A Reflection on Philosophy of Religion

The literal meaning of the term ‘philosophy of religion’ means, philosophical reflections on religion. The term “philosophy of religion” was used for the first time in English in the 17th century work of Ralph Cudworth. Cudworth and his Cambridge University colleague Henry More produced philosophical work with a specific focus on religion and so, if one insisted on dating the beginning of philosophy of religion as a field, there are good reasons for claiming that it began (gradually) in the mid- 17th century. However, the scope of the subject even today remains in line with the subject matter treated by Cudworth and More.
What is Philosophy of Religion?
There are different views and definitions with regards what Philosophy of Religion is. Some of them are:
Philosophy of Religion is a branch of philosophy concerned with the philosophical study of religious beliefs, religious doctrines, arguments and history.  It also deals with questions regarding religion, including the nature and existence of God, the examination of religious experience, analysis of religious language and texts, and the relationship of religion and science. It is an ancient discipline, being found in the earliest known manuscripts concerning philosophy, and it also relates with many other branches of philosophy and general thought, including metaphysics, logic, and history. Philosophy of religion can be said to have two branches: the philosophy of religion proper and the philosophical theology.
The Difference between Religious Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion
The line between theology and the philosophy of religion is not always sharp because they share much in common, but the primary difference is that theology tends to be apologetical in nature, committed to the defense of particular religious positions, whereas Philosophy of Religion is committed to the investigation of religion itself, rather than the truth of any particular religion. However, Theologians, distinct from philosophers of religion, often consider the existence of God as axiomatic or self-evident and explain, justify or support religious claims by rationalization or intuitive metaphors. In contrast, philosophers of religion examine and critique the epistemological, logical, aesthetic and ethical foundations inherent in the claims of a religion.
The philosophy of religion differs from religious philosophy in that it seeks to discuss questions regarding the nature of religion as a whole, rather than examining the problems brought forth by a particular belief system. It is designed such that it can be carried out dispassionately by those who identify as believers or non-believers.
The Significance of Philosophy of Religion
The philosophical exploration of religious beliefs and practices is evident in the earliest recorded philosophy itself in the east and the west. Nonetheless today philosophy of religion is a robust, intensely active area of philosophy. The importance of philosophy of religion is chiefly due to subject matter that is alternative beliefs about God, Brahman, and the sacred, the varieties of religious experience, the interplay between science and religion, the challenge of non-religious philosophies, the nature and scope of good and evil, religious treatments of birth, history, and death, and other substantial terrain.
A philosophical exploration of these topics involves fundamental questions about our place in the cosmos and about our relationship to what may transcend the cosmos. Such philosophical work requires an investigation into the nature and limit of human thought. Alongside this, ambitious projects, philosophy of religion have at least three factors that contribute to its importance for the overall enterprise of philosophy.
1.      Philosophy of religion addresses embedded social and personal practices therefore, it is relevant to practical concerns; its subject matter is not all abstract theory. Given facts the vast percentage of the world’s population is either aligned with religion or affected by religion, so philosophy of religion has a secure role in addressing people’s actual values and commitments.
2.      The Breadth of the philosophy of religion as a field of study is another important reason behind the importance of this field. There are few areas of philosophy that are shorn of religious implications.
3.      A third reason is historical. Most philosophers throughout the history of ideas, east and west, have addressed religious topics. It is notable that at the beginning of the 21stcentury, a more general rationale for philosophy of religion could be cited: it has enhanced cross-cultural dialogue. It has also contributed to the enhancement of communication between traditions, and between religions and secular institutions. However, it’ contribution to the field of religious and theology can never been overlooked.
The Questions Asked
There are very many important questions that are raised in the discipline of philosophy of religion; I feel the analyses of same would make us understand importance of this field and its relevance to our daily existence here. In random some of them are:
Is there a God? If there is, then what is he like? What does that mean for us to believe in him? What, if anything, would give us good reason to believe that a miracle has occurred? What is the relationship between faith and reason? What is the relationship between morality and religion? What is the status of religious language? Does petitionary prayer make sense? However, going beyond metaphysics, the philosophy of religion also addresses questions in areas such as epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and moral philosophy, etc.  
Major Contributors of Philosophy of Religion
There are very many philosophers in the history of philosophy who has contributed a lot to the development of this discipline. Some of the major contributors so the historical periods are: St Anselm of Canterbury, St Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, St Augustine of Hippo, Rene Descartes, Epicurus, Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, CS Lewis, John Stuart Mill, William Paley, Blaise Pascal, Plato, Bertrand Russell. The modern era too is blessed with very many others such as, Robert Adams, William Lane Craig, Brian Davies, Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, John Hick, Michael Martin, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, etc.

