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This came up on another post, but your opinions please ?

Can a believer do philosophy ? Or do you either adopt philosophy or theology, nothing in between ? When historically the christian church especially, tried to make a compromise with certain schools of philosophy, to broaden its reach. Was it not true, that the end result of that, was only to discredit those schools and create science as an alternative philosophy untainted by that unhappy marriage. Do we therefore owe science to the attempt to make a divorce between theology and philosophy ?

Fernapple 9 Sep 28

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I don't understand why anyone would/should "adopt" either philosophy or religion.
It's not an either/or proposition.
Neither are necessary to living a good life. Especially since a "good life" is just so
completely subjective, and doesn't mean the same thing to everyone.

Far too much dependency on the concept of collectives.
Religion is a lie, and philosophy is nothing but other people's opinions.

True, but I have always, at least since I joined this site regarded you as a philosopher, and a good one at that.

As you say. " good life is just so
completely subjective, and doesn't mean the same thing to everyone."
Sounds like moral philosophy at least to me.

@Fernapple Dang! Never, EVER, considered myself any kind of philosopher.
Still don't. But, thank you for your kind words.
I appreciate the compliment.

Like I have said before, I really don't see philosophy as much more than a person's opinions about life.
Some of them make some sense, some of the time, but many of them are completely full of shit.
Which is also something I've been told, SO many times. LOL


I can't agree that philosophy is just opinion, it is deep thinking using critical thinking and seeking truth, where theology is repeating old ideas "ad infinitum" in the hope of converting others to be like minded.

@Austin-Cambridge You don't have to agree with me.
You are entitled to your own opinions on any subject.

@KKGator Thanks, listening to the opinions of others and not being dismissive is the path to a broader perspective, whether you agree with them or not, that is my goal.

@Austin-Cambridge I thought that philosophy may be
so irrelevant ( its not current AT ALL).-Seem also susceptible
to manipulation , how can we look for SUPPORT when they
have barely any SUSTAINING POWER.! just a thought...

@BBJong Google Simon Blackburn Ph.D. and have a read up on him, a modern day philosopher and atheist, certainly not irrelevant!


Believers have been "doing " philosophy for many centuries, sometimes well, sometimes very badly.


A Theist philosopher is hampered by the fact that they can only follow a chain of logical thought until the point it comes in to contention with their faith, at which point such thoughts stop and either are abandoned or give way to apologetics.
However should the chain of thought NOT come in to conflict with faith then the theist philosopher is potentially as adequate as any other.

Well said!


Great post Fernapple, it has provoked some really interesting responses, thanks!

Thanks for reading and replying.

@Fernapple Respect!


philosophy isn't science; there is no barrier to philosophy inherent in theology. not all philosophy is logical or makes sense. there is bad philosophy.



Products will come and go, but the process that drives it all is the pursuit of salvation. Salvation from what, you ask? From cognitive, social, and adaptive dissonance. These conflicts are a permanent part of the human condition, and will always drive us to seek redemption. The answer lies not in identifying with only hammer, or nail, or board, and rejecting the other two, but in using them all to construct serviceable shelter.

skado Level 9 Sep 28, 2019

Salvation and redemption from what? Only the religious could contemplate such ideas.

From evolutionary mismatch; an idea that scientists contemplate.

@skado Evolution can not have forsight, therefore it could never foresee the emergence of language, and culture from the basics it provided us with, or the effects they would have. That is both our curse because we have no inherent tools to deal with the bad things that they create, and our freedom because we can ourselves create things that evolution never could, if those things do not destroy us.

@skado, @Austin-Cambridge Just posted this for SAKADO to enlarge.
Evolution can not have forsight, therefore it could never foresee the emergence of language, and culture from the basics it provided us with, or the effects they would have. That is both our curse because we have no inherent tools to deal with the bad things that they create, and our freedom because we can ourselves create things that evolution never could, if those things do not destroy us.

Not sure I understand your comment. I'm not saying evolution has foresight. I'm saying it gave us the tools to create things it didn't create for us. And we have used those tools to create a world we are not evolved to live in. That mismatch creates psychological (as well as physiological) problems for us, so we need, and have also created, a "patch" for that discord. More precisely, many patches; religion, philosophy, science, law, etc. We need those patches to work in concert, not to be at odds with each other, creating yet more conflict. And they can if we will let them.

