Musings

Philosophy and Religion

A few weeks before the semester started, I decided that I wanted to double major in philosophy and English. I had always been an English major, but the philosophy was a rather new development. I was planning on minoring in it, but I decided I liked it enough to major in it.

One of the reasons for this was an epistemology class (theory of knowledge) I had taken in the spring. It was an okay class, and I made it through with a good grade. I mostly forgot about it and moved on, but in church one Sunday we were learning about spiritual testimony. Suddenly, all this stuff from my epistemology class came into my head, and I gained a much greater appreciation of the difference between knowledge that comes from man and knowledge that come the Lord.

The philosophy I had learned had helped a lot in understanding something spiritual. I realized then that maybe studying philosophy was something I could do more of, because it expanded my mind and made me able to understand certain things better.

This semester, I am in four philosophy classes. They are difficult.

After school on Friday, I was done with my classes and went to the museum of art to see an exhibit. There was a lecture going on, so I randomly popped in to see what it was about. It was on St. Augustine, and I listened. The lecture of course touched on religious topics, and what St. Augustine felt, and I found myself looking at religion not from the point of view as I usually do, when I’m at church, but as if I was a scholar thinking about these deep, indeterminable subjects.

I realized in that lecture that there was a danger studying philosophy. Philosophers ask questions and try to answer them completely logically. They try to find truth using their own thoughts and perception. That’s what philosophy is about.

Truth can be found in religion. I sincerely believe that all the teachings taught in my particular religion are truth, and that all the answers to life’s questions are found there.

But when I study philosophy, I tend to forget that sometimes. The temptation is there to try to find out answers for myself and forgetting the truth that I already know. I am studying philosophy not because I am seeking for truth–I have already found that–but because I want to understand the truth I have better. I am studying it so that my mind can think in new ways and see clearer.

I think there is a danger in study of philosophy. We can start to think that our minds can do so much, and we can start to get at all things logically instead of having faith and belief. It is not a place to find answers–there are only confusing questions.

Religion is where the answers are.

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One thought on “Philosophy and Religion

  1. very thought-provoking, heather. i totally see your point. one of my cousins majored in philosohy at byu and then went on to get his masters and doctorate in phil at notre dame. he has some really messed up views since completing his studies. he has a few children and is now divorced, and does not associate with the church at all anymore.

    i think there can be danger in any profession, but philosophy is a sort of warm breeding ground for leaning to one’s own understanding.

    good luck coming to terms with what you would like to do concerning your major. i think you can be grounded in whatever you do as long as your focus remains where it should be.

    Like

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