Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Christians and Philosophy

Cowboys riding the long trail usually clam up, but once in a while, someone commences philosophizing. When the subject is met with little more than grunts from the others, silence ensues again. If you study on it, it seems that everybody has a philosophy of some sort. There are many philosophers throughout history, and many are relegated to history books.

Some people are put off by philosophy, some do not care, some are enthusiastic. The Bible actually has a great deal to say about it.
Le Philosophe by Henri Martin
When people talk about philosophers, images of smug intellectuals taking solitary walks and pondering, or discussing their versions of the meaning of life while smoking pipes. I have stated that I find philosophy useless because I have no use for the ideas of Kierkegaard, Rousseau, Kant, and so on. However, I learned a few things about philosophy since then, especially the practice and purpose.

Some folks shy away from philosophy as ungodly, referring to Colossians 2:8. Context, people! Chasing after worldly philosophies can be very harmful, but the Bible is actually loaded with philosophy. Regular readers know that I emphasize logic, which is a branch of philosophy. So are ethics (morality, right and wrong), the nature of reality, and the study of knowledge.

"But Cowboy Bob, I don't care a whit about philosophy. I study science!"

Science is a philosophical means of interpreting evidence according to one's worldview. Also, ask the scientist who has a doctorate what PhD stands for. So, someone who shuns philosophy in favor of science is still doing philosophy.

Just like having some knowledge of evolution is important for a biblical creationist (many creationist scientists are former atheist evolutionists), a knowledge of some of the basic secular views can be helpful. Remember, however, that true wisdom and knowledge are found in God's Word.
A colleague of mine once said, “Stay away from philosophy.  The Bible says that philosophy is bad and that we should avoid it.”  But does the Bible really say that?  What exactly is philosophy, and what does the Bible really say about it?
The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the Greek word meaning “love of knowledge” or “love of wisdom.”  In this sense, the Bible is very pro-philosophy.  The Bible commends obtaining both knowledge and wisdom.  Proverbs 2:6 states, “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”  Proverbs 3:13 states, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.”  But what is meant by the English word ‘philosophy’ and does the Bible really condemn it?
To read the rest, click on "Beware of Philosophy!"


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