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Religion vs Philosophy.

 
 
sarek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 08:11 am
@diamantis,
In my view religion, philosophy and science are each tools that help us understand the world we live in. Called it a Trinity if you will.
A constellation in which these three are in disagreement is obviously flawed and should thus be rethought.
0 Replies
 
Icon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 07:49 am
@diamantis,
The funniest part about this conversation is that I have yet to see anyone point out the progressive nature of each.

Religion lead to philosophy which lead to science. The three are not in disagreement, they are merely different levels of the evolution of human thought.

It actually started with natural spirituality, progressed to polytheism, sprouted philosophy and finally science. Then each progressed at seperate rates being seen as mutually exclusive.

Natural spirituality converted to polytheism which converted into monotheism. There is very little worship of multiple gods in the world today.

Philosophy started as a mere proof positive process of realizing the "truth" behind spirituality and the gods

Science started as an extension of philosophy for those who wanted to go even farther.


It's kind of funny because I noticed this progression in my own life. I started with religion, being raised christian. Moved on to philosophy and when I ran out of answers there, I moved on to science. Now I've reached somewhere completely different. Now I am in a place where nothing is real or can be proven but it is required that I take certain things for granted lest I end up in a mental ward before I can complete my research.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 01:29 pm
@Icon,
Icon wrote:
The funniest part about this conversation is that I have yet to see anyone point out the progressive nature of each.


Post 13. Not much, but the progression is mentioned.

Icon wrote:
Religion lead to philosophy which lead to science. The three are not in disagreement, they are merely different levels of the evolution of human thought.


Sort of. Philosophy developed out of religion as a part of religion and remained part of religion, for the most part, until the Renaissance. Science was very much the same way, a religious practice that grew into a field of study without a concentrated religious application.

Icon wrote:
Natural spirituality converted to polytheism which converted into monotheism. There is very little worship of multiple gods in the world today.


Hundreds of millions of people recognize polytheistic pantheons in the world today. Hindus, Taoists, Buddhists and Pagans.

Icon wrote:
It's kind of funny because I noticed this progression in my own life. I started with religion, being raised christian. Moved on to philosophy and when I ran out of answers there, I moved on to science. Now I've reached somewhere completely different. Now I am in a place where nothing is real or can be proven but it is required that I take certain things for granted lest I end up in a mental ward before I can complete my research.


It seems like most people with half a brain could easily end up in a psych ward if they were to speak too loudly without being paid for their words. Hunter Thompson said something like that 'If you are going to be insane, you better get paid for it or they will lock you away'. Something to that effect.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 01:50 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
:)The four functions of mythology

"Joseph Campbell, a leading scholar in the fields of mythology and comparative religion, explains that myth has four basic functions: metaphysical/mystical, cosmological, sociological, and pedagogical. Its metaphysical function is to awaken us to the mystery and wonder of creation, to open our minds and our senses to an awareness of the mystical "ground of being," the source of all phenomena. Its cosmological function is to describe the "shape" of the cosmos, the universe, our total world, so that the cosmos and all contained within it become vivid and alive for us, infused with meaning and significance; every corner, every rock, hill, stone, and flower has its place and its meaning in the cosmological scheme which the myth provides. Its sociological function is to pass down "the law," the moral and ethical codes for people of that culture to follow, and which help define that culture and its prevailing social structure. Its pedagogical function is to lead us through particular rites of passage that define the various significant stages of our lives-from dependency to maturity to old age, and finally, to our deaths, the final passage. The rites of passage bring us into harmony with the "ground of being" (a term often used by Joseph Campbell to refer to an unnamed, unspecified universal mystical power) and allow us to make the journey from one stage to another with a sense of comfort and purpose.
The mystical experience, the core spiritual journey that envisions" quote


Is not the conflict between the science of two thousand years ago with the science of the present? No one is denying that the study of mythology can be beneficial, if it fufills the four above functions.



