Prayers are said facing Mecca, at five specific times throughout the day, and are physicalised through bowing and kneeling. Fasting is required at specific times, as is a pilgrimage to Mecca for all Muslims who are able. Contemporary Judaism, however, is not as dependent on location as Islam, given its tragic history with exile and diaspora.
What, then, would it take for an alien to be considered a participant in an Earth religion?
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What would she be required to do? Pray five times a day? Would she have to be baptised? Receive communion? Build a tent for Sukkot? Would that restrict their conversion options? This may seem to be a bit of frivolous exotheology, but the point is this: all of our religious identities are Earth-centric ones.
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And vice versa. Realisations of divine life would not be in contradiction with each other or with creation. Some believe that the discovery will set us on a path the end goal of which will be to outgrow religion. Surely its re-inventiveness, its adaptability is a testament to the fact that there is something about religion that resonates with humans at a basic level.
Many religions have always believed God names the stars. And that they might possibly each have their own names for God? He lives in Delaware, and is a graduate student in theology at Villanova University.
5 Conflicts Between Science and Religion
Watch next: The alien threat that could wipe out life on Earth. This media cannot be played on your device. Future Menu. What is BBC Future? Follow the Food. Future Now. In Depth Religion If we made contact with aliens, how would religions react? Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter. Share on Reddit. Share on WhatsApp. Share by Email. Both of these schools of thought derived certain theological kinds of thinking from physics and cosmology.
The Stoics generally held a cosmological view of an eternal cycle of identical world-revolutions and world-destructions by a universal conflagration.
Absolute necessity governs the cyclic process and is identified with divine reason logos and providence. This provident and benevolent God is immanent in the physical world. God orders the universe, though without an explicit purpose. Humans are microcosms; their souls are emanations of the fiery soul of the universe. The Epicureans, on the other hand, were skeptical, materialistic, and anti-dogmatic. It is not clear they were theists at all, though at some points they seem to be. They did speak of the gods as living in a blissful state in intermundial regions, without any interest in the affairs of humans.
There is no relation between the evils of human life and a divine guidance of the universe. At death all human perception ceases. Plotinus , in the Enneads , held that all modes of being and value originate in an overflow of procession from a single ineffable power that he identified with the radical simplicity of the One of Parmenides or the Good of Plato's Republic. Nous , the second hypostasis after the One, resembles Aristotle's unmoved mover.
The orders of the world soul and nature follow after Nous in a linear procession. Humans contain the potentialities of these creative principles, and can choose to make their lives an ascent towards and then a union with the intuitive intelligence. The One is not a being, but infinite being. It is the cause of beings. Thus Christian and Jewish philosophers who held to a creator God could affirm such a conception. Plotinus might have been the first negative theologian, arguing that God, as simple, is know more from what he is not, than from what he is.
Christianity, emerging from Judaism, imposed a set of revealed truths and practices on its adherents. Many of these beliefs and practices differed significantly from what the Greek religions and Judaism had held. For example, Christians held that God created the world ex nihilo , that God is three persons, and that Jesus Christ was the ultimate revelation of God.
Nonetheless, from the earliest of times, Christians held to a significant degree of compatibility between faith and reason. The writings attributed to St.
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Paul in the Christian Scriptures provide diverse interpretations of the relation between faith and reason. First, in the Acts of the Apostles , Paul himself engages in discussion with "certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers" at the Aeropagus in Athens Acts Here he champions the unity of the Christian God as the creator of all.
God is "not far from any one of us. It reflects a sympathy with pagan customs, handles the subject of idol worship gently, and appeals for a new examination of divinity not from the standpoint of creation, but from practical engagement with the world. However, he claims that this same God will one day come to judge all mankind. But in his famous passage from Romans , Paul is less obliging to non-Christians. Here he champions a natural theology against those pagans who would claim that, even on Christian grounds, their previous lack of access to the Christian God would absolve them from guilt for their nonbelief.
Paul argues that in fact anyone can attain to the truth of God's existence merely from using his or her reason to reflect on the natural world. Thus this strong compatibilist interpretation entailed a reduced tolerance for atheists and agnostics.
Reconciling God and Science
Yet in 1 Corinthians , Paul suggests a kind of incompatibilism, claiming that Christian revelation is folly the Gentiles meaning Greeks. He points out that the world did not come to know God through wisdom; God chose to reveal Himself fully to those of simple faith. These diverse Pauline interpretations of the relation between faith and reason were to continue to manifest themselves in various ways through the centuries that followed.
The early apologists were both compatibilists and incompatibilists. Tertullian took up the ideas of Paul in 1 Corinthians, proclaiming that Christianity is not merely incompatible with but offensive to natural reason.
Philosophy of Religion (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Jerusalem has nothing to do with Athens. He boldly claimed credo quia absurdum est "I believe because it is absurd". He claims that religious faith is both against and above reason. In his De Praescriptione Haereticorum , he proclaims, "when we believe, we desire to believe nothing further.
On the other hand, Justin Martyr converted to Christianity, but continued to hold Greek philosophy in high esteem. In his Dialogue with Trypho he finds Christianity "the only sure and profitable philosophy. In a similar vein, Clement of Alexandria in his Stromata called the Gospel "the true philosophy. But he maintained that Greek philosophy is unnecessary for a defense of the faith, though it helps to disarm sophistry.
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