phil of religon

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  1. William James (1844-1910)
    William James (1844-1910)


    • Protestant background. [You look at what religion
    • might mean to the world, but do it through the eyes of your own religion. Is it
    • necessary to not belong to a religion to be able to talk about it? Muslims will
    • be more likely to listen to you when you belong to a religion yourself.] He
    • knows he cannot talk about everything and makes a choice: You have the
    • mysterious interior and the institutional way and Williams takes the first,
    • because he thinks it is the real one.





    Characteristics of Religion.


    • Summing up in the broadest possible way the characteristics of the
    • religious life, as we
    • have found them, it includes the following beliefs:


    • 1. That the visible world is part of a more spiritual universe from which
    • it draws its chief significance;


    • 2. That union or harmonious relation with that higher universe is our
    • true end;


    • 3. That prayer or inner communion with the spirit thereof - be that
    • spirit 'God' or 'law' - is a process wherein work is really done, and spiritual
    • energy flows in and produces effects, psychological or material, within the phenomenal world.
    • Religion includes also the following psychological characteristics:


    • 4. A new zest, which adds itself like a gift to life, and takes the form
    • either of lyrical enchantment or of appeal to earnestness and heroism.


    • 5. An assurance of safety and a temper of peace, and, in relation to others, a
    • preponderance of loving affections.


    Phenomenological or metaphysical approach?


    • Phenomenological:
    • What is religion? Look at practical examples in the world. You take a religious
    • phenomenon.


    • Metaphysical:
    • You reach the conclusion that there is a God and ask what to do. How di I enter
    • into a relation with him?


    We'll do both, but the first is more important.


    • A choice between interior and
    • institutional religion.


    • The field of religion being as
    • wide as this, it is manifestly impossible that I should pretend to cover it.
    • My lectures must be limited to a fraction of the subject. And, although it
    • would indeed be foolish to set up an abstract definition of religion's essence,
    • and then proceed to defend that definition against all comers, yet this need
    • not prevent me from taking my own narrow view of what religion shall consist in
    • for the purpose of these lectures, or, out of the many meanings of the word,
    • from choosing the one meaning in which I wish to interest you particularly, and
    • proclaiming arbitrarily that when I say 'religion' I mean that. This, in fact,
    • is what I must do, and I will now preliminarily seek to mark out the field I
    • choose.


    • One way to mark it out easily is to say what aspects of the
    • subject we leave out. At the outset we are struck by one great partition which divides the religious
    • field. On the one side of it lies institutional, on the other personal religion.
    • This division is not completely right on a
    • phenomenological level, because you cannot really divide your personal faith from
    • the institutional faith. If you found a bible without knowing about Christ from
    • tradition, would you be able to becaome a Christian? You might, but it would be
    • hard to avoid historical heresies. As M. P. Sabatier says, one branch of
    • religion keeps the divinity, another keeps man most in [29] view. Worship and sacrifice, procedures for working on the
    • dispositions of the deity, theology and ceremony and ecclesiastical
    • organization, are the essentials of religion in the institutional branch. Were
    • we to limit our view to it, we should have to define religion as an external
    • art, the art of winning the favor of the gods. In the more personal branch of
    • religion it is on the contrary the inner dispositions of man himself, (me he thinks of religion as internal) which form the
    • centre of interest, his conscience, his deserts, his helplessness, his
    • incompleteness. Luther's starting point was his
    • sin, not "Yeah! There's a God and he loves me!" You don't necessarily
    • have to begin with your distress. And although the favor of the God, as
    • forfeited or gained, is still an essential feature of the story, and theology
    • plays a vital part therein, yet the acts to which this sort of religion prompts
    • are personal not ritual acts, the individual transacts the business by himself
    • alone, and the
    • ecclesiastical organization, with its priests and sacraments and other
    • go-betweens, sinks to an altogether secondary place. The relation goes direct from heart to heart, from
    • soul to soul, between man and his maker.


    • Now in these lectures I
    • propose to ignore the institutional branch
    • entirely, to say nothing of the ecclesiastical organization, to consider as
    • little as possible the systematic theology and the ideas about the gods
    • themselves, and to confine myself as far as I can to personal religion pure and
    • simple. Psychology: If someone doesn'T feel
    • well, he can go to a psychiatrist and try to cure him there. Sometimes it
    • works. In other cases it might be a problem of relation with the group and it
    • is necessary to introduce the family into the process. We depend on others as
    • well as on a certain culture. It applies to all circumstances of our life. Why
    • not on religion? James' point on the psychological level seems to be too
    • limited. HE leaves out an important proposition.
    • To some of you personal religion, thus nakedly considered, will no doubt seem
    • too incomplete a thing to wear the general name. "It is a part of
    • religion," you will say, "but only its unorganized rudiment; if we
    • are to name it by itself, we had better call it man's conscience or morality
    • than his religion. The name 'religion’ should be reserved for the fully
    • organized system of feeling, thought, and institution, for the Church, in
    • short, of which this personal religion, so called, is but a fractional
    • element.”