The disciple philosophy of religion has it relevance in the fast growing scientific and pragmatic world culture. It asks us to find rational and philosophical background for our beliefs and faith, which is very important for this century, to put into perspective the empirical and pragmatic views with our faith and religion

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Leader…

How will you define a leader?

In the light of things that happened today, especially during the mansoon matches @KJC (deatils will come soon) I feel like defining a leader as:

A person who has a vision for the people who are under his care and who is able to transform this vision into a mission through various activities. 

May be better framed in negation, leader is a person who is not willing to act to make happy the majority/minority of the members of the group though knowing their demands are wrong and not worth of fighting for. 

Pray that may our political, social and religious leaders may understand this great truth…

Punch: Justification can’t transform evil into good…

Book Review: Fruitful and Responsible Love

​Wojtyla, Karol. Fruitful and Responsible Love. St Paul’s Publications. ISBN 085439 159  2

Summary of the Book: Address given by Karol Woltyla, then Cardinal Archbishop of Cracow at the international Congress on family problems held at Milan in June 1978 to mark the tenth anniversary of Humanae Vitae.

My Views: The book approaches the key theme of the encyclical Humanae Vitae ‘fruitful and responsible love’ from a very pastoral point of view. I must say the book encourages the couples to take responsibility for themselves and their actions basing on the Love for each other. Love being the guiding principle one is led to do the right thing resecting each other. 

Though never stress on contraceptive means as something the wrong, the importance given to the explanation of Love makes one understand the right way of shaping ones life. 

Its quite am easy reading book. 

Book Review: പ്രലോഭനങ്ങളേ വിട

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പുന്നത്തറ, ബെന്നി. പ്രലോഭനങ്ങളേ വിട. ISBN.  978-93-81796-97-9

Book Summary: വിശ്വാസ ജീവിതത്തിലെ പ്രലോഭനങ്ങളേ തിരിച്ചറിയാനും വരുതൽ നേടുവാനും സഹായിക്കുന്ന തികച്ചും വ്യത്യസ്തമായ ഒരു ഗ്രന്ഥം. ശാലോമിന്റെ ചരിത്രവുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട നിരവധി സംഭവങ്ങളുടെ പശ്ചാത്തലത്തിൽ വിശ്വാസ ജിവിതത്തെ ഉണർത്തുന്ന ദൈവപരിപലനയുടെ കഥകൾ.

ഇന്ത്യയിലെ ആദ്യത്തെ  ക്രിസ്തീയ ചാനലായ ശാലോം ടി.വി. മലബാറിലെ ഒരു കുഗ്രാമത്തിൽനിന്നും  സാധാരണക്കാരായ മനുഷ്യരുടെ വിശ്വാസത്തിലൂടെ രൂപം കൊണ്ട കഥ.

ശാലോം ടൈംസ്, സൺഡേ ശാലോം പത്രം എന്നിവയുടെ ആരംഭ ചരിത്രം.

