PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION - Fundamentals of Philosophy


Religion is an important and necessary phenomenon of the spiritual life of man and society. This, according to A. Schopenhauer, "the metaphysics of the people", is one of the most important components of his worldview. The study of religion deals primarily with theology, as well as history and philosophy - each under its own special angle. Theology seeks an adequate interpretation of the facts of religious consciousness, given through revelation. The history of religion explores the process of the emergence and development of religious consciousness, compares and classifies various religions in order to find common principles for their formation. Philosophy analyzes, first of all, the essence of religion, determines its place in the worldview system, reveals its psychological and social aspects, its ontological and cognitive meaning, illuminates the relationship between faith and knowledge, analyzes the problems of the relationship between man and God, the moral meaning of religion and the role in society, in the development of spirituality both of man and of humanity.

Religion should be viewed in different aspects; it comprehends God as the Absolute in its relation to man, nature and society. An essential function of religion is moral and social service - it is called to sow peace, love and harmony in the souls of the people. Religion reunites the life of two worlds - terrestrial, natural-social, and transcendent. In religion, the relation of the individual soul to the transcendent is of exceptional importance.

The history of mankind does not know any people who are alien to religious consciousness and experience. This in itself indicates that all the peoples of the world are originally characterized by the religious need for the spirit and the corresponding area of ​​ideas, feelings and experience. This need of man and mankind is not at all destroyed, and even nothing is lost as a result of the development of science, philosophy and art. It is common to people at all times of their existence, constituting a spiritual beginning in a person as opposed to an animal.

Religion is characterized by the recognition of the Absolute Principle, ie. God, on which all the finite depends, including man, and the desire to harmonize our life with the will of the Absolute. Therefore, in each religion, two sides can be found - the theoretical one, in which the Absolute's understanding is expressed, and the practical, in which the real connection of the Absolute with the life of man is established. At the same time, the comprehension of God can be extremely diverse and expressed in the veneration of stones (litholatry), plants (phytolatria), animals (zolatrium), fire (pyrolatria), man (various forms of anthropomorphism). Finally, the Absolute can be thought of as an abstract idea, for example, different understandings of God - deistic, theistic, pantheistic, including here the worship of the idea of ​​humanity (the cult of humanity in O. Comte).

The existence of Christ can be said with certainty not because there are fragmentary mentions of him in ancient sources. No, not mentioning Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius convince in this, but the fact that a powerful movement arose - Christianity. Hence, at its origins there must certainly be an outstanding Person, as the Buddha was at the origins of Buddhism, at the origins of Islam - Muhammad.

In all forms of religious consciousness, we find the recognition of the existence of a higher principle and its connection with the world of finite things. This connection explains the need for worship of God, prayer and sacrifice, and the fact that religion serves not only the theoretical needs of the mind, but also the goals of morality and the aesthetic principle.

Thus, in religion one can not see the expression of the activity of any one side of the human soul. In the atmosphere of religion, the whole person participates with all his spiritual needs and inclinations. In this regard, thinkers pay attention to various aspects of religion. So, some see religion as primarily emotional, emphasizing religious feelings. I. Kant put religion in the closest relationship with morality, calling religion a recognition of the laws of morality for the dictates of the Divine. According to Kant, religion is the law that dwells in us, it is a morality that is directed toward the knowledge of God. You can not become acceptable to the Supreme Being without becoming a better person. Hegel rationalizes religion, characterizing it as an objectification of the absolute spirit, as a self-revelation of it in a person in the form of an idea.

There is an even greater variety of opinions in the question of the origin of religion than in the question of its essence. First of all, it is necessary to distinguish the psychological causes of the emergence of religion and the social roots of religious consciousness.

The principles underlying the explanation of the origin of religion are divided into two groups - supernaturalistic and rationalistic. The first speak of the innate nature of religious consciousness and point to revelation as its source. The latter presuppose either the conscious intention and reflection of a person in the formation of religion (euchemism), or the purely pragmatic aspirations of certain persons (T. Hobbes, G. Bolinbrock) for the sake of retaining power, or the personification of known forces of nature (Epicurus, D. Hume) spiritual qualities (L. Feuerbach, J. Renan), or veneration of ancestors (G. Spencer). In these points of view, there is much controversial and little explaining: the religious state and content of the human soul - in many ways a purely individual and extremely delicate matter, it can not be squeezed into the dry framework of abstract concepts.

As for the problem of the epistemological meaning of religion, or the problem of the relation of faith to knowledge, it is decided depending on the general philosophical positions of this or that thinker. Three approaches to this problem are known: scientist-positivist, historical ( evolutionary ) and absolute. The first approach interprets religion as a lower kind of knowledge and, in essence, reduces it to a superstition that, with the development of science, is supposedly doomed to disappear. Supporters of the second approach see religion as a developing form of knowledge, which always retains its importance, even when it is part of a different, higher level of knowledge. At the same time, religious knowledge is inferior to abstract knowledge in terms. And, finally, the third approach regards religious and scientific knowledge as two different and legitimate forms of a person's spiritual activity: between them borders are constantly being sought and specificity is considered both in essence and in significance for man and society. It seems that there is no point in looking for two truths (as was done in the Middle Ages) - scientific and religious. It would be more correct to approach the very interpretation of the essence of truth, taking into account the specific nature of the object of cognition. Let us cite the deep thought of the outstanding United States scientist VI Vernadsky, which has a direct bearing on the question under consideration: "If we want to understand the growth and development of science (ie, natural science." L. strong> we must inevitably take into account all other manifestations of the spiritual life of mankind. The destruction or cessation of any one activity of the human consciousness affects the depressing image on the other. Termination of human activity in the field of art, religion, philosophy or social thought can not but be reflected in a painful, perhaps overwhelming, way in science .

