Is Religion necessary and what is the philosophy of religion – Ambedkar

Is Religion necessary and what is the philosophy of religion for Babasaheb Ambedkar? Babasaheb  Ambedkar attitude towards religion

“A people and their religion must be judged by social standards based on social ethics. No other standard would have any meaning if religion is held to be necessarily good for the well-being of the people.”


ambedkar philosophy on religion


Dr Ambedkar born as an untouchable, undergone all the miseries of untouchables and also tried hard for their welfare. He also felt that Hindu religion is the main cause for their ill-treatment and tried to bring changes in it and he also felt, whether there is the necessity of religion and is there any religion which gives equal treatment and found that, it is necessary and no equal treatment is given by any and found it in Buddhism and finally got himself converted to it.


      This paper deals with the ideology, Philosophy and the way of rational thinking of Dr Ambedkar regarding the necessity of Religion and its importance in the social life and Philosophy of Religion.

Dr Ambedkar himself was a great philosopher who had widely studied its nature and scope and said that “I have read a good deal on the subject, but I confess I have not got a clear idea of what is meant by Philosophy of religion. This is probably due to two facts. In the first place while religion is something definite as if what is to be included in the term Philosophy. In the second place, Philosophy and Religion has been adversaries as may be seen from the story of the Philosophers and theologians order to understand the philosophy of religion, it is essential to understand the terms of philosophy, theology,  religion, and philosophy of religion. So, what are these terms actually?


Philosophy is described as the “synoptic view of things” as Plato said long ago. Philosophy is an attempt to satisfy this reasonable design of man for knowledge it is not a mere luxury but a necessity of life in its widest etymological sense, it means ‘love of wisdom’ related to man. For Karl Marx the main objective of Philosophy is not only “to explain the nature of the world, but also to change it”.

Dr Ambedkar’s, “Philosophy is nothing but a standard to measure the conduct of man” he also took philosophy as ‘human experience’ which studies and explains the work process and the world ground with regard to man. But it does not refuse to carry out the critical task of evolution. Hence Philosophy’s foremost function is the search for facts in order to critically examine the relevance with regard to human conduct.


Religion is described as “man’s faith in a power beyond himself”, or a “belief in an Everlasting God”. The basic and decisive nature feature of religion believes in the Supernatural. Professor Bettany has defined “Religion broadly as man’s attitude towards the unseen and whatever consequences he believes or attitude produced on his conduct or on his relations to fellow men” Ambedkar took religion to mean “The propounding of an ideal scheme of divine governance the aim and objective of which is to make the social order in which man live a moral order”.

It is evident that although a certain and universal definition of Religion is impossible,  it may be said, man’s faith in some sort of ‘divine power’ omnipresent and omniscient, is the basis of Religion and this divine power instills in man is a feeling of devotion towards the supreme authority.If you take faith in the proper sense of trust or spiritual conviction, religion faith or intuition. Philosophy is based on any field of knowledge, where as religion is based on faith and involves devotion towards the supernatural, the divine power


Theology is a subject which signifies a “discourse or doctrine concerning divine things” “It is now generally understood to mean the system of doctrines which concern the personal attributes and works of God”. The prominent features of the theology are extreme dogmatism, authoritarianism, and scholasticism.

Ambedkar saw natural theology is related to religion which is the doctrine of God and the divine, as an integral part of the theory of nature. Dr Ambedkar views of theology stands for the three fundamental ideas namely the

1.The existence of god

2.God presidential government of the universe and

3.The Gods moral government of mankind


Philosophy of religion is not a religious experience, nor is connected with any faith, worship and ritualism it has no link with dogmatism, authoritarianism, scholasticism or with any kind of revelation and divine power. It is not embedded in reverence towards the great religion of the world like Hinduism, Islam Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism. It has its own method to look at this religion which may be infallible to most of the protagonist of religious faith.

The main object of the philosophy of religion is to examine the relevance of particular religion social and moral norms, and thus, to save mankind from dogmatic beliefs and harmful practices. Dr. Ambedkar took the word philosophy “in its two folded sense that is 1.” it means teachings as he did when people spoke of the philosophy of Socrates or the philosophy of Plato”, and in other sense” it is meant critical reason used in passing judgements upon things and events” and he also says that study of philosophy of religion involves the determination of three dimensions, first is religion to mean theology, both of which deal the highest metaphysical abstractions and divine reservation, 2. is the philosophy of religion is to know the ideal scheme for which religion stands and justifies it 3.It is to adopt the criteria for judging the value of the ideal scheme of divine governance for which a given religion stands. Philosophy of religion is to study the Revolutions which religion has undergone. A religious Revolution always places a decisive role in the spelling the wrong notations. Dr Ambedkar considered religious Revolution to be the most significant and immense one, because “that religion Revolution touches the nature and consent of ruling conceptions of the relations of God to man, of society to man and of man to man.. that is that it has brought about a complete transformation in the nature of Religion as it is taken to be by savage society and by civilized society although very few seem to be aware of it.

According to Dr Ambedkar the first include 1. External Revolution which is said to be concerned with the field in which the authority of religion was to prevail, but it was not really a religious Revolution at all. For it was the revolt of science against the extra territorial jurisdiction assumed by religion over a field which did not belong to.  2. Internal Revolution which is real Revolution which altered, amended and reconstituted the scheme of divine governance. By this man has ceased to be a blind worshipper of God doing nothing but obeying his Commands. The internal Revolution is the revolution in the ruling concepts of the religion as a scheme of governance. Its main purpose is to discover the norms for a value evaluating a religion.

