Researching of Philosophy of Religion

Paper Info
Page count 5
Word count 1426
Read time 6 min
Topic Philosophy
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US

Introduction

Religion has been an integral part of human life for many millennia. It has a direct impact on many social and psychological processes. Even in the modern world, disputes about such fundamental issues as God and religion do not subside. Theology and philosophy of religion are concerned with the study of the central problems of belief. Religious texts provide only phenomenological justification, whereas a scientific approach can produce logical evidence. Nevertheless, theologians and philosophers still argue about many details, which gives rise to an increasingly widespread debate. Although they are looking for answers to the same questions, they do it using completely different methods.

Philosophy and Theology

One of the debates regarding the philosophy of religion is its difference from theology, which is not entirely evident. Theology seeks answers to central questions within the frames of a particular religion. For this discipline, it is customary to appeal to sacred texts to explain a particular phenomenon and idea (Bayne, 2018). However, such answers are not universal since representatives of other religious traditions will not understand them. Thus, the philosophy of religion seeks to seek evidence of certain ideas by applying the scientific methodology. While belief is often not supported by rational and logical thinking, this approach can often help find answers to complex religious questions.

Analytical and Continental Philosophy

To further discuss the philosophy of religion, it is necessary to define the boundaries of the various fields of study. Differences between theology and philosophy “have been – and will remain – blurry” (Onishi, 2016, p. 5). The earlier analytical and more recent continental philosophy of religion presents two different ways of study. Analytical theology arose from the application of the methods of analytical philosophy to religion, often considered its sub-field (Baker-Hytch, 2016). The adherents of this approach examine religion in terms of specific tools, logic, and structure. The main problem of analytical theology is to ignore the essence of religion as a social and psychological phenomenon. For people, there is little interest in the linguistic study of texts and strict argumentation (Neville, 2018). Analytical philosophers do not talk about the content of big ideas but about how they are articulated. By contrast, Continental philosophy focuses more on the phenomenology and nature of religious beliefs (Onishi, 2016). However, it is limited by the Christian tradition as it originated in continental Europe. Earlier and later traditions use different methods to study the central issues of religion.

The Concept of God

The main debates in the philosophy of religion are related to God, his existence, divine powers, evil, belief, and the afterlife. The concept of God and the study of what he is are of concern to both philosophers and theologians. However, various religions represent their nature differently, which creates additional complexity. However, from the point of view of the philosophical tradition, classical monotheism is accepted, in which there is one God (Bayne, 2018). This approach is adopted in both analytical and continental philosophy, which arose in the western world and are mainly engaged in the study of Christianity. There is also a division between theists who personify God as a free individual who comes into contact with people and deists who identify God as a cosmic creation that does not have an identity (Bayne, 2018). There are also henotheists, pantheists, and various offshoots of monotheists, whose ideas about God differ.

Attributes of God

Regardless of the type of religious belief, the gods are endowed with certain qualities inaccessible to humans. Monotheistic God is absolute and possesses such attributes as omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience (De Florio et al., 2017). The omnipotent God presupposes his ability to do whatever is at his will. However, from the perspective of philosophy, such quality is debatable; since God obeys physical laws, he cannot create something at the same time round, and square, or people did not see it. If he cannot violate boundaries or reform them, then his omnipotence is dubious. Thus, his infinite possibilities are limited by what is logically allowed.

To be omnibenevolent means to be exceptionally morally correct, ideally virtuous, always loving, and never cruel. However, there is a philosophical problem as to whether God can commit a morally wrong act if he so desires. The debate is whether God has chosen to be virtuous or is incapable of being otherwise. This problem is closely related to the Euthyphro dilemma, according to which there is an ambiguity about whether God determines what is good or he does what is good because it is good (De Florio et al., 2017). In the first case, God can define something terrible as good; then, this contradicts his omnibenevolent. In the second case, he obeys laws that he cannot change, which denies his omnipotence.

