Religion and Philosophy and Reason

>> Sunday, June 14, 2009

A little bit ago I was involved in a lively blog-esque conversation about religion (specifically Christianity) and homosexuality. Funnily enough, the parts that got me the most on fire were about some of the larger conceptions many folks have of religion that came out because of this debate. The first was a comment someone made in response to another post. This person made a comment that they wouldn't philosophize about religion, but would rather just get to the point.

Um, PHILOSOPHY IS RELIGION.

How can it not be?

"Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, beauty, law, justice, validity, mind, and language. "(Wikipedia)

Of course it goes on to say that it is distinguished from other modalities of seeking to understand the above 'matters' by using Reason, but if anyone looks at the history of the Abrahamic faiths and Western Philosophy, they can see how intimately they are tied together, how closely they interacted, and how each has influenced the other.

Michelangelo's "God Creates Man"


Philosophers and religious alike were seeking simultaneously to understand God and [Its] relationship to the world. Each took and gave from the other modality, and influenced the others belief system so that it was irrevocably changed.

The God of Philosophy ultimately influenced our Western Christian God to a point that critical reasoning created some quite interesting and complex theories about how God interacts with [Its] creation. Over time it gave way to a more literal interpretation of the Bible and existence in general, where the Eastern Orthodox church was still quite esoteric and conceptual, rather than literal or reasoned. Even now the effects still reverberate. Many contemporary Western Christians interpret the Bible literally and defy science. And science cannot hold contemporary Western Christianity either because even the scientists take the religious teachings literally, and since it doesn't comply with their logic and empirical findings, they feel they must throw it out.

But I'm getting beside the point.

PHILOSOPHY IS RELIGION.

If we in the west, or indeed, the world, have gotten so far off the path to have to put religion, or philosophy into a little box, we are being Too rational. We need to think more holistically. If each is honestly addressing the same core questions but using slightly different means to do so, then how are they not the same? It's even arguable that they are even using different means. If we look at some of the initiation cults of antiquity we can see that much of the learned intellectual elite in Greece were also practicing worship as they were philosophizing, and that they really did see the two parts as equally vital to their spiritual existence.

Two opposites can exist together. And they were never really opposites. Its all about the search for our place in existence, and if we're all equally striving to ask the really hard questions, then we are all on the same path.

I'm not even going to get into homosexuality and religion, because I think it is so beside the point. SO beside the point.

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