Dr Ambedkar philosophy of religion seems to adopt the criterion or the norms of utility and justice for evaluating the right and wrong notions and practices related to the particular religion. The norms of utility and justice were the norms which Dr Ambedkar proposed to adopt for examining the philosophy of Hinduism, but these, have to begin with an inquiry which no religion seems prepared to face, because it may question the very tenets of religion.

 What is the difference between philosophy of religion and philosophy of a religion?

Dr Ambedkar expressed his own views that “the difference is probably due to the fact that I regard philosophy of religion as a normative study and descriptive study. I do not think that there can be such a thing as a general Philosophy of Religion. It believe each Religion has a particular Philosophy. To me there is no Philosophy of Religion. There is Philosophy of a Religion. There is no doubt that each region has its own philosophy such as philosophy of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity but, What does it mean? it simply means to present and analyse the basic tenets of the particular religion. When we talk about a philosophy of Hinduism, we take it just to analyse what is it views on god, soul, theory of Karma, concept of heaven and hell, salvation of soul life after death man’s relation to God, derivation of moral ideas, divine social order, rituals related to it. Similarly, when we talk of the philosophy of Buddhism we explain the nature and significance of the theory of Bhuddhist theory of dependent origination four noble truths, eight fold path, Nirvana, theory of no soul, theory of incessant change.The same is also true with other religions like Islam and Christianity. The philosophy of a particular religion means the analysis of its ideals and practices developed during its long history of continuous existence. This aspect of philosophy of religion has no critical attitude towards itself. When Dr Ambedkar asserted that “there is a philosophy of religion”, I’m sure,he meant that and nothing else, for each religion has its own philosophy, that is, its own outlook to look at Man and matters in the universe.

Why did Dr Ambedkar regarded the religion as a normative science?

Because it forms certain norms for asserting a particular religion, its worth as a way of life, and he also meant to adopt critical attitude towards the Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism have in the store in their form of Ideas, customs, manners, beliefs and practices.

What is then  Dr Ambedkar philosophy of religion?

I describe Dr Ambedkar philosophy of religion in its descriptive sense but when we analyse Dr Ambedkar views on a particular religion in a critical manner, we take it in its normative sence. Dr Ambedkar not only believed in a religious like Buddhism but also criticized the religion like Hinduism, so we have to take Dr Ambedkar philosophy of religion in both ways that is on the one hand, It asserts some religious ideas and practices to be right, and on the other hand examines and finds religious ideas and practices which are wrong. Philosophy of religion is not a religious activity it is some sort of religious discussion, critical evaluation of what a particular religion belives in and adders to and is a result of anti-religious attitude.

     For the question of what is the necessary of Hinduisms, there are some following reasons why the philosophy of religion is necessary this

1.To safeguard the human freedom

2.Philosophy of modern societies

3. Religion which exposes the evils of fundamentalism in society is necessary to examine the related belief and dogmas, manners and practices of their own religion and also in order to modify the preconceptions of life and the universe

4. To establish theories and concept in a particular religion, we need philosophers of religion. Philosophy evaluate the traditions and criticizes what becomes or seems to be anti-human.

Then what does Ambedkar philosophy of religion in comparison it study and how does it exam in all that through the means of critical region and I’ll show the latest utility and Justice? The following premises namely is any necessity of religion in human life

2.All religions are equally good

3.God is an essential element of religion

4. Religion must necessarily nourish a scheme of divine governance

5. Infallibility of religious text as divine authority must be maintained

6. The sole aim of an individuals life is the salvation of soul

7. The relation of morality to God and religion is necessary

8. Religion should be based on rules for principles

9. Man’s Karma and future be confined to this world and

10-The test of utility and justice to judge the relevance of a religion must be applied .


The role of religion has pervaded all aspects of man’s life it is essential for man. To Dr Ambedkar religion was a necessity in life and he did not agree with those especially the Marxist thinkers who rejected it. Then there arises a question of does Dr Ambedkar subscribe to the view that religion is reactionary and there is no necessity of it in human life? Not at all as he said some people think that religion is not essential to society. I do not hold this view. I considered the foundation of religion to be essential to the life and practice of society.

Dr Ambedkar did not agree with Karl Marx and other Mraxist thinkers that religion had no importance in human life. He observed man cannot live by bread alone. He has a mind which needs food for thought. Religion instills hope in man and drive him to activity. It is a different matter that he criticized and rejected Hinduism as a religion but religion had a role to play in human life which can hardly be over looked by mankind.

Dr Ambedkar was well convinced that religion not only develop a good character, but also moulded the structural aspects of human society. Why did Dr Ambedkar consider religion to be a necessary part of human life? Because religion is primarily a valuing attitude, universalizing the will and the emotions, rather than the ideas of man. Ambedkar did not agree with those who believe that religion arose in magic. Ambedkar emphasized on the necessity of religion has a social base,in the absence of social life there is no need of any religion, and religion has to play social life. A religion is social in the sense that is primarily concerned with society, and not with the individual.

What is the main purpose and function of religion?

  1. It projects the essential values of human personality and of human society into the universe as a whole and

2. Spiritual values which are connected especially with the personal and social life and projected into the universal reality.

There are some functions of religion as

  1. It is to act as an agent of social control that is of the group controlling the life of the individual
  2. and the function of religion is the same as a function of law and government, it is a means by which society exercises its control over the conduct of the individual in order to maintain the social order.

Religion acts as a means of social control, and Dr Ambedkar recognized that religion emphasizes, universalizes social values and bring them to the mind of the individual who is required to recognize them in order that he may function as an approved member of the society.


Dr.Ambedkar who said religion is necessary for life and converted to Buddhism which preached values, morality, truth, peace and equal treatment unlike any other religion because “religion plays a major role in every being”, according to him.

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