By Peter Matthiessen

ISBN-10: 0679737413

ISBN-13: 9780679737414

Set within the South American jungle, this mystery follows the conflict among lost gringos--one who has come to transform the Indians to Christianity, and person who has been employed to kill them. Now the foundation for a massive movie.

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There are also moral questions: Does the research arise from respect, or is the researcher’s curiosity just another example of cultural domination—a new form of colonialism? (A New Yorker cartoon expressed this well. Two friends in a forest village are talking about a sad-looking foreigner nearby. The foreigner, dressed in a safari suit and sun helmet, is tied up and awaiting his fate. ” “No,” says the friend. ”) A second moral question relates specifically to the study of native religions. Any researcher inevitably introduces new ideas and new objects (clothing, flashlight, camera, video recorder).

The reverse has also been suggested, namely, that polytheism led to monotheism. Influenced by the notion of evolution, some have speculated that religions “evolve” naturally from animism (a worldview that sees all elements of nature as being filled with spirit or spirits) to polytheism and then to monotheism. Critics of this view feel it is biased in favor of monotheism, in part because it is a view originally suggested by Christian scholars, who presented their belief system as the most advanced.

Mythology The study of religious tales, texts, and art has uncovered some universal patterns. Mythology is full of the recurrent images and themes found in religions, such as the tree of knowledge, the ladder to heaven, the fountain of life, the labyrinth, the secret garden, the holy mountain, the newborn child, the suffering hero, initiation, rebirth, the cosmic battle, the female spirit guide, and the aged teacher of wisdom. Philosophy Philosophy (Greek: “love of wisdom”) in some ways originated from a struggle with religion; although both arenas pose many of the same questions, philosophy does not automatically accept the answers given by any religion to the great questions.

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At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen

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