Philosophy of Religion – Part 2 – Introduction


Religion is the pious disposition to accept on Divine authority that which has been revealed by the Deity, and to voluntarily acknowledge one’s dependence upon Him. Its exercise entails not only the will, but also the intellect, imagination, and emotions. Its object is communion with God, which is attained in the highest perfection in heaven and, in a lower degree, in heaven and earth. The hope of attaining this end engenders the virtue of hope, while the consciousness of having offended and estranged God evokes fear and sorrow and the desire for reconciliation. Finally, the adoration of God’s goodness and excellence excites love.

Religion consists in a system of beliefs, customs and rites that individuals adopt to guide their lives and to organize their communities. It is an important source of morality, values and ethics, promotes social cohesion and stability, bolsters economic well-being, helps to reduce crime and outof-wedlock births, fosters education, and provides psychological and emotional support.

It is widely believed that a definition of religion should include the concepts of faith, Scripture, experience, tradition, tolerance, and unity. Some philosophers, however, argue that these concepts are insufficient to distinguish one form of life from another. They advocate a concept of religion that is less demanding, and focuses on the distinctive role that it plays in the lives of its adherents. This article considers the two arguments that are used to support this approach. This article is an extension of Philosophy of Religion – Part 1 — Introduction.