From Philosophy Comes Religion

Is there an effective difference between the insane and the hallucinating?
Who amongst the great mass of insane do not hallucinate in their delusions of reality?
And who among them knows which are less deluded than others?

Someone says, “MAKKI controls all things” and before you know it, MAKKI is an old magical man living on a mountain with 3 divine and powerful wives to whom all are to bow or be cursed for all eternity. And if you want for anything in your life, bow and pray to MAKKI (and don’t forget to pay the priest).

And it isn’t long before MAKKI is well known throughout the entire world, white robe, golden crown, long white beard, and all.

In the evolution of human consciousness religion came before philosophy. The zeitgeists of human belief are 1. religion/mythology, 2. philosophy, 3. science/technology.

I think that James by ‘religion’ means ‘religious philosophy’ aka ‘theology’. His style of writing, the very systematic and deductive approach, reminds me of scholastics.

But yes, you’re right, religion does precede philosophy, which precedes science. I see it as evolution of thought.

No religion ever preceded philosophy.

One must philosophize to at least the minimum degree to merely come up with a superstition. And much, much more so, a religion.

Superstitions are the result of efforts to form understanding of why things happen (an ontology). Religions are the effort to organize the resultant beliefs into a group system, “social philosophy”.

And btw, Science is but a single philosophy involving observational discipline (“commandments” - “thou shalt not conclude until…”) and has already become a serious religion with all of the exact same trappings as every other.

This takes quite a stretch of imagination–seeing mythology as philosophy. Among ancients the Shaman was the priest who professed to know how others must behave, what ritual and rites were to be used, in order to survive the forces of nature. This smacks of religion, not philosophy.

Look at this:
[list][list][list]Religion —› Theology —› Philosophy / Science —› Theology —› Religion[/list:u][/list:u][/list:u] :-k

But it must have a philosophy ‘in’ it, as a foundation. For example ontology - this is what things are made of - epistemology - how one goes about getting knowledge. Shamans work from both of these. They don’t spend time amassing large texts which we associate with philosopy, but they have an ontology, they have an epistemology (and they have their experiences). These set up a process of development. But if you have no philosophy - implicit at least - you simply have a bunch of sense data. Like a series of pixilated experiences and can draw no conclusions, make no choices, and so on.

I would guess that James is not only saying that Judaism came out of a text like Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Spirit and we can go to that to find the sources of Judaism, but he is saying that there was not necessarily some oral equivalent…
however in the language and culture from which religions grew, there were implicit and explicit assumptions about ontology and epistemology and these are a philosophy - or a few mixed - and from these religions develop.

Experiences are obviously involved and these lead to philosophies, but philosophies also lead to experiences. The scientific community - not all of it - tends to think this is something they avoid and can prevent (in themselves) but their beliefs also lead to their experiences (and lack of).

Philosophy involves how one lives. And that includes how one is to think and behave. Ancient mystics believed in and/or promoted thoughts on what kinds of beings existed and had influence over the world. And due to the proposed existence of these beings (an ontology), various behaviors were recommended and often demanded.

The existence of God, for example, is an ontological issue. The origin of the belief in God came from someone choosing an ontology inclusive of such a being/existence. The same is true concerning all of the gods, all of the laws of physics, all ethics, literally all thought. And with any thought comes belief and with any belief comes recommended behavior => religion.

There can be no religion without a philosophy within it, although there can be a philosophy without a religion associated with it.


Thought of any kind doesn’t begin without inherent philosophizing. Even animals and insects are prewired with innate philosophies, “eat - drink - and get laid”.

It really is a stretch.

Philosophy is not only open to criticism, but it is necessarily self-critical and necessarily includes some sort of argumentation to support positions.

Just making up or accepting answers based on intuition or emotion is precisely what philosophy isn’t, and religion is.

Yes James, but according to that reasoning literally anything can be called a philosophical issue. Ontology encompasses and studies the entirety of existence and existence itself, so existence of anything is by definition an ontological issue.

But the point is that religion and philosophy approach these issues (existence of God) differently. F.e. the religious won’t demand arguments or evidence in order to believe, while the philosopher will, and the philosopher will remain critical, while a religious person doesn’t have to. Of course, there is religious philosophy, which includes bits and pieces from both camps so is the primary cause of confusions like this.

“Making up things” is exactly what philosophy is.

It is considered better, more useful, to ensure that what you are making up is logically coherent with some greater whole philosophical stance (an ontology). There can be no creative thinking at all, no philosophizing at all, if there is no “making things up”. The verifying that the made up things are useful is important when not merely telling amusing stories. But every law of physics was merely “made up” before it was tested. And every belief was merely made up before it was accepted.

Philosophy is not merely a series of logic or truth statements. Philosophy is hypotheses (“made up” ideas) being analyzed for acceptance. Science is the same merely with a restriction on what can eventually be accepted. Theologies and superstitions were accepted without the same rigor as Science would (is supposed to) require.

Quantum Physics in “Science” (actually merely pseudo-science) is very much, entirely “made-up superstition”. It is a philosophical proposal, a “theory” concerning an ontology invented out of pure statical mathematics. It is actually incoherent with itself as well as experimental reality, but that doesn’t stop them from selling it in schools as “science” so that they don’t have to call it a “religion” (which it actually is).

