Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

When Does A "Philosophy" Become A "Religion?"


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Gwinevere

Gwinevere

    Ecstasy.

  • Twilight
  • PipPip
  • 3,487 posts

Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:04 PM

phi·los·o·phy /fəˈläsəfē/
 
Noun:
  1. The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, esp. when considered as an academic discipline.
  2. A set of views and theories of a particular philosopher concerning such study or an aspect of it.


 

 
re·li·gion /riˈlijən/
 
Noun:
  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
  2. Details of belief as taught or discussed.

 

 

Definitions never tell the whole story, but they are a start. If a philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of reality and existence, and religion is belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, why do religions have philosophic underpinnings?

 

And if religion are the details of a particular belief system (perhaps one could even use the word "cosmology?") and philosophy is the set of a views of a particular belief system, where do you draw the line between them? 

 

The most natural line is the advent of organization, or structure, or institutionalization, of the set of beliefs, but by that line, it seems to me that science and religion become hard to separate. (Don't crucify me, atheists, just bear with me for a moment.) The study and testing of structures and nature through scientific method is a particular practice of philosophy, since the scientific method is a set of philosophic principles of inquiry.

 

Further, we think of "organized" religion and other religions. For example, one of the attractions of paganism for many is that it's unorganized and highly individualistic. The appeal of many Eastern religions in the Western world (Buddhism, Taoism) also seems to stem largely from the individualized practice of religious principles, although most of that rests on some hefty misinterpretations. There are definitely temples and hierarchies for these religions we think of as "disorganized," and one can certainly develop a personal practice of any major religion, including Christianity or Islam if one wants to.

 

So without the line that is organization or institutionalization, where do we draw the line? And why? What's the difference between a set of beliefs about the world reasoned to and adhered to, and one presented externally and adhered to? Should we demand that each person reason their own beliefs? Doesn't that seem like reinventing the wheel over and over again? 

 
 
 


#2 Caulfield

Caulfield

    TROLLOLOL

  • Twilight
  • PipPip
  • 2,148 posts

Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:00 PM

I prefer to go further back, into the etymology of words. Philosophy comes from the Greek philosophia, which is a conjunction of philia (love) and sophia (wisdom). Philosophy is literally a love of wisdom. 

In light of this, the philosophical underpinnings of religion begin to make sense.



#3 Gwinevere

Gwinevere

    Ecstasy.

  • Twilight
  • PipPip
  • 3,487 posts

Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:11 PM

Well, they always DID make sense to me. You can't construct a belief system without constructing a system, and philosophy is largely concerned with constructing a working system to explain the world. I think the thrust of my question, when framed thusly, is when exactly "belief" enters into a thing. What are the limits of knowledge, what is the starting point of 'faith.'



#4 Rhuen

Rhuen

    Celestial Power

  • Twilight
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,273 posts

Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:39 PM

When you stop asking questions, and tell others to do the same.

 

Also a "philosophy" is more like a suggestion

 

while a religon is more like a demand.



#5 Darkness

Darkness

    Trickster

  • Founder
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,938 posts

Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:48 PM

"Philosophy is dead. Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics." - Stephen Hawking

I think in another 1,000 years the same will be said of religion, once we're sufficiently advanced and have answers that are impossible to reconcile with the world's religions.  I love the Dalai Lama's response.  "If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change."



#6 Arawan

Arawan

    Saint

  • Twilight
  • PipPip
  • 1,066 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:17 AM

The intermingling is inherent to the definitions. Philosophy is the study of knowledge, reality, existence, etc, according to the first definition. Religion's second definition indicates the relationship, the details of the belief as taught or discussed. Religion generally deals with hidden truths, philosophy is the mechanism by which those truths are revealed. Once revealed, the truths are reiterated rather than constantly having to be revealed again. Philosophy will continue to be integral in religion due to changes in technology and society. Take the the transition from serfdom to wage living. A philosophy had to be developed to see how a religion would act in regards to that change. For the Catholic Church it became the concept of a living wage. 

 

 

Darkness, I'm not surprised Hawking feels that way. He is a scientist, he relies solely on deductive reasoning while large segments of philosophy use inductive reason and don't even have to be factual in some cases to be seen a legitimate. Hawking is a genius but that doesn't make him right 100% of the time. Fred Hoyle showed us how wrong people of incredible intellect can be at times. 



#7 Caulfield

Caulfield

    TROLLOLOL

  • Twilight
  • PipPip
  • 2,148 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:19 AM

Well, they always DID make sense to me. You can't construct a belief system without constructing a system, and philosophy is largely concerned with constructing a working system to explain the world. I think the thrust of my question, when framed thusly, is when exactly "belief" enters into a thing. What are the limits of knowledge, what is the starting point of 'faith.'


Ah, yes, of course. It again depends on how you look at the term "belief". Belief at its core merely means a certain conviction of facts. You can have this with evidence, or without evidence. The way we use it today is almost entirely the latter (that is, being convinced of something as fact without evidence) but it should not really be limited in such a way. 

Philosophy becomes religion when the person becomes convinced (believes) that the wisdom (sophia) they are investigating is factually true - and here's the important bit - and then acts on it.

 

 

 

"Philosophy is dead. Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics." - Stephen Hawking

I think in another 1,000 years the same will be said of religion, once we're sufficiently advanced and have answers that are impossible to reconcile with the world's religions.  I love the Dalai Lama's response.  "If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change."



Not to bad mouth Stephen Hawking but when he made that comment he showed a distinct lack of understanding of what philosophy is. Science, incidentally, is a branch of philosophy. Engineering is the scientific religion.



