Difference Between Philosophy and Religion

The principles of religious belief are beyond the arena contestation, but philosophical theories encourage active thinking and logical reasoning to be the guiding lights that reveal the hidden truths of the universe, and human existence.

Existential questions are interrogated by critical thinking within the discipline of philosophy, while religion enforces certain given indisputable doctrines on its followers. Faith is the defining principle of all religious orders.

Philosophy vs Religion

The main difference between philosophy and religion is that while religion is based on a set of unquestionable beliefs and dogmas about human existence pertaining to the supernatural, philosophy encompasses the doctrines that launch an inquest into the truth of the world around us and the reality of our existence.

Philosophy vs Religion

Comparison Table Between Philosophy and Religion

Parameters of ComparisonPhilosophyReligion
DefinitionThe discipline of philosophy is grounded in an inquest of discovering the truths of human existence and the universe.Religion is an ideological set of dogmas, based on faith about the supernatural creator of the human race and the universe.
Ritualistic PerformancesRituals are not a constituent part of philosophical doctrines.  Rituals are considered to be an indispensable part of religious orders.
Guiding ValuesThe discipline of philosophy is grounded in logical thinking that is guided by the principles of rationality.Religion is based on unquestioning faith and belief in existing doctrines.
Strength of DoctrinesThe strength of philosophical principles is comparatively limited. Religious doctrines are extremely powerful in mandating social cohesion.
Answer to Core QuestionsIt encourages individuals to search for universal truths by drawing logical deductions.It provides its followers with certain given answers to the core dilemmas of our existence.
Belief in the Supernatural and the SacredThe supernatural is not an important topic of contemplation. The sacred-profane dichotomy is nonexistent.Religious creeds are centered around the belief in a supernatural entity. Sacred is sacrosanct in religious doctrines.
Importance of MythsMyths are unimportant in philosophy as it relies on tangible deductions.Myths are important in religious doctrines.

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is a discipline that is dedicated to debunking the truths of human nature, existence, and universal actuality.

Derived from the Latin word ‘philosophia’ meaning the love of wisdom, logical thinking, reason, and rationality are the central pillars of any philosophical theory.

Socrates is renowned as the father of philosophy for his unparalleled contribution to the discipline.

The doctrines of philosophical thinking propel humans to question the fundamental truths of our existence, knowledge, mind, values, and morals.

Ethics, Aesthetics, Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology are some of the important- but not exhaustive- subdivisions within the broader philosophical umbrella.

Religion is often classed by some as a part of the philosophical–metaphysical- line of inquiry. However, there are several differences between the two.

Over centuries, philosophy has evolved into several notable schools and traditions across the world including Existentialism, Idealism, Positivism, Utilitarianism, Empiricism, and others.

This is attributed to the invaluable contribution of some philosophical stalwarts like Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Plato, Hegel, and others.


What is Religion?

Religious dogmas define the relationship between humans and the revered world of the sacred. Religious ideologies are founded on the valued distinction between the sacred and profane.

The supernatural creator of the universe is part of the revered sacred world.

Religious principles delineate the nature of the Divine World and human existence. Humans often turn to religious doctrines in turbulent times to amass courage and strength.

The earliest forms of religion can be traced back to nature worship or Naturism.

Religions that propound the belief in one Supreme God are known as Monotheistic religions- like Christianity and Islam- while those that worship multiple Gods are known as Polytheistic religions- like Hinduism and the Greek Religion.

All religions are grounded in the unquestioning faith of their followers upon the propagated principles. A religious community cannot sustain itself without the unwavering conviction on the preached gospels of truth.

Rituals like offerings, prayers, devotional meditation, following religious prescriptions, and proscriptions are a significant part of all religious orders.

Religious values are essential modalities of indirect social control in most societies. They contribute towards social solidarity and cohesion, but also affect the prevalent codes of ethical conduct in societies.

Moral codes are often inspired by predominant religious beliefs and principles.


Main Differences Between Philosophy and Religion

  1. The main difference between philosophy and religion is that the former encompasses logical deductions made about the nature of human reality and the universe by active critical assessments, while religion stands for a given set of indubitable beliefs about the supernatural that are conscientiously adhered to and imbibed by its followers.
  2. The second notable difference between the two can be stated in terms of ritualistic performances. Rituals play a significant part in most religious orders. Rituals are absent from the literary discipline of philosophy.
  3. Skepticism is innate to the structure of philosophical thinking. Philosophy originates from the point of questioning all truths. This form of skepticism is absent from religious creeds. Faith is an obligatory part of religious orders.
  4. The idea of the supernatural and superhuman ‘God’ plays an essential role in the formulation of religious dogmas. The role of the supernatural is too limited – bordering on complete absence- in philosophy. The discipline is concerned with various universal truths and not so much with the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural.
  5. Religious beliefs tend to be much more stringent and staunch than philosophical doctrines. Religious beliefs can turn into fanaticism, whereas, philosophical truths cannot inspire such volatile passions among its supporters.
  6. Religion seeks to provide predetermined answers to its followers, while philosophy encourages them to discern appropriate answers by rational contemplations.
  7. Myths are considered to be an important part of religious doctrines. However, philosophy is not grounded in such myths and legends.
Difference Between Philosophy and Religion


The relationship between philosophy and religion is often the subject of ardent contestation.

Some propose the theory that religion has its roots in philosophical thinking, some others vehemently oppose such a stance.

Discerning the true extent of their interlocking character can be complicated, especially because there are several potent differences between the two.

Philosophical thought relies on rationality to deduce the fundamental truths about human existence and our lived realities. It mostly avoids the role of the supernatural in such discussions.

However, religion embodies quite contrary postulates. Grounded in unquestioning faith, religion attempts to provide its followers solace in times of despair and offer answers to the interrogations of our existence.

Religious orders are ritualistically oriented toward preserving the dichotomous and revered sacred-profane boundary. The cohesive powers of such doctrines are incomparable.

Philosophy discards any mythological propositions as well as ritual practices while attempting to guide individuals to the truth by actively questioning all aspects of our lived realities.


  1. http://search.proquest.com/openview/377034e4dac3092a02e1bb2dbe6152dc/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=39453
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Z8DytgeDVQAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA211&dq=philosophy+and+religion+differences&ots=l6HIihXzod&sig=1taHkCyjZJFSssqBNII0T1jgKx8
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