The Influence Of Religion Theology Religion Essay Example
The Influence Of Religion Theology Religion Essay Example

The Influence Of Religion Theology Religion Essay Example

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  • Pages: 13 (3306 words)
  • Published: October 6, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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In the European Enlightenment, there was an anticipation that faith would diminish as the modern era progressed. This expectation was met during a specific timeframe in the modern era, but it began to reverse in the postmodern era.

In the postmodern epoch, there was a resurgence of spiritual influence, possibly because the review of the modern epoch presented by postmodernists left room for faith to regain its significance. My paper will explore the possibilities of incorporating monotheistic spiritual rules in this review of modernity.

Table of contents

  1. Modernity and its relationship with monotheistic faiths
  2. Criticisms of modernity and its integration with monotheistic faiths
  3. Transcendental idealism (in Enlightenment) Vs transcendental empiricist philosophy (in monotheistic faith)
  4. Conclusion

Modernity and its relationship with monotheistic faiths

Modernity was the societal order that emerged following 'The Enlightenment' in seventeenth century Eur


ope. It had roots in earlier movements such as the Renaissance. When traced back to its history, the evidence of modern ideology can be found in the Enlightenment era. The structure of the 'Extended family' transformed into the 'Nuclear family'. 'Agricultural workers' became 'Industrial urbanites'.

Urbanism was seen as a new and characteristic way of life. It replaced traditional religious beliefs with rational systems of behavior that people previously followed in social rules and organizations. Therefore, modernity encompassed not only economics, politics, and engineering, but also social, cultural, religious, and sociological aspects. Understanding culture and religion is crucial for grasping the essence of modernity, making this era an ideological revolution.

This paper will focus on the ideological aspect of the transformation brought about by modernity, specifically in the context of European Enlightenment. Immanuel Kant (1784) explains enlightenment as the freedom, liberation, and empowerment of one's own intellect, which is obtaine

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through self-imposed restrictions. This intellectual restriction is dogmatic in nature, as individuals are only able to exercise their understanding when directed or guided by others. This restriction is self-imposed not because individuals lack the ability to reason, but because they lack the courage to do so without external influence. This is why the motto of enlightenment is "sapere aude!" (Have the courage to use your own reason!).

In addition, tuition primarily concerns matters of faith rather than the arts and sciences, as rulers and leaders have historically used religion to justify their position, maintain control over the population, and prevent people from using their own reason. Challenging the church in the pre-modern era was extremely risky and those who did so faced severe consequences. This is why Kant argues that the most powerful form of tuition to break free from is religious bigotry, because it not only causes the greatest harm but also is the most humbling. According to Max Weber, rationalization was a key aspect of modernity. Society was transitioning from traditional beliefs to more rational thinking. "The scientist's laboratory method, the capitalist's profit and loss ledger, the bureaucratic rules and ranks within the organization, all demonstrate the importance of rationalization."

According to Lyon (2002), faith is considered a component of traditional thinking. Veco's research on 685 civilizations suggests that the three oldest traditions in each civilization were marriage, funeral, and worship, with worship playing a significant role in religion. However, religious dominance existed in the pre-modern era but was replaced by positivism and rational thinking during the modern era. The authority once held by religion was transferred to scientific evidence as science could provide

answers to questions previously addressed through faith. This led to the separation of church and state and a decrease in religious influence. The power to influence that theologians once had now belonged to contemporary minds. Enlightenment does not deny God's existence outright but rejects the impact of religion.

The modern mindset tends to take an agnostic stance on the existence of God. However, there are notable figures like Voltaire, Rousseau, and Thomas Paine who embrace free thought in their work and beliefs. Voltaire famously said, "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" (Lyon, 2002). Deism sees God as a "clocksmith" who created the universe with preexisting laws such as gravity but does not intervene or cause supernatural events. In contrast, monotheistic religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam view God as an all-knowing and all-powerful being with supreme benevolence.

Anselm, in his work (Warlburton, 2004), argues that despite granting humans free will, God continues to control the universe and determines their circumstances. This belief is shared by scholars from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Various prominent scholars have addressed this issue and provided references from their respective scriptures. For example, the Muslim scholar Ahmed ibne Tayyimah conducted research on this matter and cited evidence from the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Noble Quran, Chapter 65, verse 12 states: "It is Allah who has created seven celestial spheres and of the Earth the similar thereof (i.e. ..."

