You are on page 1of 114

Taoshobuddha

Philosophy and Religion

Philosophy and Religion
© 2010, Taoshobuddha

Printed and Published by TAOSHOBUDDHA MEDITATIONSTM
All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the original publisher on the one who has no small seeds knows this is no more as TAOSHOBUDDHA MEDITATIONS.

Cover design and graphics: Anand Neelamber Photography: Taoshobuddha

Philosophy and Religion

Page 2

Philosophy and Religion

TAOSHOBUDDHA The word Taoshobuddha comes from three words, ‘tao,’ ‘sho,’ and ‘Buddha’. The word Tao was coined by the Chinese master, Lau Tzu. It means that which is and cannot be put into words. It is unknown and unknowable. It can only be experienced and not expressed in words. Its magnanimity cannot be condensed into finiteness. The word Sho implies, that which is vast like the sky and deep like an ocean and carries within its womb a treasure. It also means one on whom the existence showers its blessings. And lastly the word Buddha implies the Enlightened One; one who has arrived home. Thus, Taoshobuddha implies one who is existential, on whom the existence showers its blessings and one who has arrived home. The Enlightened One!

Philosophy and Religion

Page 3

Philosophy and Religion

Preface
eligion and philosophy is considered as synonym even by the most learned. This is gross yet basic mistake. Masters have tried to correct and explain this but all in vain. Philosophy in fact is the foreplay of which religiousness is the ultimate experience. When mind knows, it is Knowledge. When heart knows, it is Love. And when being knows, it is Meditation. Then where does the difference between philosophy and religion exist. Just as the map cannot represent the country it simply indicates something about the soul of the country. Also map helps in exploring the country to a visitor. So too philosophy is the circumference of which religion is the inner core or the center. Philosophy can definitely help a seeker in exploring his innerness but it cannot replace. This is the only relation that exists between philosophy and the religion. Through this work I have attempted to explain in detail about philosophy and religion and the interrelation between the two. To me religion is the center of which philosophy is the circumference and meditation is the way that connects both
Philosophy and Religion Page 4

Philosophy and Religion philosophy and religion. Meditation is the bridge between philosophy and religion. A true religion will have the humbleness and courage to admit that only a few things are known so far, much more is still unknown, and something will always remain unknowable. That ‘something unknowable’ is the core of the whole spiritual search. You cannot make it an object of knowledge, but you can experience it, you can drink of it, you can have the taste of it - it is existential. This is my way – the way of white clouds sublime and blissful. Now let us enter the text serenely so that you can feel the essence of it. Only this much for now! Love!

Taoshobuddha
www.scribd.com/taoshobuddha www.docstoc.com/taoshobuddha Www. ebookmall.com/Taoshobuddha

Philosophy and Religion

Page 5

Philosophy and Religion

When mind knows, it is Knowledge. When heart knows, it is Love. And when being knows, it is Meditation. Then where does philosophy and religion exist. Just as the map cannot represent the country it simply indicates something about the soul of the country. Also map helps in exploring the country to a visitor. So too philosophy is the circumference of which religion is the inner core or the center. Philosophy can definitely help a seeker in exploring his innerness but it cannot replace. This is the only relation that exists between philosophy and the religion.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 6

Philosophy and Religion To explain religion I have heard a beautiful story - I do not know if it is true or not, I cannot vouch for it. However it is very significant and you can enjoy. I have heard one afternoon, Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Buddha were sitting and chatting in the central café in Paradise. The waiter came with a tray holding three glasses of the juice called ‘Life,’ and offered them. Buddha immediately closed his eyes and refused saying, ‘Life is misery.’ Confucius closes his eyes halfway - he is a midlist, he used to preach the golden mean - and asked the waiter to give him the glass. He would like to have a sip - but just a sip, because without tasting how can one say whether life is misery or not? Confucius had a scientific mind. He was not much of a mystic. He had a very pragmatic, earthbound mind. He was the first behaviorist the world has known. He was very logical. And it seems perfectly right - he says, ‘First I will have a sip, and then I will say what I think.’ He takes a sip and he says, ‘Buddha is right - life is misery.’ Then came the chance of Lau Tzu. Lao Tzu took all the three glasses and he said, ‘Unless one drinks totally, how can one say anything?’ It is said; Lau Tzu drank all the three glasses and started dancing! Buddha and Confucius asked him, ‘Are you not going to say anything?’ And Lao Tzu responded, ‘This is what I am saying my dance and my song are speaking for me.’ Unless you taste totally, you cannot say. And when you taste totally, you still cannot say because what you know is such that no words are adequate to explain.
Philosophy and Religion Page 7

Philosophy and Religion Buddha is on one extreme, Confucius is in the middle. Lao Tzu has drunk all the three glasses - the one that was brought for Buddha, the one that was brought for Confucius, and the one that was brought for him. He has drunk them all; he has lived life in its three-dimensionality.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 8

Philosophy and Religion

Introduction
hilosophy is a quest for a comprehensive understanding of human existence. The objective of philosophy is to consider the rational justification of logical inferences, human values, criteria for establishing the claims of knowledge and certainly, and interpretations of the nature of reality. The diverse insights of significant philosophers from ancient times to the present contribute resources to stimulate contemporary philosophical thinking in each of these areas. A major in philosophy prepares students generally for careers in areas which require the ability to analyze problems and to think and write clearly. It is an appropriate major for students planning to continue their education for professional careers such as law, medicine and theology. Philosophy means knowing something about the unknown without knowing it. It is just preconceptions, hypotheses, and man-constructed ideologies. Philosophy tries to explain things but never succeeds. At the most, it can succeed only in explaining away things, but it never succeeds in explaining them.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 9

Philosophy and Religion I had to coin my own word for it: I call it ‘philosia’, as against philosophy, because philosophy means ‘to think,’ and ‘philosia’ means ‘the love of seeing.’ Philosophy means ‘the love of thinking’ - but what can you think? Just to avoid the danger of people going beyond mind, and becoming dangerous to the society, a substitute, a toy has been created. That is philosophy. On the other hand Religion makes no effort to explain life. It tries to live it. Religion does not take life as a problem to be solved instead it takes life as a mystery to be lived. Religion is not curious about life. Religion is in awe, in tremendous wonder about life. Philosophy is like the map of a country. Just as the map cannot represent the country it simply indicates something about the soul of the country so too philosophy is the circumference of which religion is the inner core or the center. This is the only relation that exists between philosophy and the religion. Philosophy is considered a substitute for religion. Those who go into philosophy are lost to religion, and those who want to go into religion, they have to drop all kinds of philosophizing. Philosophy is just intellectual gymnastics; it has nothing to do with reality. It talks, argues, creates magnificent systems of thought, but it does not change the man who is creating all this. He remains the same man. Philosophy is baseless. It makes castles in the air. Ideas are just ideas. You can project any idea you like, nobody can prevent you; and once you project the idea you can find all kinds of rationalizations to support it. There is no difficulty.
Philosophy and Religion Page 10

Philosophy and Religion Science grows out of doubt. Religion grows out of wonder. Between the two is philosophy. It has not yet decided instead it goes on hanging between doubt and wonder. Sometimes the philosopher doubts while other times he wonders. He is just in between. If he doubts too much, by and by he becomes a scientist. If he wonders too much, by and by he becomes religious. That is why philosophy is disappearing from the world because ninety-nine percent of philosophers have become scientists. And one person a Martin Buber somewhere, or a Krishnamurti, or P.T. Suzuki great minds, great penetrating intellects, tends to become religious. Philosophy is almost losing its ground. Beware of getting lost in philosophy and religion if you really want to know what truth is. Beware of being Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, Jew or anything else because they are all ways of being deaf, blind, and insensitive. Religion is not concerned with philosophical questions and answers. To go on looking this way is stupid, and a sheer waste of life, time, energy and consciousness, because you can go on asking and answers can be given. But from answers only more questions will come out. If in the beginning there was one question, in the end, through many answers, there will be a million questions. Philosophy solves nothing. It promises, but never delivers anything. And all those promises remain unfulfilled. Still it goes on promising. But the experience which can solve the riddles of the mind cannot be attained through philosophical speculation. Buddha was absolutely against philosophy. There has never been a man more against
Philosophy and Religion Page 11

Philosophy and Religion philosophy than Buddha. Through his own bitter experience he came to understand that all those profundities of philosophy are just superficial. Even the greatest philosopher remains as ordinary as anyone. Not even a single problem has been solved by him, or even touched. He carries much knowledge, many answers, but he remains the same in his old age. New life never happens to him. And the crux, the core of the matter is that mind is a question-raising faculty: it can raise any sort of question, and then it can befool itself by answering them. But YOU are the questioner, and you are the one who solves them. Philosophy is a disease, like cancer: and no medicine exists for it yet, you have to go through surgery, a great operation is needed. And philosophy has a similar type of a cancer growth. Once it is in you it goes on growing by itself, and it takes all your energies. It is a parasite. You go on becoming weaker and weaker and it becomes stronger and stronger. Each word creates another and the process goes on infinitely. Philosophy means that a man has become completely headoriented. He looks towards existence through the eyes of logic and not through the eyes of love.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 12

Philosophy and Religion

Philosophy of Positive thinking
he philosophy of positive thinking means being untruthful and being dishonest. It means seeing a certain thing and yet denying what you have seen; it means deceiving yourself and others. Positive thinking is the only rubbish philosophy that America has contributed to human thought - nothing else. Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and the Christian priest, Vincent Peale - all these people have filled the whole American mind with this absolutely absurd idea of a positive philosophy. And it appeals particularly to mediocre minds. I do not particularly believe in any philosophy of positive thinking; nor do I believe in the opposite, the philosophy of negative thinking - because both exist like two sides of the same coin. The positive and the negative make one whole. My way is holistic - neither positivism, nor negativism, but holistic, or realistic. You see the whole in its totality, whatever it is. Good and bad, day and night, life and death, they both are

Philosophy and Religion

Page 13

Philosophy and Religion there. My approach is to see exactly what the case in reality is. There is no need to project any philosophy on it. Think about truth - that is allowed! That is why in the West philosophy has grown to great heights and depths. But it is always thinking about truth. It is like madmen thinking about sanity, or blind men thinking about light. However the blind man tries to think about light... he may create a big system of thought about what light is, but it is not going to be anything like light. For light, you need eyes not the mind. You cannot think about truth, because thinking will be done by your mind - which is full of lies, nothing but lies. How are you going to think about truth? Truth can be found only when you have put the mind aside. In the East we say truth is the experience that happens in the state of no-mind or in the state of beyond mind. But in the West the very idea has not existed. And that will make one thing clear to you: philosophy is a Western thing. In the East there is nothing like philosophy.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 14

Philosophy and Religion

Eastern Philosophy
t is very strange: the East is far older, at least ten thousand years old, but there is nothing like philosophy in the East. What is called Eastern philosophy is a wrong name. In the East it is called ‘darshan’ – ‘darshan’ means ‘to see.’ It has nothing to do with thinking. The very word ‘darshan’ means ‘to see.’ It has 6 branches. I had to coin my own word for it because the word philosophy does not explain the essence off it. Therefore I call it ‘philosia’, as against philosophy, because philosophy means ‘to think,’ and ‘philosia’ means ‘the love of seeing.’ Philosophy means ‘the love of thinking’ - but what can you think? Just to avoid the danger of people going beyond mind, and becoming dangerous to the society, a substitute, a toy has been created. That is philosophy. Life is a quest not a question, a mystery not a problem, and the difference is vast. The problem has to be solved, can be solved, and must be solved, but the mystery is insoluble; it has to be lived, and experienced. The question has to be solved so that it disappears; encountering a mystery, you have to dissolve in it. The mystery remains, you disappear. It is a totally different phenomenon. In philosophy the problem disappears, but YOU remain; in religion the mystery remains, you disappear, you
Philosophy and Religion Page 15

Philosophy and Religion evaporate. The ego is very much interested in questions and very much afraid of the mystery. The questions arise out of the ego. It plays with the questions, tries to find out answers - and each answer in its own turn brings more questions. It is an unending process; that is why philosophy has not come to any conclusion. Five thousand years of philosophizing, and not even a single conclusion! It is proof enough that philosophy is an exercise in sheer futility; its claims are very bombastic. In India we have a proverb that you dig the whole mountain and in the end you find only one rat - but philosophy has not even been able to find the rat. It has been trying, and with great effort, to find some way out of the questions, but it gets more and more lost in the whirlwind. Now there are more philosophical problems than there were before, and they will go on increasing because the moment you assert a single answer it immediately explodes into many questions. It solves nothing instead it simply gives you more work to do. Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam are only ideologies, dogmas, creeds; they are only cults. The true religion has no name, it cannot have any name. Buddha lived it, Jesus lived it — but remember, Jesus was not a Christian and Buddha was not a Buddhist, he had never heard of the word. The truly religious people have been simply religious, they have not been dogmatic. There are three hundred religions in the world which is nothing but absurdity! If truth is one, how can there be three hundred religions? There is only one science, and three hundred religions? If the science that is concerned with the objective truth is one, then religion is also one because it is concerned with the
Philosophy and Religion Page 16

Philosophy and Religion subjective truth, the other side of the truth. But that religion cannot have any name, it cannot have any ideology. I teach only that religion. Hence if somebody asks you what my teaching is, in short, you will not be able to explain because I do not teach principles, ideologies, dogmas, doctrines. I teach you a religionless religion. I teach you the taste of it. I give you the method to become receptive to the divine. I do not say anything about the divine, I simply tell you ‘This is the window — open it and you will see the star stud night.’ Now, that starry night is indefinable. Once you see it through the open window you will know it. Seeing is knowing — and seeing should be being, too. There should be no other belief. So my whole effort is existential, not intellectual at all. And the true religion is existential. It has always happened to only a few people and then it disappears from the earth because the intellectuals immediately grab it and they start making beautiful ideologies out of it — neat and clean, logical. In that very effort they destroy its beauty. They create philosophies, and religion disappears. The pundit, the scholar, the theologian, is the enemy of religion. So remember you are not getting initiated into a certain religion instead you are getting initiated into just religiousness. It is vast, immense, unbounded — it is like the whole sky. Even the sky is not the limit, so open your wings without any fear. This whole existence belongs to us; this is our temple, this is our scripture. Less than that is manmade, manufactured by man. Where it is manufactured does not matter much —
Philosophy and Religion Page 17

