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Do you think humans would be religious if they were never going to die?

Dr. Martha Reineke discusses her solution by giving both a yes and no answer to this question. First she suggests that humans would be religious if they were immortal because the objective of religion is much more complicated than simply addressing what occurs after death. To prove this point, Dr. Reineke tells a story of a three Chinese women on pilgrimage and how their prayers focus on day to day obstacles and not the larger questions of an afterlife.

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Playing Time: 6:12 minutes

About the Interviewee:

Dr. Martha J. Reineke is a graduate of Earlham College and received her doctorate in philosophy of religion from Vanderbilt University. She is a member of the core faculty in the Graduate Program in Women's and Gender Studies as well as a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of Northern Iowa. Her areas of teaching and research expertise include theories of sex and gender, psychoanalytic theory, religion and society, and Existentialism. She is the author of Sacrificed Lives: Kristeva on Women and Violence and has published extensively on the work of René Girard and considers Girard's mimetic theory to be a vital resource for understanding and responding to violence in today's world. She is an advocate for persons with disabilities.

About the Interviewer:

Dr. Alfred Benney is a professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and teaches courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include "how people learn"; "the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning" and "myth as explanatory narrative". He has published work on teaching with technology.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.