Onlline Sermons

We have posted a lot of sermons from our Universal Life Church ministers. Some are Christian and some are not. You are welcome to use them or just enjoy them as you like.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Religious Philosophy

reverend adam rocke
essay: master of religious philosophy

This is my essay for the course entitled Master of Religious Philosophy by Robert Chamberlain as required to receive my certificate of completion. I start with some quotes that sum up some of this course content: "This religious function is to define our relationship with other people."( lesson 14); and the following: " Essentially what all three questions are addressing is the is of how we, as mortal human beings, relate to reality."(lesson 15). In lesson 16 one statement indicates –that with one exception, religions believe their followers should take an active role in the government and administration of society, that is, establishing, regulating and enforcing social structure. He goes on to indicate that groups tend to actively globalize their religion and the world would be a better place if everyone would simply convert to their faith. And, in lesson 22, a statement is made about differing religions and philosophies: " When all is said and done, these are not better or worse, they are simply different." Basically, after reading and studying this course various things become evident. It also becomes troubling as I will indicate in my closing remarks.

Religions serve the people who follow them the degree of difference in religions is also marked by the degrees of similarities.  No religion is greater or lesser in value. The complexities of various religions deal with the breakdown of certain elements and concepts. The noted authors of Smith and Russell indicate various tenets of religious content. Conceptually, I found that these comparisons were indicated in natural phenomenon and dealt with elements of ownership or guardianship of the world. Issues of science and religion are resolved by looking into the concepts of each and one can find that there is compatibility for these ideas as they tend to support each other rather than differentiate themselves in reality. Science is accounted for by definition as 'to know'. Derivations then go on to discuss 'omniscient' meaning omni (all) and scient (knowing). Thus one can contend that the use of science is by definition overlapping in religion. In science one deals with matters of knowledge or fact and in religion one deals with faith and cognitive thoughts not of science but of emotion and thought, values and meanings or invisible qualities and such. Are they incompatible? Quoted authors think not. They are answers to differing questions.

As I went through the course I saw many definitions to set most religions in their own context and then look at the thought that yes, there is both need for and goodness in concepts of people having religious beliefs. These do not interfere with matters of fact; they establish parameters for their followers to live by. Some consider superiority over the domain of the earth and others worship element of al natural things and preserve them. There is the psychological, natural and social means of religion to derive meanings of their practice. Additionally, religion is based on myth, doctrine scripture and sacred space. As one moved through the lesson in this complex analysis of philosophies, it becomes evident of why there are differing values of who is the way to follow. The dogma of these beliefs set them apart from one another.

When one compares various religions there is the issue of histories and translations and time variances that impact the differing thoughts within them. How did this history move forward and who controlled the ideas within is of great interest in comparing how things evolved in the religious practices. How did ones determine what is scared in there movements? All these factors and much more provide differing sets of thoughts for the followers and then religion is further complicated by defined regions of development. 

Humans believe in religion for various reasons and likely so the world will makes sense when there is not fact to determine why things happen. One has to look at the reason we believe. It seems to be human nature that we need answers to our question in life and this gives us religion to help us. No one wants to be without reason so if one thinks that we are of God's image then we act with the same qualities. The evil that occurs may not be because of God's wrath, but merely that absence of belief. Just as dark is the absence of light.

As one progresses through this course is explains many concepts and it is very complex in matters that are of theory relating to the end product. It shows examples of how we differ. However, what I found most interesting is the concept that in the political entities that have in essence banned religion, they have had to relax such bans as time has progress and the people go back to the concepts of the religious beliefs for support and this makes a community ultimately of people who have shared beliefs. So it is not so much as whether one is what religion, it is more that one has religion.

Another concept of the comparisons is how the world is viewed; are we superior to nature, a part of nature or are we responsible to nature. These are issues that also separate the philosophy that are followed.  These concepts too set up means for comparative elements of belief. Regions complexities of derivations can be looked at in many ways, but as mentioned above, the concept is to have it or not and to follow, or not. It appears as if mankind needs these guiding ideals to follow regardless of who thinks they are right or superior. My only interjected comment in all about religious philosophy is all should stand with equal value for those who wish to follow. Personally, I agree that is it choice and not my decision to push my beliefs on others. If they agree fine, and if not fine. I do believe and this course has opened up my ability to see differences and how beliefs are established.

My only closing remark is my concern for one value and that is superiority. The biggest detriment to religious freedom and in my opinion, to mankind is the belief, or I should say, if the belief exists that one group is superior to others and their role is to force all others to follow their personal religious doctrines. In other words, it is the concept that not that religion is the opiate to the people, but that superior is to the detriment of the people. Because then the only means is to either indoctrinate or forcibly instill their beliefs on all others. This has been the reason for taken this course, to see the evolution of religions, how they came to be and what they believe in. Ultimately, if left alone, all can coexist? However, reality is that this is not fact and there are those that wish to rule all through religious belief of superiority. This is the concern I have for the faith community. Will all others have to rise to assure that none are more than equal?

I found this course to be very enlightening and very and impressively complex in the analysis. Great work has been done by the author to show the various elements of religious belief systems. I highly recommend it for its content and thoroughness. Kudos to R. Chamberlain…


Reverend  Adam Rocke


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