Philosophy and Religion beware of manufactured religions so that you can know the true, which is not manmade. And it is available in the trees, in the mountains, in the rivers, in the stars — in you, in people that surround you — it is available everywhere. Science is the search for truth in the objective world and religion is the search for the truth in the subjective world. In fact, they are two wings of one bird, of one inquiry — two sides. Ultimately there is no need to have two names. My own suggestion is that ‘science’ is a perfectly beautiful name, because it means ‘knowing.’ So science has two sides, just like every coin has two sides. Knowing in the dimension of matter you can call objective science, and knowing in the dimension of your interiority — of your inner being, of your consciousness — you can call subjective science. There is no need for the word religion. Science is perfectly good — and it is the same search, just the directions are different. And it will be good that we make one supreme science, which is a synthesis, a synchronicity of the outer science and the inner science. There will be no need of so many religions then, and there will be no need then even for somebody to be an atheist. When theists are gone, then there is no need for atheists — they are only reactions. There are believers in God so there are disbelievers in God. When the believers are gone, what is the need of disbelievers? There is no need to believe in anything — that is the fundamental of science. That is the scientific approach to reality: do not believe, inquire. The moment you believe, inquiry stops. Keep your mind open — neither believe nor disbelieve. Just remain alert and search and doubt everything
Philosophy and Religion Page 18

Philosophy and Religion until you come to a point which is indubitable — that's what truth is. You cannot doubt it. It is not a question of believing in it, it is a totally different phenomenon. It is so much a certainty, overwhelming you so much, that there is no way to doubt it. This is called knowing. And this knowing transforms a man into a buddha, into an enlightened one. This is the goal of all human growth. Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man’s relationship to existence. In the realm of cognition, the special sciences are the trees, but philosophy is the soil which makes the forest possible. Indeed it is a comprehensive system of ideas about human nature and the nature of the reality we live in. It is a guide for living, because the issues it addresses are basic and pervasive, determining the course we take in life and how we treat other people.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 19

Philosophy and Religion

The Field of Philosophy
hilosophy is quite unlike any other field. It is unique both in its methods and in the nature and breadth of its subject matter. Philosophy pursues questions in every dimension of human life, and its techniques apply to problems in any field of study or endeavor. No brief definition expresses the richness and variety of philosophy. It may be described in many ways. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, and a study of principles of conduct. It seeks to establish standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts, and to create techniques for evaluating ideas and arguments. Philosophy develops the capacity to see the world from the perspective of other individuals and other cultures. And in that it enhances one’s ability to perceive the relationships among the various fields of study. Also it deepens one’s sense of the meaning and varieties of human experience. This short description of philosophy could be greatly extended, but let us instead illustrate some of the points. As the systematic study of ideas and issues, philosophy may examine

Philosophy and Religion

Page 20

Philosophy and Religion concepts and views drawn from science, art, religion, politics, or any other realm. Philosophical appraisal of ideas and issues takes many forms, but philosophical studies often focus on the meaning of an idea and on its basis, coherence, and relations to other ideas. Consider, for instance, democracy. What is it? What justifies it as a system of government? Can a democracy allow the people to vote away their own rights? And how is it related to political liberty? Consider human knowledge. What is its nature and extent? Must we always have evidence in order to know? What can we know about the thoughts and feelings of others, or about the future? What kind of knowledge, if any, is fundamental? Similar kinds of questions arise concerning art, morality, religion, science, and each of the major areas of human activity. Philosophy explores all of them. It views them both microscopically and from the wide perspective of the larger concerns of human existence. The topics that philosophy addresses fall into several distinct fields. Among those of fundamental concern are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Metaphysics (the theory of reality). Epistemology (the theory of knowledge) Ethics (the theory of moral values) Politics (the theory of legal rights and government) Aesthetics (the theory of the nature of art)

The most widespread systems of ideas that offer philosophical guidance are religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Religions differ from philosophies not in the subjects they address, but in the method they use to address
Philosophy and Religion Page 21

Philosophy and Religion them. Religions have their basis in mythic stories that pre-date the discovery of explicitly rational methods of inquiry. Many religions nowadays appeal to mystical faith and revelation— modes of belief that claim validity independent of logic and the scientific method, at least for the biggest questions. But most religions are in their origins pre-rational rather than antirational, a story-teller’s account of philosophic issues rather than a scientist’s. In Greek, ‘philosophy’ means ‘love of wisdom.’ Philosophy is based on rational argument and appeal to facts. The history of the modern sciences begins with philosophical inquiries, and the scientific method of experimentation and proof remains an instance of the general approach that a philosopher tries to bring to a question: one that is logical and rigorous. However, while today the sciences focus on specialized inquiries in restricted domains, the questions addressed by philosophy remain the most general and most basic, the issues that underlie the sciences and stand at the base of a world-view. Philosophy raises some of the deepest and widest questions there are. Addressing the issues in each branch of philosophy requires integrating everything one knows about reality (metaphysics) or humanity (epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics). Proposing reasonable positions in philosophy is therefore a difficult task. Honest philosophers have often disagreed about key issues, and dishonest ones have been able to slip their own positions into the mix as well. For this reason, there is not one philosophy worldwide, as there is one physics. Instead, there are many philosophies.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 22

Philosophy and Religion Over the course of history, philosophers have offered entire systems that pulled together positions in each of the branches of philosophy. Aristotle, the father of logic, authored such a system in ancient times, teaching that we could know reality and achieve happiness. In more modern times, philosophers such as John Locke and Immanuel Kant have written systematic accounts of their thought. Most modern philosophers, however, have specialized in one area or another within philosophy, although some schools of philosophy have emerged that are marked by the general positions of their members on a variety of issues and the members’ shared admiration for a chain of historical figures. These schools have included Pragmatism, Logical Positivism, and Existentialism, but are little-known outside of university classes in modern philosophy. Today philosophic issues often enter public life through political or social movements, some religious inspiration, such as Christian conservatism, and others secular, such as left-wing environmentalism and socialism. The ideas of such movements are often called ideologies. That term, ‘ideology,’ is another name for the systems of ideas we have been talking about. Though the focus of ideological movements is political, their political beliefs tend to be rooted in shared conceptions of reality, human nature, and values. Quite literally, the term ‘philosophy’ means, ‘love of wisdom.’ In a broad sense, philosophy is an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other. As an academic discipline philosophy is much the same. Those who study
Philosophy and Religion Page 23

Philosophy and Religion philosophy are perpetually engaged in asking, answering, and arguing for their answers to life’s most basic questions. To make such a pursuit more systematic academic philosophy is traditionally divided into major areas of study.

Metaphysics:
Metaphysics seeks basic criteria for determining what sorts of things are real. Are there mental, physical, and abstract things (such as numbers), for instance, or is there just the physical and the spiritual, or merely matter and energy? Are persons highly complex physical systems, or do they have properties not reducible to anything physical? At its core metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality, of what exists in the world, what it is like, and how it is ordered. Traditional branches are cosmology and ontology. In metaphysics philosophers wrestle with such questions as: 1. Is there a God? 2. What is truth? 3. What is a person? What makes a person the same through time? 4. Is the world strictly composed of matter? 5. Do people have minds? If so, how is the mind related to the body? 6. Do people have free wills? 7. What is it for one event to cause another?

Philosophy and Religion

Page 24

Philosophy and Religion

Epistemology:
Epistemology concerns the nature and scope of knowledge. What does it mean to know (the truth), and what is the nature of truth? What sorts of things can be known, and can we be justified in our beliefs about what goes beyond the evidence of our senses, such as the inner lives of others or events of the distant past? Is there knowledge beyond the reach of science? What are the limits of self-knowledge? Epistemology is concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge, and whether knowledge is possible. Among its central concerns has been the challenge posed by skepticism and the relationships between truth, belief, and justification. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. It is primarily concerned with what we can know about the world and how we can know it. Typical questions of concern in epistemology are: 1. 2. 3. 4. What is knowledge? Do we know anything at all? How do we know what we know? Can we be justified in claiming to know certain things?

Ethics:
Ethics takes up the meanings of our moral concepts-such as right action, obligation, and justice-and formulates principles to guide moral decisions, whether in private or public life. What are our moral obligations to others? How can moral
Philosophy and Religion Page 25

Philosophy and Religion disagreements be rationally settled? What rights must a just society accord its citizens? What constitutes a valid excuse for wrong-doing? Ethics, or ‘moral philosophy’, is concerned with questions of how persons ought to act or if such questions are answerable. The main branches of ethics are meta-ethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Meta-ethics concerns the nature of ethical thought, comparison of various ethical systems, whether there are absolute ethical truths, and how such truths could be known. Ethics is also associated with the idea of morality. Plato’s early dialogues include a search for definitions of virtue. The study of ethics often concerns what we ought to do and what it would be best to do. In struggling with this issue, larger questions about what is good and right arise. So, the ethicist attempts to answer such questions as: 1. 2. 3. 4. What is good? What makes actions or people good? What is right? What makes actions right? Is morality objective or subjective? How should I treat others?

There are certain subfields of Ethics as well. From ethics, too, have come major subfields. Political Philosophy concerns the justification-and limits-of governmental control of individuals; the meaning of equality before the law; the basis of economic freedom; and many other problems concerning government. It also examines the nature and possible arguments for various competing forms of political organization, such as laissez-faire capitalism, welfare democracy (capitalistic and socialistic), anarchism, communism, and fascism. Social Philosophy is often
Philosophy and Religion Page 26

Philosophy and Religion taught in combination with political philosophy, treats moral problems with large-scale social dimensions. Among these are the basis of compulsory education, the possible grounds for preferential treatment of minorities, the justice of taxation, and the appropriate limits, if any, on free expression in the arts. The Philosophy of Law explores such topics of what law is, what kinds of laws there are, how law is or should be related to morality, and what sorts of principles should govern punishment and criminal justice in general. Medical Ethics addresses many problems arising in medical practice and medical science. Among these are standards applying to physician-patient relationships; moral questions raised by special procedures, such as abortion and ceasing of life-support for terminal patients; and ethical standards for medical research, for instance genetic engineering and experimentation using human subjects. Business Ethics addresses such questions as how moral obligations may conflict with the profit motive and how these conflicts may be resolved. Other topics often pursued are the nature and scope of the social responsibilities of corporations, their rights in a free society, and their relations to other institutions.

Logic:
Logic is concerned to provide sound methods for distinguishing good from bad reasoning. It helps us to assess how well our premises support our conclusions, to see what we are committed to accepting when we take a view, and to avoid adopting beliefs for which we lack adequate reasons. Logic also helps us to find arguments where we might
Philosophy and Religion Page 27

Philosophy and Religion otherwise simply see a set of loosely related statements, to discover assumptions we did not know we were making, and to formulate the minimum claims we must establish if we are to prove (or inductively support) our point. Another important aspect of the study of philosophy is the arguments or reasons given for people’s answers to these questions. To this end philosophers employ logic to study the nature and structure of arguments. Logic is the study of valid argument forms. Beginning in the late 19th century, mathematicians such as Frege focused on a mathematical treatment of logic, and today the subject of logic has two broad divisions: mathematical logic (formal symbolic logic) and what is now called philosophical logic. Logicians ask such questions as: 1. What constitutes ‘good’ or ‘bad’ reasoning? 2. How do we determine whether a given piece of reasoning is good or bad

Philosophy of Science
This is probably the largest subfield generated by epistemology. Philosophy of science is usually divided into philosophy of the natural sciences and philosophy of the social sciences. It has recently been divided further, into philosophy of physics, biology, psychology, economics, and other sciences. Philosophy of science clarifies both the quest for scientific knowledge and the results yielded by that quest. It does this by exploring the logic of scientific evidence; the nature of
Philosophy and Religion Page 28

Philosophy and Religion scientific laws, explanations, and theories; and the possible connections among the various branches of science. How, for instance, is psychology related to brain biology, and biology to chemistry? And how are the social sciences related to the natural

Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of government and the relationship of individuals and communities to the state. It includes questions about justice, the good, law, property, and the rights and obligations of the citizen.

Aesthetics
This is one of the oldest subfields. It concerns the nature of art, including the performing arts and painting, sculpture, and literature. Major questions in aesthetics include how artistic creations are to be interpreted and evaluated, and how the arts are related to one another, to natural beauty, and to morality, religion, science, and other important elements of human life. Thus Aesthetics deals with beauty, art, enjoyment, sensoryemotional values, perception, and matters of taste and sentiment.

Philosophy of mind
This subfield has emerged from metaphysical concerns with the mind and mental phenomena. The philosophy of mind addresses not only the possible relations of the mental to the
Philosophy and Religion Page 29

Philosophy and Religion physical (for instance, to brain processes), but the many concepts having an essential mental element: belief, desire, emotion, feeling, sensation, passion, will, personality, and others. A number of major questions in the philosophy of mind cluster in the area of action theory: What differentiates actions, such as raising an arm, from mere body movements, such as the using of an arm? Must mental elements, for example, intentions and beliefs, enter into adequate explanations of our actions, or can actions be explained by appeal to ordinary physical events? And what is required for our actions to be free? Philosophy of mind deals with the nature of the mind and its relationship to the body, and is typified by disputes between dualism and materialism. In recent years there has been increasing similarity between this branch of philosophy and cognitive science.

Philosophy of language
This field has close ties to both epistemology and metaphysics. It treats a broad spectrum of questions about language: the nature of meaning, the relations between words and things, the various theories of language learning, and the distinction between literal and figurative uses of language. Since language is crucial in nearly all human activity, the philosophy of language can enhance our understanding both of other academic fields and of much of what we ordinarily do. Philosophy of language is inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 30

Philosophy and Religion

Other Subfields
There are many other subfields of philosophy, and it is in the nature of philosophy as critical inquiry to develop new subfields when new directions in the quest for knowledge, or in any other area of human activity, raise new intellectual problems. Among the subfields not yet mentioned, but often taught at least as a part of other courses, are Inductive Logic, Philosophy of Logic, Philosophy of History, Philosophy of Mathematics, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of Feminism, Philosophy of Linguistics, Philosophy of Criticism, Philosophy of Culture, and Philosophy of Film.

