The Origins and Evolution of Religion and Faith in the History of Humanity

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Scholasticism is a method of critical thought or a school of philosophy that was popular amongst medieval academics and cathedrals. It is characterized by logic, philosophy, reasoning theology and semantics (the branch of logic concerned with reasoning. The medieval Christian thinkers, faced with religious dogmas, tried to solve philosophical issues of faith and reason, intellect and will and proving the existence of God among others. The scholastics of the 12th -17th centuries united faith and reason.

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In scholasticism, truth had to include the teachings of Christian faith. This was certainly the defining characteristic of scholasticism. This idea although already expressed by St. Augustine was made popular by scholar, Boethius – the first scholastic. Scholasticism sought to unite faith and reason. This is supported by the words of St. Augustine “Whatever you understand cannot be God”. Other Scholastics included: St Thomas Aquinas, St. Anselm of Canterbury, Hugh of Saint-Victor, Albertus Magnus.

Reason is understood as the principle for a methodological inquiry, whether intellectual, moral, aesthetic, or religious. Once demonstrated, a claim is ordinarily understood to be justified as true or authoritative. Faith, on the other hand, involves a stance toward some claim that is not, at least presently, demonstrable by reason. Faith is a type of behavior of trust. It is ordinarily understood to involve an act of will or a commitment on the part of the believer. Religious faith involves a belief that makes either an implicit or explicit reference to a transcendent source.


The division of faith and reason are two powerful principles in which beliefs, wisdom or knowledge can be placed on. Over time argument have been raised in favor of these two sources of authority with some arguing that there can be no disparity between the two, with reason and faith understood they can never produce competing or contradictory views and declarations whereas some say these authorities cannot complement each other as they are in constant conflict over various propositions and methodologies. Theologians like Kerkegaard, for example emphasized faith a lot while Economist, John Locke stressed the importance of reasonability of faith, as the religious doctrines or scriptures appear to conflict with each other and with recent facts making it unreliable to rely on.

Reason is the capacity of making sense of thing around us, by setting and verifying facts, whether moral, aesthetics or religious through application of logic while. Based on the viewed description the lines are clearly drawn as in reasoning one seeks to attain meaning in various aspects through his own capability while the latter attains knowledge not by his own capability but by trust In someone or something. In religious faith man seek knowledge by relying on words of a transcendent being (God).

Faith existed long before reasons which could be dated back to the Bronze Age (3000-1300 BCE) down to the modern era, with various religious beliefs been embraced by it’s people, passed on by their various religious authorities believed to be inspired by their gods or goddesses. This way of life was passed down from generation to generation, as it shaped the thinking and culture of vast civilization. While primitive reasoning took major root in the ancient Greece (800BC-500BC) with the rise of prominent philosopher like Socrates, Plato, Euclid, Pythagoras and so on. This philosopher completely disregarded blind fate as they saw it in pursuit for the truth through logical affirmation. Aristotle philosophical teaching greatly affected the views of the masses, going as far as laying the foundation for scholasticism of the medieval era and the application of scholastic methods in tackling liberal arts, philosophy, theology, medicine and laws.


Faith is to be certain of what you hope for and to be sure of what you cannot see. This section talks about the role of faith and how it has developed throughout history by applying basic concepts from critical theory: roots of knowledge in historical context, study through dialectical process. Faith has a role to play in the future of growth, especially in ensuring that it is adequate and sustainable. No religion can exist without faith, every religion has a belief in something and that belief determines their activities and way of life. Religions have faith in the way they were brought up and have faith in their daily way of life. Faith has helped in the advancement of religions in the sense that the different religions like Atheism, Marxism, Empiricism, Feminism, Hinduism, Darwinism, Racism etc, have been able to reflect over their faith and accept what they believe as they are brought up to believe it as a gospel truth. That’s a basic choice everyone has to make in life.

Regardless of this, the faith a religion has whether rational or not, will determine the course of the activities in one’s life thus behavioral patterns will evolve. in other words ones action is in accordance of their faith and conviction. The bottom line is that anyone in a religion whether Muslims, Atheists, Christians, Hindus, or whatever face a particular type or belief which they use to base their way in life. In Atheism, they claim not to have faith but people who have that outlook are convinced that there is no eternal soul, they believe that life is meant to satisfy the urges of eating, mating, sleeping, defending. Other religions have faith that there is a supreme intelligence guiding and controlling everything which is the originator of all things. Even Religions that claim to have no faith will still have to give in that the very claim is based on faith.


Reason has to do with making sense of things as well as building facts and details based on new or previous information given. It is a method of realizing and understanding truth and reality. Reasons, at times, fall short even though it aims at the truth. Through reason, multiple people could benefit immensely by having better ways to predict and understand the world. Dan Sperber and Hugo Mercier are French social and cognitive scientists who argue that there could have been certain forces outside of our knowledge steering the evolution of reasoning. These scientists explain that reasoning is very difficult for people apply effectively, and it is also hard for people to doubt what they believe in. Science has shown that reason is most effective when done in a group/ as a collective.

