A philosophy is primarily made as a positive action encompassing new learning then present in a culture while a religion is made in reaction to the failure of that culture to cope with whatever is presently before it.
This is not always the case but is most often.
ChristianityChristianity is the most feminine of all religions. It's primary, fundamental tenet is acceptance of adversity (turn the other cheek) or even obeisance to depravity (love your enemies).
It is easy to see why, given the obvious historical record. At the time of its formation, Jews longed for a means of ridding themselves of the Roman yoke. Because this was impossible (as evidenced at Masada), the ground was fertile for the sowing of a philosophical, failure mode religion.
Enter the philosophy of Jesus (victory through submission)And though it may seem unlikely, this is indeed a long term workable solution. [It is the nature of male to be immediate and of the female to be enduring.]
Although I find some notable things in this religion I do not subscribe to it (or any religion for that matter). For my part, I require a formal philosophy, extensively thought out by one individual (not a committee acting over centuries to compound error with corrections, obfuscations, deletions and unwarranted enhancements).
There is no historical indication that anyone called Jesus ever existed at all. Of a few dozen impartial historians then living, no one made mention of the man. I suspect, however, that he did exist for to think otherwise is to create a greater problem of why people carried his message so zealoulsy - even to the point of martyrdom. It is unlikely that a fictitious being, no matter how cleverly crafted, would have generated such loyalty.
The picture I get is of someone who believed in his own ideas but was given little attention by the dominant religious leaders. (This is the probable cause of his absence from the historical record.) In order to force their attention, and thereby gain credibility in the eyes of the people, he "pushed their buttons" until they gave him more attention than he actually wanted (Eloi, eloi lama sabactani...).
Addendum 9/1/99 :Cancel the above two paragraphs. After having read the following and others, I find them to be far more compelling than what I was raised to believe (Catholic). A good treatment is found here (and places similar to this)
Here are some typical, faulty items in the religion:
One thing that all religions seem to lack is a sense of fun, humor, joy. Everything is just pitiful, or evil, or wretched. It would be enormously inspiring if there were a 15th station of the cross:
Jesus falls again ... but cracks a joke.I don't mean that he should demean the moment but rather demean his tormentors. I saw a movie clip in which a henchman of Fulgencio Batista was being executed by a Castro firing squad. He smiled heartily and waved to the crowd less than a second before the top of his head was blown off. This picture sticks in ones mind far better than someone hanging his head and weeping.
Before moving on:
As a teen, I was often told that he suffered the most excrutiating death imaginiable. Having read of many different types of death, I am now in a position to state that this is palpably false ... If one could offer people the opportunity to take his place in exchange for the revival of a loved one lost under horrible circumstances, you would have to beat the takers off with a stick.
IslamThis is the masculine counterpart to Christianity. Men rule ... women follow (actually a good idea - see Proper Government). It is also a reaction to failure (of Christianity) to deal effectively with existence. It is also a much maligned religion in the west because of Muslim extremists who have turned women into "less than animals". To the Muslim extremist a woman is to be treated as contemptable filth --- in direct violation of the Koran. (at least some parts of it).
The core principles of Islam of fairness, generosity, mercy and justice are just blown off for maniacal, cultish fervor. It is probably impossible to cut away the most basic principles of Islam which sustain (philosophically) as many as one billion people. Hence, it is only a matter of time (perhaps a few more decades) before responsible Muslims put this morally offensive nightmare to bed.
It's not my intention to review individual religions, so I'll discontinue and end with following general summation.
All religions have this in commonThey have a few general core philosophical principles ... then they add to these "ornaments", i.e. the dogma. I know such ornaments very well. They are what you put out when you don't know how to construct a well thought out plan of living which is directly derivable from the aforementioned core principles. This is what you make when your mind is too primitive or inexperienced in logic to do a "righteous" job.
No man with any great intellectual powers would construct a religion. He would construct a detailed philosophy of life. His writings would be extensive ... not limited to a few sayings (as in the Christian gospels), or even many disconnected sayings (as in Mao's little red book). You would find an extensive integrated work (integrated to the best extent possible to it's author) such as Aristotle, Plato, etc. There would be debatable connections between ideas.
Not so in religion.
In lieu of integration you will find "directions, orders, dogma" unrelated to the core principles. Like, bow & pray five times a day in the direction of Mecca ... or get baptized in order to be "saved".
Those whom one would describe as fundamentalists are not at all concerned with fundamental philosophical principles. Rather, their concern is solely with the ornaments of their religion because that is the only thing that distinguishes one religion from another. All religions share the same core principles ... they are all attempts by average men answering to a higher than average calling to do something about the miserable state of existence in which they find themselves and their loved ones.
If one reasons on such core principles from any religion (even atheism) all must necessarily converge on a single point which is "truth". This is the goal of formal philosophy (at least it once was and should be again).