ക്രൈസ്തവ മാധ്യമ ശുശ്രൂ ഷാരംഗത്ത് നൂതനപാതകൾ വെട്ടിത്തുറന്ന ബെന്നി  പുന്നത്തറയുടെ ആത്മകഥയും ശാലോo  ശുശ്രൂഷയുടെ ചരിത്രവും.

My Views: It is with quite a reservation that I took the book to read because of its title. However, it was a wonderful and growing experience I should say after the reading, especially in my spiritual life.

The book reveals the trust Mr. Benny had in the inspirations of the Christ. Even when the life seemed difficult, how an ordinary man trusted in the Lord.

The book also spells out the importance of a Spiritual Director who can guide you through. One can also notice that all good inspiration need not come from God always, so we need to always discern the will of God.

From me, its a must read….

Book Review:  കാറ്റിനോടൊപ്പം

മിച്ചൽ, മാർഗരറ്റ്. കാറ്റിനോടൊപ്പം. ഡി സി ബുക്സ്. ISBN. 978- 81-264-5 116-6

Book’s Summary: അമേരിക്കൻ ആഭ്യന്തര യുദ്ധത്തിന്റെ  പശ്ചാത്തലത്തിൽ എഴുതപ്പെട്ട സൃഷ്ടി. ഇതൊരു ചരിത്ര നേ വലല്ല, മറിച്ച് സ്കാർലറ്റ്    ഒ ഹാര എന്ന പെൺകുട്ടിയുടെ വൈകാരിക ജീവിത കഥയാണ്.

My Views: Margaret Mitchell in the famous book ‘Gone with the Wind’ explores the struggles that Scarlett had to go through to keep her family alive during the American Civil War. The higher value of life is stresses all through the story. The author has succeeded in keeping the value of life rather than anything in situations such as war internal struggles in the country. Books communicates to the readers about life and  its daily struggles.

RESPONSIBLE RELATIONSHIP: A WAY FORWARD IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Human beings live in society and have a defined moral life. Unlike other animals, we are able to reflect on and make judgments about our own and others actions so as to make moral choices. The choices that we make define ourselves. What choices do we make in a Cyber space, where you are invisible to the other. What are the set of moral and principles that we can follow in situations such as these. However the blind application of the old set values to a new medium (cyber space) becomes the biggest challenge that we face in our age as parents and teachers.

The article titled ‘RESPONSIBLE RELATIONSHIP: A WAY FORWARD IN THE DIGITAL AGE’ is a proposed way forward in such situations. The article bases itself on the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and his concept of relationship and the other.

Click to read the fulll article: RESPONSIBLE RELATIONSHIP: A WAY FORWARD IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Attitudes – That need to change

It is Winston Churchill who aptly and wisely said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” The recent happenings in India in relation to the release of “India’s Daughter,” a documentary film directed by Leslee Udwin and that discusses the story of the horrific Delhi gang rape of December 2012, shows light into the attitude of Indian men towards women. Leslee Udwin, the director in an interview to The Guardian revealed that the brutal attitudes of men towards women in India truly shocked her. Anyone who had a look at the documentary will agree with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who commented over some of the comments as ‘really unspeakable’. I feel, being deeply moved by the documentary, it is high time to stop the blame game and to move towards detailed action plans.

The attitude of Indian Men

It is not true that all men are bad, but the few who bear the label are good enough to do maximum harm. Let us take a look at few comments from the documentary that speaks for itself. Continue reading “Attitudes – That need to change”

Guidelines for A Millennium of Technology

The third millennium is going to be . The process of change set in motion by the modern technology is so rapid that the criteria to evaluate its far-reaching consequences are becoming ever complex. Trying to define Technology, in the contemporary world, interestingly, there is only one thing that most people agree about concerning technology: that it is important. Continue reading “Guidelines for A Millennium of Technology”

Change of Perspectives 

Often, attending classes and seminars used to be collection of materials for my ministry or future classes. Last days even when I was reading a book, I was thinking  the same (I can use these reflections later when I have a chance).

