It is easier to identify the common features than define it • 6 Dimensions of Religion (by Niniam Smart) • Doctrine, or a set of beliefs about the universe and its relation to the • supernatural. • Eg. A single God who create the universe • Eg. The universe is controlled by the law of Karma • Experience, or emphasis on events in which the believer feel immediately and • strikingly the presence of God or supernatural dimension. • 3. Myth, or set of stories that convey sacred or special meaning. • Story of Adam and Eve (Hebrew Scriptures and Koran) • Story of the illumination of Buddha • 4. Ritual, or acts of worship, prayer, sacraments and readings of Sacred Scriptures. • 5. Morality, or a set of rules and precepts that believers are enjoined to follow. • Organization, or an organized social group that preserves and perpetuates the • religion. • Religion is rooted in our unending search for meaning and fulfillment in life.
2 Main Concerns for Philosophy • How reasonable is it to believe what religion asks us • to believe? (see #1 above) • How reasonable is it to trust the experiences of religion? (see #2 above)
Religious Belief: doctrines of religion about the universe and its relation to the supernatural; the belief that there is an unseen order, and that we can do no better than to be in harmony with that order. Religious Experience: experience of the supernatural order and our individual place in this order; having found this place, people feel an intense personal relationship with the rest of creation, perhaps even with a Creator.
Religious belief and experience continue to be of intense philosophical interest – both are intimately joined with the issue of “self” • We must distinguish between “Philosophy of Religion” and “Theology” • Theology: Is the rational study of God, including religious doctrines; in practice, it is usually reserved for rational study by scholars committed to those beliefs (ie. They have the same assumptions about God, etc.)
BUT for the philosopher, those assumptions must themselves be proved. • A theologian can be a philosopher and vice versa, but modern philosophy has become detached from theology.