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 Are religion, politics and philosophy really all the same thing?

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Wolf
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PostSubject: Are religion, politics and philosophy really all the same thing?   Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:34 am

Some people believe that religion, politics and philosophy are all basically the same thing - a way for others to control the population and tell us how we should think and act.

What do you think? Are they the same? If so, why? If not, why not?

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Nick

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PostSubject: Re: Are religion, politics and philosophy really all the same thing?   Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:11 pm

What we think of as religion, in the modern sense, stems from Plato’s ideas of Metaphysics. The main Abrahamic, monotheistic religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) were all influenced mainly by Plato’s ideas on metaphysics and Buddhism.

Religion, philosophy and politics all stem from a desire of humans to find a reason for things, for why we are here and how we should and should not behave. They all attempt to set down a set of moral rules for society to live by and abide by, so creating a feeling of belonging and identity in society itself and in the individual belonging to that society, philosophy, religion or political leaning.

I am not saying this as a criticism, merely as an observation and method of understanding. Humans need a system of codes to allow us to live together peacefully, and whether you choose to believe in a God figure (in religion), in a philosophy for life and living, or in a political ethos, then they each provide us with a necessary framework to base our lives on.

Main religious figures, like Mohammed, Buddha, Christ, etc can easily be compared directly to what we consider to be modern political activists, in that they invariably preach to their followers a new way of thinking (a new philosophy of religion or political movement) that is at odds with the status quo and is designed to bring their followers to a happier and freer way of life.

The only difference as to whether you call something a philosophy, a religion or a political ethos is merely how we view the person or persons ascribing that view. If we believe that the ideas are divinely instigated, then it is religion, if it comes from a contemporary thinker or scholar, then it is philosophy, if it comes from a leader it is politics. They are all basically the same thing really.

It was only after Plato and Socrates that philosophy, religion and politics were considered to be separate subjects, yet they continue to run along the same lines.

What often amuses me, personally is where people who tend towards right wing extremism stem from a left wing religious ideal (like Christianity for example, there are many extreme right wing thinking Christians, yet the teaching of Christ himself were extremely left wing – with the good of society, the love of thy neighbour and helping those in need being the main bases of Christianity. Christianity, at its core is extremely similar, politically, to socialism in this way). Almost all the main religions tend towards the left politically, yet their most ardent supporters tend towards the right.
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Mike



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PostSubject: Re: Are religion, politics and philosophy really all the same thing?   Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:20 pm

Philosophy is more fundamental than religion or politics, which could perhaps be called branches of philosophy. Religion tends to presuppose the existence of a god, whereas philosophy questions it. Similarly, philosophy can help us determine the merits of different political systems. 'Politics' all too often just means the petty competition between parties trying to manage a preexisting (but not permanent) political system.
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Nick

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PostSubject: Re: Are religion, politics and philosophy really all the same thing?   Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:26 pm

There you raise the problem of individual interpretation of the definitions of the words themselves, whereas I am thinking more of the ideas behind those titles themselves, as to whether the philospher, the religionaist and the politician are not basically all trying to work towards the same end - that of convincing others that their way of thinking is right, that others are wrong, adn so people should listen only to them and to no other? SO giving that philospher / religionaist / politician power over others.
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Mike



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PostSubject: Re: Are religion, politics and philosophy really all the same thing?   Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:55 pm

I don't think philosophers/religious types/politicians always or inevitably try to coerce others into accepting a belief. Plato/Socrates' method was mostly to ask questions to encourage someone to see the faults in their own views. Similarly, some counsellors say very little, and just allow their client to explore and change their attitudes with minimal prompting. However, it could be argued that these approaches are just more subtle ways of one person trying to change someone else's mind!
Surely, though, many views need to be challenged. Elsewhere, Nick, you've highlighted the importance of getting rid of prejudice. That's one example where philosophers/religious types/politicans should make an effort to challenge certain views in a strong way.
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Nick

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PostSubject: Re: Are religion, politics and philosophy really all the same thing?   Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:34 pm

I don’t have any problems at all with trying to convince others of your point of view and even thinking that your point of view is better for everyone to live by (as many people feel). My problem comes when such ideas are attempted to be forced upon others, whether by force or threats of punishment (either directly or indirectly). Everyone should be allowed to air their ideas and others allowed to choose whether to follow them or not. After all, the whole reason I am posting here right now is to try out ideas of my own and trying to convince others of my ideas, while also noting other peoples’ points of view and maybe being converted to that way of thinking.
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