It’s the subfield of philosophy devoted to the study of religious phenomena. Although religions are typically complex systems of theory and practice, including both myths and rituals, philosophers tend to concentrate on evaluating religious truth claims.
1. Judaeo-Christian influences on Philosophy of Religion
1.1. God the Creator
Ancient Greeks, like Platoand Aristotle, began trying to understand life with philosophical reasoning and arrived at an understanding of a higher being. Jews and Christians would call a higher being God and believe that God exists because the Bible says so. For them the Bible is a sacred text, which contains the words of God. This sacred text is the guide of believers to understand God.
The Bible opens with accounts of Godand creation. God created the whole universe from nothing (creatio ex nihilo). It means that God is the master of the world and its contents but God remains outside of his creation. The universe is created piece by piece and finally humanity is placed on the earth to rule it. Although animals are created next, they are made for the benefit of humans.
1.2. The meaning of God
Jews and Christianshave several beliefs about the nature of God. This nature is composed by attributes of God.
a) Eternal: Boethius (480-525) argued that God was timeless. God has no beginning or end. Others philosophers, like Richard Swinburne (1934-) or Oscar Cullman (1902-1999), state that God moves through time with us. He has always existed and will exist. He is not outside of time, but eternal meanseverlasting.
b) Creatio ex nihilo: Nothing existed before God. Everything in existence was created by God from nothing.
c) Divine sovereignty: usually, believers think God created the universe and governs it in complete according to his good plan. However, deistic philosophers think God created the universe, but does not govern it.
d) Omnipotent: God is all-powerful being.
e)Omniscient: God has knowledge of everything that has happened in the past, in the present and knows what will happen in the future. He knows people’s thoughts and motives, better than they do themselves.
f) Giver of free will: God gave humans the gift of free will enabling them to choose between good and evil. God did not create robots.
g) Omnipresent: God is present everywhere and throughouttime. God is in all parts of his creation.
h) The world comes from God: the world was deliberately created by God as an act of love.
i) Perfection (Omni-benevolent): God is good and perfect, so whatever God creates is good.
j) Immutable: God does not change. God does not have the potential to develop into anything else because he already is perfect.
k) Aseity: God is independent ofeverything else.
l) Relationships with humans: God created the world for humans, they are the highest point of his creation. They were made in the image of God and capable of having a personal relationship with God.
1.3. The goodness of God
Christians and Jews believe God is perfect because the Bible states he is. They find evidence to support this in the world he created. For them perfectionand goodness are the same when speaking of God. God is the source of all goodness in the world. For Christians especially, God’s goodness equates to love.
Jews and Christians believe people should respond to God’s goodness by obeying his Commandments. God provided humans with a guidance about how they should lead their lives. If people disobey him, it’s supposed God will responds with anger andpunishment. For instance, if a parent doesn’t care his child, he would break the rules and would be considered a bad parent. A good God punishes wrong-doers so they can learn from their mistakes.
For Christians, God’s goodness is seen in the person of Jesus, the Son of Good. Christians regard the teachings and actions of Jesus as further examples of God’s goodness. That God was prepared to let...