    • [30] But if you say this, it will only show the more plainly
    • how much the question of definition tends to become a dispute about names.
    • Rather than prolong such a dispute, I am willing to accept almost any name for
    • the personal religion of which I propose to treat. Call it conscience or
    • morality, if you yourselves prefer, and not religion - under either name it
    • will be equally worthy of our study. As for myself, I think it will prove to
    • contain some elements which morality pure and simple does not contain, and
    • these elements I shall soon seek to point out; so I will myself continue to
    • apply the word 'religion' to it and in the last lecture of all, I will bring in
    • the theologies and the ecclesiasticisms, and say something of its relation to
    • them.


    • In one sense at least the personal religion
    • will prove itself more fundamental than either theology or ecclesiasticism. Churches, when once established, live at secondhand
    • upon tradition; but the founders of every church owed their power originally to
    • the fact of their direct personal communion with the divine. Jesus: He is not at
    • all independent from the old Testament. He goes to the synagoge, founds a
    • community. Certainly he has a relation to his father that is much deeper than
    • ours. But even he himself, who could act like he is out of this world, doen't
    • do so. He respects our humanity and becomes part of society and of some
    • particular religion prepared for him. And if fetishism and magic be regarded as
    • stages of religion, one may say that personal religion in the inward sense and
    • the genuinely spiritual ecclesiasticisms which it founds are phenomena of
    • secondary or even tertiary order. But, quite [31] apart from the fact that many
    • anthropologists - for instance, Jevons and Frazer - expressly oppose 'religion'
    • and 'magic' to each other, it is certain that the whole system of thought which
    • leads to magic, fetishism, and the lower superstitions may just as well be
    • called primitive science as called primitive religion. The question thus
    • becomes a verbal one again; and our knowledge ofReligion, therefore, as I now ask you
    • arbitrarily to take it, shall mean for us the feelings, acts, and experiences
    • of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to
    • stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divineThe pivot around which the religious life, as we have traced it,
    • revolves, is the interest of the individual in his private personal destiny.
    • Religion, in short, is a
    • monumental chapter in the history of human egotism.
    • Unfair. That conclusion is in his definition (personal,
    • individual). One
    • may say truly, I think, that personal religious experience has its root and
    • centre in mystical states of consciousness; for my own constitution shuts me
    • out from their enjoyment almost entirely, and I can speak of them only at
    • second hand. But though forced to look upon the subject so externally, I will
    • be as objective and receptive as I can; and I think I shall at least succeed in
    • convincing you of the reality of the states in question, and of the paramount
    • importance of their function.
  2. Mircea Eliade
    (1907-1986).
    a naturalist who had studied elephants only under the microscope would thinkhe knew enough about those animals?" If you take thewrong tool to look at a phenomenon you wont understand it. Religion should be studied according to what it is(that is in a religious way) and not be taken to other categories likepolitics or sociology. Religion must be studied according to itsnature. , areligious phenomenon will only be recognized as such if it is grasped atits own level, that is to say, if it is studied as something religious. True. To try to grasp the essence of such a phenomenon bymeans of physiology, psychology, sociology, economics, linguistics, art orany other study is false; it misses the oneunique and irreducible element in it - the element of the sacred ,Because religion is human it mustfor that very reason be something social, something linguistic, somethingeconomic. You cannot think of man apart from language and society. But itwould be hopeless to try and explain religion in terms of any one of thosebasic functions, which are really no more than another way of sayingwhat man is. , a religious phenomenonwill only be recognized as such if it is grasped at its own level, that isto say, if it is studied as something religious. True. He choses "hierophanies"(manifestations of the sacred), not private mystical stuff like James.Howto choose within the religious facts?which are "simple"and as close as possible to their origins. Notan obvious choice: Is religion less authentic when it is far from the origins?"Ecclesiam suam": There is a delusion, which is to say that the Churchshould be reduced to the primitive Church. Why cut down the big tree you havenow, go back to the seed only to have to grow it again? DIFFICULTIES OF METHODBut, to return to the greatpractical difficulty I mentioned earlier: the extreme diversity of the materialwe are faced with. That is really all the material available to ahistorian of religions: a few fragments from a vast oral priestly learning (theexclusive product of one social class), allusions found in