@skado Yes that is exactly what is meant. Evolution gave us the tools to create things by accident, because we are able to use those tools in ways for which they were not gifted to us. But note the "no" in the second sentence, because except by very extreme accident it did not give any tools to deal with the secondary consequences of those creations, so that we have to invent second generation creations to deal with the consequences of the first.

You could say then, that the tool it gave us was the ability to invent.

@skado True yes. And we can invent a better way for us and everything else to live, or we can invent a better way to die along with every thing else. We can be in control of our inventions or they can enslave us.

Exactly. I think there is a possible path but the balance isn’t looking too good for us at the moment.


IDK. Just seems to me, once anything reaches a certain popularity and dollar value, religion swoops in to not only claim ownership but divine creation.

So parts of philosophy, little by little, will get sucked into the God Machine.

Therefore, there will be cross pollination

twill Level 7 Sep 28, 2019

Can a believer in what or who do philosophy? Over the Millenia people have pondered who, what, why. Philosophy is not the domain of religion. Philosophy is people asking and questioning. Science proved or disproves. Neither are related to the outcomes of Theology as Theology is the study of God and The Bible, not religion.

Good point. But of course theocrats are usually imperialistic and do not respect the boundaries with other diciplines. And historically christianity also picked up much philosophical lore, especially in medieval times, transfused through Rosicrucian style ideaology.

@Fernapple Quite true. The Rosicrucian and Templar’s fusion of whatever they wanted to stitch together seems somewhat unhealthy to me especially when it morphs into The Golden Dawn and the like.

I was always taught don’t mix systems!

@Geoffrey51 Yes, whether it is right to mix systems was of course what the post was about, and myself I am certainly with you on the side of don't. It just struck me as interesting however to think that the we may owe science, originally known as Natural Philosophy, in part to the fact that the birth of science occured when it was forced to split off from traditional philosophy. Mainly because traditional philosophy had become so badly infected with its unnatural mariage to theology, in the late middle ages when the church dominated all thinking. Science after all quite quickly took its own route and never looked back to its roots in the classical world.

@Fernapple Quite agree. Thank God for The Enlightenment if it is possible to make such an oxymoronic statement!

And our " Scientology " on this side of the pond.

@Fernapple i really and TOTALLY agree/ and see the fact that Carl Sagan, among others had to fight to keep on
neutral turf when asked "the STICKY" questions-other life,
creator, ect. . He always remained humble-hard to see that today.


"Organized" religion has historically been the great destroyer of history and free thought.

If conversation was not successful, death and obliteration was the option taken.


Believers who can compartmentalize can do philosophy, science, medicine and all sorts of things.


Nah! Philosophers think and theists think they know the truth, open minds and closed ones are opposite poles!


All these pursuits are, in their own way, trying to answer the question "What is the nature of reality?" Reality does have a nature. That nature could be said to change over time, but at any given moment, it has a certain nature. Of course there is such a thing as bad science, and bad philosophy as well as bad theology, but good science, philosophy, and theology must all reflect that true nature in order to remain relevant. Good science helps us know what to believe (with an assumed goal of believing only what is true). Good theology helps us know how to behave (with an assumed goal of achieving peace of mind individually and collectively). Good philosophy helps us understand that there is no inherent conflict between those two goals.

skado Level 9 Oct 1, 2019

To my mind, reality is a process, not a thing, so it changes constantly. The law of life is change. If we search for the "nature" of reality, it is change itself.

Science, at it's best, tries to help us ascertain verifiable facts. Theology, at it's best, tries to help up clarify & live by values. Philosophy, at it's best, tries to mediate between them. Philosophy is the bridge to understanding.

You say "Good theology helps us know how to behave". That may be so, but if so, what does theology offer which moral philosophy does not?

Imagery, I think - for those of us who respond to imagery, it being our true native language. And I think theology is about more than just morality. It’s about a “practice,” an entire way of carrying ourselves in the world, an attitude if you will. And that attitude was forged by the natural forces of evolution, both physiological and cultural, over millions of years, instead of being purely a product of the rational mind.

