Theism or atheism?
The belief held by theists is that God’s existence can be proven by rational argument. It is true that God’s character is understood to be all-powerful (omnipotent), a God who is all-knowing (omniscient), unchanging (immutable), incapable of suffering (impassable), eternal and perfect righteousness (Peterson, et. al, 2002). Thus, it is essential to understand that if religion is meaningful or not, then man must commit to an enterprise, which considers the grounds for belief in God. The philosophy of theism involves a consideration of the tenets of philosophical theism. The limitation with the approach of the philosophy of theism is that it tends to focus on a limited perspective of religious practices.
Religion involves a fundamental faith commitment to a set of beliefs that are aimed at transforming the lives of individuals and society. When religion is considered in a historical context the study of religion results in various attitudes to religion, as well as, the conception of the existence of God. Theism is the most common doctrine held by those who believe in the existence of God as an individual being.
Contrary to this, atheists support the doctrine of those who oppose the idea of an existence of God or a supreme deity. Atheism is a doctrine that rejects theists’ ideas (Peterson, et. al, 2002). Atheists do not believe in God and reject the notion that God exists. It is a concept that is considered as a personal conviction concerning religion. If an individual does not practice religious faith or does not have any feelings or knowledge of God’s existence, this may have implications for the thought of many.
How an individual perceives his or her life and the moral attitudes and principles, or how an individual relates to others in the society varies largely from a theist and an atheist. Human being understands the existence of cultural variation for different religions, as the idea of the existence of a supreme deity also varies with different religious groups. Different categories of atheists can also differ in their attitudes of rejection towards the existence of God. Many factors influence the reason why people understand certain concepts differently which leads to variations in reasoning. The differences are evident across cultural diversity as well as philosophical and spiritual contexts.
These are challenges that should be viewed as great to the thinking and reasoning of man (Peterson, et. al, 2002). In the cultural context, these variations are a challenge to human reasoning and feelings. Culture may assert individualism as well as liberty. For instance, human rationality can be influenced by geographical factors on human reasoning capacity, mentality, as well as, feelings. These factors determine the manner in which man perceives God.
On the other, a theist and an atheist are influenced by philosophical reasoning that prevails within the cultural and the intellectual context and determines how individuals perceive the existence of God. These philosophical ideologies demonstrate a new perspective in which the critical question of God’s existence can influence the future of religion. Thus, atheists may question the usefulness of God in a society that is substantially under the influence of pragmatism.
Moreover, an atheist may seek to inquire about the role of God in society. When a particular group of people is influenced by idealism, it becomes more probable to seek to understand God’s existence and how to interact with Him in order to understand Him. Thus, an important question to ask is what GOD is being rejected by the atheists, and what would be the possible consequence of this rejection? It is necessary to keep religious considerations in mind since different religions perceive and explain the existence of God in different ways. These religions have distinct thoughts and feelings.
Even though individuals may argue that there is only one God, the existence of God is perceived in the same way by different people. Atheism rejects the existence of God, this practice may attract the attention of people to ask, what kind of God is rejected? Some people may decide to reject God when they perceive that He is a God of intolerance and suffering. The logical consequence of theism is that it is the rejection of the presence of a Supreme Being or God.
The definition of an atheist is an inbuilt and inherent rejection of the existence of a supreme being. There exists a secular consequence of the perception of the existence of a supreme deity and a rejection of the idea that God exists. These are evident in other aspects of human life. The major reason for this consequence is the nature in which man perceives and conceives God that also has a direct link to how an individual perceives oneself as well as others.
However, according to the concept of agnosticism, it is not easy for a human being to attain the knowledge of God (Peterson, et. al, 2002). Other people may use their intellectual ability to agree to the non-existence of a supreme deity or, maybe emotionally chosen to reject the existence of God.
Developing what I regard as the sharpest problem facing a traditional Christian or Muslim or Hindu, or Buddhist, by providing the facts of religious diversity and explaining how an appeal to religious experience may be made in an attempt to defuse the problem
The most pressing problem in understanding religious traditions is the different traditional cultural perceptions of world religions. Historically, there are claims that all religions represent different ideas, which are directed to the same route. Despite the fact that each religion may choose its own direction, the diversity in religious belief and practices are different from Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, as well as, other religions of the world.
The pressing problem to the traditional religions is the intolerance and the assertion that one religion is the only true religion. This type of intolerance among the traditional religions has ignited much suffering to the human race (Peterson, et. al, 2002). Thus, it leads to more problems since there is a lack of tentative proof that one religion is genuine, and others are false religions. Therefore, it explains that there is no religion that has the ultimate truth. However, the main purpose of religion is destined to the same direction that may be emphasized by the pluralistic hypothesis (Hick, 1970).
According to Hick, the hypothesis he presented fourth tries to explain the fact that human beings are inherently religious, hence leading to some substantial diversity that exists in the actual meaning of a religious belief. This supports the assumption that belief in a supreme deity or God is an illusion and the fact that most religions have a tradition that seeks to transform a believer’s life. According Hick (1970) he asserted that there is an ultimate reality that all the religious traditions suffering from Kantian Blindness do not have any direct link or perception of the ultimate reality.
He also posits that different traditions of diverse religious groups indicate an authentic way in the perception of reality and religious experience (Hick, 1970). There are various religious traditions with conflicting beliefs on various crucial aspects of religion. Each traditional religion enhances a positive moral change referred to as the liberation in the behavior of the followers (Hick, 1970). Thus, it is not proper to conclude that one religion is more genuine than others. Such a pluralistic interpretation of religion portrays a strong appeal but is finally unacceptable. For instance, it does not consider the conflicting truth claims among diverse religious groups.
