What's the difference between religion and philosophy?
Besides the organization and groups, what's the real difference between any teachings of any religion and good ol' philosophy?
- pax veritasLv 41 decade agoFavorite Answer
If we can see philosophy growing out of mythic thought in Greek history, how does one distinguish philosophy from religion, as the two coexists but are distinguished from each other.
Socrates talks about the gods all the time, and it is not clear why he should not be regarded as a religious figure rather than a secular philosopher.
The easy distinction between religion and philosophy in Western history occurs because of the historical accident that the religion of people like Socrates and Plato later ceased to exist. The old gods of the Greeks, Egyptian, Babylonians, Phoenicians, Romans, Celts, Germans, Slavs, etc. were later replaced by one old religion, Judaism, and two new ones from the same tradition, Christianity and Islam.
It is now possible to say "religion" and mean one of those and to say "philosophy" and simply mean "that Greek stuff" (falsafah in Arabic), where the religious side of Greek thought just need not be taken seriously.
The historical circumstances that allow for distinction does not occur in India or China.
Bhagavad Gita, a religious document for Hinduism, is also a fundamental document of Indian philosophy; Gita appears to have been produced by Indian philosophy, the Sankhya and Yoga Schools, then been transformed into a religious document, and finally used for both religious and philosophical (by Vedânta) purposes later on. This kind of thing makes distinctions between religion and philosophy very difficult in the Indian tradition.
Similar difficulties exist for Chinese and Medieval Western thought. Philosophers are easily classified as Christian, Jewish, or Moslem. If philosophy had nothing to do with religion, presumably it would be superfluous to identify Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) as Jewish or Avicenna (Ibn Sina, 980-1037) as Moslem.
One of the greatest philosophers, St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), addressed the issue by distinguishing "natural theology," (based on reason alone) as opposed to "dogmatic theology," (based on revelation). Jewish and Moslem philosophers made similar distinctions and extended that reason could ultimately justify everything in religion.
Definitions for religion and philosophy involves similar distinctions, where the original context of all thought is mythic.
Since myth does not argue, but philosophy does, religion mixes in philosophic elements but always retains an authoritative link to a mythic context.
Mythic context, tends to exert historical authority. Philosophy cannot conjure up historical particulars out of pure reason, but religion always relates its truth to historical particulars, the actual source of the religion or its received tradition.
Contrary to the text on Evolution of human thought, it must be accepted that mythic thought, and so religion, cannot be replaced by philosophy, or by science.
Religion must answer how any discourse can occur when the notion of God, a being who transcends the realm of human experience and concepts.
Can we say anything meaningful about God?
If we can, is there any truth about God?
The "verificationists" of the first half of the 20th century denied the former, and religious people deny the latter.
Many religious people, though they believe that human language can speak meaningfully about God, deny that anything in theological language is literally true about God.
Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) in his classic, "Idea of the Holy (Das Heilige)" in 1917, It's influence extends from C.G. Jung (1875-1961) to the "Chicago School" of history of religion founded by Mircea Eliade (1907-1986).
Kant, In the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), he reworked the distinction between the immanent (within the world) and the transcendent (outside the world) by distinguishing between phenomena and things-in-themselves.
"Phenomena" are how objects appear in our conscious minds. We do not have access to the world outside of the experiences we enjoy through our own consciousness.
Kant believed that consciousness itself, or the possibility of conscious experience, imposes conditions on the manner in which phenomenal objects appear to us, such as forms of space and time, abstract forms of connections between events and objects such as the concept of substance and the relation between cause and effect.
When applied to religion, may not be all so relevant, depending on how it is argued.
- ImMappamLv 51 decade ago
Philosophy is the process of how you think and reason about something. Religion is the constructed tenants of a group requiring the acceptance of certain ideas and results. Philosophy can be included in a religion but a religion cannot be included in a philosophy because it is individualized although may be widely accepted by others.
- 1 decade ago
Religion is pretty much a law. You are in this religion you believe at least these main points. Christians believe Jesus Christ was the son of God and died for our sins. Mary's body ascended into Heaven. All this stuff...
Philosophy is an idea. You can believe anything you like and you have room to change those beliefs. You can incorporate science into philosophy, other religious beliefs into it... Hell, in philosophy you can believe that we are ants and God is a kid with an ant farm!
- Bran McMuffinLv 51 decade ago
Philosophy usually follows the principles of dialectic. There is a thesis and antithesis followed by a synthesis or a combination of the two.
Religion usually has the thesis and antithesis, but these are followed, usually by ghastly murder and violence.
Philosophy is much more fluid and open minded than religion.
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
I would say religion incorporates rituals and rules for living. Philosophy can be a school of thought, purely hypothetical, or general guidelines about good living, but generally not "no meat on Friday" and specific rules like that. Philosophy generally allows for intellectual discussion that religion eschews.
- Marvin RLv 71 decade ago
philosophy is a search for general understanding of values and understanding by speculative methods. religion is practicing a reverence and devotion to GOD.therefore Religious Practices are Honoring, Worshiping and Paying Homage to GOD THE CREATOR OF US ALL while philosophy is the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and understanding without necessarily paying the Honor, Worship and Homage to GOD THE CREATOR OF US ALL.
- 1 decade ago
Major Religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Major Philosphies: Hinduism and Buddhism.
Religions are based on set rules and regulations to please a particular defined God through particular way whereas philosphies are science of spiritual understanding like we see Advaita, Dvaita, vishistadvaita etc. in Hinduism and Mahayana etc. in Buddhism.Source(s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I would say that philosophy is about the meaning of stuff we already know exists, whereas religion involves claims about stuff we don't know exists.
- 1 decade ago
religion, is a belief, a way of life! philosophy is the study, or understanding of life!
- SquirrelLv 41 decade ago
Great question. I think religion is something thta has been passed down (rituals) for many years and philosophy is where you think for yourself and decide what's true for you.