Am writing this to clarify some issues of contention on a discussion you hold dear. I would like to ascertain that indeed there is a difference between philosophy and theology.
I have carried out research to clarify there is a difference between theology and philosophy. This was arrived at after extensive research in conjunction with consultation with individuals with different views and mindsets. Based on my findings, I would like to share the information collected with the hope of clarifying some of the misconceptions and doubts that may entangle the two concepts.
Philosophy and theology over time have been fields that attract intensive research and debates in many scholarly forums. This is because both involve the study of issues and concepts beyond the human physical environment. They are motivated by the curiosity man has to know the things beyond, factors that control their life , though their basic role is to quench the thirst for knowledge and clarity that man longs for, their foundation and guidelines are different and so are their overall purposes.
Philosophy can be interpreted as a set of ideas and beliefs concerning anything that an ordinary person holds. It also can be understood as the views of the world that looks at issues accurately, consistently and comprehensively. Philosophy as a field of learning focuses on formulating, explaining and justifying rules and regulations that lead to the development of a world view. According to the philosophy, the world views developed has to be accurate, consistent and comprehensive to enhance better understanding of the visible and the invisible (Heidegger, 2002).
Philosophy, therefore, includes the study directed to understanding the mysteries of reality and existence. It tries to clarify the nature of knowledge and truth with the aim of helping man in understanding what is of importance in life. Philosophy is driven by curiosity, wonder and a desire to know and understand. It is not only a process of learning, but also a comprehensive process that involves analysis, interpretation, criticism and speculation. Philosophy is an extensive area of study. It is complex and may involve the study of different areas of life depending on the areas that intrigue the philosopher. Philosophy involves the continuous process of seeking for wisdom; it is the process through which an individual seeks to acquire actively and use intelligence in analyzing and interacting with the things around them (Heidegger, 2002).
Philosophy is considered of great importance to human life. In studying philosophy, people can clarify what they believe and acquire the stimulation to acquire more knowledge. Philosophy acts as the stimulation through which people can better understand all aspects of human life. It enables them to develop mindsets and ideas on which thoughts and actions are developed. Whatever mindset or believe one chooses to follow is believed to be the philosophy for that particular field. Philosophically, all institutions in human life, such as education, religion, governance and all other sectors of human life have guiding philosophies. These provide guidelines on which particular thoughts and principles are developed. Rejection of philosophy is itself a philosophy.
Theology, on the other hand, is the study of the study of God. It is based on believing that there exists a supernatural being, one who controls human existence and living. It is on this on these bases that theology develops the curiosity to try and understand the nature of this beings and how this being controls the world and therefore human life ( McGrath & OverDrive, 2001. For instance, Christian theology, the words God says to Moses in Exodus 3:14, ‘I am who I am’, may not have much meaning when literarily explained. However, with the theological interpretation, the words can explain the context in which the words were spoken, the reason for the speech and the effects the words had on the speaker, the carrier and the recipient. It looks beyond the normal events in the society in relation to religion, but looks at all occurrences in relation to what God intends to share with humanity.
Theology involves looking into religious books and doctrines to get a better understanding of the God of a specific religion. In Christianity, Christian theology involves reading the Bible to have a proper understanding of God as revealed in the holy book. It is the process through which theology scholars intensively look through the Bible to get a revelation of the true nature of God. It involves asking a series of questions to understand the true nature of the supernatural being to whom they look up to. Theology is the science of researching into religious documents to get a better understanding of the message God intended to communicate through specific occurrences, people or even events. It involves the analysis of words, people and historical events (McGrath & OverDrive, 2001).
Unlike philosophy that diversifies its attention to different areas of human life, theology mainly focuses on the relationship between man and God. The principal aim of theology is for people to understand God as an avenue of obtaining identity and essence in life. On the other hand, the essence of philosophy is to analyze the essence of being through critical dissection of all aspects of life to establish the essence of life.
Theology, therefore, focus on spiritual matters while philosophy tends to focus on all spheres of life for enhanced thought and behavior patterns.
- McGrath, A., & OverDrive, I. (2001). Christian theology an introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Heidegger, M. (2002). Towards the definition of philosophy with a transcript of the lecture-course ‘On the nature of the university and academic study’ London: Continuum.