Can a philosopher be religious?

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  1. John Sarkis profile image75
    John Sarkisposted 8 years ago

    Can a philosopher be religious?

    Schopenhauer says "no."  He's one of the first important European atheist thinkers and doesn't consider it feasible, because philosophers must question everything.  He does claim that "faith" is one of the things which makes us humans special (in a good way).  However, because religions have dogmas/laws if questioned can risk you to be ousted....  Furthermore, the people who wrote Koran, Torah, Bible, Vedas, etc..., aren't around to be questioned.  And, if you tell people that you asked God and received a response you're considered a loony.

  2. willrodgers profile image59
    willrodgersposted 8 years ago

    Ask Teilhard DeChardin : Divine Milieu, Cosmic Christ and other books. He was a priest.

  3. lisavollrath profile image89
    lisavollrathposted 8 years ago

    Both my philosophy professors in college were priests, and they didn't seem to have any conflicts.

    1. John Sarkis profile image75
      John Sarkisposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Good point!  Furthermore, Bible says (I think Book of Job?)  His ways and understanding are much higher than ours, so this answer should take care of questioning part - why events happen (good enough for me), unless you're a positivist (Marxist, etc)

    2. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      How does the teaching of philosophy make one a philosopher?

  4. m abdullah javed profile image74
    m abdullah javedposted 8 years ago

    Philosophies of life have been revealed and explained by those whom we call prophets and messengers. The realities pertaining to life must be elaborative in every sense and should be dealt in a fair manner. Since as human we have been bestowed with faculties like hearing seeing and understanding, one must utilise these under the Divine guidance. Religion is nothing but an epitome of Divine guidance. Its a light that guides the human intellect. In my view a true philosopher has to be religious.

    1. John Sarkis profile image75
      John Sarkisposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      A very profound answer....

  5. cjhunsinger profile image61
    cjhunsingerposted 8 years ago

    All the philosophers are dead. What is left are academics, who suffer greatly from academia and the art of mastering and articulating the insignificant. They specialize in the doting of i's and the crossing of t's without reference to any substance. There are only two philosophies in the world; one that predicates all things on the existence of a god, while the other reverses the thinking. With this, there is only so much that can be said and it has been said.
    Of these two philosophies, one promotes  subjective and emotional responses to life and all that is perceived. The other promotes a reasoned objectivity, a scrutiny of perception and position. Which then does one embrace? Shall we deal with a  want, for whatever reason, or do we deal we reason. Do we answer our own questions with, god said it, therefore I believe it or what god?
    People kill, rape and plunder because their god justifies it, just ask them. Tell the ISIS believer his god does not exist and that your god is more powerful. According to you, this ISIS butcher, who cuts off people heads is not looney.
    This is insanity.

    1. John Sarkis profile image75
      John Sarkisposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      ?...  In our modern athiest society (I'm a Christian), you're also considered looney if you tell others that you're helping humanity, because God told you to do so.  Kant said good/evil are categoricals, because you don't receive rewards back

    2. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      You had a question, but were to timid, or intimidated to post it?

    3. Robert the Bruce profile image61
      Robert the Bruceposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      John, just a thought...can the USA actually be considered an "atheist society" at this time? Though there are outspoken atheists and some laws are changing, I believe that basic Christianity is still dominant in American society at the grassroots lev

    4. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      John--Why would you need to tell others, you help because a god told you to? Who are you helping, others or your self? Kant--are you not making yourself more pleasing to a god?
      The Atheist helps to help, not to please a god.

    5. Jason Posivio profile image58
      Jason Posivioposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      There are also only two types of people in the world- those who generalize and those that don't. smile

    6. John Sarkis profile image75
      John Sarkisposted 8 years agoin reply to this


      are you saying  ISIS publicly said that "god" is telling them to butcher people?  I don't listen to the news often, so don't know?...

      Your first two paragraphs were good, but you lost me on your last one, hence my "?..."

    7. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      John--Jihad the ISIS justification--a religious duty, as in Inquisitions, witch burnings, as in your, if you tell people that you asked God and received a response you're considered a loony. Not alot of room to make a point here.

    8. MizBejabbers profile image89
      MizBejabbersposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      This is what I gather from the news also. At least somebody thinks his god told him to butcher in the name of this particular "Allah", and he got others to follow him. How many of ISIS actually thinks god speaks directly to him personally is unknown.

  6. MizBejabbers profile image89
    MizBejabbersposted 8 years ago

    I think Schopenhauer was confusing religion with spirituality. In true spirituality there are no dogmas, rules or rituals, and a spiritual person is encouraged to philosophize all he wants. Jesus Christ was true spirituality; men have made him into a dogma. Jesus was love; men have twisted his teachings into hate.

    1. John Sarkis profile image75
      John Sarkisposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      You make a good point from an secular perspective i.e., anyone in this world could choose to be enlightened and spiritual regardless whom they follow

  7. M. T. Dremer profile image88
    M. T. Dremerposted 8 years ago

    I feel like religion is a kind of philosophy, and one must use philosophical principles to make a conclusion about it. The only time I think it conflicts is when one's religion is assigned to them. In other words, an adult can make a choice about their religion, based on their philosophy, but a child will just follow whatever their parents are following. This, I assume, is the reason why many young people in college lose their faith, as it is the first time an alternative has seriously been presented.

    1. John Sarkis profile image75
      John Sarkisposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      My solution is to believe God and not question the written word, but do not believe authorities i.e., preachers, imam, rabbi, etc., because they really and truly do not know?

