Master of Religious Philosophy
by Rev. JoAnna Duguay
The entire time reading each chapter, I always came back to the same question: Can religion really be a "Religious Philosophy." Philosophy is about critical thinking and I do not believe religion, in any form, is critical thinking. Religion, after-all, is a belief in something higher than yourself based on faith and faith alone, with no science or evidence what-so-ever. It's a feeling! I am not doubting faith, it's a very powerful tool and has saved countless lives and has transformed people from "nothing" to "Something" in the eyes of God. But what about it makes it Philosophical? Can you really debate with your Nazarene friend why you as a Baptist believe "once saved always saved" is God's way and the Nazarene belief of "you can loose your salvation," is the wrong way? Philosophy is about no right or wrong. Religion is about one and only one faith being right, but which one is right? Is it even possible for one belief system to be the only way? Chapter 23 deals with Religion and Science and whether or not they can ever fit together. While Religion today is certainly trying to incorporate bits of Science in to their belief in God, I doubt it will ever be able to merge Science completely because every form of Religion out there has faith at it's core. You can't prove that faith in God means God exist. Nor can you prove with Science that God does not exist. There will always be some element of "unknown" in the Scientific research.
In Chapter 3 the topic of organized religions was discussed and made me realized just how far we have changed the definition of "religion" and just what belief is all about. The fact that since everyone does not believe 100% like their neighbor means we have over six billion different beliefs systems. This could make you feel either encouraged or disheartened. Encouraged because we are all unique in our beliefs or you can believe, as I do, this is discouraging. Mostly because each or us tends to think "our way" is the right way. Mormons believe their religion is the only way, Christians believe their way is the only way, and then you have Islam, Buddhism, Taoist, etc. All truly, emphatically believe their way is the only way. Humanity has this desperate need to belong to something and will look for ways to join some religion, organization or whatever it is that closely matches their own belief system.
One of the chapters talked about the future of Religion. This is such a great question especially in today's economic down turn. What I have found amazing is how, today, religious leaders or political leaders who are Christians can change their moral stance on an issue simply because of the economy. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now he believes it's ok to legalize marijuana because it will bring money in to his devastated California economy. A few years ago, it was morally wrong. Just who are the real believers anyway? There was article in the Orlando Sentinel a few weeks back about the Churches that are growing are the one's NOT talking about sin, hell and the apocalypse. The feel good kind of Religion is what is selling now.
God is either jumping up and down now because we are no longer judging our brothers and sisters, or he is hanging His head in shame because we have walked so so far away from Him.
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