On Religion and Philosophy

Topics: Religion, Buddhism, God Pages: 2 (441 words) Published: January 27, 2013
Buddhism sits on an ambiguous line between religion and philosophy, and to most people, this is still a debatable subject. First let’s define religion and philosophy. “Religion: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.” “Philosophy: The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, esp. when considered as an academic discipline” (Wikipedia). These are quite different, and at first glance, it’s quite a no brainer that Buddhism is more of philosophy. Although, through Google Translate, I looked up how the Thais define religion—a country that’s predominately Buddhist. One of their points on the Thai Wikipedia page for religion was that religion comes from understanding human nature. Although the grammar is a bit off through translation, they use Buddhism as an example. “He [Buddha] had to find a way out of suffering…. the 4 Noble Truths[,] and discover ways to practice mindfulness with spiritual knowledge to the creation and extinction of suffering. The Buddha's enlightenment… extinguished the passion. Teach a man to merit the blessing and prayers to his misery as a guide for the public… Explanation of the emergence and development of the religion.” So, maybe our definition of religion is heavily influenced by our language and culture. As westerners, we understand religion differently, and there is little use for accommodation to other religions when hardly anyone practices them. Besides, when defining something, it’s a simple statement to help someone understand something, not really an authoritative source (as much as it claims to be). A person of the Buddhist faith would most likely say, “Yes, Buddhism is a religion.” A Christian, Jew, or Atheist would probably say, “It’s a philosophy.” Maybe it’s not so cut and dry as we like to believe. Which brought me to the question, what about Christianity? It’s the religion I know best, but I personally am not involved with it. Many Atheists see Jesus...
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