In this life, people tend to consciously or unconsciously seek the ultimate truth. The process of finding is based on human ignorance about whom and what human beings are in the world. There have been many ways in which the human being does in terms of looking for the truth to be understood. Some people have found what he regarded as the truth, some also have found it but still vague, and some did not find it at all. But in reality, they are all still just looking and looking for what he regards as the ultimate truth.
In this truth-seeking process, humans do it in three common ways, namely through Science, Philosophy, and Religion. When a man seeks truth in a scientific way – research, empiric, and experiment, structural, and pragmatic means that humans search for truth by means of science. When people seek the truth through life, experience of life in which humans wandering his intellect or mind or logic radically or rooted and integrally and universally and then mixed with the knowledge and the results are considered wise, beautiful and can be seen as a general truth and accepted then it means that human seeks the truth by way of philosophizing. Further, when people search for the truth by understanding the scriptures and is usually confirmed intuitively by revelation then it means that people are looking for truth through religion. Contrary to what is considered as scientific truth, wise, beautiful, and based on the revelation, sometimes there are some people who just seek the other truth for himself regarded as the truth, this is called as the truth of man. However, any attempt to seek the self truth or attempt to justify itself bound by the general public, are still regarded as untruth and unaesthetic in life with respect to social attitudes in interaction and mutual respect. If we look at the cases that occurred in recent years, there are so many inter-religious misunderstandings happened simply because it is caused by a misunderstanding of the religious perceptions.
In connection with the above cases, the question naturally arises as why this happened and how humans interpret the truth in general and individually without having to control the norm regardless of the community. Cases like this occurred because people do not understand what the meaning and the status of Philosophy are. In the philosophy of religion book written by Dr. H Rosdjidi, stated that a Philosophy is to think, according to William Temple Philosophy is to require knowledge to understand. Accordingly, the writer tries to explain what philosophy is, who can philosophize, why philosophy is important, how should we philosophize, when and where we should philosophize. The sixth scientific questions will be associated with a religious context, so, no more stray insights from philosophy and religion corridor itself.
Before discussing more about what the status of Philosophy are in the Register of Religion, then there is nothing better if we firstly understand what the meaning of Philosophy and Religion etymologically are.
Etymology and Meaning of Philosophy
The philosophy derives from the Greek , φιλοσοφία (philosophia) philo-“loving” + sophia “knowledge, wisdom,” from Sophi “wise, educated.”, Which literally means “love of wisdom”.
Some definitions of Philosophy:
- Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those related to the knowledge of reality, existence, values, reason, mind, and language.
- The word Philosophy means ‘Love of Wisdom’.
- Philosophy is how one makes sense of a truth.
- Philosophy is the only study that deals with the creation of the concept, which distinguishes it from science, logic, and art.
- Bertrand Russell stated that Philosophy is in the middle between science and theology.
- Philosophy is the art of reasoning about anything and about everything, and thus the lesson material anything and everything.
- Heraclitus said: “The purpose of Philosophy is not to know the world, but to put people on the right path.”
- “Philosophy studying the nature of existence, of man, and man’s relationship to existence …. In the realm of cognition, the special sciences are the trees, but philosophy is the soil which makes the forest possible.”-Ayn Rand, Filsafat, Siapa Yang Membutuhkannya (p. 2)The
American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, said that philosophy are:
- Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.
- Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, according to logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
- A system of thought based on or involving questions like: Philosophy of Hume.
- Critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.
- The disciplines presented in university curriculum of science and liberal arts, except medicine, law, and theology.
- The logic discipline which consists of, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
- A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity, an underlying theory: the original Philosophy of advertising.
- A system of values in which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, describes the philosophy as:
- The academic discipline concerned with making explicit the nature and significance of ordinary and scientific beliefs and investigating the clarity of concepts through rational argument as to their prejudice, implications, and the linkages, especially, the rational investigation of the nature and structure of reality (metaphysics), the resources and the limits of knowledge (epistemology), the principles and import of moral judgment (ethics), and the relationship between language and reality (semantic).