#8 UrbanDecay

UrbanDecay

    Sound Gardener

  • Darkling
  • Pip
  • 744 posts

Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:32 PM

"Philosophy is dead. Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics." - Stephen Hawking

I think in another 1,000 years the same will be said of religion, once we're sufficiently advanced and have answers that are impossible to reconcile with the world's religions.  I love the Dalai Lama's response.  "If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change."

 

I do have to agree with Caulfield here. Much of philosophy contemplates the application and implication of science.

"The will to truth requires a critique ... the value of truth must for once be experimentally called into question." -Nietzsche



#9 Einder

Einder

    Druid Mystic

  • Darkling
  • Pip
  • 223 posts

Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

phi·los·o·phy /fəˈläsəfē/

 
Noun:
  1. The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, esp. when considered as an academic discipline.
  2. A set of views and theories of a particular philosopher concerning such study or an aspect of it.

 

 

 
re·li·gion /riˈlijən/
 
Noun:
  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
  2. Details of belief as taught or discussed.

 

 

Definitions never tell the whole story, but they are a start. If a philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of reality and existence, and religion is belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, why do religions have philosophic underpinnings?

 

And if religion are the details of a particular belief system (perhaps one could even use the word "cosmology?") and philosophy is the set of a views of a particular belief system, where do you draw the line between them? 

 

The most natural line is the advent of organization, or structure, or institutionalization, of the set of beliefs, but by that line, it seems to me that science and religion become hard to separate. (Don't crucify me, atheists, just bear with me for a moment.) The study and testing of structures and nature through scientific method is a particular practice of philosophy, since the scientific method is a set of philosophic principles of inquiry.

 

Further, we think of "organized" religion and other religions. For example, one of the attractions of paganism for many is that it's unorganized and highly individualistic. The appeal of many Eastern religions in the Western world (Buddhism, Taoism) also seems to stem largely from the individualized practice of religious principles, although most of that rests on some hefty misinterpretations. There are definitely temples and hierarchies for these religions we think of as "disorganized," and one can certainly develop a personal practice of any major religion, including Christianity or Islam if one wants to.

 

So without the line that is organization or institutionalization, where do we draw the line? And why? What's the difference between a set of beliefs about the world reasoned to and adhered to, and one presented externally and adhered to? Should we demand that each person reason their own beliefs? Doesn't that seem like reinventing the wheel over and over again? 

 
 
 

 

You have posed a very interesting question here.

 

From what I have read of Aristotle, Pythogras, and some of the other ancient philosophers it seems the way we view philosophy would make the difference. These ancients viewed philosophy as a way of understanding the world around them. It wasn't what they could not see, but what they could influenced this view.

 

As religions are generally a way of explaining the things that we are unable to see and/or explain, I would think that philosophy never becomes religion.

 

However, there are many that believe now days that you cannot have wisdom without Religion. Personally I don't find this neccessary to be wise. I do think though that some measure of inner peace can be found with religion for those that need it.



#10 Beorht

Beorht

    nilbogboh

  • Twilight
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 11,858 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:11 PM

I have heard that a lot of our knowledge of organized religions is merely the exoteric interpretation, the esoteric interpretation being hidden behind a veil of mystery.

 

It's possible that various thought processes could have been communicated allegorically.


Edited by Bright One, 26 February 2013 - 09:21 PM.


#11 Warptime

Warptime

    Student of Everything

  • Darkling
  • 78 posts

Posted 31 May 2013 - 05:55 PM

In the UK it becomes a religion when enough people on the National Survey say that it is their religion. ;)



#12 Vore

Vore

    হিজরা, Bissu, Kinnar, Niizh manidoowag, خنيث

  • Twilight
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,499 posts

Posted 12 November 2013 - 07:25 AM

Philosophy is what you do when stoned. Religion is what you do when hung over.

Philosophy is motivated by curiosity and a joy in thoughtfullness. Religion is motivated by fear, feelings of guilt, suffering and a desire for help. So that comparison is pretty accurate.

#13 Scarlet Rakoczy

Scarlet Rakoczy

    Upyra

  • Twilight
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,350 posts

Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:30 PM

Not all religion is motivated by fear, feelings of guilt, suffering, and a desire for help.  I believe that many people have a spiritual bent, a need for a belief system, and some have a bent to worship something.  Sometimes, it is the self, which is humanism...but I guess we can't call humanism a religion.  Or can we?



Well, humanism is just too ambiguous to be pinned down.  It means different things to various people.
 



From wiki (on religious humanism versus secular humanism):
 

"Religious humanism
Main article: Religious humanism

Religious humanism is an integration of humanist ethical philosophy with religious rituals and beliefs that centre on human needs, interests, and abilities. Though practitioners of religious humanism did not officially organise under the name of "humanism" until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, non-theistic religions paired with human-centred ethical philosophy have a long history. The Cult of Reason (French: Culte de la Raison) was a religion based on deism devised during the French Revolution by Jacques Hébert, Pierre Gaspard Chaumette and their supporters.[59] In 1793 during the French Revolution, the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris was turned into a "Temple to Reason" and for a time Lady Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars. In the 1850s, Auguste Comte, the Father of Sociology, founded Positivism, a "religion of humanity".[60] One of the earliest forerunners of contemporary chartered humanist organisations was the Humanistic Religious Association formed in 1853 in London.[60] This early group was democratically organised, with male and female members participating in the election of the leadership and promoted knowledge of the sciences, philosophy, and the arts. The Ethical Culture movement was founded in 1876. The movement's founder, Felix Adler, a former member of the Free Religious Association, conceived of Ethical Culture as a new religion that would retain the ethical message at the heart of all religions. Ethical Culture was religious in the sense of playing a defining role in people's lives and addressing issues of ultimate concern."