"The mystical experience, the core spiritual journey that envisions God, has always been a tough experience to communicate. Some would say it's impossible to communicate. Others would say that this is the primary function of myth-to find a way to communicate whatever mystical insight has been gained on the journey: an understanding of the mysteries that underlie the universe; an appreciation of its wonders; the sense of awe or rapture experienced. Since these things can't be communicated by direct means, myth speaks in a language of metaphors, of symbols, and symbolic narratives that aren't bound by objective reality. Some believe that the mystical experience is what gives birth to metaphoric language, metaphoric thinking.
In our post-Enlightenment western world, we have decidedly turned to science to tell us what the "shape of the world is." Originally, however, myth performed this function, explaining the cultural history, religion, class structure, origin, even the origin of the geographical features in the surrounding landscape. Myth describes the shape of the world, and infuses each part of that world with meaning and significance. And though a mythic tale may seem literally false to us today, it was once considered true, and it still expresses a metaphorical truth. All myths are true in the metaphorical sense, according to." Joseph Campbell.
0 Replies
 
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 08:43 pm
@diamantis,
Why must we pit religion VERSUS philosophy instead of embracing them both as mechanisms of the same impulse -- desire for understanding. Take what you can from both, and leave the stuff that tunnels your vision.
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 12:49 am
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey wrote:
Why must we pit religion VERSUS philosophy instead of embracing them both as mechanisms of the same impulse -- desire for understanding. Take what you can from both, and leave the stuff that tunnels your vision.



Galileo and the many other "heretic"proponents of scientific belief not conforming to religious dogma would bitterly laugh at the suggestion that religion is a mechanism of the "desire for understanding". And, as evidenced by the Creationist movement, the Inquisition is still with us.
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 11:18 am
@Dewey phil,
Dewey wrote:
Galileo and the many other "heretic"proponents of scientific belief not conforming to religious dogma would bitterly laugh at the suggestion that religion is a mechanism of the "desire for understanding". And, as evidenced by the Creationist movement, the Inquisition is still with us.

Good for Galileo. I don't see what that has to do with what I said. I never said anything about conforming to religious dogma.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 01:45 pm
@rhinogrey,
Dewey wrote:
Galileo and the many other "heretic"proponents of scientific belief not conforming to religious dogma would bitterly laugh at the suggestion that religion is a mechanism of the "desire for understanding". And, as evidenced by the Creationist movement, the Inquisition is still with us.


Are you saying that the Christian Galileo would have laughed at the notion that his personal faith helped him understand the world?

That's pretty odd, don't you think?

Further, the Creationist movement and Inquisition are remarkably different. The former suggests that Creationism is a valid scientific theory while the later was an active, violent persecution of individuals with particular spiritual views in order to sure up the authority of the state.
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 02:22 pm
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey wrote:
Good for Galileo. I don't see what that has to do with what I said. I never said anything about conforming to religious dogma.



After further thought, I can see some validity in your positive assessment of religion as a path to greater understanding. It often is. More often and more consequentially, however, it leads in my opinion to greater misunderstanding. You have allowed for that condition by advising us to use the good stuff and ignore the rest.

So now I'm reduced to agreeing with you but continuing to sympathize with Galileo and the multitudes of religion's victims whom I suspect would not agree with you to the same extent. Regards.
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 05:57 pm
@Dewey phil,
Dewey wrote:
After further thought, I can see some validity in your positive assessment of religion as a path to greater understanding. It often is. More often and more consequentially, however, it leads in my opinion to greater misunderstanding. You have allowed for that condition by advising us to use the good stuff and ignore the rest.

Religion is a mechanism towards understanding that developed before systems of logic and reasoning, scientific inquiry, etc. I completely agree, especially in the contemporary world we find ourselves in, that the dogma that comes along with profession of a religious belief leads only to more misunderstanding. That doesn't change the fact that, back in the primordial years, religion was one of the first displays of mankind's desire to understand. In today's world, we've outgrown religion. Religion, unlike science and philosophy, does not allow for the rapid evolution of ideas with new evidence and prefers to assume its own beliefs at the exclusion of all other beliefs. History has shown that truth is always been striven for, never arrived at. Religion is convinced it has arrived. But people cling to what they know--and misunderstandings arise.

That is why my view is thus: take what wisdom you can from any and every religion, leave the exclusive labels behind.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 06:27 pm
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey wrote:
I completely agree, especially in the contemporary world we find ourselves in, that the dogma that comes along with profession of a religious belief leads only to more misunderstanding.


Why is this typical of modern times and not pre-modern times? If anything, modernity has allowed the world's faith traditions to cross the globe and mingle. We have westerners studying eastern religion and vice versa. Looking at modern religious movements, we can point to the Baha'i, Unitarians and a host of other religious groups which promote interfaith exchange and understanding as an aspect of their dogma. It seems to me that the more we studying the various religions, the more we will understand. But you suggest that the opposite has been true, that somehow despite the fact that the world over studies a greater variety of religions and employs new ways to study religion (such as Higher Criticism) we modern people are more likely to misunderstand than understand religion.

rhinogrey wrote:
That doesn't change the fact that, back in the primordial years, religion was one of the first displays of mankind's desire to understand. In today's world, we've outgrown religion. Religion, unlike science and philosophy, does not allow for the rapid evolution of ideas with new evidence and prefers to assume its own beliefs at the exclusion of all other beliefs. History has shown that truth is always been striven for, never arrived at. Religion is convinced it has arrived. But people cling to what they know--and misunderstandings arise.