travellers' notes,material gathered by foreign missionaries, reflections drawn from secularliterature, a few monuments, a few inscriptions, and what memories remain inlocal traditions. All the historicalsciences are, of course, tied to this sort of scrappy and accidental evidence.But the religioushistorian faces a bolder task than the historian, whose job is merely to piece together an event or a series of eventswith the aid of the few bits of evidence that are preserved to him; thereligious historian must trace not only the history of a given hierophany, butmust first of all understand and explain the modality of tile sacred that thathierophany discloses. It is not enough to say "they used that in worship" you shouldalso say what it means to them. Imagine a Buddhist trying tounderstand Christianity with only a few fragments of the Gospels, a Catholicbreviary, various ornaments (Byzantine icons, Baroque statues of the saints,the vestments, perhaps, of an Orthodox priest), but able, on the other hand, tostudy the religious life of some European village. No doubt the first thing our Buddhistobserver would note would be a distinct difference between the religious lifeof the peasants and the theological, moral and mystical ideas of the villagepriest. he would be wrong if he refused to judgeChristianity according to the traditions preserved by the priest on the groundsthat he was merely a single individual - if he only held to be genuine theexperience represented by the village as a community What does matter isto realize that this single man has kept more completely, if not the originalexperience of Christianity, at least its basic elements and its mystical,theological and ritual values.Ifyou take a phenomenological approach to study religion, it takes forever.Modernistcrisis: Two tendencies, one Protestant (the real Christianity is the primitiveone, what is older is better), the other says that what is more recent can beconsidered better. Both were a bit extreme. Normally in a religion, if you cutoff the links with the primitive parts (i.e. Christ and the Apostles), you getsomething else, but if you want to cut off the development of the centuries,the organic growth, you also loose something. Relationship to the sacredIn Das Heilige Otto sets himself todiscover the characteristics of this frightening and irrational experience. Hefinds the feeling of terror before the sacred, before the awe-inspiring mystery (mysterium tremendum),in religious experience the person involved is somehowafraid ("I am nothing in front of you") the majesty (majestas)that emanates an overwhelming superiority of power; he finds religious fearbefore the fascinating mystery (mysterium fascinans) "What would I beif I didn#t know you?" in which perfect fullness of being flowers.Otto characterizes all these experiences as numinous(from Latin numen, god), for they areinduced by the revelation of an aspect of divine power. The numinous presentsitself as something "wholly other" (ganz andere), not completely right. John of the Cross wrote "All (God)and Nothing (himself)" because of the infinite difference between both.But he wasn't nothing because at least he wrote the book. This"nothing" or "totally different" are not to be takenliterally Man becomes aware of the sacredbecause it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different fromthe profane.that something sacred shows itself to us.1 It could be said that the history ofreligions-from the most primitive to the most highly developed-is constitutedby a great number of hierophanies, by manifestations of sacred realities. Fromthe most elementary hierophany - e.g., manifestation of the sacred in someordinary object, a stone or a tree - to the supreme hierophany (which, for aChristian, is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ) by the same mysterious act-the manifestationof something of a wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to ourworld, in objects that are an integral part of our natural "profane"world.Bymanifesting the sacred, any object becomes something else, yet it continues toremain itself, for it continues to participate in its surrounding cosmic milieu.A sacred stone remains a stone; apparently (or, more precisely, from theprofane point of view), nothing distinguishes it from all other stones. But forthose to whom a stone reveals itself as sacred, its immediate reality istransmuted into a supernatural reality. In other words, for those who have areligious experience all nature is capable of revealing itself as cosmicsacrality. The cosmos in its entirety can become a hierophany.by the same mysterious act-the manifestation of something ofa wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to our world, inobjects that are an integral part of our natural "profane" world.Profane,desacralized world: Not better or worse orequal, just more recent. Religion and unity of the individual with the cosmos.Religionhelps me to find where I fit into the world. How does believing help youpersonally to understand where you fit in the world? You go to a place youdon't know (Angelicum, i.e.) and find people who share your faith. This helps.You feel less lost.symbolism effects a permanentsolidarity between man and the sacred (though this is somewhatindistinct in that man only becomes conscious of it from time to time) the symbolic makes the experience familiar. You use objectsyou take with you (clothes, rosaries, books, hangers). The presence of thedivine experience as different, sometimes frightening, becomes familiar for religious man, every existential decision to situatehimself in space in fact constitutes a religious decision. By assuming the responsibility of creating theworld that he has chosen to inhabit, he not only cosmicizes chaos but also sanctifies hislittle cosmos by making it like the world of the gods. The symbols have a function. The rosary is something manynon-Cahtolics do not understand. Symbols are understandable, if you have beenintroduced to them. With them you are in touch with a divinity and a community.And both things are important. Symbols require an introduction. Inshort, the symbolism ofclothing made a human being one both with the cosmos and with the community towhich he belonged, while making his fundamental identity clear to the eyes ofevery member of that community. Several ideas are expressed togetherhere - becomingone with the cosmos, making clear one's position in regard to society -as so many functions with the same urge and the same object. They all convergetowards a common aim: to abolish the limits of the " fragment" man iswithin society and the cosmos, and, by means of making clear his deepest identity and his social status,and making him one with the rhythms of nature-integrating him into a largerunity: society, the universe.a symbol always reveals the basic oneness of several zones of the real. Zonesof the real: Me, community, community on another level and we have tools to getin touch with the divinity.What we may call symbolicthought makes it possible for man to move freely from one level of reality toanother. Indeed, "to move freely" is an understatement:symbols, as we have seen, identify, assimilate, and unify diverse levels andrealities that are to all appearances incompatible. Further still: magico-religious experience makes it possible for man himself to betransformed into a symbol. Saint: A permanent presence helping us to be in touch with God. Amanifestation of the sacred, not completely transparent, but at least the bestkind of incarnation of the sacred you can findThe cosmic myths and the [456]whole world of ritual thus appear as existential experiences to primitive man:he does not lose himself, he does not forget his own existence when he fulfils a myth or takespart in a ritual; quite the reverse; he finds himself and comes tounderstand himself,because those myths and rituals express cosmic realities which ultimately he isaware of as realities in his own being. the real existence of primitive man was not thebroken and alienated existence lived by civilized man today.Impossibility of a lifewithout any religion..It must be added at once that such a profane existence is never found in the purestate. To whatever degree he may have desacralized the world, the man who has made his choice in favor of a profane life never succeedsin completely doing away with religious behaviorIn short, the majority of men "without religion" still hold to pseudoreligions and degenerated mythologies. There is nothing surprising in this, for, as wesaw, profaneman is the descendant of homo religiosus and he cannot wipe out his own history- that is, the behavior of his religious ancestors which has made him what heis today. This is all themore true because a great part of his existence is fed by impulses that come tohim from the depths of his being, from the zone that has been called the"unconscious." A purely rational man is an abstraction; he is never foundin real lifeWe do not mean to say that mythologies are the"product" of the unconscious, for the mode of being of the myth isprecisely that it reveals itself as myth, that is, it announces that [210]something has been manifested in a paradigmatic mannerYet the contents and structures of the unconscious are the resultof immemorial existential situations, especially of critical situations, andthis is why the unconscious has a religious aura. . As we saw, it is the experience of the sacredthat founds the world, and even the most elementary religion is, above all, an ontology. In other words, in so far asthe unconscious is the result of countless existential experiences, it cannotbut resemble the various religious universes. For religion is the paradigmaticsolution for every existential crisis. It is the paradigmatic solution not onlybecause it can be indefinitely repeated, but also because it is believed tohave a transcendental origin and hence is valorized as a revelation receivedfrom an other, transhuman world. The religious solution not only resolves thecrisis but at the same time makes existence "open" to values that areno longer contingent or particular, thus enabling man to transcend personalsituations and, finally, gain access to the world of spirit. Religion doesn't disappear easily. That is right, but weprobably haven't seen the last of secularization as well. 1.) Is the older religion the purer one? Notnecessarily. Is the newer the better? Not necessarily. The simple fact of agedoes not prove anything.2.) Religious phenomenon: A communicationof asacred reality. Makes kind of sense. It is the "wholly other". Not really, because if God iseverything I am still not nothing, because I can say at least talk about the"wholly other"3.) Religious symboly and rites help to be relatedto the sacred and to a specific group. In that way religion is not unrelated tothe cosmos. A global ecological attitude can turn into some kind of religion,which is not completely a substitute for religion and can never be. A primitive(more ancient, not better or worse) feels some connection to the nature atlarge beause of the religion to the divinity. Communion with God helps to be in communion witheverything.3. Transiency.