There is depth in it that philosophy alone can’t match, though I think philosophy is a vital companion to it, because philosophy is what keeps us from being victims of our biological and cultural heritages instead of masters of them.

@skado I am sorry to say that that would never work for me, clinging to a sentimental attachment to things past instead of moving forward to create new imagery, which is quite possible. Is like keeping the body of you dead mother sitting in her chair in the house forever, because she used to give you advice once. Especially so as much of that advice was evil and antisocial. As you may have guessed by now I am very opposed to "religion lite".

Partially because I think that it creates comfortable pool for fundamentalist elements to swim in, especially by normalizing religion; and also by normalizing the habit of viewing religion as metaphor, which in turn leads to the view that interpretation can respectably taken to any extreme lengths, to justify anything, eventually even throwing out the good bits of moral teachings that it may once have had. Since I know from personal experience that it is often used as justification for even greater evils, some of the worst cases of abuse I witness as a child being committed by those who professed “religion lite”, and in its name.

And secondly because it all too easily becomes the crack in the door which admits and normalizes all forms of woo, and superstition, from the exploitations of things like crystal healing to the truly great evils of anti-vaccination movements.

And thirdly because for many people it simply muddies the water wastes time and creates confussion. IS STRING THEORY RELATED TO THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES?

P. S. Mother also started to smell after a little time.

I understand.

...and I’m definitely not recommending keeping dead things around for sentimental purposes.


Philosophy OF Religion is its own (sub)discipline in which, among other things, both theists and atheists try to make their own cases and point out the weaknesses in the cases of their opponents. Certainly theists are no less philosophical than atheists in this endeavor. Some "schools of philosophy"--i.e., some philosophical views=beliefs=positions--are theistic while others are atheistic.

Philosophy is an equal opportunity employer--it doesn't discriminate


Yes they can, compartmentalizing, insulating believes from work.
Logical systems are independent of believing and they do not need to be per se real, they are just logical theoretical systems.

They can use the card God(s) are not bound by logic

Or they can understand that believing is not the same as knowing. even in science you can believe, most of modern physic hypothesis can't be verified with current technology, you can believe in them but we will only know when we are able to test, until there you can believe, but you can't say if it is true (or.. closer to truth than the hypothesis of the other research group). And most of divinities being non falsifiable fits perfectly on this approach. In this case they can even claim to be a rare case of "theist agnostic" in the way they believe in something but they don't claim to know about it.


yes a believer can be philosophical
While theology and philosophy are somewhat enantiomers of each other I don’t find one excludes the other.
I’m working on finishing 2 PhD s in theology and philosophy.


To my way of thinking, Theology IS merely a Theosophy, i.e. the Theologists merely 'philosophy' that their god/deity, etc, exists as per the somewhat inflexible parameters that their faith restricts them to.
Whereas, a good and true ( for want of a better word) Philosopher can, and very often does, think out side of the box (parameters).

@permanwilson Having a Doctorate in Theology and Comparative Modern Religions and being an Atheist whilst studying and before and now as well I kind of 'coined' the term " Theosophy" since studying it all it is my honestly educated opinion that ALL theology is little more than almost pseudo-philosophy at best.

@permanwilson Actual Philosophers for countless centuries have been vilified for their philosophical comments, etc, regarding religions and even to this day it still continues to some extent, though a lot less in intensity, etc, thankfully.
The discipline of Philosophy does NOT seemed to have changed much since the times of the Greats such as Socrates, etc, it IS merely the acceptances of it that have changed though.
E.g. " One mans philosophy can very often become another's religion." -William Anthony, 30/9/2019.

@permanwilson Ah, Philosophy also has its disciplines as well.


Theology is philosophy about one specific question. There is no mandate that a believer inject their theology into other philosophical questions.

I don't think science "was created" and certainly not to any purpose. Science wasn't there to discredit any school: consider that sciences original name was "natural philosophy" and that many early (and some contemporary) scientists view their scientific pursuit as a ode to their god, as a way to understand that which it made for them, as a way to get closer to their god.

