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Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of Religion


This lesson discusses the philosophy of religion, which considers such questions as the existence or non-existence of God, the compatibility of faith and reason, and the nature of divinity, among others.

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Source: Theme music and images by David Dillard-Wright

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this tutorial on the philosophy of religion. Philosophy of religion could be differentiated from theology, which speaks from within a revealed faith tradition, and religious studies, which examines how religious people conduct themselves and how they talk about what they do. So we could say that philosophy of religion is an open-ended questioning of religion that can be practiced by secular people as well as religious people. But is normally confined to academic discussions and is normally broad-based.

We're motivated by the historical faiths but we don't answer to authoritative figures or texts. In other words, in philosophy of religion, we're free to contradict the Bible or the pope or what have you. So philosophy of religion can be practiced by believers and nonbelievers And there's no of predetermined doctrinal conclusions.

Some of the important questions in philosophy. First of all, examining proofs for the existence of God or the non-existence of God, and determining whether these proofs are valid or not from a philosophical perspective. This process arose in the medieval period. But it's still going on today.

Next, trying to solve the problem of evil, or The Odyssey. Trying to reconcile the apparent contradiction between the goodness of God and the reality of evil in the world. And we'll be having another tutorial on that later.

Next, attempting to explain religious texts. This is a process known as exegesis. Where we try to figure out what the proper interpretation of religious texts is. Especially seeking to ask what they might have to say about the human condition, in general. Or what different religious texts might have in common.

Some more important questions. These are some neurons over here, not chow mein noodles. Philosophy of religion today is concerned with trying to explain religious experience. Why these experiences happen and what their possible ramifications are. In this area today, there's a lot of exploration taking place between science and religion.

Maybe we can describe the neurology of these experiences. Maybe we can figure out how altruistic or other directed behavior-- behavior that helps others. Where does it come from?

And also peering into mysticism as a possible link between religions. And seeking to understand claims of escaping mundane reality through a direct experience of God. So philosophy of religion is less religion-specific either religious philosophy or theology. And it could be practice by believers and nonbelievers.

Just to recap, philosophy of religion is an academic discipline that considers religion from a broad scholarly standpoint. Philosophy of religion may be practiced by anyone, whether they're religious or not. And philosophy of religion considers a variety of questions, such as the existence or nonexistence of God, the problem of evil. And it also performs exegesis on ancient documents and religious texts, and attempts to speak to individual religious experiences.

Philosophy of religion also examines mysticism as a unique form of religious experience. And seeks to examine religious experience from a philosophical perspective, but also trying to reconcile science and religion.

Terms to Know

The process and methodology of accurately determining and interpreting the meaning of texts.

Philosophy of Religion

An academic discipline that considers religious questions from a broad, scholarly standpoint.