- Mystical states cannot be sustained for long. If you attend a liturgy it is difficult to be constantlyconscious of what is happening.4. Passivity.- Although the oncoming of mysticalstates may be facilitated by preliminary voluntary operations, as byfixing the attention. In the end you are passive. You face someonefar higher than you and give in to that. This latter peculiarity connectsmystical states with certain definite phenomena of secondary oralternative personality, such as prophetic speech, automatic writing, orthe mediumistic trance. Basic content of religion.there is a certain uniform deliverance in which religions all appear to meet. It consists oftwo parts: 1. An uneasiness; and 2. Its solution.1. Theuneasiness, reduced to its simplest terms, is a sense that there is somethingwrong about us as wenaturally stand.2. Thesolution is a sense that we are saved from the wrongness by making proper connectionwith the higher powers.Tendsto understand all religions from the protestant background. Luther'sview of the essence of man is that we are sinners. But it still remains thatyou could begin with something else ("The world is beautiful, God made it:Thanks!"). Truth of religion.Yet the unseen region in question is not merely ideal, for it produceseffects in this world. When we commune with it, work is actually done upon ourfinite personality, for we are turned into new men Yet the unseen region inquestion is not merely ideal, for it produces effects in this world. When wecommune with it, work is actually done upon our finite personality, for we areturned into new men But that which produces effects within another reality mustbe termed a reality itself, so I feel as if we had no philosophic excuse forcalling the unseen or mystical world unreal. Religionexists in the world and changes something (some would say "Yeah! Wars,inquisitions…", or that religion could be a collective illusion). Still,you see that religion exists. So, is it true? You see things differently whenyou look at religions from within . If you are on the outside you only think ofa common illusion. Mircea Eliade (1907-1986).Religion must be studied according to its nature.2. Noetic quality: Although so similar to states of feeling, mysticalstates seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge.They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by thediscursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full ofsignificance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and asa rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time. Means that you leranfrom these states although (as said in "Ineffability") youcannpt express it well enough. It is still better to express somethingessential inadequately than to express something adequately that doesn'tmatter at all. So, what ismost important is also a bit more difficult to explain.Ineffability: The handiest of the marks by which I classify a state ofmind as mystical is negative. The subject of it immediately says that itdefies expression, that no adequate report of its contents can be given inwords. Doesn't mean that nothing can be said, causehow else would we know that there is a mystical state of consciousness. Itfollows from this that its quality must be directly experienced; it cannotbe imparted or transferred to others. In this peculiaritymystical states are more like states of feeling than like states ofintellect.
  3. The metaphysical presuppositions of religion.
    • If
    • you've been to different places with different religions, you see how the
    • religion of a place has an impact on the vculture of that place. Philosophy has
    • an impact on society and religion as well. Imagine philosopher in France in the
    • 18th century. You had an absolute
    • monarchy. The king decided everything. Catholicism was the religion of the
    • state. Than the philosophers started to whie about it, which first seems to be
    • nothing. But years later suddenly everything falls apart. There is some
    • philosophical presupposition in the reformation. One of the main ideas of the
    • reformers was "Sola Scriptura" = "Only the scripture" or
    • "Only by scripture". When doing theology, the only authority to use
    • is scripture. That implies that the philosophical element was as such out of
    • the picture. You can use some elements of logic or grammar, but philosophy as
    • such is gone. Therefore it seems that theology is clean without philosophical
    • influence. Is that possible? Whatever yu read, you have some ideas that you
    • might not call philosophica, but that imply certain things. "How do I know
    • if what is said is true?" If you are conscious of these ideas you can deal
    • with them, if not, these ideas will have a life of their own and lead to you
    • interpreting what you read or say. So the Sola Scriptura approach is not realistic. Some people have
    • ideas in teir mind an do not know where they come from. Everybody has
    • presuppositions, just have good ones. Reformers, before they started, already
    • had ideas on their minds.