Philosophy of religion
Another traditional concern of metaphysics is to understand the concept of God, including special attributes such as being all-knowing, being all-powerful, and being wholly good. Both metaphysics and epistemology have sought to assess the various grounds people have offered to justify believing in God. The philosophy of religion treats these topics and many related subjects, such as the relation between faith and reason, the nature of religious language, the relation of religion and morality, and the question of how a God who is wholly good could allow the existence of evil. Philosophy of religion is a branch of philosophy that asks questions about religion. Most academic subjects have a philosophy, for example the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mathematics, the
Philosophy and Religion Page 31

Philosophy and Religion philosophy of logic, the philosophy of law, and the philosophy of history. In addition, a range of academic subjects have emerged to deal with areas which would have historically been the subject of philosophy. These include psychology, anthropology and science.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 32

Philosophy and Religion

History of Philosophy
he study of philosophy involves not only forming one’s own answers to such questions, but also seeking to understand the way in which people have answered such questions in the past. So, a significant part of philosophy is its history, a history of answers and arguments about these very questions. In studying the history of philosophy one explores the ideas of such historical figures as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Plato Aristotle Aquinas Descartes Locke Hume Kant Nietzsche Marx Mill Wittgenstein Sartre

What often motivate the study of philosophy are not merely the answers or arguments themselves but whether or not the
Philosophy and Religion Page 33

Philosophy and Religion arguments are good and the answers are true. Moreover, many of the questions and issues in the various areas of philosophy overlap and in some cases even converge. Thus, philosophical questions arise in almost every discipline. This is why philosophy also encompasses such areas as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Philosophy of Law Philosophy of Religion Philosophy of Mind Political Philosophy Philosophy of Feminism Philosophy of Science Philosophy of Literature Philosophy of the Arts Philosophy of Language

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing fundamental questions (such as mysticism, myth, or the arts) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means ‘love of wisdom’.

Western philosophy
The introduction of the terms ‘philosopher’ and ‘philosophy’ has been ascribed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras. The ascription is based on a passage in a lost work of Herakleides Pontikos, a disciple of Aristotle. It is considered to be part of
Philosophy and Religion Page 34

Philosophy and Religion the widespread legends of Pythagoras of this time. ‘Philosopher’ replaced the word ‘sophist’ (from sophoi), which was used to describe ‘wise men’, teachers of rhetoric, who were important in Athenian democracy. The history of philosophy is customarily divided into six periods: Ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, Renaissance philosophy, Early and Late Modern philosophy and Contemporary philosophy

Ancient philosophy (600 BC– 500 CE)
Ancient philosophy is the philosophy of the Graeco-Roman world from the 6th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is usually divided into three periods: the pre-Socratic period, the period of Plato and Aristotle, and the post-Aristotelian (or Hellenistic) period. A fourth period is sometimes added which includes the Neoplatonic and Christian philosophers of Late Antiquity. The most important of the ancient philosophers (in terms of subsequent influence) are Plato and Aristotle. The main subjects of ancient philosophy are: understanding the fundamental causes and principles of the universe; explaining it in an economical and parsimonious way; the epistemological problem of reconciling the diversity and change of the natural universe, with the possibility of obtaining fixed and certain knowledge about it; questions about things which cannot be perceived by the senses, such as numbers, elements, universals, and gods; the analysis of patterns of reasoning and argument; the nature of the good life and the importance of understanding and knowledge in order to
Philosophy and Religion Page 35

Philosophy and Religion pursue it; the explication of the concept of justice, and its relation to various political systems. In this period the crucial features of the philosophical method were established: a critical approach to received or established views, and the appeal to reason and argumentation.

Medieval philosophy (c. 500–c. 1350)
Medieval philosophy is the philosophy of Western Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages, roughly extending from the Christianization of the Roman Empire until the Renaissance. Medieval philosophy is defined partly by the rediscovery and further development of classical Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, and partly by the need to address theological problems and to integrate sacred doctrine (in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) with secular learning. The history of medieval philosophy is traditionally divided into three main periods: the period in the Latin West following the Early Middle Ages until the 12th century, when the works of Aristotle and Plato were preserved and cultivated; and the ‘golden age’ of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries in the Latin West, which witnessed the culmination of the recovery of ancient philosophy, and significant developments in the field of Philosophy of religion, Logic and Metaphysics. The medieval era was disparagingly treated by the Renaissance humanists, who saw it as a barbaric ‘middle’ period between the classical age of Greek and Roman culture, and the ‘rebirth’ or renaissance of classical culture. Yet this period of nearly a thousand years was the longest period of philosophical development in Europe, and possibly the richest. Jorge Gracia
Philosophy and Religion Page 36

Philosophy and Religion has argued that ‘in intensity, sophistication, and achievement, the philosophical flowering in the thirteenth century could be rightly said to rival the golden age of Greek philosophy in the fourth century B.C.’ Some problems discussed throughout this period are the relation of faith to reason, the existence and unity of God, the object of theology and metaphysics, the problems of knowledge, of universals, and of individuation. Philosophers from the middle Ages include the Muslim philosophers Alkindus, Alfarabi, Alhazen, Avicenna, Algazel, Avempace, Abubacer and Averroes; the Jewish philosophers Maimonides and Gersonides; and the Christian philosophers Augustine of Hippo, Boethius, Anselm, Gilbert of Poitiers, Peter Abelard, Roger Bacon, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham and Jean Buridan. The medieval tradition of scholasticism continued to flourish as late as the 17th century, in figures such as Francisco Suarez and John of St. Thomas. Aquinas, father of Thomism, was immensely influential, placed a greater emphasis on reason and argumentation, and was one of the first to use the new translation of Aristotle's metaphysical and epistemological writing. His work was a significant departure from the Neoplatonic and Augustinian thinking that had dominated much of early Scholasticism. Many modern ethicists both within and outside the Catholic Church (notably Philippa Foot and Alasdair MacIntyre) have recently commented on Aquinas’s virtue ethics as a way of avoiding utilitarianism or Kantian ‘sense of duty’ (deontology). Through the work of 20th-century philosophers such as
Philosophy and Religion Page 37

Philosophy and Religion Elizabeth Anscombe, his principle of double effect and his theory of intentional activity generally have been influential. Cognitive neuroscientist and philosopher Walter Freeman proposes that Thomism is the system explaining cognition that is most compatible with neurodynamics, in a 2008 article in the journal Mind and Matter entitled ‘Nonlinear Brain Dynamics and Intention According to Aquinas.’ The influence of Aquinas's aesthetics also can be found in the works of the Italian semiotician Umberto Eco.

Early modern philosophy (c. 1600–c. 1800)
The Renaissance (‘rebirth’) was a period of transition between the Middle Ages and modern thought, in which the recovery of classical texts shifted philosophical interests away from technical studies in logic, metaphysics, and theology towards eclectic inquiries into morality, philology, and mysticism. The study of classics, particularly the newly rediscovered works of Plato and the Neoplatonists, and of the humane arts more generally (such as history and literature) enjoyed popularity hitherto unknown in Christendom. The concept of man displaced God as the central object of philosophical reflection. The Renaissance also renewed interest in nature considered as an organic whole comprehensible independently of theology, as in the work of Nicholas of Kues, Giordano Bruno, and Telesius. Such movements in natural philosophy dovetailed with a revival of interest in magic, hermeticism, and astrology, which were thought to yield hidden ways of knowing and mastering nature (e.g., in Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola).
Philosophy and Religion Page 38

Philosophy and Religion

These new movements in philosophy developed contemporaneously with larger political and religious transformations in Europe: the decline of feudalism and the Reformation. The rise of the monarchic nation-state found voice in increasingly secular political philosophies, as in the work of Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas More, Jean Bodin, Tommaso Campanella, and Hugo Grotius. And while the Reformers showed little direct interest in philosophy, their destruction of the traditional foundations of theological and intellectual authority harmonized with the revival of fideism and skepticism in thinkers such as Erasmus, Montaigne and Francisco Sanches. Modern philosophy begins with the response to skepticism and the rise of modern physical science. Philosophy in this period centers on the relation between experience and reality, the ultimate origin of knowledge, the nature of the mind and its relation to the body, the implications of the new natural sciences for free will and God, and the emergence of a secular basis for moral and political philosophy. Canonical figures include Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Leibniz, Berkeley, Rousseau, Hume, and Kant. Chronologically, this era spans the 17th and 18th centuries, and is generally considered to end with Kant’s systematic attempt to reconcile Newtonian physics with traditional metaphysical topics.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 39

Philosophy and Religion

Late modern philosophy (c. 1800–c. 1900)
Later modern philosophy is usually considered to begin after the philosophy of Immanuel Kant at the beginning of the 19th century. German idealists, such as Fichte, Hegel, and Schelling, transformed the work of Kant by maintaining that the world is constituted by a rational or mind-like process, and as such is entirely knowable. Schopenhauer’s identification of this worldconstituting process as an irrational will to live would influence later 19th- and early 20th-century thinking, such as the work of Nietzsche and Freud.

Contemporary philosophy (c. 1900– present)
Frege’s work in logic and Sidgwick’s work in ethics provided the tools for early analytic philosophy. Husserl initiated the school of phenomenology. Peirce and William James initiated the school of pragmatism. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche laid the groundwork for existentialism and post-structuralism. Karl Marx began the study of social materialist philosophy. Within the last century, philosophy has increasingly become an activity practiced within the university, and accordingly it has grown more specialized and more distinct from the natural sciences. Much of philosophy in this period concerns itself with
Philosophy and Religion Page 40

Philosophy and Religion explaining the relation between the theories of the natural sciences and the ideas of the humanities or common sense. In the Anglophone world, analytic philosophy became the dominant school. In the first half of the century, it was a cohesive school, more or less identical to logical positivism, united by the notion that philosophical problems could and should be solved by attention to logic and language. In the latter half of the 20th century, analytic philosophy diffused into a wide variety of disparate philosophical views, only loosely united by historical lines of influence and a self-identified commitment to clarity and rigor. Recently, the experimental philosophy movement has reappraised philosophical problems through the techniques of social science research. On continental Europe, no single school or temperament enjoyed dominance. The flight of the logical positivists from central Europe during the 1930s and 1940s, however, diminished philosophical interest in natural science, and an emphasis on the humanities, broadly construed, figures prominently in what is usually called ‘continental philosophy’. movements such as phenomenology, 20th-century existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, structuralism, and post structuralism are included within this loose category. 1. Major philosophers of the 20th century include:

Philosophy and Religion

Page 41

Philosophy and Religion 2. Ludwig Wittgenstein, profoundly shaped both logical positivism and ordinary language philosophy. 3. Bertrand Russell, whose pioneering work in logic was a model for the early development of analytic philosophy. 4. Martin Heidegger, who drew on the ideas of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Husserl to propose an existential approach to ontology,. 5. Karl R. Popper, whose work on falsifiability is seen as a major development in the Philosophy of Science. 6. W.V.O. Quine, whose work in logic and the philosophy of language underpinned a highly influential form of naturalism. 7. Saul Kripke, whose work in modal logic and the philosophy of language led to a revival of metaphysics in English-speaking philosophy.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 42

Philosophy and Religion

Eastern philosophy
any societies have considered philosophical questions and built philosophical traditions based upon each other’s works. Eastern and Middle Eastern philosophical traditions have influenced Western philosophers. Russian (which, often arbitrarily, is referred to as both Eastern and Western), Jewish, Islamic, and the greatly varied African philosophical traditions have contributed to, or been influenced by, Western philosophy: yet each has retained a distinctive identity. The differences between traditions are often well captured by consideration of their favored historical philosophers, and varying stress on ideas, procedural styles, or written language. The subject matter and dialogues of each can be studied using methods derived from the others, and there are significant commonalities and exchanges between them. Eastern philosophy refers to the broad traditions that originated or were popular in India, Persia, China, Korea, Japan, and to an extent, the Middle East (which overlaps with Western philosophy due to the spread of the Abrahamic religions and the continuing intellectual traffic between these societies and Europe.)
Philosophy and Religion Page 43

Philosophy and Religion

Babylonian philosophy
The origins of Babylonian philosophy can be traced back to the wisdom of early Mesopotamia, which embodied certain philosophies of life, particularly ethics, in the forms of dialectic, dialogues, epic poetry, folklore, hymns, lyrics, prose, and proverbs. The reasoning and rationality of the Babylonians developed beyond empirical observation. The Babylonian text Dialog of Pessimism contains similarities to the agonistic thought of the sophists, the Heraclitean doctrine of contrasts, and the dialogues of Plato, as well as a precursor to the maieutic Socratic method of Socrates and Plato. The Milesian philosopher Thales is also known to have studied philosophy in Mesopotamia.

Chinese philosophy
Philosophy has had a tremendous effect on Chinese civilization, and East Asia as a whole. Many of the great philosophical schools were formulated during the spring and autumn Period and Warring States Period, and came to be known as the Hundred Schools of Thought. The four most influential of these were Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism. Later on, during the Tang Dynasty, Buddhism from India also became a prominent philosophical and religious discipline. It should be noted that philosophy and religion were clearly distinguished in the West, whilst these concepts were more continuous in the East due to, for example, the philosophical concepts of Buddhism. Similarly to Western philosophy, Chinese philosophy also covers a broad and complex range of thought,
Philosophy and Religion Page 44

Philosophy and Religion possessing a multitude of schools that address every branch and subject area of philosophy.

