Thursday, May 12, 2005

Do Christianity and Philosophy Mix?

In some Christian circles, the minute you start talking about or referring to philosophy, you immediately get this quizzical look from the other person which is usually followed by a discussion of Colossians 2:8 wherein Paul says: "Do not be taken captive by vain philosophies, according to the tradition of men instead of according to Christ." Consider this, Christian- Paul is not saying you should not have anything at all to do with philosophy. He's saying you ought to be careful not to become CAPTIVE to vain philosophies. There is a difference between opinions of philosophers on various things, and the tools of philosophy- which are the tools of thought or clear thinking. I submit to you that learning about philosophy helps you think about your faith more clearly. Study church history. Read Irenaeus, Augustine, Anselm, Pascal, Thomas Aquinas. All these people were very rigorous philosphers and made phenomenal contributions to the field of Christian theology and apologetics.

Why do Christians avoid the study of philosophy? Perhaps it's because we're afraid Christianity will not stand up in the marketplace of ideas. If you want to make an impact in the marketplace of ideas with a Christian worldview, you have to understand ideas and the language of ideas. You must learn how to use the tools of philosophy to become clear thinkers. As you do, you'll be more confident sharing your Christian "philosophy" in the marketplace of ideas and you'll potentially point more people to saving faith in Christ. Secondly, learning how to think is hard work and frankly, many of us just don't want to work that hard when it comes to critical thinking about Christianity and competing philosophies. We're happy to know and feel "I've got Jesus, I know I'm saved, end of story." Again, learning philosophy will help you become a more clear thinker, a confident ambassador for Christ and an effective witness in the marketplace of ideas.

Thanks to Greg Koukl for his work at Stand to Reason (link on the left). This post was taken from (this) article written by Greg Koukl. Worth the read, especially if you have kids about to go to college.

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