Does Philosophy Conflict with Christianity?
by Thomas B. Warren
“Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:8).
“For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seeks after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling block, and unto Gentiles and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men: and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
The Bible, not the unaided intellectual powers of men, is the source of truth in religion. Clearly, some philosophy is in conflict with Christianity. Paul emphasizes this! But is everything that has to do with philosophic endeavor in such conflict? It seems clear that such is not the case.
What Is Philosophy?
For the purposes of this essay it will be assumed that philosophy is simply the effort to integrate one’s life experiences; that is, it is thinking which tries to discover connected truth about all available experience. Basically, there are two ways by which the study of philosophy is carried on: (1) the historical approach and (2) the issue approach. The historical approach concentrates on the related, chronological contributions of the acknowledged outstanding philosophers. The issue approach is concerned with such questions as: (1) Who, or what, am I? (2) What is real? (3) What can I believe? (4) What can I know? (5) How can I know it? (6) Are there some things which are right and some other things which are wrong? (7) If so, are these things always right or always wrong? (8) How can I know if I am reasoning in a valid way? (How can I know if my premises necessitate my conclusions?) (9) What is truth? How do I find it? (10) Is there really any meaning to my life? (11) Does God exist? Can I know that He exists? (12) Has God revealed Himself to man?
All Men are Philosophers
Since all men are interested (at least to some degree) in such questions, Aristotle was right when he claimed that all men are philosophers. Every person has some view of reality, of what he knows and how he knows it, of what is of value and what isn’t, etc. So, if one were to maintain that all philosophy conflicts with Christianity, he would be condemning not only all other men but himself as well.
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