Several points:
1. Why have we outgrown religion? Has man lost or is he losing his spiritual needs? If man still has spiritual needs, then man has not outgrown religion.
2. Religion does allow for the rapid evolution of ideas. Science, philosophy and religion all change at the same pace - the pace at which man questions what he hears. Religion has never been, and is not, static.
3. Further, religion does change with "new evidence". In the case of religion, the closest thing to evidence to be found is the human condition - and religion changes to accomodate changes in the human condition which influence man's spiritual needs.
4. Religion does not, universally speaking, exclude all other beliefs. Quite the contrary. History is filled with the exchange of religious views. That's a big part of how and why religion changes over time; as new spiritual ideas are introduced to a population, the population begins to adopt at least some aspects of those new spiritual ideas as needed.
5. Religion at large is not convinced of anything. Looking at the world's faith traditions, a sizeable contigent of religious people and religious traditions are convinced that they are striving for truth, and that truth is not absolute nor perfectly represented in their teachings.

People do cling to what they know - but this is true in all other areas of study, science and philosophy included. To single out religion doesn't make much sense to me.


rhinogrey wrote:
That is why my view is thus: take what wisdom you can from any and every religion, leave the exclusive labels behind.


What label is exclusive?
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 06:44 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Why is this typical of modern times and not pre-modern times? If anything, modernity has allowed the world's faith traditions to cross the globe and mingle. We have westerners studying eastern religion and vice versa. Looking at modern religious movements, we can point to the Baha'i, Unitarians and a host of other religious groups which promote interfaith exchange and understanding as an aspect of their dogma. It seems to me that the more we studying the various religions, the more we will understand. But you suggest that the opposite has been true, that somehow despite the fact that the world over studies a greater variety of religions and employs new ways to study religion (such as Higher Criticism) we modern people are more likely to misunderstand than understand religion.

Hm, you make a good point. I'm going to have to think about that more.

Quote:
Several points:
1. Why have we outgrown religion? Has man lost or is he losing his spiritual needs? If man still has spiritual needs, then man has not outgrown religion.
Religion does not = spirituality. Religion is when individuals hand over their spiritual development to gurus and priests and hierarchy rather than basing their spiritual development on personal experience. What I'm referring to is religion as a social institution. In this regard, religion has very little to do with spirituality. And to imply that man has outgrown spiritual needs is absurd, so I hope I don't make that implication. Perhaps it would be more accurate for me to say that man's spiritual needs have outgrown religion?

Quote:
2. Religion does allow for the rapid evolution of ideas. Science, philosophy and religion all change at the same pace - the pace at which man questions what he hears. Religion has never been, and is not, static.
But the groundwork doesn't change. You're still always using the same launching point, so to speak.

Quote:
3. Further, religion does change with "new evidence". In the case of religion, the closest thing to evidence to be found is the human condition - and religion changes to accomodate changes in the human condition which influence man's spiritual needs.
Again, my view of religion is very detached from the spiritual needs of man. Religion does not change to address the spiritual needs of man, it changes to address its own structural and hierarchical needs.

Quote:
4. Religion does not, universally speaking, exclude all other beliefs. Quite the contrary. History is filled with the exchange of religious views. That's a big part of how and why religion changes over time; as new spiritual ideas are introduced to a population, the population begins to adopt at least some aspects of those new spiritual ideas as needed.
Historically speaking, I agree. But one of the tenants of a religion surviving is that it has followers that subscribe to it and only it. What I'm referring to is not the religion itself but its followers--in that they are encouraged to profess their belief to that religion and tag themselves as such, to the exclusion of other systems of belief. This is not the mindset of a spiritually healthy person. Does that make sense?

Quote:
5. Religion at large is not convinced of anything. Looking at the world's faith traditions, a sizeable contigent of religious people and religious traditions are convinced that they are striving for truth, and that truth is not absolute nor perfectly represented in their teachings.
I don't understand why anyone would subscribe to one certain belief system of they weren't convinced that it was the truth. To proclaim, "I am _________" is an absolutism that seems to imply some sort of arrival.

