What if there is no God, what if all religions are futile? What if there is no after-life, no heaven (or hell), Nirvana, Valhalla, Paradise, … And if man has nowhere to go, no destination to look forward to, then where is this journey called Life leading me to?
Philosophy and Religion
While this is often taken as a humor, the question “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” has long baffled philosophers and since the beginning of ancient civilization.
To ancient philosophers, the question about the first chicken or egg also evoked the questions of how life and the universe in general began. Which also leaves me asking: did Philosophy give birth to Religion? Or did Religion begat Philosophy?
Quite confusing already. Maybe a definition of terms would take me to the right starting point.
Philosophy defined, is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Religion on the other hand, is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.
But I think that confuses me all the more!
Is religion a type of Philosophy or Philosophy a Religious activity?
A quick brush with history, and maybe of classical Philosophy, would help me keep my sanity. I’m sure I am not the first to ask, not the first human to ever wonder.
Let me try again.
If Philosophy is the study of problems connected with reality and existence, to discover the cause behind the effect, to confront the first problem that resulted to another problem, then why Religion came to existence?
Did the early civilization formulate religion, as a form of escape to the questions that are too deep for Philosophy to fathom? Or could it be that Philosophy is mankind’s defiant act: an attempt to answer by sheer will and inquisitive mind, the things that Religion simply defines as the mystery known only to the Creator?
For once I refused to take the route that my faith knows. Because faith is a term used in Christianity, and Christianity is a form of religion. And yet now I find myself fumbling, in the same spot from whence I came.
Let me try again.
What if there is no God, what if all religions are futile? What if there is no after-life, no heaven (or hell) or Nirvana or Paradise or Svarga Loka or Valhalla (or whatever religion calls it). And if man has nowhere to go, no destination to look forward to, then where is this journey called life leading me to?
But even Aristotle, the Father of Formal Logic, believes in the Final Cause:
The final cause is its purpose, or that for the sake of which a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities. The telos is the purpose or end that something is supposed to serve, or it is that from which and that to which the change is. That a telos can be present without any form of deliberation, consciousness or intelligence in general. – Aristotle
If the greatest Philosophers, ended up with their own version of religion, or at least alluded to it, does it mean Religion is inevitable?
Let me try again, for the last and final time.
In my attempt to learn things, I try to unlearn what I already learned. Pushing the Bible to a dark corner, and choosing the book about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
If man came from monkeys, and monkeys from bacteria, and bacteria from microscopic elements, then where did the smallest atom come from?
Where did everything begin?
If Aristotle believes everything has a purpose, a force that sets things into motion, then there must be an Unmoved Mover, a being which set the universe into motion without itself being in motion.
If the egg came from Chicken, then Who created the chicken?
Until finally, I decided to quit.
With heavy breathing, I held the Bible in one hand, while my other hand opened the first pages.
Then I found the answer, as if its Author knew that mankind, ever the philosopher, will search for this form of wisdom.
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Earth.” – Genesis 1:1
Philosophy cannot understand by logic what Religion believes by faith.
Philosophy does not look for answers but for questions, in order for it to thrive. Because Philosophy studies problems and questions– to breakdown these dilemmas into smaller units of dilemma, down to sub-atomic level, in an effort to uncover new wisdom from the debris, and new questions to discuss. And the moment all of Philosophy’s questions are answered, then that is when Philosophy ceases to exist.