Indian philosophy
Hindu philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and Jain philosophy The term Indian philosophy (Sanskrit: Darshanas), may refer to any of several traditions of philosophical thought that originated in the Indian subcontinent, including Hindu philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and Jain philosophy. Having the same or rather intertwined origins, all of these philosophies have a common underlying theme of Dharma, and similarly attempt to explain the attainment of emancipation. They have been formalized and promulgated chiefly between 1,000 BCE to a few centuries CE, with residual commentaries and reformations continuing up to as late as the 20th century by Aurobindo and ISKCON among others, who provided stylized interpretations. In the history of the Indian subcontinent, following the establishment of a Vedic culture, the development of philosophical and religious thought over a period of two millennia gave rise to what came to be called the six schools of astika, or orthodox, Indian or Hindu philosophy. These schools have come to be synonymous with the greater religion of Hinduism, which was a development of the early Vedic religion. Hindu philosophy constitutes an integral part of the culture of South Asia, and is the first of the Dharmic philosophies which were influential throughout the Far East. The great diversity in thought and practice of Hinduism is nurtured by its liberal universalism.
Philosophy and Religion Page 45

Philosophy and Religion

Persian philosophy
Persian philosophy can be traced back as far as Old Iranian philosophical traditions and thoughts, with their ancient IndoIranian roots. These were considerably influenced by Zarathustra’s teachings. Throughout Iranian history and due to remarkable political and social influences such as the Macedonian, the Arab, and the Mongol invasions of Persia, a wide spectrum of schools of thought arose. These espoused a variety of views on philosophical questions, extending from Old Iranian and mainly Zoroastrianism-influenced traditions to schools appearing in the late pre-Islamic era, such as Manicheism and Mazdakism, as well as various post-Islamic schools. Iranian philosophy after Arab invasion of Persia is characterized by different interactions with the Old Iranian philosophy, the Greek philosophy and with the development of Islamic philosophy. The Illumination school and the Transcendent theosophy are regarded as two of the main philosophical traditions of that era in Persia. Zoroastrianism has been identified as one of the key early events in the development of philosophy. Idealism is the epistemological doctrine that nothing can be directly known outside of the minds of thinking beings. Or in an alternative stronger form, it is the metaphysical doctrine that nothing exists apart from minds and the ‘contents’ of minds. In modern Western philosophy, the epistemological doctrine begins as a core tenet of Descartes – which what is in the mind, is known more reliably than what is known through the senses. The first prominent modern Western idealist in the
Philosophy and Religion Page 46

Philosophy and Religion metaphysical sense was George Berkeley. Berkeley argued that there is no deep distinction between mental states, such as feeling pain, and the ideas about so-called ‘external’ things, that appear to us through the senses. There is no real distinction, in this view, between certain sensations of heat and light that we experience, which lead us to believe in the external existence of a fire, and the fire itself. Those sensations are all there is to fire. Berkeley expressed this with the Latin formula esse est percipi: ‘to be is to be perceived’. In this view the opinion, ‘strangely prevailing upon men’, that houses, mountains, and rivers have an existence independent of their perception by a thinking being is false. Forms of idealism were prevalent in philosophy from the 18th century to the early 20th century. Transcendental idealism, advocated by Immanuel Kant, is the view that there are limits on what can be understood, since there is much that cannot be brought under the conditions of objective judgment. Kant wrote his Critique of Pure Reason (1781–1787) in an attempt to reconcile the conflicting approaches of rationalism and empiricism, and to establish a new groundwork for studying metaphysics. Kant’s intention with this work was to look at what we know and then consider what must be true about it, as a logical consequence of the way we know it. One major theme was that there are fundamental features of reality that escape our direct knowledge because of the natural limits of the human faculties. Although Kant held that objective knowledge of the world required the mind to impose a conceptual or categorical framework on the stream of pure sensory data – a framework including space and time them – he maintained that things-in-themselves existed independently of our perceptions and judgments; he was therefore not an
Philosophy and Religion Page 47

Philosophy and Religion idealist in any simple sense. Indeed, Kant’s account of thingsin-themselves is both controversial and highly complex. Continuing his work, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Schelling dispensed with belief in the independent existence of the world, and created a thoroughgoing idealist philosophy. The most notable work of this German idealism was G.W.F. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, of 1807. Hegel admitted his ideas were not new, but that all the previous philosophies had been incomplete. His goal was to correctly finish their job. Hegel asserts that the twin aims of philosophy are to account for the contradictions apparent in human experience (which arise, for instance, out of the supposed contradictions between ‘being’ and ‘not being’), and also simultaneously to resolve and preserve these contradictions by showing their compatibility at a higher level of examination (‘being’ and ‘not being’ are resolved with ‘becoming’). This program of acceptance and reconciliation of contradictions is known as the "Hegelian dialectic". Philosophers in the Hegelian tradition include Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach, who coined the term projection as pertaining to our inability to recognize anything in the external world without projecting qualities of ourselves upon those things; Karl Marx; Friedrich Engels; and the British idealists, notably T.H. Green, J.M.E. McTaggart, and F.H. Bradley. Few 20th century philosophers have embraced idealism. However, quite a few have embraced Hegelian dialectic. Immanuel Kant’s ‘Copernican Turn’ also remains an important philosophical concept today.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 48

Philosophy and Religion

Pragmatism
ragmatism was founded in the spirit of finding a scientific concept of truth, which is not dependent on either personal insight (or revelation) or reference to some metaphysical realm. The truth of a statement should be judged by the effect it has on our actions and truth should be seen as that which the whole of scientific enquiry will ultimately agree on. This should probably be seen as a guiding principle more than a definition of what it means for something to be true, though the details of how this principle should be interpreted have been subject to discussion since Charles S. Peirce first conceived it. Peirce’s maxim of pragmatism is as follows: ‘Consider what effects that might conceivably have practical bearings we conceive the object of our conception to have: then, our conception of those effects is the whole of our conceptions of the object.’ Like postmodern neo-pragmatist Richard Rorty, many are convinced that pragmatism asserts that the truth of beliefs does not consist in their correspondence with reality, but in their usefulness and efficacy.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 49

Philosophy and Religion The late 19th-century American philosophers Charles Sanders Peirce and William James were its co-founders, and it was later developed by John Dewey as instrumentalism. Since the usefulness of any belief at any time might be contingent on circumstance, Peirce and James conceptualized final truth as that which would be established only by the future, final settlement of all opinion. Critics have accused pragmatism of falling victim to a simple fallacy: because something that is true proves useful, that usefulness is the basis for its truth. Thinkers in the pragmatist tradition have included John Dewey, George Santayana, W.V.O. Quine and C.I. Lewis. Pragmatism has more recently been taken in new directions by Richard Rorty, John Lachs, Donald Davidson, Susan Haack, and Hilary Putnam.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 50

Philosophy and Religion

Phenomenology
dmund Husserl’s phenomenology was an ambitious attempt to lay the foundations for an account of the structure of conscious experience in general. An important part of Husserl’s phenomenological project was to show that all conscious acts are directed at or about objective content, a feature that Husserl called intentionality. In the first part of his two-volume work, the Logical Investigations (1901), he launched an extended attack on psychologism. In the second part, he began to develop the technique of descriptive phenomenology, with the aim of showing how objective judgments are indeed grounded in conscious experience – not, however, in the first-person experience of particular individuals, but in the properties essential to any experiences of the kind in question. He also attempted to identify the essential properties of any act of meaning. He developed the method further in Ideas (1913) as transcendental phenomenology, proposing to ground actual experience, and thus all fields of human knowledge, in the structure of consciousness of an ideal, or transcendental, ego. Later, he attempted to reconcile his transcendental standpoint
Philosophy and Religion Page 51

Philosophy and Religion with an acknowledgement of the inter subjective life-world in which real individual subjects interact. Husserl published only a few works in his lifetime, which treat phenomenology mainly in abstract methodological terms; but he left an enormous quantity of unpublished concrete analyses. Husserl’s work was immediately influential in Germany, with the foundation of phenomenological schools in Munich and Göttingen. Phenomenology later achieved international fame through the work of such philosophers as Martin Heidegger (formerly Husserl’s research assistant), Maurice MerleauPonty, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Indeed, through the work of Heidegger and Sartre, Husserl's focus on subjective experience influenced aspects of existentialism.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 52

Philosophy and Religion

Existentialism
xistentialism is a term which has been applied to the work of a number of late 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject – not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. In existentialism, the individual’s starting point is characterized by what has been called ‘the existential attitude’ or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophy, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience. Although they did not use the term, the 19th-century philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche are widely regarded as the fathers of existentialism. Their influence, however, has extended beyond existentialist thought.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 53

Philosophy and Religion The main target of Kierkegaard’s writings was the idealist philosophical system of Hegel which, he thought, ignored or excluded the inner subjective life of living human beings. Kierkegaard, conversely, held that ‘truth is subjectivity’, arguing that what is most important to an actual human being are questions dealing with an individual’s inner relationship to existence. In particular, Kierkegaard, a Christian, believed that the truth of religious faith was a subjective question, and one to be wrestled with passionately. Although Kierkegaard and Nietzsche were among his influences, the extent to which the German philosopher Martin Heidegger should be considered an existentialist is debatable. In Being and Time he presented a method of rooting philosophical explanations in human existence (Dasein) to be analyzed in terms of existential categories (existential); and this has led many commentators to treat him as an important figure in the existentialist movement. However, in The Letter on Humanism, Heidegger explicitly rejected the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre became the best-known proponent of existentialism, exploring it not only in theoretical works such as Being and Nothingness, but also in plays and novels. Sartre, along with Simone de Beauvoir, represented an avowedly atheistic branch of existentialism, which is now more closely associated with their ideas of nausea, contingency, bad faith, and the absurd than with Kierkegaard's spiritual angst. Nevertheless, the focus on the individual human being, responsible before the universe for the authenticity of his or her existence, is common to all these thinkers.
Philosophy and Religion Page 54

Philosophy and Religion

Structuralism and poststructuralism
naugurated by the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, structuralism sought to clarify systems of signs through analyzing the discourses they both limit and make possible. Saussure conceived of the sign as being delimited by all the other signs in the system, and ideas as being incapable of existence prior to linguistic structure, which articulates thought. This led continental thought away from humanism, and toward what was termed the decentering of man: language is no longer spoken by man to express a true inner self, but language speaks man. Structuralism sought the province of a hard science, but its positivism soon came under fire by post structuralism, a wide field of thinkers, some of whom were once themselves structuralists, but later came to criticize it. Structuralists believed they could analyze systems from an external, objective standing, for example, but the poststructuralists argued that this is incorrect, that one cannot transcend structures and thus analysis is itself determined by what it examines, that systems are ultimately self-referential. Furthermore, while the distinction between the signifier and signified was treated as crystalline by structuralists,
Philosophy and Religion Page 55

Philosophy and Religion poststructuralists asserted that every attempt to grasp the signified would simply result in the proliferation of more signifiers, so meaning is always in a state of being deferred, making an ultimate interpretation impossible. Structuralism came to dominate continental philosophy throughout the 1960s and early ‘70s, encompassing thinkers as diverse as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes and Jacques Lacan. Post-structuralism predominated over the 1970s onwards, including thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and even Roland Barthes.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 56

Philosophy and Religion

The analytic tradition
he term analytic philosophy roughly designates a group of philosophical methods that stress detailed argumentation, attention to semantics, use of classical logic and non-classical logics and clarity of meaning above all other criteria. Michael Dummett in his Origins of Analytical Philosophy makes the case for counting Gottlob Frege. The Foundations of Arithmetic as the first analytic work, on the grounds that in that book Frege took the linguistic turn, analyzing philosophical problems through language. Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore are also often counted as founders of analytic philosophy, beginning with their rejection of British idealism, their defense of realism and the emphasis they laid on the legitimacy of analysis. Russell’s classic works ‘The Principles of Mathematics’, On Denoting and Principia Mathematica, aside from greatly promoting the use of classical first order logic in philosophy, set the ground for much of the research program in the early stages of the analytic tradition, emphasizing such problems as: the reference of proper names, whether existence is a property, the meaning of propositions, the analysis of definite descriptions, the discussions on the foundations of mathematics; as well as exploring issues of metaphysical
Philosophy and Religion Page 57

Philosophy and Religion commitment and even metaphysical problems regarding time, the nature of matter, mind, persistence and change, which Russell tackled often with the aid of mathematical logic. The philosophy developed as a critique of Hegel and his followers in particular, and of grand systems of speculative philosophy in general, though by no means all analytic philosophers reject the philosophy of Hegel nor speculative philosophy. Some schools in the group include logical atomism, logical positivism, and ordinary language. The motivation behind the work of analytic philosophers has been varied. Some have held that philosophical problems arise through misuse of language or because of misunderstandings of the logic of our language, while some maintain that there are genuine philosophical problems and that philosophy is continuous with science. In 1921, Ludwig Wittgenstein published his Tractatus LogicoPhilosophicus, which gave a rigidly ‘logical’ account of linguistic and philosophical issues. At the time, he understood most of the problems of philosophy as mere puzzles of language, which could be solved by investigating and then minding the logical structure of language. In the United States, meanwhile, the philosophy of W.V.O. Quine was having a major influence, with such classics as Two Dogmas of Empiricism. In that paper Quine criticizes the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements, arguing that a clear conception of analyticity is unattainable. He argued for holism, the thesis that language, including scientific language, is a set of interconnected sentences, none of which can be verified on its own, rather, the sentences in the language
Philosophy and Religion Page 58

Philosophy and Religion depend on each other for their meaning and truth conditions. A consequence of Quine's approach is that language as a whole has only a very thin relation to experience, some sentences which refer directly to experience might be somewhat modified by sense impressions, but as the whole of language is theory-laden, for the whole language to be modified, more than this is required. However, most of the linguistic structure can in principle be revised, even logic, in order to better model the world. Notable students of Quine include Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett. The former devised a program for giving semantics to natural language and thereby answer the philosophical conundrum ‘what is meaning?’ A crucial part of the program was the use of Alfred Tarski’s semantic theory of truth. Dummett, among others, argued that truth conditions should be dispensed within the theory of meaning, and replaced by assertibility conditions. Some propositions, on this view, are neither true nor false, and thus such a theory of meaning entails a rejection of the law of the excluded middle. This, for Dummett, entails antirealism, as Russell himself pointed out in An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth. By the 1970s there was a renewed interest in many traditional philosophical problems by the younger generations of analytic philosophers. David Lewis, Saul Kripke, Derek Parfit and others took an interest in traditional metaphysical problems, which they began exploring by the use of logic and philosophy of language. Among those problems some distinguished ones were: free will, essentialism, the nature of personal identity, identity over time, the nature of the mind, the nature of causal laws, space-time, the properties of material beings, modality,
Philosophy and Religion Page 59

Philosophy and Religion etc. In those universities where analytic philosophy has spread, these problems are still being discussed passionately. Analytic philosophers are also interested in the methodology of analytic philosophy itself, with Timothy Williamson, Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford, publishing recently a book entitled The Philosophy of Philosophy. Some notable figures in contemporary analytic philosophy are: Timothy Williamson, John Searle, Thomas Nagel, Hilary Putnam, Michael Dummett, and Saul Kripke. Analytic philosophy has sometimes been accused of not contributing to the political debate or to traditional questions in aesthetics, however, with the appearance of A Theory of Justice by John Rawls and Anarchy, State and Utopia by Robert Nozick, analytic political philosophy acquired respectability. Analytic philosophers have also shown depth in their investigations of aesthetics, with Roger Scruton, Richard Wollheim, Jerrold Levinson and others developing the subject to its current shape.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 60

