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Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of Religion

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines the philosophy of religion as the examination of the central themes and concepts that are essential to the world' religious traditions. The philosophy of religion must be distinguished from religious philosophy. One seeks discussion on the questions of the nature of religion in general, while religious philosophy is largely restricted to a single belief system. The philosophy of religion studies alternative theories of God, religious experiences, the intersections of science and religion, the nature of good and evil, and other such weighty topics.

One of the largest topics in the philosophy of religion is the existence, nature and knowledge of God. As for the existence of God, there are four major positions that one can take. Theism (whether mono or poly) maintains that there is a God (or gods). Agnosticism holds that if there is a God, its existence cannot be known. Atheism is the outright rejection of the existence of any god. Apatheism is a total lack of interest in the question, while Possibilianism seeks some middle ground between theism and atheism.

Seemingly every philosopher in history has spent intellectual effort in the philosophy of religion, from Plato and Aristotle to Karl Marx, David Hume, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Some, under the umbrella of natural philosophy, have sought to prove the existence of God, while others have pushed science to disprove or reject such notions.

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