There are seven celestial spheres and Earth. Allah's Command descends between them, showing that Allah has power over all things and has knowledge of all things. This means that the relationship between worlds and God

is that of a maestro or Lord and a slave, rather than just a caused cause as explained by bookmen in the cosmogonic statement of philosophy. In addition, there is also a belief in supernatural beings in all three monotheistic faiths, such as angels made of light and jinns made of fire.

According to a scholar of Islamic divinity, the acknowledgment of modern European ideas ultimately led to the exclusion of philosophical inquiries about God, the soul, and the afterlife. Nietzsche questions this supposed modernity, referring to enlightenment as the "Death of God" in terms of metaphysics, knowledge, and power. In this new era, scientific inquiry replaced divine revelations and words of God as the source of knowledge. However, just like Christian values lost credibility in the modern era, the values derived from worshiping science and progress were also bankrupt. Consequently, when all values become meaningless, it can result in nihilism as discussed in critiques of modernity.

Criticisms of the merger of modernity and monotheistic faiths

According to Mitchell (Lyon, 2002), modernity's belief in progress and human power to bring freedom is also the source of its discontent. The post-traditional idea fosters uncertainty and unfulfilled optimism, while classifying, telling, and apologizing for modern life have unintended effects that limit freedom. Like any other ideology, both modernity and enlightenment have their own drawbacks.

The text outlines three main criticisms that the paper will focus on regarding Mitchell's statement. The first criticism is that the notion of modernness implies that progress, power, and freedom are only attainable within a specific time and place. The second criticism asserts that since this concept originates

from the human mind, it adopts a narrow perspective that limits alternative thinking or actions. Lastly, the text highlights Deleuze's critique of Enlightenment to illustrate how despite promoting freedom and liberation, enlightenment actually imposes restrictions. These three criticisms draw parallels with the major monotheistic religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism), each supported by an example. Postmodernists argue that European enlightenment universalizes modernist ideologies and claims.

Postmodernists argue that the epistemic, political, and other claims of modernists cannot be applied universally. Modernity, they argue, is specific to a certain historical and cultural context, especially in its explanation of dogmatic thinking. Figures like Emmanuel Kant and other modernists viewed religions as a primary form of closed-mindedness, with enlightenment being the liberation from such closed-mindedness. Thus, according to their perspective, religion hinders critical thinking and inhibits societal change. However, it is important to recognize that religion itself has often served as a catalyst for challenging irrational traditions in various societies, bringing about social transformations in unique ways. For example, Prophet Moses (Musa) emerged as a revolutionary figure against Pharaoh's oppressive rule, which enslaved and suppressed the Israelites. Their release from this dogmatic society can be seen as their own attainment of enlightenment.

Likewise, before the birth of Prophet Joshua (Eesa), political and spiritual domination prevented people from speaking up for their rights. They were subjugated to the extreme, and Prophet Joshua liberated them. In the Bible (Luke 4:18-19), Prophet Joshua states, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to prophesy good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at

liberty those who are oppressed..." Additionally, Islam emerged as a revolution led by early Muslims. The pre-Islamic period in the Arabian Peninsula was characterized by irrational practices such as female infanticide and injustices against the weak. The adherence to idol worship in that society was passed down from their ancestors, thus serving as self-imposed education. Freedom and liberation from this education came through Islamic enlightenment for followers of Islam. Similarly, modernists seek to universalize their ideas of progress and power.

Jane Jacob, in her book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)", argues that the modernists valued technology and materialism over other aspects of life. Despite the development and cleanliness in urban areas, she ironically points out that life was sustained by noise, congestion, and chaos. This was because society was becoming devoid of individuality and spirituality. As a result, individuals lost a sense of purpose beyond the materialistic world. This is where religion can play a role in answering the fundamental question of what one should hope for. All three monotheistic religions share a similar purpose for human life: to serve God.

In the Islamic Holy Scripture, God states the purpose of life (the Noble Quran, chapter 51, verse 56), "I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)."

"This worship extends beyond the rituals of the faith and encompasses every action and thought performed by humans as an act of devotion, with the aim of pleasing their Lord in all aspects of life or belief.

