Religion as humanity has created it and been inspired by divinity and deity.
Introduction to Comparative Religions, Philosophy, and Scientific Endeavor
The reason to look at religion or philosophy:
• Each religion and philosophy or philosophical premise offers a birth or enunciation of something, then its growth, and subsequent harvest within humanity. That growth is in the form of character building and virtue, a development of some part of human nature (acumen, overall understanding, feeling, or mind), and an expansion of its collective consciousness. Then, after some time, the next religion is born from its predecessor, or a philosophy branches out, or a student/disciple becomes the new teacher, philosopher, and transmitter of a lineage.
Seeking to understand the Divine in Form
Humankind has, since its infancy, sought to understand how Form is a manifestation of Divine intent, how or if form can be imbued with Divinity, and how or if Divinity is ever free from the hold of matter/form.
All organized religions and sects have employed the obvious to try to unravel the deep mysteries of Existence, such as the procession of the seasons, the growth of flower or child, the fact of the necessity of sustenance (hence metaphors of the bread of life, water of life, air or spaciousness and abundance of life). All religions have their epistemology (quest for and conveyance of knowledge), and their way of reporting and passing it along through stories in the forms of hieroglyphics, mystery plays, wall paintings, and cathedrals.
Early Philosophy likewise used myth and metaphor to teach and spread its epistemology. The seen and tangible were used to give weight and dimension to the unseen and intangible. Plato’s Divine Forms are not forms at all but are divine essences of Being. Beauty, Goodness, Truth, even “chairness” are forms of concept, forms which a portion of divine essence takes in our limited consciousness. (“chairness” can represent solid support, comfort, and rest, in addition to a chair).
Philosophy and religion or a theo-centric view of the world and form were closely allied until the mid 1700 when Bacon introduced empiricism and Descartes re-introduced logic and logical skepticism. Bacon’s philosophy for all intents and purposes separated Theo (God) from Philosophy (the love of truth or wisdom), separated the Divine Nature from Science, and both the Age of Enlightenment, its abundant life changing scientific discoveries, and individualistic attitudes are direct results of Bacon’s thought. Desecrate, then, could pose the question of consciousness, of its location, its being at all, and do so not only through the use of logic but the lack of what logic and reason could provide. All modern agnosticism and existentialism are results of Cartesian philosophical thought.
Important to understand is the fact that until recent history, Philosophy and Religion were truly two sides of the same coin. Both approached the idea of Divinity with awe, respect, and without questioning the existence of Divinity. The introduction of analytical thought, empiricism, and logic tore the existence of Divinity into two distinct and separate parts: Nature or Form/Matter, and God/Divinity, Spirit/Consciousness/Soul.
Science then could begin to take hold of the mind. Science used to try to answer the question “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Science now could seek to unravel the mysteries of existence, of our existence in form, and the existence of form or matter. The path of the Scientist is one of detail and minutia. The challenge of the scientific path is the acknowledgement of of Divinity, not just the apparent presented through form.