WELCOME TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

                                                                                                                Zen Garden Ryoanji in Kyoto, Japan
                                                                                                                    photograph by Mizuno Katsuhiko

       Philosophy may be seen in, at least, two ways.

                1) From a detached point of view,

                        PHILOSOPHY can be thought of as a "TRIPLE A" -- AAA -- MICROSCOPE.

                    Here we ask and answer questions         Our course will explore
                         about basic Aims,                                         the basic Aims,
                                                Assumptions,                                              Assumptions, &
                                                     Alternatives.                                                Alternative
                                                                                                                            [Understandings of RELIGION]

                    In this orientation,
                            the four C's are central: (a) creed, (b) code, (c) cult and (d) community organization.
                                    These are the outer or exoteric aspect of religions.

            2) From a participant point of view,

                    PHILOSOPHY (philo = love; sophia = wisdom) can be seen as a LOVE OF WISDOM --
                        a wisdom that is practical, combines insight and compassion, and enhances our common life.

                When philosophy and religion are seen in this practical fashion, they tend to meet.
                Both seek a "way" of living-in-the-world which unites body, mind, and spirit for the sake of
                oneself, others, and what joins us together at the deepest levels.

                In this orientation,
                        spiritual practices (e.g. prayer, mysticism) are central and experience plays a key role.
                                    This is the inner or esoteric aspect of religions -- their deepest lived spirituality.

In this course, we seek to

    1. explore Eastern and Western approaches to religious experience,
    2. note the difference between literal, moralistic (exoteric) and symbolic, mystical (esoteric)

    3.                                             understandings -- whatever the religion,
    4. examine parable, teaching story, paradox and the problem of religious language, and
    5. consider ways of assessing religious claims, communities and personal practices.
SYLLABUS

ASSIGNMENTS

ENRICHMENT MATERIAL

                                                                    Return to John G. Sullivan Homepage