Since the period of the Enlightenment, reason has taken up a huge role for strong interpretation. It is often a matter of gathering accessible information and evaluating its deductive or inductive support for other beliefs. Reason attempted to absolve religion in Greece, especially, by showing definitively that the supreme divinity had to be identified with the Good, the Beautiful, and with Being itself. Therefore, God is the source of all that exists. But this line of thinking brought about other problems. For example, it led to the concept of a God who was so perfect that he was divided from the life of humans. The supreme divinity remained perfectly secluded and independent because the possibility of relating with human beings was a sign of weakness, since it would imply some lack on God’s side. Also, apart from saying that reason somehow came from the divine through the mediation of a series of created beings, there did not seem to be any way of considering the presence of evil.

Over time, reason has helped people more efficiently exploit their unique, rich and social environment. What reason does, is help us to justify our beliefs and work to others, convince them through argumentation, and analyse the justifications and arguments that humans address to us, and not just regulated to discovering better beliefs and decisions, that is, for solitary use.


Philosophy of religion is the philosophical study of the meaning and nature of religion. The numerous of subject matters that fall under the domain of the philosophy of religion, but for the purpose of this write-up, emphasis would be made on six of them, they include:

  1. Religious Language
  2. Religious diversity
  3. Arguments in support and opposing the existence of God
  4. Problems of evil
  5. Miracles

Religious language refers to the affirmations made about God. But there is a usual and reoccurring philosophical problem of religious language, this problem is that the finite words in which we use to explain finite creatures are the same words in which we use to explain God, an infinite creature, therefore, if God is an infinite creature, then finite words can’t be used to explain him the way he actually is.

Religious Diversity

Religious diversity is the fact that there are important differences in religious beliefs and practices. There are three different ways of responding to diversity, they are; religious pluralism, relativism and exclusivism. Religious pluralism is a concept that agrees that two different religious beliefs are equally valid. Religious relativism is of the view that one is dedicated to the truth of one set of religious teachings but should also be open-minded. Lastly, religious exclusivism is a contrast to pluralism and relativism.

Arguments on Existence of God

The arguments for and against God can be argued in five different ways, they are; ontological arguments, cosmological arguments, theological arguments, challenge of science and the coherence of theism. According to Ontological and Cosmological arguments, God exists, while for Theological agreements, Challenge of Science and Coherence of theism, God does not exist. Therefore, some argue for the existence of God, while some argue against it.

Problems of Evil and Suffering

There are different ways evil can come about, they include; Logical problems, Evidential problems, Theodicy, Neglecting God and Karma & reincarnation. Logical problems; if there is a claim that a good God exists and a bad God exists, it is then impossible for God to exist. Theodicy; attempting to acquit God by providing a plausible explanation for evil.


This is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws. Theists ordinarily classify a majority of the events that occur tin the world seen as acts of God. But there is a debate among philosophers of religion about the kind of activities to be classified as miraculous. One of the objections of miracle is that they are not facts violations of natural law, according to David Hume.


One of the first philosophers to refer to God (related to faith) was Aristotle when he stated that -everything is moving and the thing that moves everything else is an unnamed mover, and that unnamed mover is God. Aristotle had also argued that reason and religion could be compatible. On the topic of faith and reason in religion one of the most relevant philosophers that said a lot about it and its reconciliation is Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274), he was a medieval saint as well as a philosopher who taught specifically on how people could reconcile religion with science and faith with reason. He developed a new understanding of the place of reason in human life and specifically religion. He explained that the world could be explored through reason and not just through faith.

He proposed that the universe operate to two kinds of law; (secular) natural law and (religious) eternal law. For Aquinas a majority of the world follows natural law, humans could find out for ourselves how to build castles. He discussed Jesus’ injunction “to do on to others as you would have them do unto you”. That saying has been the pillar of most societies throughout history which has played a part in structuring peoples moral codes and laws of civilizations. Aquinas explained that that was an idea that belonged to natural and not eternal law.

He said that in some situations, God does things just through eternal law (outside of human reason) and he cited revelations, miracles and the visits of angels as examples. Aquinas reassured people that most meaningful knowledge that we have now could be found by atheists and mentally secular people within natural law. At the time of Aquinas Islamic culture was going through the problem of how one could reconcile reason with faith. For a long time, Islamic caliphates, Morocco and Egypt had prospered by being open to knowledge worldwide, thereby generating wealth of new scientific ideas and philosophy. However, as time passed and fanatic religious leaders became more influential, Islam became more oppressive. Due to these developments, the caliphates refused to depart from literal words of God. Aquinas was aware that the Muslim worlds increasing rejection of reason was destroying their once intellectual lifestyle.

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