Philosophy Lecture 1
What is religion?
The three ‘Abrahamic’ religions:
Christianity, Islam, Judaism
Comprise 53% of the world population
The non-religious (15%) plus the atheists (5%) make up about 20%, which is to say that 80%of the world is religious. Many of
the world’s major conflicts are defined by religious difference.
- War on ‘terror’ / Jihad
- India/ Pakistan
……But what is religion? How do you define it?
1. The idea of definition
Traditionally we understand defining something as giving its necessary and sufficient conditions
EX: the definition of bachelor is an ‘un married male’
That is: anything that is a bachelor is an unmarried male
Anything that is an unmarried male is a bachelor
‘unmarried’ is a necessary condition of bachelor
‘male’ is a necessary condition of bachelor
‘unmarried’ and ‘male’ are, taken together, a sufficient condition of bachelor
Essence=definition= necessary 17 sufficient conditions
What is the essence of religion?
- Belief, faith, in the un-provable
- God or Gods
- Individual and private affair
- Essential to life: answer to nihility(non-existence / nothingness)
- Eschatology : afterlife
- Priests or shamans
- Moral law
None of these features is present in EVERY religion
There is no necessary condition of religion
If there are no necessary conditions there are no necessary and sufficient conditions If there are no conditions there is no definition, no essence
Theory of family resemblances
'I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than "family resemblanc