The third attribute of God is his omniscience, which involves knowing everything which can be known. However, a philosophical dilemma arises again regarding the future and free will. If God knows what will happen to a person, then could he have acted differently at one time or another, or was everything certain for him (De Florio et al., 2017). Thus, if God knows how the future will develop, then he deprives people of free will. A number of dilemmas arise as to whether, in this case, it is worth considering people responsible for their actions and whether God is omnibenevolent. Various arguments were proposed to refute existing questions and issues (Bayne, 2018). It is suggested the first reason in the form of God and the second one in the form of people and circumstances. This approach satisfied theologians since the action is considered free when it is completely voluntary. However, it can be done voluntarily, even if it is already predetermined. This problem of determinism remains for the time being the concern of philosophers.

Existence of God

Disputes over the nature and attributes of God remain open. However, if he supposedly possesses both, then he can exist. There are several rational and theological arguments regarding this issue. The cosmological argument assumes the idea of ​​God as the primary cause for the creation of the world and the movement of all matter (Bayne, 2018). However, such an argument is challenged by the question of what caused God himself to appear. The argument from design suggests that such complex creatures as humans and the universe could not have been developed by accident, which justifies God’s existence as a creator (Bayne, 2018). However, this approach has been criticized for inappropriate argumentation for polytheism or the power-limited gods of some religions. The ontological argument is that being an ideal being, God could not but exist (Bayne, 2018). However, philosophers criticize this approach, arguing that the proof is existence in itself.

Much of the problem of proof is the need for experience and revelation in resolving a question. A purely philosophical and scientific methodology is incapable of solving such a problem. The arguments presented are mostly theological since rational tools cannot be proved or refuted. However, one could evidence the opposite: the non-existence and impossibility of the existence of God. The argument concludes that God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient, but evil still exists (CrashCourse, 2016). However, philosophers have met with difficulty in determining the reason why the existence of evil precludes the possibility of the existence of God. In support of their perspective, theists proposed a defense of free will, according to which God gave people a choice to do or not do evil. However, this approach justifies only moral evil committed by people on purpose, but not natural evil, for which they are not responsible (CrashCourse, 2016). Thus, the justification of the assumption of whether God exists or not remains one of the main issues of the philosophy of religion.

Conclusion

Belief for a long time remained exclusively phenomenological, based solely on experience and revelation. However, in the modern world, people strive to rationalize as many areas of life as possible, including religion. In particular, the philosophy of religion has developed, applying scientific methodology to the rational and logical justification of central religious issues. The main concerns of both philosophers and theologians are the nature of God, his existence, attributes, and relationship with a man. Despite the extensive methodological base and details of religious texts, the issues remain unresolved. In an attempt to find a logical justification for a particular point, philosophers face a number of controversies or assumptions which do not allow them to come to a conclusion. Thus, the emergence of the philosophy of religion is a consequence of the desire of people to learn more and not rely on faith.

References

Baker-Hytch, M. (2016). Analytic theology and analytic philosophy of religion: What’s the difference? Journal of Analytic Theology, 4, 347-361. Web.

Bayne, T. (2018). Philosophy of religion: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.

CrashCourse. (2016). The Problem of Evil: Crash course philosophy #13 [Video]. Web.

De Florio, C., Frigerio, A., & Gasser, G. (2017). Introduction: Divine attributes. Topoi, 36, 561-564. Web.

Neville, R. (2018). Philosophy of religion and the big questions. Palgrave Communications, 4, 1-8. Web.

Onishi, B. B. (2016). The beginning, not the end: On continental philosophy of religion and religious studies. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 85(1), 1-30. Web.

Cite this paper

Reference

EssaysInCollege. (2022, May 24). Researching of Philosophy of Religion. Retrieved from https://essaysincollege.com/researching-of-philosophy-of-religion/

Reference

EssaysInCollege. (2022, May 24). Researching of Philosophy of Religion. https://essaysincollege.com/researching-of-philosophy-of-religion/

Work Cited

"Researching of Philosophy of Religion." EssaysInCollege, 24 May 2022, essaysincollege.com/researching-of-philosophy-of-religion/.

References

EssaysInCollege. (2022) 'Researching of Philosophy of Religion'. 24 May.

References

EssaysInCollege. 2022. "Researching of Philosophy of Religion." May 24, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/researching-of-philosophy-of-religion/.

1. EssaysInCollege. "Researching of Philosophy of Religion." May 24, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/researching-of-philosophy-of-religion/.


Bibliography


EssaysInCollege. "Researching of Philosophy of Religion." May 24, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/researching-of-philosophy-of-religion/.