Monday, September 22, 2014

Philosophy, Science and Theology: Complementary!

{I'm not sure how much I have talked about starting grad school at Holy Apostles College & Seminary, but I thought I would post my discussion posts now and then as interesting reads!}

Q: Distinguish between philosophy, theology and science.

The relationship between philosophy, theology and science is complementary. People must use all three in order to discover what is true, grounded by reason.

Science is the study of the tangible; knowledge is acquired through empirical and measurable evidence and inquiry. Science is limited as it is only what your senses can measure; however, it can serve as a guide for philosophy by its insight to the workings of the natural world.

Philosophy is the knowledge of everything that exists as determined by their causes, which are open to the investigation of reason alone. In contrast to science, philosophy allows us to obtain truth that transcends the empirical, such as the nature of right and wrong, or a person’s purpose.

Philosophy can show us that humans have the capacity to know truth, though people may deny that there is truth (a different question altogether), and that people seek truth because there is a need to understand the world beyond empirical data. That is, the need to explore the spiritual and metaphysical.

Theology is the reasoned discourse of the study of “faith seeking understanding”; knowledge is acquired through divine revelation, the study of Scripture, tradition, history, human reason and experience. Theology can tell us about the human soul and body in relation to God. We study theology to better understand God, while accepting that we will never have perfect knowledge of Him. It is necessary, however, to have philosophy with theology so that knowledge through faith is also consistent with reason and not based in absurdity and contradiction.

Science can help us understand theology in that understanding the natural world helps us understand God better. Everything taken in with our senses can help us understand and experience God; philosophy allows us to take these sensual experiences and to apply what we know about the natural world to the metaphysical, and the meaning and purpose of life.

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