Online Mind Mapping and Brainstorming

Create your own awesome maps

Online Mind Mapping and Brainstorming

Even on the go

with our free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android

Get Started

Already have an account? Log In

Philosophy of Religion by Mind Map: Philosophy of Religion
5.0 stars - 3 reviews range from 0 to 5

Philosophy of Religion

Evil and Suffering

Many religious thinkers offer theodicies to justify God's existence in spite of evil and suffering.

St. Augustine's Theodicy

Evil is not a substance or a thing, instead it is a lack of good.

People who turn away from God - who represents good - suffer from evil.

Evil comes from the misuse of freewill.

Criticisms, Logical error, Logical contradiction as a perfectly created world goes wrong., Two possibilities., Evil is somehow attributed to God., Or the world was not perfect to begin with and God enabled it to go wrong., Moral error, If the world is not perfect, God must bear responsbility for the evil., The concept of hell, God must have anticipated the world to go wrong., Therefore God must have a capacity to do evil in his creations.

Irenaeus' Theodicy

God's aim was to make Humans flawless in his image.

However if this was to be done, he would have to get rid of our freewill.

Instead he chose to give us freewill and gave us the potential to be perfect through evil.

Concept of Heaven and Hell, Concept of Hell exists so God may have anticipated the world to go wrong., However without any concept of evil, there would be no concept of good.

God chose good and evil, instead of taking away our humanity and creating us as perfect beings., For humans to be genuinely good, they would have to be responsible for their own goodness., John Hick, Goodness that has been made by free choice is infinitely better than ready-made "goodness"., If God wanted humans to be genuinely loving, he would have to give the opportunity to develop this quality for themselves., Peter Vardy, Anology of the king who falls in love with a peasant girl., King could force the girl to love him but instead he chooses to win her genuine love., Responsibility only comes through making moral decisions., This is why this theodicy is known as a "soul-making" theodicy.

Criticisms, 1. Concept of Heaven for all seems unjust, Irenaues' Theodicy suggests that everyone will eventually go to heaven., This is morally unacceptable., 2. Quantity and gravity of suffering is unacceptable, We can accept that the world may not be perfect., But we have to ask whether God has "gone too far"., e.g. Holocaust, Is this magnitude/gravity of suffering nessecary for development?, 3. Suffering can never be an expression of God's love, Love can never be expressed through the magnitude of suffering present in our world., It is not justifiable to hurt someone to help him, However some cases it is e.g. parenting

Freewill Defense, A God who intervenes to prevent evil and suffering jeopardizes freewill., If we did not have choices that have the potential for large scale horrors, our sense of responsibility would be compromised., The choices we would make would be meaningless as we are aware that God makes the "real" choices., This can be compared to a child and his/her over-protective parents., Death allows us to be aware of our responsibilities., It makes us more aware of our choices as we realize we only have a limited number of choices until we inevitably die., If God removed death, our choices would be meaningless as there would be another chance to make amends.

Process Theodicy

Existence of God

A priori

Ontological Argument, This argument assumes that God is the God of classical theism., St. Anselm, Defines God as: "that than which nothing greater can be conceived."., If this definition is true, God must exist in the mind., If God exists in the mind, then God must exist in the reality and existing in reality as well as the mind is greater than just existing in the mind., Anselm also proves that God's existence is nessecary., God cannot be thought not to exist., Gaunilo of Marmoutier, We can take the example of a perfect island., The island would have to exist or else it would not be perfect., Anselm's argument can be used in different contexts., However, Anselm responded by saying that there is no intrinsic maximum in a perfect island as the island can always be better., Anselm not only demostrates that God exists, but also that His existence is neccessary., René Descartes, He said that God is perfect., For someone to be perfect, he must exist., Existence is a predicate of a perfect being., For someone to be perfect and not exist is illogical, can be compared to a triangle without three sides., Immanuel Kant, He rejected Descartes claim that being perfect while not existing is just as illogical as a triangle without three sides., Although you cannot reject the predicate or subject, there is no logical contradiction when you reject both., Kant says that "existence" is not a predicate or an attribute., It is not something you tag on to a list of descriptions of item X., You would not describe someone as "existing"., You will have the same concept if you think of an object that exists and an object that doesnt exist., Existence in no way changes how you conceptualize an object therefore it cannot be seen as an attribute., There is no good reason to see existence as a perfection., E.g. A serial killer that exists is not better than an imaginary serial killer., Norman Malcom, Avoids the problem of predicates by pointing out that Anselm's argument avoids the problem., Anselm does not treat God's existence as a predicate, The concept of God is the concept of a being whose existence is nessecary, God cannot cease to exist., God cannot come into existence., To come into existence is to be caused by another mover., If God does not exist, his existence is impossible., God does not exist because he has the predicate of existence. Instead he exists because it is nessecary.

