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Overview of "The Problem"

Overview of "The Problem"


This lesson will provide an overview of how various world religions deal with several looming questions which emerge from human existence and its challenges. 

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Welcome to this tutorial on an overview of the problem. Religions concern themselves with big questions. The sorts of questions that you might find in philosophy. The difference between religion and philosophy though, is that religion can answer problems by fiat. It can say this is the answer appealing to divine authority. And the institutions that derive their authority from that divinity.

So let's take a look at some of the big questions that religion seeks to answer. Why do people suffer? In the various different religions around the world, suffering is a big question. In some of the other tutorials, we've taken a look at Buddhism, which has based its entire philosophy around this question. Other religions attempt to answer this question by locating in the afterlife a relief of suffering or perhaps in some future age of peace and prosperity.

Next, what is evil? This is another very important question for religions. And in this question, we can find both stories about human origins and stories about how we can deal with evil in the present day. And perhaps in again, some future age to come, where evil will be defeated.

Next, what happens after we die? Of course in science, this is really just an impossible question to answer. Because death is simply the end. There's no empirical reason to think that there should be anything after death. But death is a very generative question for religion. It creates all kinds of unique mythology, all kinds of unique theorizing around death and what happens after we.

Important thing to note here is that if you ask a different question, you get a different answer. Religions don't all start from the same point. And because they don't all start from the same point, they end up in different places. And notice that for each one of these questions there are numerable possible answers, especially when we begin to venture into mythology and storytelling. So these core questions can go a long way towards explaining why there's such diversity in the world's religions.

Thanks for watching this tutorial on an overview of the problem. We said that religion attempts to answer philosophical questions. Those big existential questions that people have. Examples of these questions include, why do people suffer, what is evil, and what happens after we die? Depending on how these questions are framed, the outcomes of the various different religions will differ widely. The answers to the questions are braided into the practices and the philosophies of the various world religions.