Kleshas and Tanhas

ethics morals faiths ideals

A Little Dialogue

with 2 comments

I responded to a post titled Bad Arguments for Atheism: Philosophy is Useless on the blog called Students for Christianity. There are two points I think the author was making in his response: Don’t presuppose that Philosophy and Theology are compatible, and just because Philosophy is the basis for everything, it somehow remains irrelevant to the compatibility between the two fields.

My initial reply was:

Nice to hear this as I am currently undecided-humanities, planning on double majoring in philosophy and theology.
I’d agree with the comment above that “philosophers don’t truly examine the whole realm of knowledge.”
That’s the beauty of seeing both theology and philosophy as compatible and interrelated!

To which he replied: (bold: the points I was answering/replying to.)

Jack, it’s a tragic philosophical start to already believe that theology and philosophy are compatible. I’m not specifically saying they aren’t here, but you never want to start with a conclusion and then try to find arguments for it. That’s a brilliant way to create fallacies both inside and outside of philosophy. You can say they are interrelated, because necessarily philosophy stands at the fundamentals of anything, so its interrelated with everything but this is, practically speaking, irrelevant. They are two different studies that may or may not be compatible. Go to your studies and engage in critical thought on what you learn, formulate opinions over reason and never dogmatically hold them true. The best kind of dogmas are the ones we never hold, but eliminate by proving them true. But as mentioned earlier, if you start with a belief you’re more likely to fall into fallacy so hold no assumptions outright if ever possible (which I’m quite certain it always is!). It’s much harder to change your mind once made up, so whenever possible leave it open.

To which I replied:

I think that compatible might be a stretch if its meaning is to be taken as synonymous. I could’ve had some better diction there; maybe complimentary was more appropriate. My point, via analogy now, is that you take a religious powerhouse thinker like St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas. One was heavily influenced by Plato, the other Aristotle respectively. As a student, I can say that I studied one or the other. But to be influenced means that they (the saints) somehow took on the general concepts, ideas, or structures from the philosophers and synthesized/based/related them to their topics.

What I initially meant by compatible was that there’s a trait of mutualism between the two separate fields of study; they give and take from each other. Why does Western philosophy seem so teleological while Eastern philosophy appears cyclical? It’s quite a stretch, but in general, the concepts of Heaven, Purgatory, and Earth are vertically linear depicted in Dante’s Inferno (a great example of that synthesis between philosophy and theology.) Samsara, simply portrayed in Siva Nataraj artwork, implicates our live(s) are a continuous cycle until we achieve moksha. In general, we get the West thinking like l while the East is like O
At this, I’d say the average person subconsciously processes information in either way depending on his/her culture and what religious background effected his/her environment.

I don’t understand how philosophy can be irrelevant in this argument if it’s “interrelated with everything.” I understand that my point appeared to be presupposing that ALL things related to the vast fields of Philosophy and Theology are all one in the same thing. That wasn’t what I intended. What I do see in many situations is many a parallel between Christian morals that can be seen as a result of philosophies, or philosophies resulting from Christianity (it doesn’t matter which way.) The parallels are not always the same. I am not arguing that A B and C are all the same when it comes to Philosophy and Theology. But, there are many shared qualities that I FIND TO BE SUFFICIENT ENOUGH TO BELIEVE THAT A RELATIONSHIP EXISTS BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY. There is quite of giving and taking both ways.

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Written by Jack Viere

November 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Like in many arguments and discussions, most of what we disagree upon is none other than semantics.
    Personally, I find that my philosophical views can be affected by how hungry I am.

    Jacob Spire

    November 20, 2011 at 8:50 am

    • I feel like with the array of philosophies we have, we do have that luxury to
      pick and choose what we want and when we want it. Hunger is a human instinct?
      something we just experience without any mental input. I’d say it would be a
      solid feeling/experience that would be constant and objective 😛

      Jack Viere

      November 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm


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