Philosophy or Religion

What’s your philosophy?  What’s your take on issues like whether the human mind is the same as the human brain?  If you think there is no difference, your philosophy on that is naturalistic.  If you think maybe there is a difference, maybe your philosophy is more spiritual.  If you’ve never really thought about it, you’re probably operating as if you had.  In other words, you assume they’re the same, or you don’t.  Does it matter?

Some in the scientific community would have us simply behave as if philosophy does not even exist.  They want us to be entirely focused on the physical realm, and simply to waste no time contemplating such things as are not natural.  But is that even possible?  Faith is required.  There are mysteries.  We can not know all things.  We therefore must take some things on faith.  I have never been to Antartica.  I take on faith that it exists.  I have never seen Bigfoot.  I take on faith that it doesn’t.  Both conclusions are reasonable based on the evidence.  Yet both also require faith.

Faith gets a bad rap because many people think of all faith as blind.  I believe in a reasonable faith.  My religion is reasonable.  My philosophy is that Christianity is the most reasonable thing in which to have faith.

One internet dictionary service defined philosophy this way:  ”A study that attempts to discover the fundamental principles of the sciences, the arts, and the world that the sciences and arts deal with; the word philosophy is from the Greek for “love of wisdom.” Philosophy has many branches that explore principles of specific areas, such as knowledge (epistemology), reasoning (logic), being in general (metaphysics), beauty (aesthetics), and human conduct (ethics).”

Those are areas that religionists and philosophers both consider to be their own turf.  So philosophy and religion have a lot in common.  A key difference is that philosophers typically follow no one, and usually have few real committed adherents.  Believers in a religious faith follow gods, or a God, and they follow a particular doctrine, which can be defined as “A principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; dogma.”  That being the case, who would you say is more reasonable, the Christian, who has the Bible to use as a guide to all of life, or the naturalistic scientist, who denies the very existence of anything that cannot be tested by the scientific method?

We who say we have no faith just can’t live  as if we do.  No matter how much we deny the existence of spiritual matters, or insist that it is normal and rational to live without them, we just can’t pull it off.  There are seminal events in life that, while unpredictable in their timing, are nonetheless inevitable.  We are presented with a dire situation of some sort, and we must make a choice.  There is no way to know in advance which path will produce the better outcome, and indeed we may feel that no matter what choice we make, there will be hell to pay.  So we think hard, or we cry out, or we pray.  What should I do?  Some of us – even those who do not profess a particular faith, will pray at such times.  And on that day when we breathe our last, we finally come face to face with the inevitable.  Was I wrong?

So philosophy and religion are close cousins, and we simply cannot make rational sense out of life without contemplating some of the mysteries on which different philosophies are based.  So we’re all philosophers.  Some of us are just more reasonable than others.


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