Practical guide for Planet Friendly, 21st Century beings

Religious Philosophy; an Oxymoron?


Today, I Googled the definition of ‘philosophy’ which yielded the strangest results, from a philosophical perspective. Among them, three definitions stood out above all the rest.

They are as follows :

doctrine: a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school

the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics

The term philosophy derives from a combination of the Greek words philos meaning love and sophia meaning wisdom.

I then decided to look up the definition of religion, which yielded the following results;

a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.

generally a belief in a deity and practice of worship, action, and/or thought related to that deity. Loosely, any specific system of code of ethics, values, and belief.

It struck me as being very strange, or odd, that the terms ‘doctrine’, ‘rational investigation’ and ‘love of wisdom’ could all be used together to define a common word like philosophy?

When we think of philosophy, we think of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Sartre and many others throughout history burning the midnight oil, postulating the meaning of life and existence, as it pertained to our universe and our place in it. They pondered the role that our ‘animal senses’ play in our view of the universe, as sentient beings, and whether or not we actually even ‘exist’ in the first place or whether we were simply ‘viewing’ a sort of vision projected by our minds which was being interpreted as our ‘existence‘? They pondered a lot, postulated and conjectured about everything they saw, felt, smelled and heard. They also pondered good and evil and human morality. Still, the main point to all of it was to keep the discussion and exploration an open ended and boundless (without borders) theoretical system. To keep the discussion open, as it were, until a final answer emerged.

Then came ‘religion‘.

Religion took bits and pieces of all the open ended philosophies, of all the great thinkers throught history, put them in a box, closed the lid and called it a doctrine (name of their choosing). They constructed tenets and moral guidelines, claiming absolute knowledge, without proof, of the existence of the ultimate deity and after life destination and how we were to conduct ourselves in order to reach this specific after-life to the exclusion of all unbelievers. They enforced their doctrine by force, intimidation and fear mongering. They basically came along one day and ordered an end to the discussion.

While Philosophers spoke of postulations and possibilities, the religions spoke of absolutes and consequences.

At some point the two, now separate, teachings had become divergent to the point of becoming polar opposites, from a literal standpoint, but yet somehow still maintain the same definition in our languages?

If someone is being ‘philosophical’ on an issue is he thinking of all the rules he must obey or is he expanding his possibilities?

Is Transcendentalism or Existentialism the same thing as Judaism or Christianity?

The latter two profess Answers, Gods, Consequences and Rules and are therefore considered ‘doctrines‘ by philosophers but philosophies by ‘believers‘.

At some point the issue needs to be clarified and definitions decided upon, lest the two be linked together forever as an eternal oxymoron leading to confusion and deception.

The box is either ‘open’ (philosophy) or it is ‘closed’ (doctrine). The two practices, in literal terms, cannot exist in the same placeholder as the same thing.

Or can they?