Philosophy and Religion

Moral and political philosophy
rom ancient times, and well beyond them, the roots of justification for political authority were inescapably tied to outlooks on human nature. In The Republic, Plato declared that the ideal society would be run by a council of philosopher-kings, since those best at philosophy are better suited to realize the good. Even Plato, however, required philosophers to make their way in the world for many years before beginning their rule at the age of fifty. For Aristotle, humans are political animals and governments are set up in order to pursue good for the community. Aristotle reasoned that, since the state (polis) was the highest form of community, it has the purpose of pursuing the highest good. Aristotle viewed political power as the result of natural inequalities in skill and virtue. Because of these differences, he favored an aristocracy of the able and virtuous. For Aristotle, the person cannot be complete unless he or she lives in a community. His The Nicomachean Ethics and The Politics are meant to be read in that order. The first book addresses virtues (or ‘excellences’) in the person as a citizen; the second addresses the proper form of government to ensure that
Philosophy and Religion Page 61

Philosophy and Religion citizens will be virtuous, and therefore complete. Both books deal with the essential role of justice in civic life. Nicolas of Cusa rekindled Platonic thought in the early 15th century. He promoted democracy in Medieval Europe, both in his writings and in his organization of the Council of Florence. Unlike Aristotle and the Hobbesian tradition to follow, Cusa saw human beings as equal and divine (that is, made in God’s image), so democracy would be the only just form of government. Later, Niccolò Machiavelli rejected the views of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas as unrealistic. The ideal sovereign is not the embodiment of the moral virtues; rather the sovereign does whatever is successful and necessary, rather than what is morally praiseworthy. Thomas Hobbes also contested many elements of Aristotle’s views. For Hobbes, human nature is essentially anti-social: people are essentially egoistic, and this egoism makes life difficult in the natural state of things. Moreover, Hobbes argued, though people may have natural inequalities, these are trivial, since no particular talents or virtues that people may have will make them safe from harm inflicted by others. For these reasons, Hobbes concluded that the state arises from a common agreement to raise the community out of the state of nature. This can only be done by the establishment of a sovereign; in which (or whom) is vested complete control over the community, and which is able to inspire awe and terror in its subjects.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 62

Philosophy and Religion

Karl Marx
any in the Enlightenment were unsatisfied with existing doctrines in political philosophy, which seemed to marginalize or neglect the possibility of a democratic state. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was among those who attempted to overturn these doctrines: he responded to Hobbes by claiming that a human is by nature a kind of ‘noble savage’, and that society and social contracts corrupt this nature. Another critic was John Locke. In Second Treatise on Government he agreed with Hobbes that the nation-state was an efficient tool for raising humanity out of a deplorable state, but he argued that the sovereign might become an abominable institution compared to the relatively benign unmodulated state of nature. Following the doctrine of the fact-value distinction, due in part to the influence of David Hume and his student Adam Smith, appeals to human nature for political justification were weakened. Nevertheless, many political philosophers, especially moral realists, still make use of some essential human nature as a basis for their arguments. Marxism is derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Their idea that capitalism is based on exploitation of workers and causes alienation of people from their human
Philosophy and Religion Page 63

Philosophy and Religion nature, the historical materialism, their view of social classes, etc., have influenced many fields of study, such as sociology, economics, and politics. Marxism inspired the Marxist school of communism, which brought a huge impact on the history of the 20th century.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 64

Philosophy and Religion

The Uses of Philosophy
General Uses of Philosophy
uch of what is learned in philosophy can be applied in virtually any endeavor. This is both because philosophy touches on so many subjects and, especially, because many of its methods are usable in any field.

General Problem Solving
The study of philosophy enhances, in a way no other activity does, one's problem solving capacities. It helps one to analyze concepts, definitions, arguments, and problems. It contributes to one's capacity to organize ideas and issues, to deal with questions of value, and to extract what is essential from masses of information. It helps one both to distinguish fine differences between views and to discover common ground between

Philosophy and Religion

Page 65

Philosophy and Religion opposing positions. And it helps one to synthesize a variety of views or perspectives into a unified whole.

Communication Skills
Philosophy also contributes uniquely to the development of expressive and communicative powers. It provides some of the basic tools of self-expression - for instance, skills in presenting ideas through well-constructed, systematic arguments - that other fields either do not use, or use less extensively. It helps one to express what is distinctive of one’s view; enhances one’s ability to explain difficult material; and helps one to eliminate ambiguities and vagueness from one’s writing and speech.

Persuasive Powers
Philosophy provides training in the construction of clear formulations, good arguments, and apt examples. It thereby helps one develop the ability to be convincing. One learns to build and defend one's own views, to appreciate competing positions, and to indicate forcefully why one considers one's own views preferable to alternatives. These capacities can be developed not only through reading and writing in philosophy, but also through the philosophical dialogue, in and outside the classroom, that is so much a part of a thoroughgoing philosophical education.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 66

Philosophy and Religion

Writing Skills
Writing is taught intensively in many philosophy courses, and many regularly assigned philosophical texts are unexcelled as literary essays. Philosophy teaches interpretive writing through its examination of challenging texts, comparative writing through emphasis on fairness to alternative positions, argumentative writing through developing students' ability to establish their own views, and descriptive writing through detailed portrayal of concrete examples: the anchors to which generalizations must be tied. Structure and technique, then, are emphasized in philosophical writing. Originality is also encouraged, and students are generally urged to use their imagination and develop their own ideas.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 67

Philosophy and Religion

The Uses of Philosophy in Educational Pursuits
he general uses of philosophy just described are obviously of great academic value. It should also be clear that the study of philosophy has intrinsic rewards as an unlimited quest for understanding of important, challenging problems. But philosophy has further uses in deepening an education, both in college an in the many activities, professional and personal, that follow graduation.

Understanding Other Disciplines
Philosophy is indispensable for this. Many important questions about a discipline, such as the nature of its concepts and its relation to other disciplines, do not belong to that discipline, are not usually pursued in it, and are philosophical in nature. Philosophy of science, for instance, is needed to supplement the understanding of the natural and social sciences which one derives from scientific work itself. Philosophy of literature and philosophy of history are of similar value in understanding the arts. Philosophy is, moreover, essential in assessing the various standards of evidence used by other disciplines. Since all fields of knowledge employ reasoning and must set standards of
Philosophy and Religion Page 68

Philosophy and Religion evidence, logic and epistemology have a general bearing on all these fields.

Development of Sound Methods of Research and Analysis
Still another value of philosophy in education is its contribution to one's capacity to frame hypotheses, do research, and put problems into manageable form. Philosophical thinking strongly emphasizes clear formulation of ideas and problems, selection of relevant data, and objective methods for assessing ideas and proposals. It also emphasizes development of a sense of the new directions suggested by the hypotheses and questions one encounters in doing research. Philosophers regularly build on both the successes and the failures of their predecessors. A person with philosophical training can readily learn to do the same in any field.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 69

Philosophy and Religion

The Uses of Philosophy in Non-Academic Careers
t should be stressed immediately that the nonacademic value of a field of study must not be viewed mainly in terms of its contribution to obtaining one’s first job after graduation. Students are understandably preoccupied with getting their first job, but even from a narrow vocational point of view it would be short-sighted to concentrate on that at the expense of developing potential for success and advancement once hired. What gets graduates initially hired may not yield promotions or carry them beyond their first position, particularly given how fast the needs of many employers alter with changes in social and economic patterns. It is therefore crucial to see beyond what a job description specifically calls for. Philosophy need not be mentioned among a job’s requirements in order for the benefits derivable from philosophical study to be appreciated by the employer, and those benefits need not even be explicitly appreciated in order to be effective in helping one advance.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 70

Philosophy and Religion It should also be emphasized here that - as recent studies show - employers want, and reward, many of the capacities which the study of philosophy develops: for instance, the ability to solve problems, to communicate, to organize ideas and issues, to assess pros and cons, and to boil down complex data. These capacities represent transferable skills. They are transferable not only from philosophy to non-philosophical areas, but from one non-philosophical field to another. For that reason, people trained in philosophy are not only prepared to do many kinds of tasks; they can also cope with change, or even move into new careers, more readily than many others. Regarding current trends in business, a writer in the New York Times reported that ‘businessmen are coming to appreciate an education that at its best produces graduates who can write and think clearly and solve problems’ (June 23, 1981). A recent long-term study by the Bell Telephone Company, moreover, determined that majors in liberal arts fields, in which philosophy is a central discipline, ‘continue to make a strong showing in managerial skills and have experienced considerable business success’ The study concluded that ‘there is no need for liberal arts majors to lack confidence in approaching business careers.’ A related point is made by a Senior Vice President of the American Can Company: Students with any academic background are prepared for business when they can educate themselves and can continue to grow without their teachers, when they have mastered techniques of scholarship and discipline, and when they are challenged to be all they can be (Wall Street Journal, February 2, 1981).
Philosophy and Religion Page 71

Philosophy and Religion As all this suggests, there are people trained in philosophy in just about every field. They have gone not only into such professions as teaching (at all levels), medicine, and law, but into computer science, management, publishing, sales, criminal justice, public relations, and other fields. Some professionally trained philosophers are also on legislative staffs, and the work of some of them, for a senior congressman, prompted him to say: It seems to me that philosophers have acquired skills which are very valuable to a member of Congress. The ability to analyze a problem carefully and consider it from many points of view is one. Another is the ability to communicate ideas clearly in a logically compelling form. A third is the ability to handle the many different kinds of problems which occupy the congressional agenda at any time. (Lee H. Hamilton, 9th District, In emphasizing the long-range benefits of training in philosophy, whether through a major or through only a sample of courses in the field, there are at least two further points to note. The first concerns the value of philosophy for vocational training. The second applies to the whole of life. First, philosophy can yield immediate benefits for students planning post-graduate work. As law, medical, business, and other professional school faculty and admissions personnel have often said, philosophy is excellent preparation for the training and later careers of the professionals in question. In preparing to enter such fields as computer science, management, or public administration, which, like medicine, have special requirements for postgraduate study, a student
Philosophy and Religion Page 72

Indiana, March 25, 1982)

Philosophy and Religion may of course major (or minor) both in philosophy and some other field. The second point here is that the long-range value of philosophical study goes far beyond its contribution to one's livelihood. Philosophy broadens the range of things one can understand and enjoy. It can give one self-knowledge, foresight, and a sense of direction in life. It can provide, to one's reading and conversation, special pleasures of insight. It can lead to self-discovery, expansion of consciousness, and self-renewal. Through all of this, and through its contribution to one's expressive powers, it nurtures individuality and selfesteem. Its value for one's private life can be incalculable; its benefits in one's public life as a citizen can be immeasurable.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 73

Philosophy and Religion

Conclusion
hilosophy is the systematic study of ideas and issues, a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for a comprehensive understanding of the world, a study of principles of conduct, and much more. Every domain of human existence raises questions to which its techniques and theories apply, and its methods may be used in the study of any subject or the pursuit of any vocation. Indeed, philosophy is in a sense inescapable: life confronts every thoughtful person with some philosophical questions, and nearly everyone is often guided by philosophical assumptions, even if unconsciously. One need not be unprepared. To a large extent one can choose how reflective one will be in clarifying and developing one's philosophical assumptions, and how well prepared one is for the philosophical questions life presents. Philosophical training enhances our problem-solving capacities, our abilities to understand and express ideas, and our persuasive powers. It also develops understanding and enjoyment of things whose absence impoverishes many lives: such things as aesthetic experience, communication with many different kinds of people, lively discussion of current issues, the discerning observation of human behavior, and intellectual zest. In these and other ways the study of philosophy contributes immeasurably in both academic and other pursuits.
Philosophy and Religion Page 74

Philosophy and Religion The problem-solving, analytical, judgmental , and synthesizing capacities philosophy develops are unrestricted in their scope and unlimited in their usefulness. This makes philosophy especially good preparation for positions of leadership, responsibility, or management. A major or minor in philosophy can easily be integrated with requirements for nearly any entry-level job; but philosophical training, particularly in its development of many transferable skills, is especially significant for its long-term benefits in career advancement. Wisdom, leadership, and the capacity to resolve human conflicts cannot be guaranteed by any course of study; but philosophy has traditionally pursued these ideals systematically, and its methods, its literature, and its ideas are of constant use in the quest to realize them. Sound reasoning, critical thinking, well constructed prose, maturity of judgment, a strong sense of relevance, and an enlightened consciousness are never obsolete, nor are they subject to the fluctuating demands of the marketplace. The study of philosophy is the most direct route, and in many cases the only route, to the full development of these qualities. All men by nature desire to know... It is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize.