    2. Robert the Bruce profile image61
      Robert the Bruceposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      John, what you think you know about "God's written word" is based on what other people have said and written, just like any other philosophy or religion. When you say "believe God" you are relying on what you think god is based on tradition.

    3. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      John--What you suggest here is a absence of philosophical inquiry. It is a refutation of the human capacity to reason and is the reason for the Dark Ages and what is happening in Iraq.

  8. profile image0
    Daveadams36posted 8 years ago

    I'm a philosopher & always have been, & I'm also just a normal guy etc....In my opinion a philosopher must start with no fixed beliefs at all about life, & then set about his or her own investigations....So i have dabbled looked into most religions, & found that there's no real provable evidence either way....So i took some wise words from it which there are many, but then discarded religion & looked into people & why they do what they do....I also looked into why i do what i do & discovered like others before me, that most people like i was are totally identified with their own minds thoughts....So i worked on myself as far as emotions & feelings control practice, & learned to master mindful practice/mindfully doing....As i learned all this stuff it became obvious which it will to everyone who trains that that's why we're here, we're actually here to build someone worth keeping a stand-up character built on love not their minds identification with their own negative thoughts....So my best theory so far is we're here to learn then be tested & so i do now almost believe in a creator, but i still can't be religious because there's still no real provable evidence....So I'm religious without being religious which is just being the best i can, & I've built a character which helps gives cares & shares etc....Maybe there is no life after death which i don't believe & never did, but that won't change the way i live my life because I've actually learned the hard way, that being a nice kind caring guy feels easily the best way to be. :-)

  9. BobMonger profile image60
    BobMongerposted 8 years ago

    Yes.  A funny thing about faith-it's very personal-so screw what other people think. They can get to heaven by whatever paths lead them there (or not).
    Any truly faithful person must be a philosopher of some sort. or they would have nothing to base their faith on-so yes, religious philosophy is an entirely valid pursuit. You didn't specify any particular faith.
    ...and I talk to God all the time-and He answers me. He talks to all of us, we have just forgotten how to listen It's a "still, quiet voice, like the sound of the wind in the grass" (2nd Kings)

    1. John Sarkis profile image75
      John Sarkisposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I talk to God all day long and pray, etc., in Jesus' Mighty Name!  However, you can't proof this as an objective truth/reality to others and that was my point. Great point!

  10. Jason Posivio profile image58
    Jason Posivioposted 8 years ago

    There is a problem that Schopenhauer may be seeing- philosophy is to ask questions and seek out the possible answers (my feeble description) and even today religion lives on as specific answers to questions with no room for further exploration. Each man's religion give him the answer so that no other exploration is necessary. Religion can be seen as dogma, and it can be seen as bureaucracy. Neither one of those things lead to exploration and experimentation for new discovery.   
    I don't think Schopenhauer confused Religion with spirituality as one of your responses indicated, I think we do.
    So, someone with a philosophical drive may indeed be religious, but that religion will only narrow and restrict his ability to create.
    You know- I lived with a philosophy teacher, and he was not philosophical at all. To him philosophy was a bunch of answers already discovered- You only had to choose who was right and add it to your dogma defense. Just because you study someone else's answer and liked it does not make you a philosopher.

    1. John Sarkis profile image75
      John Sarkisposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Since 19th century, science/philosophy separated, because science explained things which philosophy did not.... (which Schop acknowledges as great) is how I choose to live my life, because no matter what, no one has all the answers

    2. cjhunsinger profile image61
      cjhunsingerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I majored in philosophy and what we have now are academics who make a great deal of money saying nothing, but regurgitate the thoughts of others. I like your answer.

  11. wingedcentaur profile image64
    wingedcentaurposted 8 years ago

    Hi, John Sarkis! How's it going?

    You say that Schopenhauer says a philosopher cannot be religious; and that as one of the first important European atheist thinker, he doesn't consider it feasible because philosophers must question everything.

    Question: Is "questioning" everything the same as wholesale dismissal of anything? Couldn't one's "questioning" lead either to the dismissal or acceptance or religion?

    Also, you say that Schopenhauer says that while "faith" is one of the things that makes us human beings special in a good way; religions also have dogmas/laws that, if questioned, might get you excommunicated and the like.

    Question: Just because somebody says that you are no longer a Christian, for example, does that mean that is the truth? Who can say who is or is not a Christian (Methodist, Baptist, Jehovah's Witness, and so forth)? If the philosopher is supposed to question "everything," why can't she question the validity of excommunication? Shouldn't it, therefore, be possible to be a philosopher and "religious," since you can maintain your religious status, if you wish, by applying the philosopher's critical scrutiny to any claims of excommunication? Follow me?

    John Sarkis, you point out, correctly as far as I can tell, that the people who wrote the Koran, Torah, Bible, Vedas, etc., aren't around to be questioned. Then you point out that: "if you tell people that you asked God and received a response you're considered a loony."

    First of all, for me, I make a distinction between religious-ness and spirituality. I view "religion" as the translation of "spirituality." In other words, spirituality is the sense of communication and/or sensitivity to realms of existence apart from the tangible dimension we all function in on a day-to-day basis.

    The original founders of the world's "religions" have all claimed this sense of extra-dimensional communion. To put it crudely, they have always been the ones who say, "God told me this, that, and the other thing," directly.

    Many people have always stepped up to translate that into workable rituals for the everybody else, everybody else who cannot get guidance "directly" from "God," by entering some kind of trance state or something.

    But can you be both a philosopher and a mystic? Why not? After all, the "philosophizing" comes in the way you would "translate" the trance-state experiences you find yourself undergoing. Remember something: Buddha never expressed an actual belief in a "God."

    Take care.


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