Furthermore, Peter emphasizes the significance of serving God according to the Bible (1 Peter 4:10-11)

"Each individual should utilize their received gifts to serve others,

faithfully administering God's grace through various means. If anyone speaks, they should do so as if uttering God's own words. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength provided by God, ensuring that praise is given to Him in all things." Therefore, unlike the progress seen during the European enlightenment period, spiritual advancement would primarily involve serving God while societal advancement would focus on aiding others. This delineates their philosophical distinction.

The Enlightenment, although claiming to promote freedom and emancipation from prejudice, ultimately restricts this freedom by confining it to a narrow human standpoint. Gill Deleuze argues that anthropocentrism is one of the main issues with the Enlightenment and modernity. Modernity focuses solely on human subjectivity while disregarding other perspectives like religious or divine ones. The introduction of social sciences and human sciences during the Enlightenment further reinforced this human-centered perspective. This anthropocentrism also leads to self-aggrandizement as these sciences are excessively humanized. When humans become overly self-important, they tend to dismiss any perspectives different from their own, including the divine viewpoint.

Deleuze argues that our perception of the universe is limited to 3D images, hindering our understanding. Each human has a unique perspective, uncovering layers of reality from their position in the universe. On the other hand, cameras can capture images in 2D, offering an alternate experience of space and motion. The popularity of 3D films reflects an attempt to mimic this perspective once again. Thus, when someone asserts their individual human viewpoint as the sole valid explanation of the world, it casts doubt on the accuracy of their perspectives.

In monotheistic faiths, followers believe that their sacred Bibles are the word of God; and

as God is perfect so is His word. The world of this universe and scientific disciplines has been explained through this perfect word of God, and not by an imperfect head of a human being. Another aspect which Deleuze states is desire, and to be more precise 'univocal flow of desire', that obstructs one's release and freedom. However, the power that opposes desire is not his position instead he believes 'power does not suppress us; it produces us'. Henceforth, in essence, he views desire as a positive and productive contrast to the popular standpoint from Freud of comprehending desire as negative, in terms of a gap that is unavailable to us, thus we desire for it. For Deleuze, this positive desire is used by humans to prevail, which then sustains and enriches their lives, as efficiency increases through techniques.

However, this desire prevents release as it has 'the power to bring forth images that enslaves it '. This desire, even when not an unconditioned quality, is dependent on involvements. Therefore, the desire to emancipate oneself from spiritual bigotry may result in European enlightenment. However, on the same footing of the desire to prevail, one may find solace in faith; it is dependent on your involvements, and therefore you may be enslaved as a consequence.

In summary:

"Desire begins from connection; life strives to continue and enhance itself and does so by linking with other desires. These connections and productions ultimately form societal wholes; when bodies connect with other bodies to enhance their power, they ultimately form communities or societies."

''(Deleuze, 2002) Many faiths originated in a similar context when people sought answers beyond their physical needs. However, their inquiries

were often unanswered by nature, leading individuals to attribute these phenomena to supernatural entities. To illustrate, Sir Edward Tylor, the founder of anthropology of religion, described animism as the oldest religion. He argued that people constructed this belief system when they could not find explanations for certain events and occurrences in their daily lives (Religion handout ref). Their motivation for doing so was a positive desire to overcome uncertainty and maintain a sense of control. As science began to provide answers to these questions, the significance of religion started to decline.

However, the scientific discipline cannot answer the question of why it is still beyond its realm where religion, aesthetics, etc play their role. In relation to monotheistic religions, Prophet Abraham is a common figure of high respect. The story told in the Bible and Quran about Prophet Abraham reflects his desire to discover the ultimate truth for himself. When Abraham asked his father and his people what they worship, they replied that they worship their idols. Abraham then questioned if these idols can hear them when they call upon them, or if they bring them any benefit or harm. Their response was negative, but they explained that they continue to worship the idols because they saw their father doing so. However, Abraham found this explanation unsatisfactory and his desire to find the truth persisted.

He further reflected: "When the dark covered him over with darkness, he saw a star.

He said:

"This is my Godhead." But when it set, he said: "I like none that those who set." When he saw the Moon lifting he said: "This is my Godhead." but when it set he said: "Unless

my Lord guides me, I shall certainly be among the mistaken people." When he saw the Sun lifting he said: "This is my Godhead, this is greater."

