doubt appeal to anyone studying Japanese religions and Japanese history. . . . Moreover, his consideration of diplomacy and domestic law as key factors in the construction and negotiation of conceptual categories will be of interest to scholars in many fields. I highly recommend this book.”

When you read these reviews, i think they make my point for me. NONE of them accept the hypothesis, but argue that it is an;  innovative, provocative, and "revolutionary" theory. (and i would agree with those assessments).  

it is  a creative theoretical  apparatus  which provides an    exciting challenge.

I also agree with that summation. 

Thank you for introducing me to this fascinating debate, however it has also helped me read about  josephson's established biases and beliefs which inform the content of this book and others he has written. As i said in a much earlier post The ONLY way this theory works is if you acet a complete revision of the  nature/ meanings of words like of religion belief superstition and  spirituality Josephson BEGINS with redefining the nature of the divine and of spirituality and religions. 

 Josephson distinguishes between two competing definitions of religion that have been prevalent in the Euro-American world. In an earlier version, reference to a god or gods formed an indispensable core of the definition, and religion was understood to have been “revealed” to different cultures. This “theocentric” definition has gradually (if incompletely) yielded to a secularized and globalized “hierocentric” version, in which religion represents a unique phenomenon that forms a discrete aspect of human experience. Theocentric definitions of religion posit one universal revelation from the Christian god to various cultures; non-Christian systems of ritual and thought have therefore been 1. Although Josephson’s work is largely unprecedented in Japanese studies, several scholars of South Asia (King 1999; van der Veer 2001; Pennington 2005) have identified how local intellectuals appropriated the category of religion, skillfully wielding it in both domestic (British colonial) and international contexts. thomas: the concept of religion in modern japan | 5 understood as flawed representations of a pure original (of which Protestant Christianity has remained the paradigmatic model). Hierocentric definitions have rejected the prerequisite of divine revelation, preferring instead to posit a dichotomy between “sacred” and “profane,” and suggest that “the sacred” can be found in all human cultures. Josephson rejects this sacred/profane dichotomy as specious, showing that the anthropological concept of “the sacred” is inherently based on the earlier, theocentric model. The remainder of the book traces how these two definitions came to be applied to Japan.2

A short conclusion summarizes the book by showing the mutually imbricated  (overlapping) nature of the categories of “the secular,” “superstition,” and “religion.” Josephson maps these onto a more abstract set of principles, in which modern secular states align themselves with a neutral, self-evident realm (“the real”). This scientistic approach negates the “delusory” world of superstition (magic, the demonic), articulating a distinction between “mandatory truth” and “backward superstition.” In this view, religion is one species of “superstition,” but it is a species that cannot be wholly eradicated by scientism. Josephson describes religion in this sense as a “paradoxically optional set of beliefs between state truths 5. Although he is less sanguine about the category of “State Shinto,” this places Josephson’s argument in line with Shimazono’s (2010) recent book on that subject. 6. This interpretation is based on Josephson’s argument in the Introduction (8–11), as the words “hierocentric” and “theocentric” seem to have been transposed on page 246. This is one example of the apparently hasty copyediting of the book, which is otherwise meticulously assembled and argued. 10 | Religious Studies in Japan volume 2 (2013) [science] and banned delusions [superstition]” (260). Religion becomes a third term through which “the real” and “delusion” are mediated.

http://jpars.org/online/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/RSJ_2014_Thomas.pdf

The bolded shows the problem.  Religion and religious beliefs and behaviours have nothing  (intrinsically) to do with states, but with people (individual human beings)  and people's nature and needs.

i can see now why josephson sees religion as beginning so late if he feels that religion is some sort of conjunct or adjunct to a state   For more than a millennia christianity WAS like this but it is quite unusual in world religions . Thus religions go back before there such things as states or countries and before there  was any such thing as secularism.  Religions DO NOT have to be powerful massive organisation of a hierarchical and  absolutist nature.

  Druidism is a religion   because it uses internalised thoughts and beliefs, and ritualised behaviours in response to those beliefs, in anticipation of effecting outcomes through ritual, prayer, or belief. 

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Mr Walker
1 hour ago, ChaosRose said:

And if we agree that some of it was about fear and self-preservation...that somehow makes us more spiritual?

yes. Spirituality is part of the psychological make up of man, which comes from when we began to become aware of the nature of self /other and abstract ideas like life and death  Thinking in survival terms came first, and those thoughts became ritualised and practiced into spiritual and religious forms by the first human hunters and gatherers. eg if you believe that animals have living spirits then the next step is to devise a  ritual or practices which will let you  commune with those spirits and thus make hunting the animals more effective.  if you believe lighting is produced by a intelligent and purposeful god then there is at least a chance you might be able to negotiate with pr appease the god to protect yourself IF there is no such god you are totally powerless before the awesome power of an electrical storm. (if you are an ealry hunter /gatherer ) Even today many people don't know enough about the physics of electrical storms to know what is the safest thing to do if caught in one. An ancient person had no way of accessing any such information and thus had to rely on the protection of the gods.   

 Spirituality  is an evolved POSITIVE and constructive way of thinking (like the abilty to think logically weigh evidences and make predictions ) .  which helps us manage the unknown, and reduce fears and anxieties    it is not really about selfishness or egoism  But i was arguing about how human senses of spirituality and religion evolved  .

I have no illusions that spirituality is some  magic /mystical  force given us by a god. It is an evolved way of thinking and  looking at the world, which helps us cope with the unknowns of our worlds 

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GlitterRose

If it's all about self-preservation, you may as well be a Satanist. They're all about the self. 

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