We explain what religious knowledge is, characteristics and examples. In addition, its relationship with other types of knowledge.
What is religious knowledge?
Religious knowledge or religious knowledge is understood to be based on an unprovable belief system. It serves as a moral, ethical or emotional support for human behavior , proposing its link with the sacred: God, the divinity, the spirit, etc.
Generally, this type of knowledge is organized around a specific creed , collected in one or more mystical or sacred texts. They are guarded, imparted and interpreted by religious institutions , such as the different churches and priesthoods that exist.
In general, this type of knowledge is inherited over several generations . Therefore, it houses an important cultural value and has served in different times of humanity to organize the community morally , socially and even politically .
For the rest, religious knowledge responds in its own way to a set of doubts and questions of an existential type that humanity has had since its earliest times. In doing so, it can provide support, tranquility and meaning to an existence that, for many, can become empty or distressing, lacking in final meaning.
In fact, much of the world’s artistic and philosophical production has been influenced, motivated by religious knowledge. However, in many other cases, this type of knowledge can contradict and even compete with rational knowledge.
Characteristics of religious knowledge
Religious knowledge, above all, is dogmatic: it is accepted or not, but it lacks demonstrable logical arguments , but is based on faith. It proposes, in different ways, that human beings are the fruit of divine creation and that therefore we must worship the creator.
Consequently, it imposes certain moral and ethical precepts, expressed as a doctrine . This may or may not be guarded and taught by a church: a social organization whose purpose is to perpetuate a specific faith.
On the other hand, religious knowledge is put into practice through rituals and prayers, generally based on repetition and the forging of community ties among believers, which is why it also serves as a social meeting point and the constitution of a “we”. organized. In fact, many wars were fought in ancient times to impose one faith on another.
Religious knowledge, then, is unquestionable and is governed by its own logic, which generally distinguishes between good and evil , or between what is just and what is sinful, depending on the values expressed behind each religion . For example, Christianity is a doctrine of guilt, while the religion of ancient Greece was based on honor and balance.
Finally, religious knowledge is usually collected in sacred books , which can be one or different volumes, and which usually mix the narration with the ordinances, with the prayers and with the historical-religious account. The Bible, the Koran or the Talmud are examples of this.
examples of religious knowledge
Any religious practice is a good example of such knowledge. For us the best known are the Catholic Christian traditions , with their saints and the abundant hagiographic literature (on the lives of the saints), and with their New Testament.
On the other hand, there are also different Vedic traditions from India and Hinduism , with its wheel of life , its Samsara and its circuit of reincarnations. We can also mention the African mysticism of Santeria (Yoruba religion) in the Caribbean.
Relationship with other types of knowledge
In the West, the philosophical tradition and religious thought have a common basis . This is because in ancient times the distinction between religious thought and scientific or empirical thought did not exist, but rather they were all the same thing, often called Philosophy .
This trend continued for many centuries. In the European Middle Ages , the Christian faith prevailed over all discourses , including the philosophical , and prevailed as the supreme value. Any questioning that contradicted the Christian faith was branded as sinful and could end up with its author at the stake.
However, the secularization of society (for example, the rupture between the State and the Church) engendered the possibility that reason would take the place that faith previously had. That is to say that in the Modern Age religious knowledge was displaced by scientific knowledge .
This change marked the end of the Middle Ages and the Old Regime and gave way to a modern world, guided by science and faith in human reason, rather than in divine designs. Thus, religion came to occupy a secondary, personal, almost intimate place in people ‘s lives .
Other types of knowledge
Other forms of knowledge are the following:
- Scientific Knowledge . It arises from the application of the scientific method to the different hypotheses that arise from the observation of reality . Those hypotheses must be proven by experiments and ultimately aim to discover the laws that govern the universe .
- empirical knowledge . It can be gained through direct experience, repetition, or participation. It does not require an approach to the abstract, but arises from the things themselves.
- philosophical knowledge . It comes from human thought, in the abstract, by employing various logical or formal reasoning methods . It does not always follow directly from reality, but from the imaginary representation of reality.
- intuitive knowledge . It is acquired without formal reasoning, quickly and unconsciously. It is usually the result of unexplained processes.