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Dr Alka Saharan
Deptt of Philosophy, Miranda College, Delhi University, Delhi

When we talk of the history of Religion we simply talk of contextualization and relatedness or situatedness at one place. But when we talk of the philosophy of religion, we address the issues of religion metaphysically, ontologically, epistemologically, aesthetically and ethically. Religion comes from the word Religare, meaning to combine or to re-connect the common soul to the Supreme Supernatural Entity. When we discuss religion, three dimensions can be interpreted in between the lines. Is religion a problem or a solution? Is it really a social implication? And is the role of individual imperative or a social imperative?

The previous decade has witnessed major changes in political structures and national boundaries but the life of man, with its basic essential needs, has remained eternally the same. It cannot change. It has existed once and for all. Everyone has archetypes, emotions and instincts that we share with every other human being whether proximal or distant. There are certainly two ways to approach the moral attitude in religion. One is the fundamental foundation of religion. In order to understand it, we have to penetrate deep into our values, commitments, beliefs, rituals and symbols. And on this core, we can base our organizations of mankind. The second is the upper level i.e., the superficial level, which is empty, including obstructions and the negative use of moral attitude in religious practices such as terrorism. This is misuse of religion.

Philosophy plays a major role by analyzing these issues metaphysically, ethically, logically, epistemologically and aesthetically. The moral attitude in religion has passed through various phases of civilizations, split of religions, colonization, scientific discoveries, renaissance, migration, wars, independence and development of literature, philosophy, society, law, administration and ultimately globalization, recognition, strong markets and cultural identity.

Individual’s moral attitude in terms of religious character of a nation is an important formative factor since the individual character impacts the moral attitude across boundaries. The strong need of a workable conceptualization towards constructive formation of moral attitude based on rationality and reason, firmly grounded on the values, philosophical texts and philosophies of the West and the East, should be incorporated at the elementary level of education. In the western philosophy, the focus of Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Einstein, Hume, Kant and others is largely similar to the ‘Moral Attitude’ in Indian philosophy beginning from the Vedas, Upanishads, and some particular schools of Indian Philosophy like the Sankhya, Yoga, Jainism, Buddhism and Advaita. The importance of interfaith harmony and coexistence taught and practiced by Gandhi, Nehru, Radhakrishnan, Tagore and others in the development of an acceptable Interfaith Paradigm in the 21st century should be highlighted.

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