Quote:
People do cling to what they know - but this is true in all other areas of study, science and philosophy included. To single out religion doesn't make much sense to me.
Agreed--again, shortsighted of me to single out religion. Thanks for pointing that out.

Quote:
What label is exclusive?
Like I said above, when you are a part of a certain religion, you are excluding other religions from your identity. That exclusivity is not necessary and only breeds tunnel vision instead of well-roundedness.

I really appreciate your comments as they forced me to think deeper about my own. Any replies you have to the above would be much appreciated.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 07:12 pm
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey wrote:
Religion does not = spirituality. Religion is when individuals hand over their spiritual development to gurus and priests and hierarchy rather than basing their spiritual development on personal experience.


I have to disagree with your portrayal of religion. One can turn to clergy for spiritual guidance and also base one's spiritual development on personal experience.

rhinogrey wrote:
What I'm referring to is religion as a social institution. In this regard, religion has very little to do with spirituality. And to imply that man has outgrown spiritual needs is absurd, so I hope I don't make that implication. Perhaps it would be more accurate for me to say that man's spiritual needs have outgrown religion?


I disagree that religion, as a social institution, has very little to do with spirituality. A big part of spirituality for most people is communal practice. This is true in every faith tradition, and true in many purely spiritual traditions (traditions without an organized clergy, without organized institutions). Spirituality is not just a personal issue, but also very social. Even if your spiritual life takes place completely behind closed doors, that spiritual life has immense social importance because you exist within society. Also, the social nature of religion and spirituality plays a large role in the evolution of religion and spirituality; through social interaction ideas are exchanged and developed.

rhinogrey wrote:
But the groundwork doesn't change. You're still always using the same launching point, so to speak.


I'm not sure what you mean. Could you elaborate?

rhinogrey wrote:
Again, my view of religion is very detached from the spiritual needs of man. Religion does not change to address the spiritual needs of man, it changes to address its own structural and hierarchical needs.


Sometimes religion does change to address it's own structural needs and according to political pressure, but this is most certainly not the only way religion changes.

Religion does change to address the spiritual needs of man: as examples, you could look at the Buddha's reformations of Hinduism, you could look at the emergence of the Christian faith, and also the emergence of Islam among the Arabs. Each of these cases are examples of religion changing in order to meet the evolving spiritual needs of an evolving society.

rhinogrey wrote:
Historically speaking, I agree. But one of the tenants of a religion surviving is that it has followers that subscribe to it and only it. What I'm referring to is not the religion itself but its followers--in that they are encouraged to profess their belief to that religion and tag themselves as such, to the exclusion of other systems of belief. This is not the mindset of a spiritually healthy person. Does that make sense?


Yes, I see what you are saying, and in some cases you are right, but by ignoring the cases in which you are wrong I think you misrepresent the matter.

A religion does not need to demand that it's followers subscribe to only that one religion in order for said religion to survive. Thicht Nhat Hanh tells a story in his book Living Buddha, Living Christ about a time he took communion with some Catholic friends. A Buddhist practicing a distinctly Christian practice. Examples abound. Even in dogma, Buddhism is pretty clear that the individual must find out for themselves and not take anyone's word, even the Buddha's. Islam is very similar in this regard; Muhammad learned religion from Jews. Also, we must consider traditions like the Baha'i and Unitarians who also make a point to stress that spiritual seekers should not limit their search to one single tradition, that all traditions have great spiritual value worth investigating.

I agree that it is unhealthy for a spiritual seeker to exclude teaching because the teaching comes from another tradition. But this is not characteristic of all religion. In fact, it seems characteristic of at least some faiths to promote investigation into other traditions.

rhinogrey wrote:
I don't understand why anyone would subscribe to one certain belief system of they weren't convinced that it was the truth. To proclaim, "I am _________" is an absolutism that seems to imply some sort of arrival.


Because, perhaps, X tradition has been extremely important to them. To say "I am a Christian" is not the same thing as saying "I am a perfect Christian" nor is the statement tantamount to saying "I know what it is to be a perfect Christian." People use labels in different ways, some in an absolute sense that is, I think we both agree, spiritualy unhealthy. But the use of a label doesn't have to be exclusive - it might just be a way to say 'this tradition is the one I tend to gravitate towards, the one that makes most sense to me'.

The only arrival that is necessarily implied when someone says "I am an X" is that they have arrived at a tradition which really speaks to them.

rhinogrey wrote:
Like I said above, when you are a part of a certain religion, you are excluding other religions from your identity. That exclusivity is not necessary and only breeds tunnel vision instead of well-roundedness.


