Saturday, 7 December 2019

Religion and Philosophy

The 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant was the original architect of the divide between religion and philosophy. He posited that certain knowledge can be achieved only through the use of reason, and that issues of faith are limited to god and religion. By questioning the legitimacy of mixing reason and faith for acquiring knowledge, he established the notion that religion and philosophy have different methods and aims. He was a theist and a believer in god, but he insisted that the issues of faith cannot be proved or disproved and had to be accepted as a belief, and for certain knowledge one must go to philosophy.

Before Kant, the distinction between religion and philosophy was not so clear cut—both were seen as the methods for acquiring knowledge of reality. For instance, from religion a man would learn that there is an entity called god and that god is the creator of everything in the universe. Three crucial ideas can be deduced from this theory: first, the universe consists of two kind of things, god and not-god; second, there cannot be a third type of thing in the universe because god is the creator of the universe; third, while god is a singular entity, non-god is a plural because it represents a multitude of kinds of matter and living creatures, including humans. A secular philosophy, on the other hand, might tell you that the universe consists of only one type of thing: not-god, or that everything in the universe, the material things and the living creatures, are not-god.

The religious idea that the universe consists of god and not-god, and the philosophical idea that not-god things are the sole constituents of the universe are two theories of metaphysics. It is beyond the scope of the human mind to prove or disprove either theory.

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