It so struck me today that these helps are for me to work upon myself, rather than to pass it on to somebody just by words alone. If I can assimilate these qualities in my life through personal reflection and continued efforts, my life will proclaim them (the qualities) louder than the words that I would be able to use.

Every change begins with the change of hearts, not by the mere words uttered.

 ECOLOGICAL IMBALANCES: A CRISIS OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM

1.1 INTRODUCTION

The humanity is called to face the most arduous and worst challenge after its origin as homosapiens. It is high time that we acknowledge some ecological truth, that we are turning our home, the only life sustaining system known to us, into a wasteland. It is very well notified by the scientific community that the present day crises are human made. The currant environmental stresses have lot to do with the human dealings. The one time cordial man- environmental relationship has marred due to increased human greed, prominence of materialism, individualism and egoism which led to the ruthless use and misuse of nature, irresponsible attitude of technology etc. In fact he anthropocentrism has led the man to the miss conception of the universe as his right to exploit. Continue reading ” ECOLOGICAL IMBALANCES: A CRISIS OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM”

I am Malala

Book Review: Yousafzai, Malala with Christina Lamb. I am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban.

Yousafzai, Malala with Christina Lamb. I am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. ISBN 0316322407.

Source: From a Friend

Yousafzai_IAmMalala

The book I am Malala, describes the life and undertakings of Malala, the girl who was shot by the Taliban. Though an ordinary girl deep love for knowledge and for her nation has led her to take courageous stands for the educations of herself and numerous girls along with her from the Talibanised Swat. The book comes forth as an autobiography, though it is clear that she has been helped to write it. Continue reading “I am Malala”

Greatness of Love Marriage!!!

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Love one another as I have loved you, the greatest commandment of the lord to his followers. Love is a decision to nature, to take care.

Once a boy asked the teacher

“Sir what is the difference between ‘like’ and ‘love’?

Socrates thought for a while and said

“When you ‘like’ a flower, you just pluck it. But when you ‘love’ a flower, you water it daily Continue reading “Greatness of Love Marriage!!!”

A Beautiful Payer

“I do not attempt, O Lord, to penetrate Thy profundity, for I deem my intellect in no way sufficient there unto, but I desire to understand in some degree Thy truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand, in order that I may believe; but I believe, that I may understand. For I believe this too, that unless I believed, I should not understand.”

It is really a wonderful prayer of St. Anselm. I feel, I really need to make it my own. The faith is much greater than the realm of understanding though I do not grasp it.

The Message of Awareness

Book Review: The Awareness: A de Mello Spirituality Conference in His Own Words

De Mello, Anthony. Awareness: A de Mello Spirituality Conference in His Own Words. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1990. ISBN: 0 00 627519-2

Source: Library

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It was quite delicious time that I spent with The Awareness: A de Mello Spirituality Conference in His Own Words in self-reflection and mediation. The book presents the reflections of Fr. Anthony De Mello SJ in his own live words sustaining the spontaneity of the author. In editing J Francis Stroud SJ has done an excellent job not to lose the real sense of Anthony.

The book can be summarized as ‘the message of awareness’ where one seeing the light realizes what we are to ourselves and to others. The author leads one to look into the self to see the  person as he is, form a psychological point of view, accepting what we are (really), one is guided and helped to reach the real “I”. The egoistic ‘me’ becomes the real challenge to the process of self-awareness. It also helps one to discover that the problems in the world are not outside of the self rather it is the self. The unresolved psychological wounds become unanswerable behaviors in past. It exhorts us to be healed healer.

However, exaggerating independence of the self can lead to a negative reaction. At times the author even go to the extent to say that all what I am depends on me (not on the person with whom I live, and the situations), my happiness and joy are just my creation. May be true in the ideal situations but facing the realities of life the situations seems to be different. It is also true to say awareness is the most difficult goal that one has to achieve in his life.

But a wonderful reading and self-transforming book.