I think this often occurs, but I do not think this is always the case. The examples above should be enough to make the point.

rhinogrey wrote:
I really appreciate your comments as they forced me to think deeper about my own. Any replies you have to the above would be much appreciated.


Hey, thanks for the conversation. I only come back because I enjoy the replies, and I have certainly enjoyed yours so far. Thanks.
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 10:12 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Are you saying that the Christian Galileo would have laughed at the notion that his personal faith helped him understand the world?

That's pretty odd, don't you think?



No, I'm not saying that. I can't assume, as you are doing, that Galileo's faith helped him in any significant degree to understand the world, or even that he thought it helped that much. His conflict with religious dogma began at age 10, so it would be pretty odd for a smart guy like him not to have soon become skeptical in this regard. Sure, he continued to be a good Catholic but most likely a changed Catholic, more skeptical and independent of the church fathers and their revelations - somewhat of a precursor to most of the Catholics I see around me today.

OK, so Galileo didn't "bitterly laugh". He concealed his bitter disappointment and went on discovery after discovery with the sweet knowledge of which mechanism to understanding was the dependable one.
0 Replies
 
Aphoric
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 11:50 pm
@diamantis,
diamantis;19492 wrote:
In my view, religion and philosophy ought to be in total contrast,since religion is based in revelations and myths,has no scientific validity,it provides no evidence or proofs but dogmas.
On the other hand, philosophy is based in critical thinking and judgement ,in sound reasoning and rationality.


Those are some pretty harsh assumptions. I say you revisit religion with a more objective mind-set before you judge it as you have here. I also suggest you do the same with philosophy. Both represent an egregious bias.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 07:04 pm
@Aphoric,
Dewey wrote:
No, I'm not saying that. I can't assume, as you are doing, that Galileo's faith helped him in any significant degree to understand the world, or even that he thought it helped that much. His conflict with religious dogma began at age 10, so it would be pretty odd for a smart guy like him not to have soon become skeptical in this regard. Sure, he continued to be a good Catholic but most likely a changed Catholic, more skeptical and independent of the church fathers and their revelations - somewhat of a precursor to most of the Catholics I see around me today.

OK, so Galileo didn't "bitterly laugh". He concealed his bitter disappointment and went on discovery after discovery with the sweet knowledge of which mechanism to understanding was the dependable one.


Hold on a second - I didn't assume anything about Galileo. Instead, I happen to know that he was a Christian. One's religious perspective necessarily impacts one's larger perspective on reality. It doesn't matter what kind of Catholic Galileo might have been, only that Galileo was a Christian. Being a Christian, Galileo would have found his faith tradition helpful in understanding reality.

You create a false dilemma in your analysis - that one, religion or science, is more dependable than the other. Perhaps you seriously believe this, but there is no evidence that this belief was held by Galileo. So, please, enough of the assumptions about an historic figure's personal feelings.
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 12:12 am
@Didymos Thomas,
OK, I won't "assume to know the degree, if any, to which Galileo lost his religious faith. (But I still think it would be odd, after the way he was treated, if he hadn't lost some religious ardor.).

It's too bad, but there just doesn't seem to be a meeting ground for you and me on this general subject. We can agree on the reality of evidential or reasonable things, but, apparently unlike you, I must restrict my belief to just those things. I claim no superiority for this position..( Who knows? I may well regret it in this world or the next.) .
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 01:09 am
@Dewey phil,
Dewey wrote:
It's too bad, but there just doesn't seem to be a meeting ground for you and me on this general subject. We can agree on the reality of evidential or reasonable things, but, apparently unlike you, I must restrict my belief to just those things. I claim no superiority for this position..( Who knows? I may well regret it in this world or the next.) .


What subject? The relation of religion to one's perception of reality or Galileo's spiritual life?

I wonder if you have made some assumptions about my religious arguments. That's fine, happens all the time. I do not claim that belief in God is better than disbelief in God or sheer lack of belief in God. Quite the opposite. God is just a concept, a word, a word that happens to be useful to me. It may not be so useful to others, and that's okay. Logically, I think that agnosticism is the most sound position to take regarding the existence of God.
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 11:35 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Except for losing track of what we were talking about and making a wild assumption, I was exactly right.

I appreciate your comments, Didymos.
0 Replies
 
incubusman8
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 11:06 pm
@diamantis,
I see religion as a sort of philosophy. A philosophical explanation to the creation of the universe - God.
0 Replies
 
 

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