Moral Argument

A prosteriori

Cosmological Argument, Argument based on contingency, Things come into existence because something has caused them to exist., There is a chain of causes that goes back to the beginning of time., Thomas Aquinas, He put forward his Five Ways to prove the existence of God. The first three are the cosmological argument., First Way: motion or change, There are things in motion in the world, Motion must have been caused by something else., He refered to motion in the sense of change, not nessecarily movement in the most strict sense., Chain of movement cannot go back to infinity, There must have been an Unmoved Mover which is God., Second Way: cause, Rejects the notion that something can be the cause of itself., Recognizes this as a logical impossibility., This object would have to exist for it existed., Rejects an infinite series of causes., Believed that there must have been a first uncaused cause., The first cause started the chain of causes. This first cause is God., Third Way: contingency, Aquinas identifies the contingency of matter in the Universe, If nothing exists, the existence of matter must depend on external factors., There is nothing else in the physical world to effect matter into existence., The cause of the universe must be external to it and must have always existed., There must be a "nessecary being" to bring everything into existence., The "nessecary being" is God., Kalam Argument, First part, Present/past would not exist if there were an infinite chain of causes., Successive additions cannot be added onto an actual infinite., History is formed by adding successive additions., Therefore the universe must have had a beginining in time., We can also suggest that the First Mover is a personal being., If the universe began to exist, it has to be caused., The Being who caused the universe must have done so out of freewill as there is nothing else to cause him to cause the universe., Second part, Tries to prove the nature of God., Rules of nature did not exist before the beginning of the universe., Therefore the universe cannot be a result of natural causes., Universe was created ex nihilo, Therefore the First mover must have been a personal being who willed the universe into existence., The argument put forward by Aquinas and the Kalam argument are a contridiction., Both arguments deny the concept of infinite., However both arguments define God as an infinite being., They suggest that the concept of infinite is unconceivable however they ask us to conceive of a self-caused being., Gottfried Leibniz, Principle of sufficient reason, He rejected an infinite universe. You cannot describe the present if the past is infinite., We would not be able to apply reason to many concepts if it is infinite., Deduction goes from general to the particular, An infinite universe denies this possibilitiy., Arguments fails to clarify the nature of God., God of which religion?, Could there not be many causes to one cause?, Immanuel Kant, Agrees that everything in the physical world has a first cause., However he says that one cannot postulate the nature of the Unmoved Mover., If the Unmoved Mover existed before the universe, there would be no way to tell whether it is the God of classical theism., The Unmoved Mover would transcend our experiences and be outside space and time., The argument is unnessecarily complicated., We can apply Occam's razer to do away with the concept of God., If God can exist nessecarily or be self-caused, why not the universe?, The argument only introduces more questions, does not resolve anything; therefore it cannot be seen as an argument at all but just pure speculation., Infinite universe is possible, Modern science has no problem with accepting an infinite universe as seen in the Big Bang theory., If mathematicians can grasp abstract concepts such as pi or infinity, then there is no reason to not accept the possibility of an infinite universe.

Teleological Argument, Basic Argument, The universe has order and purpose., Paley's watch, 1. Design that has purpose., 2. Regularity as proof of design, i.e. Newton's laws of motion., The complexity of the universe shows evidence of design., Such design implies a designer., The designer of the universe if God., Anthropic Principle, The argument that claims that the universe was designed for the development of intelligent life., Development of Human life is evidence of God's plan., Aesthetic Argument, Humans have an ability to appreciate art., Such an appreciation is not nessecary for the survival of mankind., Therefore development of human life was not a result of natural selection., Evolutionary psychology explains humans ability to appreciate art., There is no reason to think that animals don't enjoy art., Darwin's Theory of Evolution, Can be used in both sides of the argument., Either, The theory is evidence of design., The theory of evolution could be a mechanism put into action by God., Or, it shows that creatures with good design is a result of natural selection., Theory of evolution only gives the appearance of design., Cannot be taken as criticism as it reaches a limit to what it can explain., There is no explanation for how the Theory of evolution may have started., God may be a possible answer., David Hume, Fails to identify with the God of classical theism., Humans only understand experiences within their own universe., It is not possible to postulate the existence of God or determine the nature of God., Hume does not agree with comparing the universe to a machine. Instead he compares it to a vegetable or inert animal - something that grows by itself., We can accept that there is a designer to the universe., There could be many designers to the universe., There is no way to tell who the designer is., Evil and Suffering, Epicurean Hypothesis, Proposes that before the universe consisted of random particles., As the universe is eternal, it would be inevitable for a orderly world to be created sooner or later., Alternatively, we should compare the universe's vastness to our sense of time. They do not compare., Therefore if the universe is taken into perspective, the idea of "monkeys and Shakespeare" seems feasible., Can be compared to the "monkeys and Shakespeare" analogy., Metaphysical Idealism, Ideas of Immanuel Kant, We may have imposed order onto the world ourself., Babies do not nessecarily see order in the world., Order is derived from the analysis of sensory input, assuming our sense of order is innate., Our mind may have the tendency to order things so the universe may appear to have order from the way we look at things., We cannot be certain of the reality of the situation.

