In Defense of a Little Philosophy
Christians have, in recent years, been wary of philosophy. “Recently” has been for a gaggle of centuries now, for mistrusting philosophy and philosophers has a long tradition in Christian circles. Much of this is justified, for significant levels of bad thinking and false doctrine has been introduced by philosophers in the guise of theology and new thinking. We are also taught in scripture to beware of philosophy, and to beware of those who creep into the church with false teachings. Colossians 2:8 tells us “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
I recently ran across a believer who expressed the old adage, ‘what does Jerusalem have to do with Athens?’ which is a statement saying that Greek philosophy should have nothing to do with the church. I also ran across a book by a Christian apologist denouncing Thomas Aquinas for bringing Aristotle into Christian teaching. The errors introduced by philosophy are numerous and significant, and Christians are wise to beware of false teachings and bad philosophy.
The problem comes when we start to tell people to avoid philosophy altogether, which becomes an awkward, virtually impossible task. Philosophy, at its foundation, is merely ‘thinking about things.’ Philosophy is thinking about questions, trying to think through problems. We either have the choice to not think about questions, or try to answer them, and even if we decide to not think about them, what we have often done is to think about the situation and decide to not think about the question…
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