Selamat Datang di Sabda Hairus Saleh

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Does Philosophy Contradict Religion?

Diketik Oleh Hairus Saleh 
Mahasiswa Filsafat UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta

Let me finally say something about the question, wether philosophy of the kind that i proposed following the tradition of ancient greek philosophy is compatible or not with religion in general and with islam in particular. I metionde above thow socrates used to involve all citizens of athens in philosophical debates are in fact on the city’s market place. Now these philosophical debats are in fact a form of religiuos mission for socrates. For what socrates is trying to do is to very waht the oracle in the greek city of delphi said about him.
Now waht is an oracle in greek culture? It is some thing quete close to the concept of prophecy in the abrahamic religions; a holy man or woman who transmits what is revealed to him or her by one of the greek gods (in delphi it is the greek god apollo). Waht the oracle said about socrates is that  nobody is wiser than him. This very much surprises him, because he thinks that he doesn’t really know anything for sure-he is afte all a philosopher who is constantly examining and de-examining and ere-examining his opinions. There must, hi thinks, be wiser people in athens than him. But once he starts exmining the athenians he finds out that they don’t even know the one thing that he knows for certain, namely that he has no certain knowledge. 
The athenians are not even aware of their ignorance before getting into discussions with socrates. In this sense, socrates is indeed wiser then they are. He at least knows that he does not know. Now, waht is socrates attitude to religion here? He does he blindly accept it is true of false. Once he finds it confirmed there is no reason for him to reject it. In other words; a true religion does not have to fear philosophical examination. And there is a significant intelectual traditional in islam of subjecting the content of religion to relional examination. A am referring, of course, to  mu’atazilite kalam tha flourished from the 8th to the 11 th century during the abbsid period and is today of particular importence in indonesia, because haru nasution’s project of bringing together islam, retionalism and modernity is inspired by the rational theology of the mu’atazila. Like socrates, the mu’atazilites did not simply accept god’s word on the authority of relevation, but made a point of confirming it through rational proof. They thus used reason to provide a rationally defensible and coherent account of their religious traditional. In addition the mu’atazilites also developed a highly sophisticated culture of debate – not only amongst themselves, but also with spokesmen of competing muslim intellectual currents and spokesmen of other religious traditions, in particular jews. Cristians, and manicheans.
Additional evidencee for this culture of debate in the abbsid period is the fact that one of the first greek philosophical treatises to be translated from greek into arabic was aristotle’s topics which is essentially a manual about how to conduct a philosophical discussion (in fact, it was translated three times). Given the pluralistic character of indonesian society – both pluralism within islam and of islam and other religious communities – this makes mu’atazilite kalam a particularly attractive model of the past for conducting discussions in the present. But there are also other traditions of philosophical argumentation that were integrated into islamic theological discourse in particular the tradition based on aristotle’s logical writings that after ibn sina and al-ghazali, became part of islamic theology’s mainstream in the east. There is then a wide range of intelectual resources within islam that would allow for a philosopcally grouded democracy in indonesia that integrates the islamic regious tradition shared by the majority of indenesians. And if it were indeed grounded on philosophy it would be –in my opinion at least- significantly superior to democracies in the west.

Taken from Refleksi: Jurnal Kajian Agama dan Filsafat, vol. Ix, no. 1 (Ciputat: Fakultas Ushuluddin dan Filsafat, UIN Syarif Hidayatulllah Jakarta), 2007: 8-9, h.1, writen by Charlos

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