So to say that we need to adopt philosophy or theory and nothing in between is to short change the complexity of human thought and imagination and to pigeon hole people into one brand or the other. The truth is most people are multi-variate and can hold several different views and attitudes together at the same time, sometimes even contradicting each other. That we can do this should not be seen as a weakness but as a strength for if we could only hold one thought in our heads, could only accept that which doesn't contradict our extant views, I fear we would not be able to grow as humans.

I am sorry but in my limited experience I do not find that. In fact I find that personal and mental progress is usually obtained when people make an effort to move forward, and one of the best motives for making that effort is the desire to resolve contraditions in our knowledge. I have certainly found that to be the case in my own personal experience, indeed I have found few greater joys than hunting down contraditions and eliminating them. I think that is true for many people, and history backs that up, because many of the greatest leaps forward in human thought came from people who could not accept contraditions.

It is easy to confuse paradox which can not be resolved, with contraditions which can, and the acceptance of ignorance, which is understanding that we have reached a paradox or a gap in our knowledge, with reveveling in ignorance, which is uncaring apathy.


believer can do philosophical. why no can?


I think it depends on the depth of commitment a religious person has to their world view. If a person is very fundamentalist & orthodox in their religion, perhaps not. But many people are only nominally religious.They may observe a religion for family, social, or even political reasons, but fundamentally they don't take it too seriously.

We must remember philosophy is a belief system. There are many competing schools of philosophy, all with their fervent adherents, & philosophy is mostly based on value judgment, not fact. Sometimes philosophers may try to use scientifically verified facts to buttress their arguments, but these facts are used as evidence to support a belief, a value judgment.

Philosophy & theology are kissin' cousins. Theologians have often tried to use philosophical type arguments to buttress their beliefs, such as St. Anselm's arguments for the existence of god. But the difference is philosophy encourages free ranging inquiry, while theology enlists argument to support a pre determined view.

Western science developed in the enlightenment as an attempt to bring objectivity & verifiability into the morass of philosophy & theology, in a way to cause a divorce in their illegitimate relationship. People began to see philosophy as puzzling & theology as stultifying. They wanted a new way. This evolution was aided by new technology, such as the printing press

My thoughts exactly.

It can also depend on how the religious person understands their religion. There are people who are quite serious about their practice while not being literalists.

@skado Right, To my mind, It is not just that a person is a "believer", but what do they really believe in. A person can have a more or less sophisticated & nuanced view of their own religion. Many people don't appear to really understand their own religion. Some religious people are more insightful than others


I see them being exclusive since theology keeps the us
and them stance. Philosophy to matter has to be based
in fact-hence inclusive and relavent. I may judge harshly
but a closed mind precludes "knowledge". I recently
watch a Buddhist state how closed minded western philosophy and science has been to any Eastern influence.
The end of the debate- we have NO Proof that there
is no continuation after death.Hence gleefully Religion
is seen as the ONLY "authority" on life;morality;mind;human
conciousness. By gazing at the huge windmill
of religion-we are missing the flower ◇real study of the depth and breath of the human mind.(strengths & weaknesses). Great post 🏟


theology and philosophy are two completely different disciplines not even remotely related to each other, science isn't a philosophy, whatcha talking about Willis? I mean it's great to discuss theories or even assumptions, but this seems more like mental masturbation to me.

Yes I agree with you that the three are completely different. The two points however are that. Firstly, they were not always different, and there was once a time when the church attempted to control all three, assuming the position of being the go to place, for all knowledge. And that in the past when both philosophy and primitive sciences such as alchemy were very much under the theist boot, the emergence of science, originally known as natural philosophy, started as a reaction to that.

And secondly, that it is not in the nature of theists to respect the boundaries, and they will often overstep even today, so that it is needful to police those borders carefully, because respect for them only exists on one side.

@Fernapple just because the church attempted to control anything doesn't make it true,they also claimed Galileo was wrong and even made him declare he was wrong, but "e pur si muove" and reality wasn't altered, who cares what theists want to do, that doesn't make them right, science is the boundary, theist will believe crap, it's like giving creedence to their ark museum, all B.S.

@Mofo1953, @Fernapple Perhaps this is where Philosophy meets Propaganda & Indoctrination?

@Mofo1953 What exactly would you suggest defines a "philosophy"?

@gNappyHead from the greek root, the love of wisdom.

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