Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of religion refers to the philosophical study of religion and religious arguments. It includes arguments over the existence and nature of a god or gods. It also includes arguments about prayer, religious language, the problem of evil, and miracles. Most often philosophy of religion centers around the philosophical investigation of whether or not any gods exist, and what is needed to rationally believe in a god.

Philosophy of religion most often gets categorized as a part of metaphysics. That happens because most religions see their god(s) as part of another realm of existence. In other words, they see their gods as more than physical beings, but rather metaphysical beings. Philosophy of religion contains subjects out of the field of metaphysics. In fact, philosophy of religion contains any philosophical question or argument that relates to religion.

Generally, definitions of God and his existence are usually divided into one of four categories: monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, and atheism.

Monotheists believe in only one god, and they usually see him as all-powerful and all-knowing. Islam, Christianity, and Judism are all examples of monotheistic religions.

Polytheists believe in more than one god. Some pantheist religions believe in as little as two gods, such as Zoroastrian dualism. Others believe in a large quantity, such as Hinduism. The religion of ancient Greeks (i.e. "the Greek myths") is an example of a polytheistic religion.

Pantheists believe that god is everything. They believe that every seemingly distinct object is part of an all-inclusive and abstract god.

Finally, atheists do not believe in any god. Generally, atheists range from strong atheists, who believe firmly in the absence any type of god, and weak atheists, who simply have no belief in god.

A major theme in the philosophy of religion is where the burden of proof falls. Many theists say that atheism is just as dogmatic and faithful as the religion it rejects. When the atheist claim that there is no significant evidence of god, these theists respond with the claim that there is no significant evidence opposing gods existence. Atheists usually contend that you need evidence to believe in something. For example, there may not be evidence that the back-side of the moon is inhabited by pink aliens; however most disbelieve it and would consider it irrational to believe in such a specific conjecture without any evidence.

However, there is not yet any consensus of this, and the question of what constitutes rational belief is still a major question in the philosophy of religion.

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