It depends on the definition of the word “philosophy”. So you are saying that animals have philosophies. (By the way: insects are animals too.)

There is
A) ontological philosophy
B) behavioral philosophy

And (B) depends upon (A).

Non-cognitive creatures rely on pre-wired ontological and epistemological presumptions within the neurological system; “If I feel touched on my right, something is touching me on my right”, “If I see it, it is there”, and so on. Being non-cognitive, they do not think about such things at all. They merely accept the truth of them without cognitive thought, and without which they could not survive at all.

And such ontological presumptions constitute a philosophy of survival involving ontological constructs (solid surfaces, dangerous enemies, good foods,…) as well as recommended behaviors (run, eat, sleep, watch, listen,…). They do not CHOOSE to do these things, They are pre-wired with the philosophy, not educated into it (although some do learn from their parents or by watching others).

And what about plants and mushrooms? They have no brains, but they obviously need to “know” something in order to survive. They get informations about their environment, process this informations, and react. Without that kind of “knowledge” they could not survive - just as many other living beings that have a kind of “knowledge”. Do you think that they also have a kind of “philosophy”?

The philosophy of a Man is different than that of a human.
The philosophy of a woman is different than that of a man.
The philosophy of a bull is different than that of a sheep.
The philosophy of a spider is different than that of an ant.
The philosophy of a grass is different than that of a tree.
The philosophy of a mountain is different than that of a lake.
The philosophy of radiant energy is different than that of matter.

But the philosophy of Affectance encompasses them all.

I conclude: Affectance has the greatest philosophy. :slight_smile:

Well, when you have to be the foundation of all physical existence, you need to be the greatest. :sunglasses:

It is true that all religions have philosophies in it. No intellectual can challenge it. And if he does so, he is not entitled to be called an intellectual. Yes, one may agree or disagree with those. That is an entirely different issue and acceptable too.

As far as the issue of preceding is concerned, I slightly differ from James. In some cases, philosophy predates religion, but in some cases, religion predates philosophy.

All those religions, which starts from any prophet or any incarnation of a diety, religion comes before philosophy.

Take Islam, there was nothing in Islam before Muhamad. He came first, then the philosophy of Islam came. The same true for religions like Shivaism, which starts from a particular deity.

But, there are a different type of religions, in which philosophy comes first and manifests religions, like Vedanta and Buddhism.

Contrary to general perception, Vedanta is not based on Vedas. It looks at Vedas as a sceptic, and takes its own course of investigation. It moves forth and back many times, tries different modes of investigation, and then reaches to conclusion after many amendments. Thus, it is a philosophy.

The same is true for Buddhism and Sufism too. Like Vedanta, Sufism also does not take Quran verbatim, as conventional Islam did and stll does. Sufism explorred different explanations and kept itself amending. That is why it is a philosophy.

But, if James think that Abrahamic Prophets were not Prophets in reality, and they just put forth what they considered appropriate at their times, he is right in his own way in claiming that philosophy always predates religion.

With love,

Anthropomorphism. In that sense everything is philosophy. Do you know that spiders and ants have minds? Mountains? Lakes? I thought philosophy meant having a mind in order to be aware of one’s existence.

No belief ever predates the philosophy that generated it. Every mind has a philosophy concerning how to obtain and deal with information (epistemology). A belief (ontology) cannot be formed until such is true. A set of beliefs can then form a recommended behavior based upon a behavioral philosophy for dealing with the believed situation (a “personal” religion). One must accept the ontological issue of God’s existence before one can recommend a proper behavior for addressing it. The recommended behavior for dealing with the nature of God and life CAN then become a religion as such behavior is taught to the public as a necessary behavior.

Every belief (or disbelief) concerning any existence is an ontological issue. How that belief came about is an epistemological issue. What to do because of the ontological issue is a philosophy of life (a strategy) issue. It doesn’t become a religion until such a behavioral philosophy is taught to the public.

It has nothing to do with anthropomorphism. A mind is only required for cognitive thoughts concerning what might exist or not. Behavioral philosophies (strategies for survival) are inherent in all that has a behavior to it. Mind is not required.

Ants, for example, have a social strategy, a socialist philosophy, that allows them to continue as a species. They do not think about it in any way, they merely do it, a “pre-wired” philosophy for dealing with life. A part of that pre-wired philosophy is an inherent ontology that involves the existence of food, water, enemies, queens, and so on.

There is a great deal of internal religious criticism and discussion, though not every religious group allows it or subgroup. Theology has all sorts of criticism, argument, debate…

The very idea of apriori suggests some things are simply obvious or based on intuition. There are religious people and philosophers who believe in rationalism - taken in the philosophical sense meaning as opposed to empiricism.

And sure, philosophers are generally not going to SAY that they are basing their ideas on emotion, but this does not mean it is the case, and religious people tend not to say this either. Many of the latter will in fact say that their ideas are based on empirical ‘research’ available to anyone.

And saying that something is philosophical or religious or based on the former does not mean that it is correct. The set of philosophies obviously includes mistaken ones and partially mistaken ones.

You can’t treat the terms as if they were epistemic evaluations.