Philosophy of Religion
Religion has three components:
1. God/higher principle
3. customs/rituals which link the two.
Intro: What is the core of religion is a question which is addressed by many thinkers.
Religion and Magic. In the ancient times, one finds that often religion is associated with magic. Doing things differently than one could understand is called magic. Magic is opposed to scientific on the one hand, and magic is opposed to rationality on the other. But magic has its own laws which can be considered scientific, partly, laws of nature and partly, laws of perception. Faith healing is magical, not in the sense that there is something that happens in the world, but that something definitely happens to the human mind. Religion and Rituals. The second components that goes always with religion is the rituals. Some philosophers go to the extent of saying rituals are the main source of our culture. What distinguishes humans from the biests is the ritualism. Ritual understood in these terms is a form of convention. And conventions are not followed blindly. That being so, there lies everything valuable in a culture in its ritualism. Therefore, it is a possibility that one identifies culture with religion. Religion and Morality. Those who do not make fine distinction between religion and morality find that religion as the source of morality. For example, the epics in any religion suggests the moral codes, the churches and the temples are considered to be the seat of morality. Thus, the moral inspiration is sought from religion and the basic message in the form of justice, equality or inequality etc. are communicated to the followers in the form of religious morality. Therefore, there is a tendency to identify religion with that of morality.
Theories of origin of religion:
(a) Revelation Theory
(b) Fear Theory
(d) Ancestor Worship
Religion and Magic:
Religion and magic went together in many tribal religions. The tantrism , which-craft etc. went well with religion. Diseases were cured by using magic. There were priests, godly men with magical power. Totem, which is worn on the body carried such magical powers. Winning and loosing the battle too is attributed to magical powers.
Religion and Ethics:
All religions have certain code of conduct. Ethics emerges from a certain religious practices. For instance, ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacarya and aparigraha are values upheld by Jainism, Buddhism, Yoga and several other sects of Hinduism.
Several mystics have claimed that they had unique experience where they have interacted with God. They claim that their religious experience is special; the experience is not one like sense experience which needs sense object contact in addition to suitable condition of medium. There is experience but not the object of experience which can be inter-subjectively known.
Several theories are propounded.
Anselm’s theory of analogy speaks of use of analogous language. Higher to lower analogy of a dog being faithful. Lower to higher analogy of God loving man.
The idea of symbols. A flag participates in the national ceremony. It creates a different level of reality. It has some beginning. Some end too.
Religious symbols have primarily ethical function. The epics, the stories need not be true to communicate the messages. “Lying is wrong” means “I do not intend to lie”.
Wittgenstein’s Language Game:
Like games, there are several language games, cookery book, chess, colours, music, dance all of them have languages specific to them. In this manner, one can speak of languages that belong to religion. Religious languages do not intend to communicate anything literally, yet they attempt to communicate something on the analogy of cognitive language.