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  1. There was a time when the word “philosopher” had religious connotations.

    Then again, it’s frequently argued that an absence of any kind of religion leads to an absence of any kind of morality. This viewpoint was popular in the anti-communist heydeys.

    1. I would think religious philosophy would make sense at the time of its inception, since culturally then one looked to the gods for guidance and leadership in all things, yes? It’s an unfortunate truism that texts tend to be destroyed by the ravages of time and jealous rivalries, of course. Still, as far as I’ve read there were very few (if any) Greeks who had, as Pierre Simon de Laplace famously put it, “no need of that hypothesis.”

      This, combined with your second statement, raises an interesting possibility: what of a sort of Gnostic secularism? If religion and spirituality were believed to be personal quests for knowledge, would a spiritual science be a logical result? I’m reminded of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace’s comment in a letter to her mother, “You will not concede me philosophical poetry. Invert the order! Will you give me poetical philosophy, poetical science?” Would that sort of poetically reflective science be a more holistic endeavor, with the gnosis-seeking scientists perhaps giving more thought to the potential applications of their discoveries? I’d love to see that.

      Then again, I’ve always found ridiculous the assertion that morality is by definition confined within religion. If the various religions are still squabbling (often violently) about whose invisible friend is the greatest, how on earth can I choose which one to turn to, to define morality for me? Further, considering the many hideous abuses “organized” religion has perpetrated on humankind throughout history, I can only conclude they feel their definition of moral behavior should be extended only to those they consider “theirs” — an immoral and deeply flawed assertion, to my way of thinking.

      If I ever find an organized religion which recognizes the intrinsic worth of all life — even life which is not a tithe-paying member of its church — then I’ll consider joining. Until then I’ll continue as an irreligious but perhaps spiritual individual, in my search for both gnosis and morality. If nothing else, it’s an interesting journey. :)

  2. This definition, like many, benifits from a happy medium: not rigid, and capable of discussion and debate not just in generalities, but when specific instances arise. Most encounters and conflicts are always situational, and it is therefore important to keep philosophies fluid in most respects, just as it is with honesty.

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