Aristotle

With all this philosophy still remains at the periphery or circumference. Philosophy deals with the outer life of an individual.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 75

Philosophy and Religion

Religion
Religion makes no effort to explain life. It tries to live it. Religion does not take life as a problem to be solved — it takes life as a mystery to be lived. Religion is not curious about life. Religion is in awe, in tremendous wonder about life. You are born - birth is only an opportunity, just a beginning, not an end. You have to blossom. Your first and foremost responsibility is to blossom, to become fully conscious, aware, alert; and in that consciousness you will be able to see what you can share, how you can solve problems. eligion is the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Aspects of religion include narrative, symbolism, beliefs, and practices that are supposed to give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life. Whether the meaning centers on a deity or deities, or an ultimate truth, religion is commonly identified by the practitioner’s prayer, ritual, meditation, music
Philosophy and Religion Page 76

Philosophy and Religion and art, among other things, and is often interwoven with society and politics. It may focus on specific supernatural, metaphysical, and moral claims about reality (the cosmos and human nature) which may yield a set of religious laws and ethics and a particular lifestyle. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience. The term ‘religion’ refers both to the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction. ‘Religion’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘faith’ or ‘belief system,’ but it is more socially defined than personal convictions, and it entails specific behaviors, respectively. The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures, with continental differences. Religion is often described as a communal system for the coherence of belief focusing on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, tradition, rituals, and scriptures are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion is also often described as a ‘way of life’ or a life stance.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 77

Philosophy and Religion

Religion the way to inward journey

1. This is the difference between magic and religion; magic is after power, religion is after nothingness. A mantra is a part of magic not of religion at all, but everything is a big mess, mixed up. People who are doing miracles are magicians, not spiritual in any way. They are even antispiritual because they are spreading magic in the name of religion, which is very dangerous. 2. Philosophy has many questions, many answers — millions. Religion has only one answer; whatsoever the question the answer remains the same. Buddha used to say: You taste sea water from anywhere; the taste remains the same, the saltiness of it. Whatsoever you ask is really irrelevant. I will answer the same because I have got only one answer. But that one answer is like a master key; it opens all doors. It is not concerned with any particular lock — any lock and the key opens it. Religion has only one answer and that answer is
Philosophy and Religion Page 78

Philosophy and Religion meditation. And meditation means how to empty yourself. 3. Look, and always try to find the unity. In unity is religion, in disunity religion is lost. And avoid being against. If you are against, you will become rigid, hard, and the harder you become the more dead you will be. 4. Life exists without rules; games cannot exist without rules. So real religion is always without rules; only false religion has rules, because false religion is a game. 5. Science is knowledge. Religion is not knowledge. Religion is love. The word ‘religion’ comes from a root which means binding together — falling into love, becoming one. 6. When a religion has lost the capacity to dance, to celebrate, to sing, to love, just to be, then it is no more religion — it is a corpse, it is theology. Theology is dead religion. 7. Religion makes no effort to explain life. It tries to live it. Religion does not take life as a problem to be solved — it takes life as a mystery to be lived. Religion is not curious about life. Religion is in awe, in tremendous wonder about life. 8. Religion is not based on belief or faith: religion is based on awe, religion is based on wonder. Religion is based on the mysterious that is your surround. To feel it, to be aware of it, to see it, open your eyes and drop the dust
Philosophy and Religion Page 79

Philosophy and Religion of the ages. Clean your mirror! and see what beauty surrounds you, what tremendous grandeur goes on knocking at your doors. Why are you sitting with closed eyes? Why are you sitting with such long faces? Why can’t you dance? And why can’t you laugh? 9. Science grows out of doubt. Religion grows out of wonder. Between the two is philosophy; it has not yet decided — it goes on hanging between doubt and wonder. Sometimes the philosopher doubts and sometimes the philosopher wonders: he is just in between. If he doubts too much, by and by he becomes a scientist. If he wonders too much, by and by he becomes religious. 10. If you become too skeptical, you become scientists. If you become too childlike, you become religious. Science exists with doubt. Religion exists with wonder. If you want to be religious then create more wonder, discover more wonder. Allow your eyes to be more filled with wonder than anything else. Be surprised by everything that is happening. Everything is so tremendously wonderful that it is simply unbelievable how you go on living without dancing, how you go on living without becoming ecstatic. You must not be seeing what is happening all around. 11. So the first thing to be understood is what this sleep consists in — because Zen is an effort to become alert and awake. All religion is nothing but that: an effort to become more conscious, an effort to become more
Philosophy and Religion Page 80

Philosophy and Religion aware, an effort to bring more alertness, more attentiveness to your life. 12. So many religions are there because so many people are unhappy. A happy person needs no religion; a happy person needs no temple, no church — because for a happy person the whole universe is a temple, the whole existence is a church. The happy person has nothing like religious activity because his whole life is religious. 13. Be happy! And meditation will follow. Be happy, and religion will follow. Happiness is a basic condition. People become religious only when they are unhappy — then their religion is pseudo. Try to understand why you are unhappy. 14. If your religion says you are a Mohammedan and says, ‘Fight Hindus! and sacrifice your life!’ or you are a Hindu and Hinduism says, ‘Go and fight and kill the Mohammedans! Even if you are killed, do not be worried — in heaven you will be paid well’ — do not listen to all that nonsense. Enough is enough! Much has happened on the earth, much suffering because of these people. 15. LAUGHTER is the very essence of religion. Seriousness is never religious, cannot be religious. Seriousness is of the ego, part of the very disease. Laughter is egolessness. Yes, there is a difference between when you laugh and when a religious man laughs. The difference is that you laugh always about others — the
Philosophy and Religion Page 81

Philosophy and Religion religious man laughs at himself, or at the whole ridiculousness of man’s being. 16. Religion cannot be anything other than a celebration of life. And the serious person becomes handicapped: he creates barriers. He cannot dance, he cannot sing, he cannot celebrate. The very dimension of celebration disappears from his life. He becomes desert-like. And if you are a desert, you can go on thinking and pretending that you are religious but you are not. Never belong to any sect, to any creed, to any religion; otherwise, you cannot be absolutely committed to truth. Any other commitment, side by side with the commitment to truth, is dangerous. Then you would like somehow to also console that other commitment. You have to be aware. My insistence is that you do not belong to any religion, or any doctrine, or any scripture. Your whole and total commitment should be to truth, and not for anything else. Your commitment should not be divided; otherwise you will have to make a compromise everywhere. Humanity will never be religious unless all organized religions disappear, and religion becomes an individual commitment towards existence, so no question of compromise arises. I emphasize ‘Religion is rebellious’, and the man of religion is a rebel. He is rebellious against all orthodoxy, against all traditions, against all organizations, and against all ideologies. His only love is for truth, and his whole love is for truth.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 82

Philosophy and Religion

History of religions
he religious category is not trans historical or universal; rather, Daniel Dubuisson writes that ‘what the West and the history of religions in its wake have objectified under the name ‘religion’ is ... something quite unique, which could be appropriate only to itself and its own history."[6] Other languages, even though they may have terms which overlap with ‘religion’, often use them to mean different things. For example, the word used to translate ‘religion’ into modern Indo-Aryan languages is dharma, which means ‘law’. Throughout classical South Asia, the study of law consisted of concepts such as penance through piety and ceremonial as well as practical traditions. Medieval Japan at first had a similar union between ‘imperial law’ and universal or ‘Buddha law’, but these later became independent sources of power. The use of other terms, such as obedience to God or Islam in the ‘religion’ given that name, are likewise grounded in particular histories and vocabularies. The history of other cultures’ interaction with the religious category is not about a universal constant, but rather concerns a particular idea that first developed in Europe under the influence of Christianity.
Philosophy and Religion Page 83

Philosophy and Religion

Religious freedom
In the Age of Enlightenment, the idea of Christianity as the purest expression of spirituality was supplanted by the concept of ‘religion’ as a worldwide practice. This caused such ideas as religious freedom, a reexamination of classical philosophy as an alternative to Christian thought, and more radically Deism among intellectuals such as Voltaire. Much like Christianity, the idea of ‘religious freedom’ was exported around the world as a civilizing technique, even to regions such as India that had never treated spirituality as a matter of political identity. In Japan, where Buddhism was still seen as a philosophy of natural law, the concept of ‘religion’ and ‘religious freedom’ as separate from other power structures was unnecessary until Christian missionaries demanded free access to conversion, and when Japanese Christians refused to engage in patriotic events. With the Enlightenment, religion lost its attachment to nationality, but rather than being a universal social attitude, it was now a personal feeling or emotion. Friedrich Schleiermacher in the late 18th century defined religion as das schlechthinnige Abhängigkeitsgefühl, commonly translated as ‘a feeling of absolute dependence’. His contemporary Hegel disagreed thoroughly, defining religion as ‘the Divine Spirit becoming conscious of Himself through the finite spirit.’ William James is an especially notable 19th century subscriber to the theory of religion as feeling.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 84

Philosophy and Religion

Modern currents in religion
Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are one, a painting in the litang style portraying three men laughing by a river stream, 12th century, Song Dynasty

Religious studies
ith the recognition of religion as a category separate from culture and society came the rise of religious studies. The initial purpose of religious studies was to demonstrate the superiority of the ‘living’ or ‘universal’ European world view to the ‘dead’ or ‘ethnic religions scattered throughout the rest of the world, expanding the teleological project of Schleiermacher and Tiele to a worldwide ideal religiousness. Due to shifting theological currents, this was eventually supplanted by a liberalecumenical interest in searching for Western-style universal truths in every cultural tradition. Clifford Geertz’s definition of religion as a ‘cultural system’ was dominant for most of the 20th century and continues to be widely accepted today.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 85

Philosophy and Religion Sociologists and anthropologists tend to see religion as an abstract set of ideas, values, or experiences developed as part of a cultural matrix. For example, in Lindbeck’s Nature of Doctrine, religion does not refer to belief in ‘God’ or a transcendent Absolute. Instead, Lindbeck defines religion as, ‘a kind of cultural and/or linguistic framework or medium that shapes the entirety of life and thought... it is similar to an idiom that makes possible the description of realities, the formulation of beliefs, and the experiencing of inner attitudes, feelings, and sentiments.’ According to this definition, religion refers to one’s primary worldview and how this dictates one’s thoughts and actions. Thus religion is considered by some sources to extend to causes, principles, or activities believed in with zeal or conscientious devotion concerning points or matters of ethics or conscience, and not necessarily including belief in the supernatural. Although evolutionists had previously sought to understand and explain religion in terms of a cultural attribute which might conceivably confer biological advantages to its adherents, Richard Dawkins called for a re-analysis of religion in terms of the evolution of self-replicating ideas apart from any resulting biological advantages they might bestow. He argued that the role of key replicator in cultural evolution belongs not to genes, but to memes replicating thought from person to person by means of imitation. These replicators respond to selective pressures that may or may not affect biological reproduction or survival. Susan Blackmore regards religions as particularly tenacious memes. Chris Hedges, however, regards meme theory as a misleading imposition of genetics onto psychology.
Philosophy and Religion Page 86

Philosophy and Religion

Interfaith cooperation
Because religion continues to be recognized in Western thought as a universal impulse, many religious practitioners have aimed to band together in interfaith dialogue and cooperation. The first major dialogue was the Parliament of the World’s Religions at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which remains notable even today both in affirming ‘universal values’ and recognition of the diversity of practices among different cultures. The 20th century has been especially fruitful in use of interfaith dialogue as a means of solving ethnic, political, or even religious conflict, with Christian-Jewish reconciliation representing a complete reverse in the attitudes of many Christian communities towards Jews.

Secularism and criticism of religion
As religion became a more personal matter, discussions of society found a new focus on political and scientific meaning, and religious attitudes were increasingly seen as irrelevant for the needs of the European world. On the political side, Ludwig Feuerbach recast Christian beliefs in light of humanism, paving the way for Karl Marx’s famous characterization of religion as ‘the opiate of the masses’. Meanwhile, in the scientific community, T.H. Huxley in 1869 coined the term ‘agnostic,’ a term subsequently adopted by such figures as Robert Ingersoll. Later, Bertrand Russell told the world Why I Am Not a Christian. Atheists have developed a critique of religious systems as well as personal faith. Modern-day critics hold that religion lacks
Philosophy and Religion Page 87

Philosophy and Religion utility in human society, and assert that religion is irrational. Some assert that dogmatic religions are in effect morally deficient, elevating to moral status ancient, arbitrary, and illinformed rules—taboos on eating pork, for example, as well as dress codes and sexual practices—possibly designed for reasons of hygiene or even mere politics in a bygone era.

Religious belief
Religious belief usually relates to the existence, nature and worship of a deity or deities and divine involvement in the universe and human life. Alternately, it may also relate to values and practices transmitted by a spiritual leader. Unlike other belief systems, which may be passed on orally, religious belief tends to be codified in literate societies (religion in nonliterate societies is still largely passed on orally). In some religions, like the Abrahamic religions, it is held that most of the core beliefs have been divinely revealed. Religious belief can also involve causes, principles or activities believed in with zeal or conscientious devotion concerning points or matters of ethics or conscience, not necessarily limited to organized religions.

Specific religious movements
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the academic practice of comparative religion divided religious belief into philosophically defined categories called ‘world religions.’ However, some recent scholarship has argued that not all types
Philosophy and Religion Page 88

Philosophy and Religion of religion are necessarily separated by mutually exclusive philosophies, and furthermore that the utility of ascribing a practice to a certain philosophy, or even calling a given practice religious, rather than cultural, political, or social in nature, is limited. The current state of psychological study about the nature of religiousness suggests that it is better to refer to religion as a largely invariant phenomenon that should be distinguished from cultural norms (i.e. ‘religions’). The list of religious movements given here is therefore an attempt to summarize the most important regional and philosophical influences on local communities, but it is by no means a complete description of every religious community, nor does it explain the most important elements of individual religiousness.

Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are practiced throughout the world. They share in common the Jewish patriarch Abraham and the Torah as an initial sacred text, although the degree to which the Torah is incorporated into religious beliefs varies between traditions. Judaism accepts only the prophets of the Torah, but also relies on the authority of rabbis. It is practiced by the Jewish people, an ethnic group currently centered in Israel but also scattered throughout the Jewish Diaspora. Today, Jews are outnumbered by Christians and Muslims. Christianity is centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the Gospels and the writings of the
Philosophy and Religion Page 89

Philosophy and Religion apostle Paul (1st century CE). The Christian faith is essentially faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and as Savior and Lord. As the religion of Western Europe during the time of colonization, Christianity has been propagated throughout the world. Christianity is practiced not as a single orthodoxy but as a mixture of Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and many forms of Protestantism. In the United States, for example, African-Americans and Korean-Americans usually attend separate churches from Americans of European descent. Many European countries as well as Argentina have established a specific church as the state religion, but this is not the case in the United States or in many other majority Christian areas. Islam refers to the religion taught by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a major political and religious figure of the 7th century CE. Islam is the dominant religion of Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. As with Christianity, there is no single orthodoxy in Islam but a multitude of traditions which are generally categorized as Sunni and Shia, although there are other minor groups as well. Wahhabi Islam is the established religion of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are also several Islamic republics, including Iran, which is run by a Shia Supreme Leader. The Bahá’í Faith was founded in the 19th century in Iran and since then has spread worldwide. It teaches unity of all religious philosophies and accepts all of the prophets of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as additional prophets including its founder Bahá’u’lláh.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 90

Philosophy and Religion Smaller Abrahamic groups that are not heterodox versions of the four major groupings include Mandaeism, Samaritanism, the Druze, and the Rastafari movement. Hinduism is a synecdoche describing the similar philosophies of Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and related groups practiced or were founded in the Indian subcontinent. Concepts most of them share in common include karma, caste, reincarnation, mantras, yantras, and darśana. Hinduism is not a monolithic religion in the Romanic sense but a religious category containing dozens of separate philosophies amalgamated as Sanātana Dharma. Islam in India has also been influenced by Indian religious practices. There are dozens of new Indian religions and Hindu reform movements, such as Ayyavazhi and Swaminarayan Faith. Buddhism was founded by Siddhattha Gautam in the 6th century BCE. Buddhists generally agree that Gautam aimed to help sentient beings end their suffering by understanding the true nature of phenomena, thereby escaping the cycle of suffering and rebirth (saṃsāra), that is, achieving Nirvana. Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced mainly in Southeast Asia alongside folk religion, shares some characteristics of Indian religions. It is based in a large collection of texts called the Pali Canon. Under the heading of Mahayana (the ‘Great Vehicle’) fall a multitude of doctrines which began their development in China
Philosophy and Religion Page 91

