Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Religious Philosophy final essay

 Religious Philosophy Essay
  The study of Religious Philosophy is philosophical thinking that is inspired and directed by  religion. There are different philosophies for each religion such as those of: Christian Philosophy, Islamic Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, etc…  "Philosophy of religion is the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions. It involves all the main areas of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics and value theory, the philosophy of language, philosophy of science, law, sociology, politics, history, and so on." ( cited, Taliaferro, Charles, "Philosophy of Religion", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)  Comparative Religions is a field of study seeking to derive general principles from a comparison and classification of the growth and influence of various religion.

  Of course individuals come from different walks of life and have not shared the same paths, so our journeys will not always be in line with others, and our experience will differ. From before the time of the first mammal to present day we all can agree that there has been suffering, and that in itself makes for a great argument while dissecting the reasons for Religion as a whole. In the analysis of religion, through many years of study by some of the great Anthropological and Philosophical minds, and after all of the ex cogitating  it remains decisively personal. Each individual holds the "truth", whether it is developed from our experiences Economically, Psychologically, or Physiologically really makes no difference. The only thing that matters is that it works for the individual.

  Examining the different Philosophers from Anthropology (individual) and Sociology (community) backgrounds, I was able to see why there are differences in their hypothesis.  Like Frazier, who didn't travel very much, and spent most of his time in close contact with missionaries and administrators who provided him with his information from their travels, and then he interpreted them. I was able to see a more distinct portrayal of the development of their differing Philosophies (people develop philosophies for a reason).

  I found it to be very interesting on how they came to categorize the World's Religions into three distinct groupings; Natural (How to get along with the physical world), Social (How to get along with each other), and the Psychological (How to get to know ourselves so we can make sense of it all).   

   Partiality because of Doctrinal or Philosophical beliefs, from the Evolutionary classification they started with, which alienated a majority of the World's Religion by classifying them on the "low end" of the scale, compared to the three monotheistic Religions Christianity, Judaism, and Islam being on the "high end." The progression that it has taken as a result of the world taking part in the analysis is essential to its structure.

  The exercise given in lesson 12 really showed how arduous it would be to decorously decipher ancient writings especially from a dead language. It definitely substantiates how their can be so many various accepted Rabbinic translations just for the first three words of the Christian Bible ("In the beginning").

  It seems the more science investigates Religious Expressions the more they find that there is validity to them. Archaeology and Geology have played sizable roles in the coherence of Science and Religion. Deuteronomy 27; talks about Joshua's alter on Mt. Ebal, Science (Archaeology) has found an alter on Mt. Ebal discovered by a known atheist, Dr. Adam Zertal (Chairman of the Dept. of Archaeology at the University of Haifa) The Alter itself was made out of uncut stones as it describes in Deut., and 942 bones were found from three different types of animals sheep, goats, and cattle all being Kasher (Kosher) animals, and all being 1 year old males. Pottery found at the sight was dated to the time of the Exodus (13th century B.C.).  Also found were Egyptian Scarabs dated around the time of Ramses II (1245-1220 B.C. This is just one example of how Science has validated religious accounts. And for some of the doubters of Archaeology being a Science Archaeology is a science. It deals with real artifacts and falsifiable theories.

I am grateful to have taken this course it has allowed me to heighten my thought process. The more we keep an open mind and are willing to aside our personal bias, the sky is the limit!
  Enjoy your next 24, PEACE!
  Rev. C Watson

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