Religious Concepts in “Philosophy. The Power of Ideas”

Hindu ideas of Brahman, atman, and reality

Karma is one of the basic notions in Hinduism, which means action or deed. Every human action has its own effect on the existing life and may last over several lifetimes.

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A human being passes through the series of rebirths in different forms. Consequences of these actions determine the quality of the next reincarnation, making a person responsible for his life and for all the sufferings and enjoyments this life brings him.

The circulation of birth, death, and rebirth is called samsara. The liberation of this circle leads to nirvana, to the state of the complete merging of an individual with the ultimate reality.

Karma, samsara, and Nirvana

Brahman is the supreme absolute and the ultimate reality, which is hidden and unknown and has no qualities. “Atman is the self, the soul, the principle of individual life” (Moore&Bruder, 2008, p.488).

When by means of meditation, the individual comes to understanding that brahman and atman are the same things, with the realization of the oneness of these notions comes the recognition of the relative non-reality of the world.

Buddha’s four noble truths

According to Buddha, the reason for suffering is anxiety and the fear caused by it. A person who is ruled by desires suffers in case of the impossibility of their realization. The ignorance and carving can be overcome by means of meditation. It is necessary to refuse desires and in such a way to avoid suffering.

It is difficult to agree with Buddha because I think that human desires are those things that serve as the motives for further development.

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Eight Fold Path

The Buddha’s Eightfold Path is the way of his vision of the cessation of suffering.

Right View means to determine the factors, which cause suffering.

Right, Aim means to overcome the passions.

Right Speech implies avoiding form lies, gossips, and idle chatter.

Right Action means doing good deeds.

Right Living implies living only through proper means.

Right Effort means struggling against corrupt conditions.

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Right Mindfulness implies the duty for the understanding of nature and for the enlightenment.

Right, Contemplation is an absolute concentration of mind, which is the integrity of all the principles mentioned above.

Tao, Yin, and Yang

Tao gives the order and the essence to everything. It is the one natural and internal. Tao gives birth to yang, which is associated with the expansive forces and yin, which is the contractive forces.

Everything is permanently changing, but the contrasts complement each other. Yin is impossible without Yang and vice versa. Their combination makes the one, which is Tao.

Lao Tzu’s notion of effortless non-striving

Lao Tzu’s notion of non-striving comes from the perception of Tao, which is everything. A wise person perceives all the surrounding reality as Tao, where all is one. The sage does not interfere with the natural order of things; he perceives it with softness and flexibility. His highest virtue is the absence of selfish desire.

Confucius’s principle of Mean

In accordance with Confucius’s principle of Mean, everything has its standard of measure. In his actions, an individual should avoid extremity and seek moderation.

According to this principle, the highest good is achieved when things are subdued to their natural order, being in the state of mutual dependence. The interaction between nature and people in accordance with the natural sequence is the basis of this principle.

Murasaki Shikibu

In traditional Buddhism, a woman is considered to possess less moral qualities than a man. A woman can achieve a state of nirvana only after the reincarnation as a man.

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It was believed that every woman in her past life had been a man lacking a virtue. Murasaki did not accept the dominant Buddhism’s conception of women. In her works, she argued that the woman was also a moral agent who took responsibility for her actions.

The argument of St. Anselm for God’s existence

The St. Anselm’s arguments for God’s existence are based on the supposition that God does not exist. Anselm determines God as something perfect “greater than which cannot be conceived” (Moore & Bruder, 2008, p.10).

Anselm says that this statement is obvious and can be understood by everyone. The mere understanding of it is the reason for the existing of the idea of the perfectness. If such a perfect creature exists in our mind, it can exist simultaneously in mind and in reality.

Guanilo’s objection to the ontological argument

Gaunilo argues that using the St. Anselm argument, it is possible to prove any ridiculous thing. Gaunilo asserts that the first part of the St. Anselm argument is nonsense. Using Anselm’s theory, Gaunilo takes the example of an island and proves the existence of the perfect island.

St. Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways

The first way implied that everything that moved had been put into action by something else, which in its turn had been put into action by another. Aquinas stated that it was God, who had been the source of this movement.

The second way is much similar to the first one. Nothing can be produced from itself. The original reason is God.

The third way implies that each thing has the possibility of its potential and real being. There must be something that has promoted the transition of things from one state to another.

The fourth way states that the perfection of a thing may be compared only with something, which is the most perfect. The most perfect is God.

The fifth reason is that everything in this world acts in accordance with its design. The aims for each subject had been set by God.

Leibniz’s statement, “best of all possible worlds.”

Leibniz states that the existing world is one of many other possible worlds that may exist. He thinks and logically proves that our world is the best of the possible worlds. Otherwise, God would not have chosen it. It is difficult to agree with Leibniz’s statement because of his reflection of the nature of the evil sounds rather disputable.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s claim that “God is dead!”

By saying, “God is Dead,” Nietzsche did not mean death. He meant the absence of the intelligent plan or the rational order in the universe. There was no rational explanation for the events that were taking place in the world.

By Nietzsche, the harmony and the highest order of the world were the illusion, which existed only in the human mind.

William James

James states that “our non-intellectual nature does influence our convictions” (Moore & Bruder, 2008, p.423). He distinguishes between the two rules of rationalism.

The first one is to believe the truth. The second one is to avoid errors. There are people who do not want to believe because they do not want to be mistaken. For James, the possibility of mistake is in the second place to the desire to seek the truth.

Religious views

It depends on the cultural and religious peculiarities of the individual. Every person has its own perception of God and Divinity. The Divinity is too big for human understanding.

Reference List

Moore, B., & Bruder, K. (2008). Philosophy. The Power of Ideas. New York, USA: McGrow-Hill.

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