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  • Created on: 06-03-16 18:06

intro; the emergence of philosophy in religion

  • Hegel discusses the idea of a 'sea change' in modern philiosphy. As we have shifted from philosophical theology (understanding the nature of God) to the philosophy of relgion (where we focus on the impact that religion has on society)
  • Hegel complains about the idea tha we cannot know God, and therefore shouldnt speak about God. And that we should speak of religion and not of god himself. He argued that we should have conceptual knowledge of God.
  • Enlightment philosopher, Kant is a major impact in philosophy. His critique against traditional arguments (e.g, teleological, ontological ect) had made the idea of gaining knowledge of God through reason, highly questionable. Belivers veiws had changed, and those who claimed to have gained knowledge about the divine were seen as irrational and superstitious.
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Philosophical theology before kant- 'the deist pro

There were 2 forms of philosophical theology 

  • Scholastic; Belivied that reason can work in harmony with revelation (the bible) as they both came from the same creator.
  • Deistic; Belived reason and revelation (bible) are completly seperate. They belive God exists  the creator of the universe and moral law. God has a plan for the universe, but doesnt intervene. Therefore they reject any supernatural claims, such as personal encounters/ miricles. They see the bible as human interpretation, rather than an authorative source. Religious truths can be found through reason and observing the natural world.
  •  The Englihhtenment (18th centuary) was a time were science and philosophy was developing. Deism was intruduced, which emphasised human reason. Many belived religion should be brought about "within the limits of reason alone".
  • Religious wars had occured (between catholics and protestants), enlightenment thinkers wanted to leave this behind. They wanted to 'foster moral unity' through an objective religion
  • This idea of 'rationalism' did not emphasis pure logic/reason over sense perception. But belived religion should be based on commonly available knowledge (whether that is through reason- a piori or experience- a posteriori. However Deist did not accept 'rational faith' being being based on any special revelation. 
  • Hume and Kant both belived that arguments for God were flawed, however they took very different paths.
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Kants imepact on the deistic project

Post-Kantanian reconstruction of the deist project

Kant undermined A-Prior arguments (e.g, Ontological) for the existence of God (metaphysical foundations) and put forward an alternative foundation for the desit project- The Moral Argument

  • The Moral Argument had 2 distinctive approaches; 1) We have no theoretical knowledge of God- Therefore we have no knowledge (a priori) on why God exists. 2) We can gain practical understanding of God- through practical wisdom.
  • Belived we should belive in God because of morality (help us become more moral as human beings) instead of logic. Therefore in his book, 'Critique of practical reason', He put forward moral arguments for God and immortalitiy-(he argued that if god created us as virtueous beings, and our lifes are cut short. then surley there should be an afterlife to reward us. There must be a God to reward us this life)
  • In the final 3 books of religion, Kant discusses the type of religion that would be acceptable in the Enlightment era(age of reason). This 'new religion' will be based on universall reason and morality. It will show us how rationality leads to morality. Kant explains the link between religion and morality; 1) Morality does not need religion at all 2)Morality leads to religion 3) the only way religion is useful is the fact that they recognise (moral) duties as Gods command.
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Kants impact on the deistic project....cont

  • Kant belives that in a rational, universal, moral religion there is no need for special Religious rituals. Through rituals God dosesnt recieve anything from humans, instead God wants us to focus on being moral/ethical people. Argued, rituals belong to 'fetish-faiths'- a meaningless human construct which is not essencial in order to live a moral life. Instead,rituals and the idea of a 'divine God' are a means to an end of human morality. Rituals are only useful if they encourage moral behaviour.
  • Kant attempts to bring Chrisianity 'within the limits of reason alone', and loooks at the concequences for Christ and the Church. Kant saw The Church as no more than a 'moral community'. He argued that authentic members of the church are those who live to improve thier moral lives.
  • In 'religion within the limits of reason alone' Kant focuses on the (Augustinian) idea of radical evil/sinfulless in human nature. However in the the moral argument he focuses on the more 'Pelagian' (optimistic/positive) view on 'soterology' (the study of salvation) and 'ecclesiology' (the study of the christan church)- The view that humans can choose to be good. He also argued that our view on 'christiology' (idea of christ as a human with divine powers) should be based purley on reason, and not historical facts.
  • Kants views are similar to that of a philosopher called Lessing, who belived that our kowledge on God should not depend on historical facts (as the text were interpreted by humans which may have, misinturpreted the religious experience). Their aim was not to eliminate christianity altogether, but to demythologize main ideas, making them more reasonble. 
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Romantic Schliermacher