Religious Language

Logical Positivists

They reject metaphysics as knowledge as it cannot be verified or falsified by doctrines.

Verfication Principle, Analytic statements, "All cats are cats", Statements that prove themselves., Synthetic statements, "It rained on Tuesday", Requires empirical justification., Anyone that puts foward a knowledge claim must know the conditions by which it is true or else it is meaningless.

Falsification Principle, Statements that are meaningful should be falsifiable., To assert something is to deny something else., Religion doesn't deny anything therefore it is meaningless., e.g. Nothing can be against religious claims therefore it is meaningless., Religious claims die the "death by a thousand qualifications"

Criticisms, Logical Positivists cannot pass their own test., They themselves are making a metaphysical claim about reality., Ludwig Wittgenstein, Meaning of words cannot be secured by setting up relations between words and things., e.g. Trying to define "Two" to a baby by pointing at two apples., Instead, meaning of words depends on the context in which it is used., Introduced notion of language games., To make a statement meaningful is to understand the context of the statement., Teaching someone what a word means is teaching someone how to use it, e.g. teaching the rules of the game., St Thomas Aquinas, He argued that language has a different meaning when we describe God because God is perfect., Therefore we use analogies to describe God., Some would argue that analogies are not possible when describing God because there has to be a point of reference., God is beyond human understanding so there is no point of comparison, However Aquinas said this is not true because God created the universe so there is a link between God and the world., Analogy of proportion, We understand that God is proportionally more powerful than humans., So we can infer God's power through our own experiences., Analogy of attribution, Our own attributes reflects God's attributes., We are made in the image of God., E.g. "the hand of God"

Religion and Science


Scientific Materialism, Makes epistemological assumptions that science is the only reliable procedure for knowledge., Claims that only science can reveal what is real., Logical postivism, Makes metaphysical assumption that experience/physical stuff is reality., Direct realism, Idealism, They suggest that religious claims are just pseudo statements without any real meaning.

Biblical Literalism, They suggest that the scripture should be interpreted literally., Can be seen as a reaction against evolutionary biology as Darwin's Theories present us with a new world view without having to rely on the Bible., Creationism, Scientists who support creationism try to verifiy claims in the Bible using scientific methods.

Both schools of thought agree they are in total conflict., The aims of both schools are not clearly distinguished. Therefore, the methods of both schools are seen in direct competition., The objects, aims and methods are not clearly differentiated. This provokes conflict., Conflict can be resolved if both side recognizes the epistemological differences in their roles.


Existentialism, Religion is purely subjectives and involves a lot of introspection., Kierkegaard points out that reason has no place in religion. He says that faith is key to understanding religion., Whereas science involves the study and manipulation of inpersonal objects.

Wittengenstein's "Language games", Two schools can be seen as two different language games with wildly different rules., The technical language only makes sense within a school. The language of both schools have different aims and offer different methods.

Here, the two schools are completely distinct unlike when they overlap and engage each other in conflict.


Boundary questions, Questions that arise due to the limits science reaches in its scientific theories., If we assume that all scientific knowledge has been discovered, we can still recognize unanswered questions that entail the metaphysical nature of these discoveries., Boundary questions arise due to the fact that science bases itself on certain presuppositions., E.g. Science takes a physicalist approach to the universe which sometimes involves aspects of realism or idealism., Science reaches a limit to what it can explain., The limit raises additional questions that science cannot answer by its own methods., This is because these questions pertain to the nature of the universe., The relationship between science and religion is different., Religion is not thought of "filling the gaps" as it is has completely different aims to that of science., Anyways, we can assume that science will eventually fill the gaps as it will explain all there is to explain in the physical world., Religion can be seen as explaining the space outside the gaps., If religion was thought of as "filling the gaps", then religion is a doomed body of knowledge because science will eventually displace it.

Methodological parallels, Shows that science is more subjective than originally thought., Communal Paradigms, Theories and observations are dependant on the current paradigm of the scientific community., This introduces a creative/personal aspect to scientific knowledge, it is not strictly impersonal/objective., Established theories within a paradigm are resistent to simple falsification., Theories against an established theory can easily be seen as an anamoly., E.g. People had difficult in accepting Einstein's theories as nationalistic + personal tendencies came in the way., Scientific revolutions, This is evidence that there are paradigms that revolve around scientific communities., If scientists do not have difficult in accepting strong theories with strong empirical evidence, then scientific revolutions would not be as apparent (e.g. it would not be marked as a turning point in history)., Scientific knowledge has the tendency to resist verification and falsification in a similar fashion to religion., Religion paradigms often operate in the same principles., Observer Participation, Theories of modern science suggest that we have a more personal role as an observer. This is parallael to personal involvement in religion., Heisenberg uncertainty principle, Relativity theory, Both theories put forward the notion that the observer affects the observations., Science is traditionally viewed as strictly objective in the Newtonian universe, but this has changed.


Empirical observation can be made to infer the existence of God, Cosmological argument, Teleological argument

Religious teachings can be reinterpreted through the scientific method.