- Specific doctrines relating to issues of some specific individual or school (the philosophy of Descartes).
- Any system of beliefs, values, or principles.
- Personal view or perspective.
From several explanations of philosophy above, I may conclude that Philosophy is a discipline or science of studying and reviewing all matters of a general nature and specific reference to the principle or concept of the premise of everything that has not been being, is being, and there will be being that leads to a more noble purpose and wise and contains values that is convinced as a truth.
Etymology and Meaning of Religion
If this should be reviewed etymologically then there are some opinions that find the word R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N is derived from several languages.
Some say that the word RELIGION comes from the Sanskrit, ‘a’ means ‘no’ and ‘gamma’ means ‘mess’. So RELIGION means not chaotic. This etymology founds that RELIGION is the rules that can liberate humanity from chaos faced in their lives, even before their death.
Some also said that the word RELIGION comes from Sanskrit, which has the root word ‘gam’ means ‘go’. Then it gets a prefix root word ‘a’ and the suffix ‘a’, then formed a-gam-a (agama – religious) meaning ‘the way’. This Etymology founds that religion is a way to achieve happiness.
Another opinion says that the word RELIGION comes from the Arabic, ‘al-din’. ‘Din’ means ‘law’ or ‘rule’ or ‘dutiful’ and ‘the day after’. The purpose of this etymology is that religion is people who are doing -din, the point is people are submissive and obedient to the rules and laws of God to find happiness in the hereafter.
Finally, some have argued that the word RELIGION comes from the Latin, ‘religere’ means ‘be careful’ or ‘religare’ which means ‘bound’. Based on this etymology, according to Winkler Prins in Algemene Encyclopaedia that anyone who is doing ‘-religious’ is the people who always feel bound by anything that is considered sacred. If it is said comes from the word meaning religere careful, so the meaning will be that people with the religion that is the person who always cautious with something that is considered sacred.
Based on the four etymological views above, they certainly make us confused and towards which the correct terminology to understand and follow. This can lead to an expert in comparison of religions in Indonesia, Mukti Ali, said “Perhaps no word is given by the understanding of the most difficult and the definition of the word other than religion.” Nevertheless, it is clear that a RELIGION is a RELIGION and RELIGION is a system of belief. In other words, religion is everything that is believed and for those who believe, it can bring calm, peaceful, and prosperity both in this present life and for the life to come.
Function of a Philosophy in Register of Religion
Once we understand what Philosophy is and its Position, then we will discuss what exactly the Functions of Philosophy in the register of Religion. It should be understood that the Register here is the words or terms used in the scope or specific professions and professionally used. Because as we will discuss the function of Philosophy in the register of Religion then we will go in scope relate to the function or Position of Philosophy. In other words, we will discuss how Philosophy can work well in the context of Religion which the people can better understand what the meaning of religion is and how the human becomes religious till to the implementation, people can really understand what they believe and how while they appreciated the beliefs of the others.
In Philosophy, we identify and study the semiotics and hermeneutics. Actually, these two terms are the core of the learning Philosophy. Both of these terms refer to the activity of thinking because philosophy itself is how humans think to approach the truth. Many things cannot be answered by science but can be answered by Religion Science because Science is positive that is applied and recognized up to now while Theology is absolute. Bertrand Russell said that between Science and Religion lies the Philosophy. Philosophy is speculative and Alternative because this science cannot be proven empirically, by research or experiments. Philosophy becomes a mediator between Science and Theology. In some respects, Science cannot answer some of the questions put by the Theology but Philosophy can answer even though it is not fully answered and the answers given by the Philosophy are the only form of alternative answers and it is not absolute answer.
In the Register of Religion, there are some things or terms that are difficult to understand by humans. Many cases cannot be understood by humans, and they cannot explain and prove empirically such as the nature of Sciences but Theology can answer it absolutely. To answer some questions or terms that exist in the register of Religion, except through revelation, it requires the Philosophy to concoct, predict, and try to answer the questions provided by the Theology. During this time, people wondered, looking out and searching for answers about what man is, how nature is created and who created it. With the Science of Philosophy, people can ask questions and provide answers that almost close to the absolute truth. Indeed, the essential truths can only be provided by Theology, but to get the answer to the truth it is necessary to process the Philosophy and interpreted through the study of Semiotics – if it is a symbolic – and through the study of hermeneutics – how to translate or interpret words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs that are within each Religion scriptures.