All religions have truth claims, which may contradict the claims made by other religions. The contradiction based on the truth claim needs to be taken into account with regard to the nature of reality. Moreover, reality also embodies the nature of God’s existence. Furthermore, the difference between monotheism and atheistic religion is quite clear. For instance, Muslims believe that there exists only one supreme deity, Allah. The Muslims believe that Allah created the universe from nonentity (Hick, 1970). On the other hand, the Hindu’s religious view is parallel to the Muslims because they believe in an absolute reality that oversees everything.
The Hindu’s also believe in numerous deities, which are the manifestations of absolute reality (Brahman). In addition, traditional religions are also influenced by opposing views on life after death. This contradiction relates to the fate of the dead. The Muslims believe that an individual dies once and later on faces judgment by their God (Allah). According to the Muslim’s Supreme Deity, Allah, an individual is present in eternity either in hell or in heaven depending on the judgment made by Allah.
The Hindu religious tradition believes that the life of man is cyclic from the time of birth to rebirth after death. They also believe that the existence of man is controlled by influential cosmic laws; these laws control the past life of an individual, the present life, as well as, the future life. The Hindu religious belief states that an individual is reincarnated and may be transformed into any creature including man. These religious traditions are identified by the same problems that have implications to humanity. Consequently, this takes us to the next level of argument by the Hindu, that man faces a universal problem characterized by a continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth which traps all.
This condition can be unrestricted when man undergoes religious commitment through devotion and a close relationship with the Supreme Deity. The other religious group with a distinct ideology believes that man faces a problem of separation between him and God. This separation occurs when man sins and rebels by violating Gods commands. These are Christians who also believe that man is not able to solve these problems. However, through salvation, sin can be overcome.
Christians also believe that Jesus is the Savior who died to save mankind from sin. This is seen as a covenant to restore the bondage between man and God. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the religious contradictions about reality, the fate of people after death, and the universal problem facing humanity which are some of the problems facing the traditional religions. If different religions make claims that are contradicting, then none of them can be right. Therefore, this principle of contradiction leads to a misunderstanding of the true nature of religious language.
The area of philosophy of religion that has changed my views the most because of taking this course
The discipline of philosophy of religion is quite beneficial in this course because it leads to an understanding of the concepts involved in religious traditions. The field has been tremendously beneficial since it provides an opportunity to explore various religious beliefs of the world. According to the philosophical reflection of God, the reasons of faith were initially not considered as part of philosophy of religion.
However, philosophy of religion forms a vital component among philosophical disciplines. The interactions of various philosophical themes including debates about God’s existence, importance of religious pluralism and the nature of good and evil in relation to God’s existence as well as the purpose that led to the origins of terms such as theism, materialism, consciousness and many more. An important area that changed my views in learning philosophy of religion is the existence of God.
Most arguments on the subject are presented as unjustifiable proofs and demonstrated as infallible. For example, the debate that the concept of the role of the cosmos is not practical on the grounds that there is an intelligent work done by the cosmos, undermines the argument on the existence of God who is characterized by his omnipotent, omnipresent, and benevolent nature. Various comments and conclusions can distort the views of the scientific naturalists who do not support the notion of the transcendence forces and intelligence. Therefore, it is important to don further research by initiating a comprehensive inquiry on the increasing common philosophies that include theism.
Foundationalism is another concept that is very controversial concerning the philosophy of religion because it focuses on arguments based on the beliefs that seems to be true to some extent. On the basis of justifying an extensive belief about oneself and the existence of the universe, most philosophers have taken interest to consider the justification more complex. Thus, an emerging way of conducting a study on philosophy of religion is based on the non-foundationalist line that depends on a comparative rationality of various religious views.
Another means of conducting studies on philosophy of religion on the non-foundationalist line depends on the logical truth on the various worldwide religious views that can be demonstrated to be less rational than other options, but requires obtaining logical equality. The notion of the existence of God may be considered as basic and fully warranted without any justification related to a standard argument for God in his design as well as miracles; hence, this argument can be based on the integrity of religious views of the world as a holistic, internally coherent, as well as open to criticisms along different forces.
The study on the existence of God has led to various factions of theists and atheists as well as the deists. Fideism is another branch that maintains an argument that there is no proof on God’s existence. However, this is not a practical argument to understand the existence of God due to its minimal contribution to the debate. Therefore, philosophy of religion is beneficial because it introduces man to the nature, scope, and distinction between what is right or wrong. Moreover, it is concerned with human and personal activities; hence making the discipline to be of more concern in practical matters (Peterson, et. al, 2002).
The other pertinent issue to this field of study is its broad context. The field explains various religious traditions in the world; hence, various aspects of religion can be understood through the study of philosophy of religion. Furthermore, philosophy of religion touches on historical ideas in addressing religious issues. Therefore, the discipline is beneficial because it helps man to understand the impact of religion and the extent of religious experience among individuals and the society. Philosophy of religion is an important field of study because it exposes an individual to the religious experiences from the existing conflicting claims concerning reality based on the religious experiences.
Various religious experiences need to be addressed in order to obtain a detailed interpretation of the accounts by invoking the concepts in the respective religious traditions. Furthermore, the discipline is very crucial in comparing different religious beliefs and tenets. The analysis of various religions is beneficial because it contributes to the flourishing of religious ideas. Thus, its significance is particularly valuable in understanding the views of various religious groups. For instance, the views held byte Buddhists of the idea of knowledge and the self that has been significantly crucial to understanding the existence of a supernatural being, or the relevant themes in the theological works that involve the transcendence of God and his divine characters (Peterson, et. al, 2002).
Hick, J. (ed.), (1970). Classical and Contemporary Readings in the Philosophy of Religion. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Peterson, M., Hasker, W., Bruce, R., and Basinger, D. (2002). Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 3rd edition. USA: Oxford University Press.