Was part of Romanticism; The romantic era was a movement in art literature and philosophy. They were against The Enlightenment (18th-centuary), instead emphasized feeling, individuals, sense experience, imagination and the trancendent.

  • Husk:- He belived Kants(deistic) hard-line moralistic approach and his ideas of metaphysics (abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space) and morality as being the husk (unimportant) of religion.
  • Kernel:- He belived that the essence of religion lied in feeling, the awerness of unity in all things.
  • He was a supporter of the philosopher Spinoza, who suggested Pantheism. This was the idea that God/The Eternal exists (is interconnected) in all things in the world. Opposed the idea of God as a personal being, external from the world.
  • Hegel belived that schliermachers church/followers would be a community of belivers, who recognise the feeling of unity in the world as the only 'true religion'.
  • However, Schliermacher is tolerant of other religions (with their own metaphysical belifes and moral practices) because they are developing their own feeling of interconnectedness and trying to get in touch with the divine. No rligion is perfect, we are all trying to get in touch with the divine.
  • Belived 'true religion' (the universal kernel) is clothed in particular religious rituals and ideas. Religous feeling needs to be mediated in some concrete form (e.g, acts of worship). We need a coincrete way of looking at religiion to help us make sense of it.
  • However we must understand that these these forms of expression/acts of worship are not necessary, and without rituals, individaulas are still able to find 'True religion'.
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Idealist Hegel

  • Hegel belived religion must be 'the knowledge of God'. He rejected Kants idea that religion should be based on morality and Schliermachers idea that religion should be based on feelings. He argued that Romaticism (emphasises feeling) is empty of content and can be compatible with anything (too relative)- Which feelings matter?
  • Sets himself 2 tasks- 1. Defending metaphysics (idea of God as trancendent being/reality beyond our everday perceptions) 2. Developing metaphysics which is impotant for religion.
  • His key idea is that philosophy and religion are similar as they have the same focus, work in different ways. He belived Philosphy is better, because traditional religion depends on historical stories, . These are contigent (exist of their place and time)- Instead religion should concerned with somthing eternal/infinte. Philosophy is better as it is conceptual (ideas formed in the mind) and enables us to gain 'true knowledge'.
  • Hegels ideas are similar to that of spinoza's, as they both have a pantheistic view on the world (the divine exists in everything- i.e.nature). However Hegel belives 'The divine' exists in 'spirit' rather than nature.
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Hegel continued


  • Unlike Lessing, (who's aim was to reinterpret/demythologize certain ideas of of chritianity) Hegel takes a more radical approach, as he aims to completley reinvent christianity.
  • Hegel proposes an 'idealist' version of christianity, which focuses on lifting up our human/worldly, 'finite spirit' to the level of 'infinite spirit'. He wanted people to understand that WE ARE GOD. Humans beings are actually divine themselves, and should live there lives in a powerfull, purposeful and fearless way.
  • Hegel argued that when religious belivers experience a revalation, they mistake this for an encounter with an 'external being'. However in philosophy, this would instead be recognised as the discovery of highest form of human 'self-awareness'.
  • God is present in those who are beoming aware of the of 'Absolute spirit'. The 'Awareness' is the only 'true reality'.
  • He belived, the elevation of the human/finite spirit occurs in all religions but mostly in christianity. But first christians must take a philosophical approach and reinterpret main themes. For e.g, incarnation (Jesus is God in the flesh), christians should mistake this doctrine, as Jesus being special/supernatural. This myth shows that 'human awareness' is itself divine.
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