To Embrace or Exclude?
What is the
character and general structures of the universe in which we live? Is there
a permanent element in the constitution of this universe? How are we related
to it? What place do we occupy in it, and what is the kind of conduct that benefits
the place we occupy? These questions are common to religion, philosophy, and
But the kind
of knowledge that poetic inspiration brings is essentially individual in its
character; it is figurative, vague, and indefinite. Religion, in its more advanced
forms, rises higher than poetry. It moves from individual to society. In its
attitude towards the ultimate reality it is opposed to the limitations of man;
it enlarges his claims and holds out the prospect of nothing less than a direct
vision of Reality. Is it then possible to apply the purely rational method of
philosophy to religion?
The spirit of philosophy is one of free inquiry. It suspects all authority.
Its function is to trace the uncritical assumptions of human thought to their
hiding places, and in this pursuit it may finally end in denial or a frank admission
of the incapacity of pure reason to reach the ultimate reality.
The free bird
of religion, on the other hand, is faith, and faith, like the bird, sees its
'trackless way' unattended by intellect which, in the great mystic poet of Islam,
' only way lays the living heart of man and robs it of the invisible lies within.'
Yet it cannot be denied that faith is mere feeling. It has something like a
cognitive content, and the existence of rival parties- scholastics and mystics-
in the history shows that idea is a vital element in religion. Apart from this,
religion on its doctrinal side, as defined by professor Whitehead, is ' a system
of general truths which have the effect of transforming character when they
are sincerely held and vividly apprehended'. Now, since the transformation and
guidance of man's inner and outer life is the essential aim of religion, it
is obvious that the general truths that it embodies must not remain unsettled.
: more ambitious than philosophy.
view of its function, religion stands in greater need of a rational foundation
of its ultimate principles than even the dogmas of science. Science may ignore
a rational metaphysics; indeed, indeed it has ignored it so far. Religion can
hardly afford to ignore the search for a reconciliation of the oppositions of
experience and justification of the environment in which humanity fund itself.
That is why Professor Whitehead has acutely remarked that ' the ages of faith
are the ages of rationalism'.
But to rationalize faith is not to admit the superiority of philosophy over
religion. Philosophy, no doubt, has jurisdiction to judge religion, but what
is to be judged is such a nature that it will not submit to the jurisdiction
of philosophy except on its on terms. While sitting in judgment of religion,
philosophy cannot give religion an inferior place among its data. Religion is
not a departmental affair; it is neither mere thought, nor mere feeling; it
is an expression of the whole man.
to recognize each other
Thus, in the
evaluation of religion, philosophy must recognize the central position of religion
and has no other alternative but to admit it as something focal in the process
of reflective synthesis. Nor is there any reason to suppose that thought and
intuition are essentially opposed to each other. They spring up from the same
root and complement each other.
and Philosophy: Compare and contrast
The one grasp Reality piecemeal, the other grasps it in its wholeness. The one
fixes its gaze on the eternal the other on the temporal aspect of Reality. The
one is present enjoyment of the whole of Reality; the other aims at traversing
the whole by slowly specifying and closing up the various regions of the whole
for exclusive observation. Both are in need of each other for mutual rejuvenation.
Both seek vision of the same reality, which reveals itself to them in accordance
to the function of life. In fact, intuition, as Bergson rightly says, is only
a higher kind of intellect.
from "Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam" by Muhammad Iqbal
with permission from www.jaihoon.com]
Date/Time Last Modified: 6/18/2002 8:04:30 AM
avey: 10/28/2006 9:39:50 AM
okay i have been trying to figure this out for some time. how do people really know what a "god" is. where did faith come from? how do we know that the people who wrote the bible are not making it all up? faith has to originate somewhere. i dont even know what i believe in anymore. who is to say that one religion is going to heaven and because some other religion believes in a differnt "god" that they are going to hell? for example, christians think that mormans are going to hell... what if the mormans end up in heaven and the christians end up in hell? why wouldnt "god" tell us what is the "right" way? people say that "god" speaks to them... or maybe they are hearing what they want to hear, subconsiously thinking what they want but thinking that "god" is the one who told them...im just confused. i grew up believing in "god" but then i started to think that it doesnt ever give you an answer that you are 100% sure about. no one can be positive that he really does exist. and if there is a "god" then why does he let bad things happen to good people. I know that he supposedly gave us free will, but if he is so mighty then why cant he help people?
michelle: 1/28/2007 7:31:40 PM
In response to Avey. Jesus died to save us.When we accept His gift of salvation-we allow Him to plant a seed of faith in us.Faith is trust-total reliance. Gods grace (unmerited favor) and His mercy (forgiving,compassion)he offers us faith. The Bible is living-breathing Word of God,it has the power to change lives.The Old Testament and New Testament writers agree with each other. Regardless of mans formation of "types" of religion the Bible is the Truth and we need to follow the Lord not man. The Bible says "And everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved." Jesus answered"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." It is important which church you attend to know they preach/teach Scripture not mans ideals. There is only one way to the Father.The Lord does speak thru His Word, in your inner man. The Bible is the instruction book. Isaiah says: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left,your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."Bad things happen because we live in a sinful world. Jesus uses circumstances that we cause because of sin/free will to reveal our need for Him."For God is not a God of disorder but of peace" (confusion)
I don't know why some things happen, "His ways are above our ways." We realize in circumstances that we cant go thru life without Him. Being a Christian does not mean you will never have anything bad happen but we are not alone and He will always help. He may not help in the way we think it should be but He promises never to leave us nor forsake us. (desert)If you have access read The Gospel of John. Ask Jesus to meet you where you are and He will. Expect that He will. He wants to have a relationship with you, not a distant God. He loves you! May you be Blessed.
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