    • We should be conscious that it is possible to put ideas into
    • our mind without us being conscious of that. This goes for religion as well. Univocal predication is impossible between God and
    • creatures Neither, on the other hand, are names applied to God and creatures in
    • a purely equivocal sense names are said of God and creatures in an analogous
    • sense, i.e. according to proportion. Chocolate,
    • man and God are both good, but they are different.



    • Analogy:
    • 2 different levels

    • a)
    • Speech: Goodness has a meaning that is partly common and partly different
    • ("The chocolate is good" or "God is good" è
    • the goodness in these sentences is not the same)

    • Scotus:
    • What somebody says with one intention can be taken by somebody else with
    • another intention. Luther used some parts from Scotus but out of the context of
    • the Scholstaic method.

    • Luther
    • didn't understand how that same thing can be accomplished by man and God
    • without taking away from divine majestyFor(Arg. 1) one action, it seems, cannot proceedfrom two agents. If then the action, by which a natural effect is produced,proceeds from a natural body, it does not proceed from God. it is necessary for the action of a lower agent toresult not only form the agent by its own power, but also from the power of allhigher agents just as the lowest agent is found immediately active, so also isthe power of the primary agent found immediate in the production of the effect. this is notfrom the insufficiency of God’s power, but from the immensity of His goodness,whereby He has wished to communicate His likeness to creatures, not only inpoint of their being, but likewise in point of their being causes of otherthings (Chap.XXI).*, it is not as though the effect were produced partlyby God and partly by the natural agent: but the whole effect is produced byboth, though in different ways, as the same effect is attributed wholly to theinstrument, and wholly also to the principal agent. When something is written on the board, both Fr. Morerod andthe marker wrote all of it at the same time. If you move a heavy table with twoman, the cooperation between the men is something else than the cooperationbetween the marker and the writer. The marker is on the ontological level of amarker, the writer is on the ontolocial level of a human being. If two mencarried a table, both are on the human level. There is a first cause (God) anda second cause (tree), which both let the fruit grow. The principle cause(writer) and the instrumental cause (marker) write both at the same time. ButGod could do things alone. Why does he need us? If God wants human beings to dosomething, it isn't because he wouldn't be able. Think of somebody who makes a movie.There are different ways. Sometimes we see that the one who made the movie hada clear idea of what is going to happen in the movie from beginning to end. Butthen you have some actors that behave awkwardly. The same in novels. On theother hand you have movies or novels where the characters have a life on theirown and you could almost imagine them stepping out of the screen or the pages.God doesn't want us to simply be his tool. He also wants us to cause things,because he thinks it is better to have creatures who themselves can causestuff. It is simply better. Does this mean that he says "I put you back inthe world and you do what you want and I come back later to see"? Notreally. Without God we can't do anything.Summary:There are two levels. One Is the meaning of the words we use to speak about Godand us (univocal, equivocal, analogical). Words are supposed to say somethingabout reality. sually you will think that the words will mean something definedin reality. Analogically "good" means something different whenapplied to chocolate, man or God. This is because the realities of chocolate,man or God are different. Here we move from the analogy in Epistemology toanalogy in Ontology. God is, but he is not like I am. I am a bit like God,because he created me. So how can we speak about God and also understand therelation of our actions to God? In religion we do things in relation to God.
  4. The virtue of religion according to St. Thomas
    Aquinas.
    • Natural religion: Religion is a part of human
    • life, man has a right to that, the international declaration og human rights contains it, so it is only just that the state should give people the opportunity to donate money to a religion.


    • Two points must be observed about the
    • virtues annexed to a principal virtue. The first is that these virtues have something in common with the principal virtue; and the second is that in some
    • respect they fall short of the perfection of that virtue. Now the essential character of justice consists in
    • rendering to another his due according to equality, as stated above. Religion is an annex to justice. You give to God what is due to him. But
    • he is not like another man. He is above that. And whatever you render to him,
    • can never be the equal due, see next…
    • In this respect "religion" is annexed to justice since, according to
    • Tully (De invent. ii, 53), it consists in offering service and ceremonial rites
    • or worship to "some superior nature that men call divine." Secondly, it is not possible to make to one's parents
    • an equal return of what one owes to them,
    • as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. viii, 14); and thus "piety" is annexed to
    • justice from "religare" [to bind together], whether religion take its name from frequent
    • reading, or
    • from a repeated choice of what has been lost through negligence, or from being a bond, it denotes properly a
    • relation to God IIa
    • IIae, q.81, a.2, Religion as virtue.

    • "a virtue is that which makes its possessor good, and his
    • act good likewise," Since
    • then it belongs to religion to pay due honor to someone, namely, to God, it is
    • evident that religion is a virtue IIa IIae, q.81,
    • a.3, Religion as one virtue.

    • it belongs to religion to show reverence to
    • one God under one aspect, namely, as the first principle of the creation and
    • government of things.
    • Wherefore He Himself says (Malach. 1:6): "If . . . I be a father, where is
    • My honor?" For it belongs to a father to beget and to govern. Therefore it is evident
    • that religion is one virtue. IIa IIae, q.81, a.4, Religion and
    • other virtues.

    • , Since
    • virtue is directed to the good, wherever there is a special aspect of good,
    • there must be a special virtue. IIa IIae, q.81, a.5, Is religion
    • a theological virtue?