In the Register of Christianity there are some signs or symbols which at first glance cannot be understood by those who read them. There are several parables are also rather difficult to understand and explain by humans. In this regard, Science of Philosophy can answer them by the approaches of Philosophy. We can interpret the meaning of symbols or signs by the study of semiotics or semiology because this study is a special study of signs or symbols, function of symbols, relation to the other symbol up to how it generates symbolic meaning. Any attempt to interpret must be using the language and a language is a tool by which we can understand everything. Wittgenstein – developer of the theory of analytic philosophy – says that the expression of language is an expression of life. There are many expressions of the language contained in the Register of Religion really confusing to understand at first glance, but there is definitely an answer of what that confusing. Through expression of language we can understand. For example, in the Bible there are some expressions and symbol of numbers used as follow:
Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart[a] of wheat for a day’s wages,[b] and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages,[c] and do not damage the oil and the wine!” (Rev 6:6)
Here is wisdom. He that has understanding let him count the number of the beast: for it is a man’s number; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six. (Rev 13:18)
But let not this one thing be hidden from you, beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2Pet 3:8)
These phrases would be confusing and if they are interpreted (hermeneutics) incorrectly it will cause misunderstanding and confusion. This is where the position or function of the Philosophy plays at least.
In terms of figuring out the principles of the phenomenal reality of the world, people need to understand the philosophy that even though in the Science of Religion has provided the answer just is not detail and still vague in human understanding. In the Philosophy, a Greek philosopher named Herakleitos, argues that there is no any else in this world that the substance is pure, everything is always ‘looking into’, meaning that no one remains in the language of philosophy called ‘panta rhei’. He also said that everything is always in the process of becoming and changing. In principle of changes, Herakleitos assume that in the order of the universe (cosmos) that is a central principle of change is not on the reality of material objects but the cosmic order in which there is a human world where in the human world the ability to communicate verbally are in a central position. This Herakleitos’ opinion approaches the absolute truth with philosophizing. He said that in this world no one has the substance is Pure and absolute. It is true that everything in this world nothing is eternal and remains. However, in the Science of Religion answered that everything in the world is neither eternal nor immortal but only one can remain forever is His Word. Philosophy of Herakleitos’ certainly not wrong but it brings us closer to an understanding of the absolute truth. Philosophy here clearly has an important position in the Register of Religion.
Philosophy and religion are interrelated to one another, but we should not confuse the two into one understanding. Both of Sciences have a functional relationship where Philosophy is the only medium by which we can understand the things that exist in the register of Religion. Religion and Philosophy are different substantially, that is why the Philosophy is divided into some philosophies based on the religion background such as Philosophy of Christianity, Philosophy of Islam, Philosophy of Hindu, and Philosophy of Buddha.
The Status of Philosophy is very important in the Register of Religion. Philosophy poses the questions that cannot be answered by Science as well as provide answers approaching the absolute truth in the Theology. Two studies at the heart of Philosophy are helpful to provide insights with respect to the Register of Religion. The study of Semiotics Philosophy unmasked through the interpretation of signs or symbols and still touch to fit into the context of understanding of the Register of Religion. The study of Hermeneutics Philosophy becomes a tool of translators between humans and words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and discourses and language expressions that are in the Register of Religion.
Not a single one is perfect until the time he is completed. Therefore, the author realizes that of course there are many deficits seen in this paper and need repairing of composition of standard paper writing, structure and grammar, proper use of the word because it might lack adequate vocabulary in the author’s repertoire, and philosophically also needed improvement. In short, the author takes the criticism and suggestions of the dear readers that can be used as a solid foundation in the making of further papers.
Suh Ahmad syadali, mudzakir.2004.filsafat umum. Bandung: Pustaka Setia
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