The formation of a scientific picture of the universe does not contradict religion and does not weaken the religious perception of the world. It can not be considered a paradox the fact that those who introduced a large-scale contribution to science (for example, such innovators as N. Copernicus, I. Newton, A. Einstein, B. Heisenberg, etc.) were tolerant of religion and thought about it in positive tones.

Let us ask ourselves, together with MV Lomonosov: "Whence in the universe is this marvelous wisdom, this amazing expediency?" Man is not given the perception of the integrity of the universe. The integrity of the universe, according to I. Kant, is transcendental, i.e. for in experience and empirical sciences we do not meet this wholeness and can not project the universe as a whole, so that it reveals to us its higher spiritual-rational properties. Even inanimate nature can only give us a sense of harmony and beauty, if only we are capable and ready to accept this gift. Especially the act of religious comprehension of existence - it acts, in fact, as an act of revelation.

Religious faith is impossible in spite of reason and without reason, for example, from fear and confusion. Faith is given by God to man through education in the conditions of a religious family and schooling, as well as through the experience of life and the power of reason comprehending God through the manifestation of his creations and the amazing expediency of the most intricate formations and processes in the universe.

There are areas in the world where problems end and mysteries begin - this is the sphere of the transcendent. And a wise person can accept this, and for humility, courage is needed, expressed in the readiness to recognize and accept that not everything depends on us and is something unreachable and impenetrable even for the most perceptive mind. We are forced to accept and accept the finality of our earthly existence in the world, our accessibility to suffering, we can not cope with our bad character, etc.

In the history of philosophy, it is known, I think, a reasonable position, according to which God can not be directly cognized, but shines with the rays of his essence through all that exists and the organ of our senses that faces all. through everything that he created.

The invisibility of God is the first argument of an atheist. But no atheist denies consciousness, and it is invisible. Conscience is also not visible, but it is highlighted in deeds. Similarly with God.

If someone can not prove that God exists and therefore becomes a militant atheist, then let him try to prove that God does not exist. Ego has never been successful to anyone and, in principle, will never succeed. "Believing, I do not at all have to reject the facts on which the unbeliever relies. I just add to this that I also know another fact. In essence, the dispute between a believer and an unbeliever is as pointless as a dispute between a musical and a non-musical person. " . Freedom of religious belief is one of the basic and inalienable human rights. Therefore, one must tolerate both representatives of other religions and atheists who are in disbelief: for unbelief in God is also faith, but with a negative sign.

The validity of the Divine is not a conclusion from the religious sensation, but its immediate content: what is felt is the "image of God in us" or "the likeness of God in us." When the connection of man with the Divine rises to absolute consciousness, then the protective sense of chastity (shame, conscience, fear of God) reveals its ultimate meaning as not the relative, but the unconditional dignity of man - his ideal perfection, as it should be realized.

Faith, the principles of which are given in the revelation of the Holy Scriptures so that they can be known, is not in itself a merit, and the lack of faith or doubt in itself is not the fault - it is everyone's business of conscience. The most important thing in religious faith is behavior. Hence it follows that evil intent in the human soul and in his actions is in contradiction with the principles of faith in God, with the hidden meaning of religious beliefs. Religious faith obligates to active good.

For some people, faith is the subject of purely mental recognition and ritual worship, and not the driving principle of life - it determines the nature of their behavior and the real relation to people. Proud of their faith and love for God, they do not want to understand the simple and self-evident truth that a real love for God, real faith, requires to adapt their lives to what they believe and respect. Otherwise, faith acquires a purely formal, and therefore an unrealistic character. No holiness can be only personal, in self-profound & quot ;; she certainly has a love for others, and in the conditions of terrestrial reality this love is mainly active compassion.

In the Holy Scripture it says: "What is the use, my brethren, if anyone says he has faith, but does not have works?" can this faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and do not have daytime food, and one of you will say to them: "Go in peace, be warmed and fed" - but will not give them what is needed for the body: what is the use? So faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself (James 2, 14:17). It is appropriate to quote the statement of St. Gregory the Theologian: "Talking about God is a great thing, but much more is to purify ourselves for God."

In conclusion, let us recall the words of FM Dostoyevsky (from the teachings of the elder Zosima in the novel "The Brothers Karamazov"): "Love the entire creation of God, and the whole, and every grain of sand." Every leaf, every ray of God love! Love

Animals, like plants, love all sorts of things. You will love all things, and the mystery of God will be comprehended in things .

Sincere faith for its realization must necessarily go into an individual moral achievement - in the work of serving people. And therefore religion contributes to the unity of people in love and good.

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