    • Man is perfected by virtue, for those
    • actions whereby he is directed to happiness, (virtues
    • help to be connected to our final end, happiness) man's happiness is twofold, as was also stated above. One is
    • proportionate to human nature, a happiness, to wit, which man can obtain by
    • means of his natural principles. The other is a happiness surpassing man's
    • nature, and which man can obtain by the power of God alone, by a kind of
    • participation of the Godhead, about which it is written that by Christ
    • we are made "partakers of the Divine nature." Crucial distinction, criticized by 20th century theologians: There
    • is happiness at the human level and one above. Aristotle: Purpose of life is to
    • be completely happy, purpose of life is to know truth and thereby to be happy,
    • the main truth is God it is necessary
    • for man to receive from God some additional principles, whereby he may be
    • directed to supernatural happiness, even as he is directed to his connatural
    • end, by means of his natural principles, albeit not without Divine assistance. Such like principles are
    • called "theological virtues": first, because their object
    • is God, inasmuch as
    • they direct us aright to God: secondly, because they are infused in us
    • by God alone:
    • thirdly, because these virtues are not made known to us, save by Divine
    • revelation, contained in Holy Writ. Philosophers
    • can think about what God is and draw conclusions, and their soul might even
    • survive after death. All wonderful, but to be called to share this life is
    • something much more. Distinction between natural and supernatural religion. the object of
    • the theological virtues is God Himself, Who is the last end of all, as
    • surpassing the knowledge of our reason. On the other hand, the object of the
    • intellectual and moral virtues is something comprehensible to human reason , It is reckoned
    • a part of justice which is a moral virtue. Objection 3: Further, every virtue is either theological, or intellectual,
    • or moral, as is clear from what has been said. Now it is evident that religion
    • is not an intellectual virtue yet the acts whereby God is worshiped do not
    • reach out to God himself, as when we believe God we reach out to Him by
    • believing; for which reason it was stated that God is the object of faith, not
    • only because we believe in a God, but because we believe God. God is related to religion not as matter or object,
    • but as end: and consequently religion is not a theological virtue whose object
    • is the last end, but a moral virtue, which is properly about things referred to
    • the end. The object of religion is "How are
    • we related to God", not "Who is God". But if we don't know him
    • how can we be related to him? Knowledge of God is metaphysical not theological
    • here. We are related to God as our natural God. In theology the way we are
    • related to God is chrity and we know that by faith. How we might know God is
    • not the object of justice but once we know God, what do we do to be related to
    • him. And it is possible to have too much
    • in matters pertaining to the Divine worship, not as regards the circumstance of
    • quantity, but as regards other circumstances, as when Divine worship is paid to
    • whom it is not due, or when it is not due, or unduly in respect of some other
    • circumstance.

    • the object of faith can be considered
    • in three ways. For, since "to believe" is an act of the intellect, in
    • so far as the will moves it to assent, as stated above, the object of faith can
    • be considered either on the part of the intellect, or on the part of the will
    • that moves the intellect the material
    • object of faith, (creed) and in this way
    • an act of faith is "to believe in a God";
    • because, as stated above nothing is proposed to our belief, except in as much
    • as it is referred to God. The other is the formal
    • aspect of the object, (trust, you believe what
    • God revealed) for it is the medium on account of which we assent to such
    • and such a point of faith; and thus an act of faith is "to believe God," For Thomas the definition
    • of faith is "Believing something that is invisible". Religion, as a
    • science, is based on faith, which is received without being a science. In
    • thecase of faith we must chose whether we believe that God exists as a Trinity
    • or not. How does the choice work? With the collaboration of intellect and will.
    • There is something we know and you must know something before you chose. You
    • must at least know that there is something to choose from. The will intervenes,
    • suggesting that it would be better or more pleasant to prefer one of the two
    • elements to the other. Thomas: You choose to believe beause you want it, and
    • because what is promised to you is attractive.

    • When we speak of
    • justice we speak about what we can know about God philosophically speaking.

    IIa IIae, q.81, a.7: The exterior acts of religion.

    • William James chose to speak about the interior
    • aspects of religion ans dismissed the exterior ones. James had some Protestand
    • propositions, which is understandable in his case but wont apply to Thomas, who
    • lived before the Reformation J
    • Since then whatever man offers by bodily actions, seems to be directed properly
    • to the relief of human needs, or to the reverence of inferior creatures, it
    • would seem unbecoming to employ them in showing reverence to God. When you receive friends you do't treat them like dogs. When you
    • meet God you don't treat him like a human being. - If you give something to
    • God, is it because he needs it? No. It is good for the persons who do that "invisible things
    • . . . are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,"
    • Wherefore in the Divine worship it is necessary to make use of corporeal
    • things, that man's mind may be aroused thereby, as by signs, to the spiritual
    • acts by means of which he is united to God. Therefore
    • the internal acts of religion take precedence of the others and belong to
    • religion essentially, while its external acts are secondary, and subordinate to
    • the internal acts. Sacraments are
    • necessary unto man's salvation for three reasons. The first is taken from the
    • condition of human nature which is such that it has to be led by things
    • corporeal and sensible to things spiritual and intelligible. We use our body to know things.
    • If you want to know the meaning of "5" you have to know the meaning
    • of [fiven fingers]. Now
    • IT BELONGS TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE TO PROVIDE FOR EACH ONE ACCORDING AS ITS
    • CONDITION REQUIRES. One of the most basic principles in Thomas. Divine wisdom,
    • therefore, fittingly provides man with means of salvation, in the shape of
    • corporeal and sensible signs that are called sacraments. Some Protestant "churches" do not have sacraments. This is
    • an extreme form of what the reformers wanted. The reformed Calvinists tried to
    • take away all sensible things and some pushed it to not having but the word of
    • God, which - Hello-ho - is sensual as well, because you have to LISTEN to it!