Philosophy and Religion and are still relevant in Vietnam, in Korea, in Japan, and to a lesser extent in Europe and the United States. Mahayana Buddhism includes such disparate teachings as Zen, Pure Land, and Soka Gakkai. Vajrayana Buddhism, sometimes considered a form of Mahayana, was developed in Tibet and is still most prominent there and in surrounding regions. Two notable new Buddhist sects are Hòa Hảo and the Dalit Buddhist movement, which were developed separately in the 20th century. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak and ten successive Sikh Gurus in 15th century Punjab. Sikhs are found mostly in India with a small percentage worldwide. Jainism, taught primarily by Parsva (9th century BCE) and Mahavira (6th century BCE), is an ancient Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence for all forms of living beings in this world. Jains are found mostly in India. Kurdish religions include the traditional beliefs of the Yazidi, Alevi, and Ahl-e Haqq. Sometimes these are labeled Yazdânism. American religions are often derived from Christian tradition. They include the Latter Day Saint movement, Christian evangelicalism, and Unitarian Universalism among hundreds of smaller groups.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 92

Philosophy and Religion Folk religion is a term applied loosely and vaguely to disorganized local practices. It is also called paganism, shamanism, animism, ancestor worship, and totemism, although not all of these elements are necessarily present in local belief systems. The category of ‘folk religion’ can generally include anything that is not part of an organization. The modern neopagan movement draws on folk religion for inspiration. African traditional religion is a category including any type of religion practiced in Africa before the arrival of Islam and Christianity, such as Yoruba religion or San religion. There are many varieties of religions developed by Africans in the Americas derived from African beliefs, including Santería, Candomblé, Umbanda, Vodou, and Oyotunji. Folk religions of the Americas include Aztec religion, Inca religion, Maya religion, and modern Catholic beliefs such as the Virgin of Guadalupe. Native American religion is practiced across the continent of North America. Australian Aboriginal culture contains a mythology and sacred practices characteristic of folk religion. Chinese folk religion, practiced by Chinese people around the world, is a primarily social practice including popular elements of Confucianism and Taoism, with some remnants of Mahayana Buddhism. Most Chinese do not identify as religious due to the strong Maoist influence on the country in recent history, but adherence to religious ceremonies remains common. New religious movements include Falun Gong and I-Kuan Tao.
Philosophy and Religion Page 93

Philosophy and Religion Traditional Korean religion was a syncretic mixture of Mahayana Buddhism and Korean shamanism. Unlike Japanese Shinto, Korean shamanism was never codified and Buddhism was never made a social necessity. In some areas these traditions remain prevalent, but Korean-influenced Christianity is far more influential in society and politics. Traditional Japanese religion is a mixture of Mahayana Buddhism and ancient indigenous practices which were codified as Shinto in the 19th century. Japanese people retain nominal attachment to both Buddhism and Shinto through social ceremonies, but irreligion is common. A variety of new religious movements still practiced today have been founded in many other countries besides the United States and Japan, including Cao Đài in Vietnam. Shinshūkyō is a general category for a wide variety of religious movements founded in Japan since the 19th century. These movements share almost nothing in common except the place of their founding. The largest religious movements centered in Japan include Soka Gakkai, Tenrikyo, and Seicho-No-Ie among hundreds of smaller groups. Sociological classifications of religious movements suggest that within any given religious group, a community can resemble various types of structures, including ‘churches’, ‘denominations’, ‘sects’, ‘cults’, and ‘institutions’. Never belong to any sect, to any creed, to any religion; otherwise, you cannot be absolutely committed to truth. Any other commitment, side by side with the commitment to truth,
Philosophy and Religion Page 94

Philosophy and Religion is dangerous. Then you would like somehow to also console that other commitment. You have to be aware. My insistence is that you do not belong to any religion, or any doctrine, or any scripture. Your whole and total commitment should be to truth, and not for anything else. Your commitment should not be divided; otherwise you will have to make a compromise everywhere. Humanity will never be religious unless all organized religions disappear, and religion becomes an individual commitment towards existence, so no question of compromise arises. I emphasize ‘Religion is rebellious’, and the man of religion is a rebel. He is rebellious against all orthodoxy, against all traditions, against all organizations, and against all ideologies. His only love is for truth, and his whole love is for truth. I have heard a beautiful story - I do not know if it is correct, I cannot vouch for it. You can enoy. I have heard one afternoon, Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Buddha were sitting and chatting in the café in Paradise. The waiter comes with a tray holding three glasses of the juice called ‘Life,’ and offers them. Buddha immediately closed his eyes and refused; he says, ‘Life is misery.’ Confucius closes his eyes halfway - he is a midlist, he used to preach the golden mean - and asked the waiter to give him the glass. He would like to have a sip - but just a sip, because without tasting how can one say whether life is misery or not? Confucius had a scientific mind. He was not much of a mystic. he had a very pragmatic, earthbound mind. He was the first
Philosophy and Religion Page 95

Philosophy and Religion behaviorist the world has known. He was very logical. And it seems perfectly right - he says, ‘First I will have a sip, and then I will say what I think.’ He takes a sip and he says, ‘Buddha is right - life is misery.’ Then came the chance of Lau Tzu. Lao Tzu took all the three glasses and he said, ‘Unless one drinks totally, how can one say anything?’ It is said, Lau Tzu drank all the three glasses and started dancing! Buddha and Confucius asked him, ‘Are you not going to say anything?’ And Lao Tzu responded, ‘This is what I am saying my dance and my song are speaking for me.’ Unless you taste totally, you cannot say. And when you taste totally, you still cannot say because what you know is such that no words are adequate. Buddha is on one extreme, Confucius is in the middle. Lao Tzu has drunk all the three glasses - the one that was brought for Buddha, the one that was brought for Confucius, and the one that was brought for him. He has drunk them all; he has lived life in its three-dimensionality. My own approach is that of Lao Tzu. Live life totally in all possible ways. Never choose one thing against the other, and do not try to be in the middle. Do not try to balance yourself balance is not something that can be cultivated. Balance is something that comes out of experiencing all the dimensions of life. Balance is something that happens; it is not something that can be brought about through your efforts. If you bring it through your efforts it will be false, forced. And you will remain tense, you will not be relaxed, because how can a
Philosophy and Religion Page 96

Philosophy and Religion person who is trying to remain balanced in the middle be relaxed? You will always be afraid that if you relax you may start moving to the left or to the right. You are bound to remain uptight, and to be uptight is to miss the whole opportunity, the whole gift of life. Never be uptight. Do not live life according to principles. Live life in its totality, drink life in its totality! Yes, sometimes it tastes bitter - so what? That taste of bitterness will make you capable of tasting its sweetness. You will be able to appreciate the sweetness only if you have tasted its bitterness. One who knows not how to cry will not know how to laugh, either. One who cannot enjoy a deep laughter, a belly laugh, that person's tears will be crocodile tears. They cannot be true, they cannot be authentic. My way is not the middle way, instead I teach the totality. Then a balance comes of its own accord, and then that balance has tremendous beauty and grace. You have not forced it, it has simply come. By moving gracefully to the left, to the right, in the middle, slowly a balance comes to you because you remain so unidentified. When sadness comes, you know it will pass, and when happiness comes you know that will pass, too. Nothing remains; everything passes by. The only thing that always abides is your witnessing. That witnessing brings balance. That witnessing is balance. Existence is hilarious! If you just have eyes to see the hilarious points you will be surprised: in life there is no place to be serious. Everybody is slipping on banana peels - you just need an insight to see.
Philosophy and Religion Page 97

Philosophy and Religion I teach selfishness. I want you to be, first, your own flowering. Yes, it will appear as selfishness; I have no objection to that appearance; it is okay with me. But is the rose selfish when it blossoms? Is the lotus selfish when it blossoms? Is the sun selfish when it shines? Why should you be worried about selfishness? You are born - birth is only an opportunity, just a beginning, not an end. You have to blossom. Your first and foremost responsibility is to blossom, to become fully conscious, aware, alert; and in that consciousness you will be able to see what you can share, how you can solve problems. Accept yourself. Respect yourself. Allow your nature to take its own course. Don't force, don't repress. Doubt - because doubt is not a sing, it is the sign of intelligence. Doubt and go on inquiring until you find. One thing I can say: whosoever inquires, finds. It is absolutely certain; it has never been otherwise. Nobody has come emptyhanded from an authentic inquiry. No religion has been courageous enough to say, ‘We know this much, but there is much we do not know; perhaps in the future we may know it. And beyond that, there is a space which is going to remain unknowable forever.’ A true religion will have the humbleness to admit that only a few things are known, much more is unknown, and something will always remain unknowable. That ‘something’ is the target of the whole spiritual search. You cannot make it an object of
Philosophy and Religion Page 98

Philosophy and Religion knowledge, but you can experience it, you can drink of it, you can have the taste of it - it is existential. All these religions have been against doubt. They have been really afraid of doubt. Only an impotent intellect can be afraid of doubt; otherwise doubt is a challenge, an opportunity to inquire. There is doubt, and doubt is not destroyed by believing. Doubt is destroyed by experiencing. They say, believe. I say, explore. They say, do not doubt; I say, doubt to the very end, till you arrive and know and feel and experience. Then there is no need to repress doubt; it evaporates by itself. Then there is no need for you to believe. You have to be again innocent, ignorant, not knowing anything, so that the questions can start arising again. Again the inquiry becomes alive, and with the inquiry becoming alive you cannot vegetate. Then life becomes an exploration, an adventure. Zorba the Buddha is the answer. It is the synthesis of matter and soul. It is a declaration that there is no conflict between matter and consciousness, that we can be rich on both sides. It is a manifeseto that body and soul are together. Existence is full of spirituality - even mountains are alive, even trees are sensitive. Zorba the Buddha is the end of all religions. It is the beginning of a new kind of religiousness that needs no labels Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism. One is simply enjoying oneself, enjoying this immense universe, dancing with the trees, playing on the beach with the waves, collecting seashells for no other purpose than just for the sheer joy of it. The salty
Philosophy and Religion Page 99

Philosophy and Religion air, the cool sand, the sun rising, a good job - what more do you want? To me, this is religion - enjoying the air, enjoying the sea, enjoying the sand, enjoying the sun - because there is no other God than existence itself. When the child is born, he is a pagan. Each child is a born pagan, he is happy the way he is. He has no idea what is right and what is wrong; he has no ideals. He has no criteria, he has no judgment. Hungry, he asks for food. Sleepy, he falls asleep. That's what Zen masters say is the utmost in religiousness when hungry eat, when feeling sleepy go to sleep. Let life flow; don't interfere. Each child is born as a pagan, but sooner or later he will lose that simplicity. That is part of life; it has to happen. It is a part of our growth, maturity, and destiny. The child has to lose it and find it again. When the child loses it he becomes ordinary, worldly. When he regains it he becomes religious. The innocence of childhood is cheap; it is a gift from existence. We have not earned it and we will have to lose it. Only by losing it will we become aware of what we have lost. Then we will start searching for it. And only when we search for it and earn it, achieve it, become it - then we will know the tremendous preciousness of it. Being never develops. Being simply is. There is no evolution, there is no time involved in it. It is eternity, it is not ‘becoming.’ Spiritually, you never develop; you cannot. As far as the ultimate goal is concerned, you are already there. You have never been anywhere else.
Philosophy and Religion Page 100

Philosophy and Religion Then what is development? Development is only a kind of awakening to the truth that you are. The truth does not grow; only recognition grows, remembrance grows. That is why I do not talk about the ‘development of being.’ I talk about all the hindrances that are preventing your recognition. And knowledge is the greatest hindrance; hence I have talked about it extensively. It is the barrier. If you think you already know, you will never know. If you think you already know, what is the point of searching? You can go on sleeping and dreaming. The moment you recognize that you do not know, that recognition of ignorance goes like an arrow into the heart, it pierces you like a spear. In that very piercing, one becomes aware - in that very shock. Knowledge is a kind of shock absorber. It does not allow you to be shaken and shocked. It goes on protecting you, it is an armor around you. I speak against knowledge so that you can drop the armor; so that life can shock you into awareness. Life is there, ready to shock you every moment. Your being is there inside you, ready to be awakened any moment. But between these two there is knowledge. And the more of it there is, the more your self-awakening will be delayed.

Become unknowledgeable
And never think of spirituality as a process of growth. It is not a growth. You are already gods, buddhas from the very beginning. It is not that you have to become buddhas - the
Philosophy and Religion Page 101

Philosophy and Religion treasure is there, only you do not know where you have put it. You have forgotten the key, or you have forgotten how to use the key. You are so drunk with knowledge that you have become oblivious of all that you are. Knowledge is alcoholic; it makes people drunk. Then their perception is blurred, then their remembrance is at a minimum. Then they start seeing things that are not, and they stop seeing things that are. That is why I have not talked about how to evolve your being. Being is already as it should be, it is perfect. Nothing needs to be added to it, nothing can be added to it. It's a creation of existence. It comes out of perfection, hence it is perfect. Just withdraw all the hindrances that you have created. In this world, it is very difficult to find a happy person, because nobody is fulfilling the conditions for being happy. The first condition is that one has to drop all comparison. Drop all these stupid ideas of being superior and inferior. You are neither superior nor inferior. You are simply yourself! There exists no one like you, no one with whom you can be compared. Then, suddenly, you are at home. Be respectful of yourself, and be respectful of others. Be proud of your freedom. When you are proud of your freedom you want everybody else to be free, because your freedom has given you so much love and so much grace. You would like everybody else in the world to be free, loving, and graceful. When I say, ‘Just be yourself,’ I am saying to you, ‘Just be unprogrammed, and unconditioned awareness.’

