Why do Baptists generally diss philosophy and what to do?

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Why do Baptists generally diss philosophy and what to do?

Postby Marmie » Thu May 04, 2006 9:22 pm

I should have posted the last post with this new topic. Sorry. So, what do you think? Why do many Christians and especially Baptists dismiss philosophy as not worthy of their attention and what can we do to dispel this wrong idea?
Marmie agrees that: ~The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. ~ Ps. 84:11
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Philosophy

Postby PS » Fri May 05, 2006 3:15 pm

It would help me to know what is meant by "dissing" philosophy. Maybe some examples would help.
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Postby Marmie » Fri May 05, 2006 5:09 pm

Generally, Baptists disregard, disavow, disallow, dismiss, show disinterest in, etc., not to mention either willingly or unwittingly misunderstand it.

Examples that readily come to mind: Most Christians favorite authors are generally NOT Lewis, Schaeffer, Sayers, etc., but Max Lucado, Phillip Yancey, Jeanette Oke, etc., which are all good authors, but they're not known for their depth of thought (depth of feeling, yes, as in the case of Lucado, but not depth of thought in the "wisdom" arena. )

Maybe a definition of philosophy from a regenerate perspective would help. Something like this might work: TRUE philosophy is the love of TRUE wisdom, that which God has revealed and which we can know for sure about Him and His world, how to make sense of it all, how it all works together, and then how to cogently make those thoughts matter in the real marketplace of life, including in the sphere of the unregenerate. Generally, in my opinion, Christians need to work on each of those areas, but I realize we can only do so much. Maybe we can start by getting serious about the world of ideas, not shunning those we don't understand, but trying to understand where others are coming from so we can knock around those ideas, see which ones stand and which fall to the ground.

Besides being the "love of wisdom", Websters defines philosophy as, "A search for the underlying causes and principles of reality. Investigation; inquiry ~ a natural process of the human mind...." Hence my earlier thesis that the human mind will philosophize/rationalize a God if given the least bit of impetus. It's part of our nature.

For some unknown reason, in my experience, after salvation people generally (I'm generalizing here) are content with the fact that they're going to heaven and that's all they need to know about "the underlying causes and principles of reality." Ok. That's right in one sense. But in another sense, if we ever lose that desire to "investigate" whether it's the Word or God's creation or the human condition, we begin to atrophy. That shouldn't be the case. Though we can't know it all and do it all, our very God-like nature demands that we continue to think, create, make sense of things, tie up loose ends, see a reason for continued existence. This type of continued growth can be labeled a developing "worldview" or a Christian philosophy of life, or as convoco says, a "personal theology".
Marmie agrees that: ~The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. ~ Ps. 84:11
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Postby Marmie » Fri May 05, 2006 5:38 pm

Aaron answered my previous question with this:

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Answer #1: There is this idea that Theology is the only worthy pursuit for a man/woman of God. Any other sources of knowledge aren't worth the time or effort. No other education is needed except a solid Bible degree. Now I agree that a pastor should have a solid Bible education (probably even a seminary degree or two) under his belt. But we live in a pagan culture! Even the great pharisee Paul had a trade and a reasonable knowledge of philosophy. Our message is offensive enough, we need a way to relate to those around us. We accept that we can't rationalize people into heaven, but that hardly means that we can't use their philosophical systems to show them their own errors.
Answer #2: A large percentage of Baptists don't have the mental muscle for it. There are two generations of ministers behind us that have been taught to believe what they believe because it is what is taught or it is right. This is why we have so many troubles with "preferences" or "standards." So many people don't know how to think on their own. They don't distinguish between Bible truth and man's interpretation. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that every controversial issue is a preference. And just because a view is traditional doesn't mean it needs to be rejected. But our generation needs men and woman who can defend their beliefs from the Bible, not some professor or pastor. Now this viewpoint comes largely from being in the Bible College sphere. I'm interested to hear an answer from the "real world."

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Very astute thoughts, Aaron. I especially like the lines: "Our message is offensive enough, we need a way to relate to those around us. We accept that we can't rationalize people into heaven, but that hardly means that we can't use their philosophical systems to show them their own errors."

Can we really relate to those outside of the church? Can we hold our own against the professors and artists and disenchanted and pleasure-seekers? Do we know where they're coming from? Do we understand the human condition and the Word well enough to present truth to them in an understandable manner? And as the culture gets more "pagan" (an accurate label), will they more or less likely listen to Christians and Scripture if we and it are presented in a way that doesn't relate to where they are? Yes, God's word is powerful and WILL work, but as you mentioned the apostle Paul, let me build on that. After Paul was taken to Mars Hills (Athens, Greece) by the philosophers of that area, some of whom had heard him speak of Jesus in the synagogue, he did something interesting. He didn't use one iota of Christianese, no direct Scripture, no church cliches, seeing they had little to no experiential background in those areas (though they may have had bits and pieces of knowledge). No, he addressed what they could see and touch: creation. He wove Truth in and around them without directly "preaching" at them. He touched them where they were. He astutely discerned their condition, their likely grasp or lack of grasp of God-things, and then spoke. He even quoted one of their heathen poets! Whoa! The result? "A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others." My thesis? Paul used every opportunity, not to "preach" per se, but to see that Truth was presented in proportion to the need of the moment. He didn't have those usual "canned sermons" for every situation. He was sensitive to the needs of those around him and sought to present the need-meeting God to them in terms they could understand.
Marmie agrees that: ~The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. ~ Ps. 84:11
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Postby GoBronte » Tue May 23, 2006 3:24 pm

Just who is this strange "Marmie" person any way? Just kidding.
Like a soft air above a sea,
Tossed by the tempest's stir;
A thaw-wind, melting quietly
the snow-drift on some wintry lea;
No, what sweet thing resembles thee,
My thoughtful Comforter.
(from My Comforter, by Ellis Bell [Emily Bronte])
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