    • Our knowledge begins with senses. God knows that and
    • takes it into consideration. Our knowledge with him must be spiritual, but God
    • takes into consideration that our knowledge starts with senses. A sign for that
    • is the Incarnation. Consequently it was fitting that God should provide man with a spiritual medicine
    • by means of certain corporeal signs; for if man were offered spiritual things
    • without a veil, his mind being taken up with the material world would be unable
    • to apply itself to them. by which he might be trained to avoid superstitious practices, through the
    • institution of the sacraments man, consistently with his nature, is instructed
    • through sensible things; he is humbled, through confessing that he is subject
    • to corporeal things, seeing that he receives assistance through them: and he is even preserved
    • from bodily hurt, by the healthy exercise of the sacraments. We know things with
    • our senses, which is one aspect of our humble condition. From there God takes
    • us , because man fell into sin by clinging unduly
    • to visible things. Therefore, that one might not believe visible things evil of their nature, and that for this reason those clinging to
    • them had sinned, it was fitting that through the visible things themselves the
    • remedies of salvation be applied to men. Consequently, it would appear that visible things are good of their
    • nature –as created by God– but they become damaging to men so far as one clings
    • to them in a disordered way, and saving so far as one uses them in an ordered
    • way. We don't believe
    • that the material world as such is bad, this is a kind of manichaeic dualism just as in
    • natural things the lower are naturally subject to the higher, so too it is a
    • dictate of natural reason in accordance with man's natural inclination that he
    • should tender submission and honor, according to his mode, to that which is
    • above man. Now the mode befitting to man is that he should employ sensible
    • signs in order to signify anything, because he derives his knowledge from
    • sensibles. If you discover that you need help in your live (not only
    • speaking about God), you go to somebody who has ore than you in regard to what
    • you are missing. You ask for help and offer something. Natural reason says
    • there is a God. Yoou see that you need help and offer something for it. Hence it is a dictate of
    • natural reason that man should use certain sensibles, by offering them to God
    • in sign of the subjection and honor due to Him, like those who make certain
    • offerings to their lord in recognition of his authority. Now this is what we
    • mean by a sacrifice, and consequently the offering of sacrifice IIa



    IIae, q.94, a.1, Idolatry.

    • it belongs to superstition to exceed the
    • due mode of divine worship,
    • Therefore it
    • is superstition to give worship to any creature whatsoever. Is it more religious to worship everything that moves? No. - don't
    • worhip images as if they had something divine in them themselves The gravity of a sin
    • may be considered in two ways. First, on the part of the sin itself, and thus
    • idolatry is a most grievous sin
    • [Secondly,
    • the gravity of a sin may be considered on the part of the sinner. Thus the sin
    • of one that sins knowingly is said to be graver than the sin of one that sins
    • through ignorance I answer that, Idolatry had a twofold cause. One was a
    • dispositive cause; this was on the part of man, and in three ways. First, on
    • account of his inordinate affections forasmuch as he gave other men divine
    • honor Secondly, because man takes a natural pleasure in representations, ignorance of the true God, The other cause of idolatry was completive, and
    • this was on the part of the demons, who offered themselves to be worshipped by
    • men, IIa IIae, q.99, a.1, Sacrilege whatever pertains to
    • irreverence for sacred things is an injury to God, and comes under the head of
    • sacrilege. Summary about religion in
    • Thomas:

    • Philosophically speaking you can say there is a God. Then you ask
    • how to relate to him. It is justice to give to him what is due to him. Yoou
    • enter into rlation, you pray, sacrifice. All this is necessary for
    • philosophical reasons as distinguished from what you also might do after
    • recognizing that God revealed himself. If you do philosophy without taking into
    • account the revelation, it is lacking something. To expect a revelation is more
    • realistic than to not expect one, philosophically speaking.

    • Natural religion: Religion is a part of human life, man has a right
    • to that, the international declaration og human rights contains it, so it is
    • only just that the state should give people the opportunity to donate money to
    • a religion.
  5. 4. The Critique of
    religion in the Enlightenment.

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