Friday, October 16, 2009

Three Good Philosophy Audio Courses

Here are three good philosophy audio courses:
History of Philosophy & Christian Thought
by Dr. John Frame - iTunes

Introduction to Philosophy
by Dr. Daniel Kaufman - Ap315's audio feed | iTunes Video

A Christian Philosophy of Religion
by Dr. Paul Copan - RSS | iTunes | Web

Check out this post over at Cloud of Witnesses for more philosophy audio and video on the web.



Joshua Jung said...

"Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high–sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ."

Why do some Christians avoid philosophy out of fear that it will lead people away from Christ (as one interpretation of this verse would imply) and others, like yourself, use it to defend Christianity?

Slightly confused. [Well, not really. I'm not confused anymore, but if I was still a Christian, I would be.] I've never heard a good answer to this question that includes the fact that both Christian parties mentioned are supposed to have the indwelling Holy Spirit who is to guide them into "all truth". I would hope to find some unity among Christians on this issue if there was any truth at all to the latter claim. The fact that there is not seems to confirm the theories of the lecturer in your previous post while at the same time debunking the existence of the Holy Spirit.

Leslie said...


The problem to me with your question is that you make several false assumptions.

You seem to assume that having the indwelling Holy Spirit means Christians will agree on everything. But even Christians in the first century didn't think that. There were disagreements aplenty. Just take the issue with John Mark in Acts 15 as an example. Paul didn't suddenly think "oh no, the Spirit isn't real!" So if even the first century Christians didn't think that, why should Christians today think that?

Secondly, you jump to the conclusion that if people claim to have the indwelling of the Spirit, and disagree, then this somehow debunks the existence of the Spirit. But this doesn't necessarily follow. Perhaps that doctrine of the indwelling of the Spirit is simply an incorrect understanding. I don't think it is, but my point is that the non-existence of the Spirit is not the only alternative here.

Also, it seems rather unwise to me to take a verse from Scripture and stamp it indiscriminately on whatever seems useful. Context is everything. Paul isn't saying philosophy is bad. He's saying philosophy that is human centered, rather than Christ centered, is bad. And he's right - it is nonsense. You can't take God out of the picture, insert non-telic random natural processes, and get a solid epistemology.

Dave said...

Dave said...

Speaking directly to that passage, what he tells us is not to avoid philosophy, but to avoid being led astray by it. If that means avoiding it for one of us who has weak discernment, so be it. But for those of us who can sort the empty from the true in philosophy, we should. All philosophies or religions contain at least some truth because otherwise they wouldn't have any traction or life to them as ideas. We believe everything good and true comes from God. I'm saying it's the truth (from God) that a lie borrows to clothe itself that makes it compelling.

I think it's also important to recognize that the Holy Spirit is not an eliminator of personalities and all natural tendencies. Exploration and intellectual rigor (or the lack thereof) varies throughout the body of Christ, and I think this has more to do with some believers being different parts of the body than following a different Spirit. The same way that some believers are more open in matters of the heart or passionate in physical service than matters of the mind.

The receptors to the Spirit are tuned to different aspects from one person to another, but the Spirit is absolutely the same.

A natural result of being in a fallen world is that what should be in unity (these faculties of mind, heart and will in the church for example) is often not. This explains a great deal of the disunity that Christians still experience and hopefully grow beyond in the course of their time on earth. Also it's consistent theologically that these problems should exist in a pronounced way in Christianity because of spiritual antagonism surrounding the truth. That is we believe that the Devil is trying to exploit our individual sins and lacks, while God is working to draw out our given strengths.

But we should also find holistic reforms in the church bringing all aspects into healthy interaction and that is something that can only be achieved supernaturally. We don't always see this as often as we would like, but when people follow the Spirit together it shows in amazing ways.

Maturity levels also enter into it. Some have grown to believe that God is Lord over science and philosophy (because he made it), and others of us aren't grown up enough to realize the fullness of that yet, in the same sense that Paul talks in Romans about some of us still being weak in terms of rule-setting and judging others about alcohol, etc.

Thomas said...


Why do some Christians avoid philosophy out of fear that it will lead people away from Christ (as one interpretation of this verse would imply) and others, like yourself, use it to defend Christianity?

First, I'm not aware of Christians who avoid philosophy proper (Is that even possible?!). And I've never seen anyone interpret that verse in that way.

Second, the verse you quoted says to avoid empty philosophy not all philosophy. Unless I've misinterpreted you, I'd say its pretty simple: I'd recommend that everyone should avoid empty philosophy and things that are simply foolish. Don't you agree?

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