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THEME: DISCUSS THE RELEVANCE OF PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGIONS TO THE RELIGIOUS PERSON

STUDENT ID: 10345117

LECTURER: HARRY AGBANU

DEPARTMENT FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGIONS

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGIONS

Throughout an inordinate length of time, humanity has attempted through the use of either meticulous recreation of detail or casual linguistic approach to examine our being in pursuit of an accurate understanding of the things we do and those that occur around us. Right from Thales, the Ionian scholar of the 6th Century BC, revered as one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece to the modern astounding philosophy and personage of Aldo Leopold, the world has never escaped the presence of men and women with unquenchable zest for wisdom of every sort in all aspects of existence. Indeed when all is said and done, this is what philosophy is about: a quest for wisdom. Yet again, it defies every sense of truth despite anything else to speak of the history of the world as one that is devoid of religion and mysticism. They say religion is as old as the universe; hence, is it any wonder that the depth of celebrated antiquity and positive fascination is felt in a manner so profound and pompous in any interplay between philosophy and religion? Without a doubt, philosophy of religion which intersperses the fields of philosophy and religion, inquiring into the nature of God and his existence, religious experience, and a deluge of other weighty concerns of human living has continuously been felt to be worth the study, even to the religious individual. But how can it be so? The following part of this dissertation examines how philosophy of religion is of relevance to the religious person. Usually, it was not the wont of clerics during the age enlightenment to employ the amenity of reason and philosophical ideals as methods and tools in their arguments and discussions. However, in the year 1756 when John Wesley delivered an address concerning how the priesthood could discharge the pastoral ministry to its entirety with enormous concern on proselytising, he concentrated on how it was almost impossible to neglect a sound judgement, and a capacity of reasoning with some closeness to understanding and clear apprehension. (Moreland, 1996). Most people are not dubious of the extent to which Platonism and Aristotelianism have influenced classical Christian doctrine not failing to mention how global theology have employed modern era philosophy from Hegel to Heidegger and Derrida. (Taliafero, 2007) One of the relevance of philosophy of religion to the religious person is that, it allows for a concession of interests of both the religious person and the one who is much more given to the appeal of reason on common logical grounds in making effective and defensive rhetoric. Nowadays, it is vogue for one to take gratification in making arguments that are of sound quality with accurate display of finesse and refinement. So the religious person takes delight

in knowing the rules for arguing to influence and impel, thanks to the study of philosophy of religion. Furthermore, philosophy of religion strengthens the faith of religious persons. Although faith is a complex phenomenon, religious people have no problem admitting that without it, there can be no genuine exercise of imagination and proper employment of reason. (Collingwood, 1968). Religious experiences become objects of appreciation, appreciation leads to belief, then belief is led to the rank of strong faith, which is of most importance to the religious individual. Faith has often been ridiculed as a habit of mind which accepts without criticizing, pronounces without proving, and acts without arguing. Many scholars have even slighted religions and creeds as mere derisory avenues empty of any iota of thought. Nonetheless, through philosophy of religion, a religious person can allay religion of the charge of irrationality through the use of critical reasoning which allows for a detection of irregularities in beliefs and conceptions. (Collingwood, 1968) Religious apologetics can thence be able to anticipate arguments that might come from their critics in order to command enduring resistance to such ridicule and belittling remarks from their detractors. One cannot be dubious of the fact that in refining beliefs in accord with comprehensive judgement, philosophy of religion has been a major spark of it. Religious persons who are familiar with philosophy of religion have been able to fine-tune their beliefs to entangle modernity and the trendy fashion of reasoning today. Finally, philosophy of religion promotes the ideals of tolerance, forbearance, openmindedness, and objectivity in lieu of intransigence and baseless rigidity. These epitomise the strongest suit of religion and how religious people want to look to the outside world. Religious people want to be seen as persons of congenial feature within the society. They want to appeal to those behind the fence with an air of peace and quiet so much so that it is no wonder religious people who are at the same time students of philosophy of religion have taken solace in the field in a manner that makes them ably vouch for its relevance wherever they go. The sanity of life draws upon a high measure of individual satisfaction. And since life itself offers so much avenues of getting satisfaction, it is not surprising how a religious person could obtain his or hers from philosophy of religion. If this field makes him or her capable

of articulating good argument, virtuously reverent, defensive of his or her trusted beliefs while he or she is able to refine those that are inconsistent with thought, and tolerant within the society with even just a modicum of objectivity, how then can we doubt the relevance of the field to him or her?

Bibliography

Collingwood, R. G. (1968). Faith and Reason: Essays in the Philosophy of Religion by R. G. Collingwood. (L. Rubinoff, Ed.) Chicago: Quadrangle Books. Moreland, J. (1996). Evangelical Apologetics. (M. Bauman, D. W. Hall, & R. C. Newman, Eds.) Christian Publications Inc. Taliafero, C. (2007, March 12). Philosophy of Religion. (E. N. Zalter, Editor) Retrieved September 1, 2011, from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition): http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2011/entries/philosophy-religion/