Philosophy of Religion
Philosophy of Religion starts with the presupposition that religion and religious ideas can be taken out of the domain of feeling or practical experience and made objects of scientific reflection. It implies that, whilst religion and philosophy have the same objects, the attitude of the human spirit towards these objects is in each case, different. More
Philosophy of Religion starts with the presupposition that religion and religious ideas can be taken out of the domain of feeling or practical experience and made objects of scientific reflection. It implies that, whilst religion and philosophy have the same objects, the attitude of the human spirit towards these objects is in each case, different. In the one they are present to it in an immediate way as objects of devotion or spiritual enjoyment; they come before it at most only in the form of outward fact or of figurative representation. In the other, they become the objects of reflection or intellectual apprehension, and are finally elevated to the form of pure or speculative thought. Feeling, indeed, in all cases, involves a kind of knowledge; the objects of emotion, whether moral or aesthetic or religious must be grasped by the subject, of them with an implicit intelligence, apart from which, its relation to them would be no deeper than that of blind instinctor animal impulse. But the knowledge which is involved in feeling, is as yet, only implicit or virtual knowledge ; it must become something more and higher before it truly deserves the name. And that something higher philosophy claims as its prerogative to elicit. In philosophy we pass out of the sphere of immediacy, in which the mind is still, in a sense one with its object, in which subject and object are dissolved in an atmosphere of intuitive emotion. Abandoning the blessedness of simple faith, we enter into that colder yet loftier region in which reason opposes itself to its object, breaks up the natural harmony wherein no contradiction of thought has yet betrayed itself, and advances to the search after a deeper and indissoluble unity. Nor, in asserting this as its prerogative, does philosophy admit of any limits to the range of its activity. Whatever is real is rational, and with all that, is rational philosophy claims to deal. It does not confine itself to finite things, or content itself with observing and classifying physical phenomena, or with empirical generalizations as to the nature and life of man. Its vocation is to trace the presence and the organic movement or process of reason in nature, in the human mind, in all social institutions, in the history of nations, and in the progressive advancement of the world. In, other words, so far from resting in what is finite and relative, the peculiar domain of philosophy is absolute truth. It offers to thought an escape from the narrow limits of our own individuality, even of our own nationality and age, and an insight into that which is universally and objectively true. In all provinces of investigation it seeks as its peculiar employment to penetrate beneath the surface show of things, beneath empirical appearances and accidents, and to find the ultimate meaning and essence. Its aim is to discover, not what seems, but what is, and why it is; to bind together objects and events in the links of necessary thought, and to find their last ground and reason in that which comprehends and transcends all—the nature of God Himself.