Philosophy and Religion

Page 102

Philosophy and Religion All you need is just to be watchful, and nothing will affect you. This unaffectedness will keep your purity, and this purity has certainly the freshness of life, the joy of existence - all the treasures you have been endowed with. But you become attached to the small things surrounding you and forget the one that you are. It is the greatest discovery in life and the most ecstatic pilgrimage to truth. And you need not be an ascetic, you need not be anti-life; you need not renounce the world and go to the mountains. You can be where you are, you can continue to do what you are doing. Just a new thing has to be evolved: Whatever you do, you do with awareness, even the smallest act of the body or the mind - and with each act of awareness you will become aware of the beauty and the treasure and the glory and the eternity of your being. Everybody is after being extraordinary. That is the search of the ego: to be someone who is special, to be someone who is unique, incomparable. And this is the paradox: the more you try to be exceptional, the more ordinary you look, because everybody is after extraordinariness. It is such an ordinary desire. If you become ordinary, the very search to be ordinary is extraordinary, because rarely does somebody want to be just nobody, rarely does somebody want to be just a hollow, empty space. This is really extraordinary in a way, because nobody wants it. And when you become ordinary you become extraordinary, and, of course, suddenly you discover that without searching you have become unique. In fact, everybody is unique. If you can stop your constant running after goals for even a single moment, you will realize that you are unique. Your uniqueness is nothing to be invented,
Philosophy and Religion Page 103

Philosophy and Religion it is already there. It is already the case - to be is to be unique. There is no other way of being. Every leaf on a tree is unique, every pebble on the shore is unique, and there is no other way of being. You cannot find two identical pebbles anywhere on the whole of earth. Two identical things do not exist at all, so there is no need to be ‘somebody.’ You just be yourself, and suddenly you are unique, incomparable. That is why I say that this is a paradox: those who search fail, and those who don't bother, suddenly attain. It is said by one of Lao Tzu’s great disciples, Lieh Tzu. It happened once an idiot was searching for fire with a candle in his hand. Lieh Tzu said: ‘Had he known what fire was, he could have cooked his rice sooner.’ He remained hungry the whole night because he was searching for fire but could not find it and he had a candle in his hand, because how can you search in the dark without a candle? You are searching for uniqueness, and you have it in your hand; if you understand, you can cook your rice sooner. I have cooked my rice and I know. You are unnecessarily hungry - the rice is there, the candle is there, the candle is fire. There is no need to take the candle and search. If you take a candle in your hand and you go searching all over the world, you will not find fire because you do not understand what fire is. Otherwise you could have seen that you were carrying it in your hand. You need not search for uniqueness, you are unique already. There is no way to make a thing more unique. The words ‘more unique’ are absurd. It is just like the word ‘circle.’ Circles exist;
Philosophy and Religion Page 104

Philosophy and Religion there is no such thing as ‘more circular.’ That is absurd. A circle is always perfect, ‘more’ is not needed. There are no degrees of circularity - a circle is a circle, less and more are useless. Uniqueness is uniqueness, less and more don't apply to it. You are already unique. One realizes this only when one is ready to become ordinary, this is the paradox. But if you understand, there is no problem about it, the paradox is there, and beautiful, and no problem exists. A paradox is not a problem. It looks like a problem if you don't understand; if you understand, it is beautiful, a mystery. Become ordinary and you will become extraordinary; try to become extraordinary and you will remain ordinary. A rebel is a spiritual phenomenon. His approach is absolutely individual. His vision is that if we want to change the society, we have to change the individual. Society in itself does not exist; it is only a word, like ‘crowd’ - if you go to find it, you will not find it anywhere. Wherever you encounter someone, you will encounter an individual. ‘Society’ is only a collective name - just a name, not a reality - with no substance. The individual has a soul, has a possibility of evolution, of change, of transformation. Hence, the difference is tremendous. The rebel is the very essence of religion. He brings into the world a change of consciousness - and if the consciousness changes, then the structure of the society is bound to follow it. But vice versa is not the case, and it has been proved by all the revolutions because they have failed.
Philosophy and Religion Page 105

Philosophy and Religion No revolution has yet succeeded in changing human beings; but it seems we are not aware of the fact. We still go on thinking in terms of revolution, of changing society, of changing the government, of changing the bureaucracy, of changing laws, political systems. Feudalism, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism - they were all in their own way revolutionary. They all have failed, and failed utterly, because man has remained the same. We have to be rebels, not revolutionaries. The revolutionary belongs to a very mundane sphere; the rebel and his rebelliousness are sacred. The revolutionary cannot stand alone; he needs a crowd, a political party, a government. He needs power - and power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human consciousness has not grown for centuries. Only once in a while someone blossoms - but in millions of people, the blossoming of one person is not a rule, it is the exception. And because that person is alone, the crowd cannot tolerate him. His existence becomes a kind of humiliation; his very presence feels insulting because he opens your eyes, makes you aware of your potential and your future. And it hurts your ego that you have done nothing to grow, to be more conscious, to be more loving, more ecstatic, more creative, more silent - to create a beautiful world around you. Hence a Gautam Buddha or a Chuang Tzu hurts you because they have blossomed and you are just standing there. The world has known only very few rebels. But now is the time: if humanity proves incapable of producing a large
Philosophy and Religion Page 106

Philosophy and Religion number of rebels, a rebellious spirit, then our days on the earth is numbered. Then the coming decades may become our graveyard. We are coming very close to that point. We have to change our consciousness, create more meditative energy in the world, create more lovingness. We have to destroy the old - its ugliness, its rotten ideologies, its stupid discriminations, idiotic superstitions - and create a new human being with fresh eyes, with new values. A discontinuity with the past - that's the meaning of rebelliousness. These three words will help you to understand: reform, revolution, and rebellion. Reform means a modification. The old remains and you give it a new form, a new shape - it is a kind of renovation to an old building. The original structure remains; you whitewash it, you clean it, you create a few windows, a few new doors. Revolution goes deeper than reform. The old remains, but more changes are introduced, changes even in its basic structure. You are not only changing its color and opening a few new windows and doors, but perhaps building new stories, taking it higher into the sky. But the old is not destroyed, it remains hidden behind the new; in fact, it remains the very foundation of the new. Revolution is a continuity with the old. Rebellion is a discontinuity. It is not reform, it is not revolution; it is simply disconnecting yourself from all that is old. The old religions, the old political ideologies, the old human being - all that is old, you disconnect yourself from it. You start life afresh, from scratch.
Philosophy and Religion Page 107

Philosophy and Religion The revolutionary tries to change the old; the rebel simply comes out of the old, just as a snake slips out of the old skin and never looks back. The future needs no more revolutions. The future needs a new experiment, which has not been tried yet. Although for thousands of years there have been rebels, they remained alone - individuals. Perhaps the time was not ripe for them. But now the time is not only ripe....if you don't hurry, the time has come to an end. In the coming decades, either mankind will disappear or a new human being with a new vision will appear on the earth. That new human being will be a rebel.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 108

Philosophy and Religion

Sufism
Life will certainly evolve out of the path of despair Your world will definitely undergo transformation Place your conditionings, thoughts and Understanding too at Thy feet Certainly His vision and grace will begin to flow!!! ufism is the way of transformation. It is better to call this doctrine as Sufi Tariqat. It revolves around the Sheikh. Sheikh is the encyclopedia for transformation. He is the living book from the library of the existence. He may look like you! Walk like you! And talk like you as well! But he is different in many ways from you. As far as his awareness, his understanding of the cosmic phenomena is concerned he is totally different from you. The more you open the pages the more mysteries of the unknown will unfold. And then journey becomes easier. Let me take you through this living scripture page by page:

TASAWWUF:
Tasawwuf is the beginning or the introduction to this methodology. The aspect of the Shariat that relates to Amaal-e Baatini or esoteric states of the heart is called Tasawwuf and Suluk. And, the aspect of the Shariat that relates to Amaal-e
Philosophy and Religion Page 109

Philosophy and Religion Zaahiri or exoteric or physical acts is called Fiqh. Tasawwuf deals with Tahzeeb-e Akhlaaq or the way to adorn life and living while it aims at the attainment of Bliss. The Bliss or surur is attained trough the total understanding of the Shariat, and then subsequently living by it. Tasawwuf in fact is the rooh or soul and state of perfection of the Deen or life beyond. Its function is to purify the Batin or the heart or the qulb of the aspirant from the lowly bestial attributes of lust, calamities of the tongue, anger, malice, jealousy, love of the world, love for fame, niggardliness, greed, ostentation, vanity, deception, etc. At the same time Tasawwuf aims to adorn the heart with the attributes of repentance, perseverance, gratefulness, love of Allah, hope, abstention, Tauheed, trust, love sincerity, truth, meditation, reckoning, contemplation, etc. In this way, attention towards Allah the Unknown and Unknowable is inculcated in man. This is in fact the purpose of life. Tasawwuf or Tariqat therefore does not, at all negate Deen and Shariat. On the contrary it is incumbent for every Muslim to become a Sufi or one who follows the path of Tasawwuf. Without Tasawwuf, a Muslim cannot truly be described as a perfect Muslim. And also without Tasawwuf the seeker cannot begin inward journey. Farz is incumbent upon every Muslim to rectify his esoteric acts. Numerous Quranic Aayat and innumerable Hadith narration explicitly indicate its significance. However, most people with superficial understanding neglect these because of their subservience to lowly desires. Remember Quran and the Hadith are explicit regarding the significance of zuhd, Tawwjoh,
Philosophy and Religion Page 110

Philosophy and Religion Ikhlaaq, Sabr, Shukr, Hubb-e Ilahi, Tawakkul, Tasleem, etc., while at the same time they emphasize the acquisition of these noble attributes? And, who is not aware that the Quran and Hadith condemn the opposites of these noble qualities, viz., Hubb-e dunya, takabbur, Riyaa, Hasad, etc., and has warned against these? What doubt is there in the fact that the noble qualities have been commanded and the contrary has been prohibited? This is the actual meaning of reforming the esoteric acts. This is the primary purpose of Tariqat. It being Farz is undoubtedly an established fact. All the authentic principles of Tasawwuf are to be found in the Quran and Hadith. The notion that Tasawwuf is not in the Quran is erroneous. The superficial Ulama or Ulama-e-Khushq entertains this notion. Both groups have misunderstood the Quran and Hadith. The Ulama-e-Khushq claim that Tasawwuf is baseless since they believe that the Quran and Hadith are devoid of it while the errant and transgressing surfs assert that in the Quran and Hadith are only the exoteric laws. Tasawwuf they say is the knowledge of the Batin or esotericism. According to them - there is no need for the Quran and the Hadith. In short, both groups consider the Quran and Hadith to be devoid of Tasawwuf. Thus in conformity with their opinion, one group has shunned Tasawwuf and the other group has shunned the Quran and Hadith. Those who have Iman or trust and certitude are the most ardent in the love of Allah, establishes the Shar’ee nature of Love for Allah. On closer examination and reflection it will be realized that all the A'maal-e Zaahirah are designed for the reformation of the A'maal-e Baatini. The purification of the Baatin or the heart and soul of man is the aim and the basis of
Philosophy and Religion Page 111

Philosophy and Religion Najaat or salvation in the Aakhirat while the despoiling of the Baatin is the cause of destruction. THE TECHNICAL TARIQAT TERMS OF

SHARIAT

AND

The fountain of all Islamic teaching is the Quran and the Sunnah. The inception of this teaching was in the Majlis (gathering) of Nabi Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. It was the initial stage of Islam which was present in its headquarters. It had a confined number of adherents; hence all branches of Islaamic instruction - Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqh and Tasawwuf were imparted at one venue, the Madrasah of Nabi Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. No separate departments exist. However, in this Madrasah of Nabi Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam there was a permanent group of lovers of Allah and devotees of Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam who were at all times engaged in the purification of the nafs. And also the reformation of the Baatin by means of practical education. This group is called As’haab – e - Suffah. Later when Islam acquired a universal status, the Ulama of the Deen formulated the teachings of Islam into separate departments. Those who rendered service to the Knowledge of Hadith are called the Muhadditheen. Those who undertook the responsibility of Tafseer are called the Mufassireen. Those who specialized in Fiqh are called the Fuqaha while those who took custody of the department of Islaah-e-Baatin or purification of the nafs became known as the Mashaa’ikh Sufiya. Hence, not a single one among the great authorities of former times ever divorced the Shariat from

Philosophy and Religion

Page 112

Philosophy and Religion Tariqat. On the contrary they also held Tariqat in subservience to the Shariat.

SHARIAT, TARIQAT, HAQIQAT AND MARFIAT:
The whole combination of the teachings imposed by Islam is known as the Sharia. Both sets of acts, viz., Amaal-e-Zaahiri and Amaal-e-Baatini, are included. In the terminology of the early authorities of the Shariat the term Fiqh was synonymous with the word Shariat. Thus Imaam A’zam Abu Hanifah defined Fiqh as follows:
‘The recognition of that which is beneficial and harmful to the nafs’

In later versions the word Fiqh was used for that branch of Islam which relates to Amaal-e-Zaahiri while the branch which dealt with Amaal-e-Baatini became known as Tasawwuf. The ways or methods of acquiring the Amaal-e -Baatini are called Tariqat. The reformation of the Amaal-e-Baatin brings about spiritual luster and light of the heart to which is revealed, in consequence, certain realities or haqa-iq-e-kauniyah pertaining to tangible and intangible occurrences especially virtue and vice; as well as certain realities or Haqaa’iq-e Ilahiyyah pertaining to Divine Attributes and Acts especially related to affairs between Allah and servants. These revelations or makshoofaat are known as Haqiqat. The process of these revelations or inkishaaf is called Ma'rifat while the Saint of Inkishaaf is known as a Muhaqqiq and Aarif.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 113

Philosophy and Religion All these relates to the Shariat. The notion that the Sharia and Tariqat are separate and gained prominence in the public - is totally false and baseless. Now that the nature and reality of Tasawwuf and Suluk have become clear, it will be understood that: Kasf or intuitive and revelation and karaamat or miracles are not necessary. It does not promise success in the worldly affairs. Also it does not assert that one’s work will be achieved by means of ta'weez or amulets and potions; nor does it claim that one will be successful in court cases by means of du’a. It does not promise increase in one’s earnings nor does it promise only cure from physical ailments. It does not foretell future events either. It does not contend that the murid will attain reformation by the spiritual focusing of the Sheikh. Extra-normal operation is not necessary to Tasawwuf. It does not contend that the one who follows this Path will not be afflicted by even the thought of sin nor does it claim that the murid will automatically engage in Ibaadat. It does not promise total self-annihilation so that one is not aware even of one’s presence.’ It does not promise the experiencing of states of ecstasy and spiritual effulgence in dhikr and Shaghl or spiritual exercise or austerities nor does it claim that one will see beautiful dreams and wonderful visions. All these are not the aims of Tasawwuf. The purpose is the Pleasure of Allah Ta'ala. This then, should be kept in sight.

Philosophy and Religion

Page 114