But when it set, he said: `` O my people! I am so free from all that you join as spouses in worship with Allah. Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the celestial spheres and the earth Hanifan ( Islamic Monotheism, i.e. idolizing none but Allah Alone ) and I am non of the Al Mushrikeen ( those who worship others besides Allah ) . '' ''( The Noble Quran, chapter 6, verse 76-79 )

Transcedental idealism Vs transcedental empiricism

Nietzsche has believed that western philosophers who have even played an import function in the period of enlightenment had deceived themselves, as antecedently mentioned that they universalized their claims, therefore, sing them as absolute truth and entire sorts of cognition, that excessively from an anthropomorphous position. One such word picture is apparent through Immanuel Kant's nonnatural idealism.

Kant defines 'transcendental' as something surpassing the infinite and boundaries, representing a higher reality beyond perception. Likewise, 'idealism' refers to the belief that the world is a construct of human consciousness, lacking independent existence. This notion is epitomized by Berkeley's famous phrase "to be is to be perceived". In this worldview, God and religion are deemed unnecessary in the realms of metaphysics and knowledge. However, transcending this understanding, there exists a space where God and faith can still be acknowledged. For instance, within the moral system, Kant professes an idealistic interpretation of God as perceived by human minds. Essentially, in transcendental idealism, God may exist beyond our earthly realm solely

within human consciousness and not necessarily as an inherent entity.

The job at hand, as noted by Deleuze, involves the consideration of transcendental idealism, which ultimately remains human-centric and therefore limits its applicability. Transcendental idealism focuses on phenomena, which are manifestations of human consciousness, but this viewpoint also highlights the solipsistic nature of the theory where only the "I" exists for humans and everyone else is part of their own perceptual experience. In his examination of transcendental idealism, Deleuze incorporates his theory of transcendental empiricism. However, Deleuze's understanding of the term "transcendental" differs from Kant's interpretation, as Deleuze sees it as going beyond the limitations of the human perspective.

Transcending the human-centric perspective and incorporating other perspectives as valuable; this is where the possibility of a divine perspective may exist. According to Deleuze, life is about going rather than simply existing. As a result, he includes the element of empiricism in his nonnatural empiricism theory. His theory incorporates a detached doctrine. Empiricism, as opposed to idealism, maintains that thoughts do not dictate experiences; rather, thoughts are a product of experience.

The universe cannot be given by any status outside the universe. According to the rule of immanency, we should not see the experience as belonging to a specific being or ultimate topic. Instead, there is a flow or multiplicity of experiences that affect any being or thought. Deleuze referred to his philosophy as a 'radical empiricist philosophy', a 'superior empiricist philosophy', and a 'transcendental empiricist philosophy'. In addition, Deleuze includes the concept of 'thing-in-itself' in his theory instead of 'phenomenon'. 'Noumenon' refers to something that exists independently of human consciousness, such as God and faith. Using a transcendental

empiricist approach, monotheistic faiths encourage individuals to observe various signs in existence and reflect upon them, as God exists independently and is not merely a creation of the human mind.

The text emphasizes the need to recognize God's existence rather than creating one through our thoughts based on Transcendental Idealism. The Quran serves as an illustration, stating that various natural phenomena are evidence of God's existence. By reflecting on these signs, non-natural empiricism can be used to seek the monotheistic, almighty God. Additionally, Deleuze argues that modernity restricts freedom by adhering to an anthropomorphic perspective, but transcendental empiricism can free humans from the limitations of a moral image of reason, allowing them to move towards the future.


Despite expectations that faith would diminish in importance due to the rise of enlightenment and scientific disciplines, this has not occurred, especially in the modern era.

The text talks about the increasing rate at which religion is changing, with Islam being the fastest growing monotheistic faith, while atheism is also growing quickly. This has led to a polarization in terms of theistic beliefs. The paper discusses how criticism of modernity has allowed monotheistic faiths to regain importance. Richard, in the book "Future of Faith," mentions Dewey's book "A Common Religion" and emphasizes the need for a sense of integration into a community that includes both humans and the nonhuman universe.

; A; Vattimo, G., 1983

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