Philosophy as a Way of Life

by Max Andrews

For the philosopher, philosophy is life and life is philosophy.  There are many underpinnings to this notion.  Our philosophy shapes our life and how we live whether we recognize it or not.  It’s how we think and how we come to the conclusions we come to (and why that is the conclusion rendered).  Our purpose in life is to know God.  Knowing God entails enjoying him, worshipping him, serving him, etc.  Just as it is in any other relationship, knowledge of the other person creates intimacy.  We need to know God by loving him with all of our mind.  That means we cannot simply perform Bible studies our discussions by making a B line to every conclusion.  Sincerely criticize every step in reasoning and the conclusion (but I would advise you to not adopt a skeptic’s epistemology, you’ll have the hardest time knowing anything).  If you’re not asking questions, you’re not paying attention.


6 Comments to “Philosophy as a Way of Life”

  1. I agree with you, but what if we take Philosophy too far that we loose sight of what Scripture says and we use too much reasoning in place of loving the weaker brother or taking time to just listen to people?

  2. Hey Barnaby, what would the [so called] dangers of this look like? What does “taking philosophy too far” do?

  3. Max, first off there isn’t any danger because I did not say it’s dangerous if we take philosophy too far. You implied that. What I do mean by “taking philosophy too far” is that what if we use our reason over what Scripture is saying.

    For example if Scripture tells us

    “I appeal to you therefore, brothers,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
    Romans 12:1-2

    And we as reasoning Christian say “you know what I’m going to drink 5 red bulls and a 5 hour energy shot because I need to work on a paper that I procrastinated on.” Instead of honoring God with our time we hurt our body with substances like the ones I said above and end up with more problems with our health that we created.

    Look I agree with you “Our philosophy shapes our life and how we live whether we recognize it or not.”, but if our philosophy is not honoring God in our actions, speech, and conduct then you, as the Christian, loose credibility.

    • Max, first off there isn’t any danger because I did not say it’s dangerous if we take philosophy too far. You implied that. What I do mean by “taking philosophy too far” is that what if we use our reason over what Scripture is saying.

      I don’t know, I think I made a valid inference. You said,

      but what if we take Philosophy too far that we loose sight of what Scripture says and we use too much reasoning in place of loving the weaker brother or taking time to just listen to people?

      How is not losing sight of Scripture not dangerous? That’s one of the most dangerous things you can do as a Christian.

      “I appeal to you therefore, brothers,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
      Romans 12:1-2

      What does this have to do with putting philosophy and reasoning above Scripture? I taught a lesson on this very thing, Renewing Your Mind.

      And we as reasoning Christian say “you know what I’m going to drink 5 red bulls and a 5 hour energy shot because I need to work on a paper that I procrastinated on.” Instead of honoring God with our time we hurt our body with substances like the ones I said above and end up with more problems with our health that we created.

      What does this have to do with anything?

      Look I agree with you “Our philosophy shapes our life and how we live whether we recognize it or not.”, but if our philosophy is not honoring God in our actions, speech, and conduct then you, as the Christian, loose credibility.

      I think this is obvious, what are you trying to say?

  4. Hello Max,

    Consider the proposition that Proverbs 8 is the Christian philosopher’s manifesto. No apologies need be proffered for pursuing the life of the mind, or for loving God as we should.

    How does your commitment to Scripture shape your epistemology?

    • Thanks for your insights Kevin.

      Prov. 8 is a beautiful passage and could certainly be taken as our manifesto! When it comes to epistemology and Scripture, I take the position that we need to have a shaped epistemology prior to our approach to Scripture, at least to a certain degree. Of course, you’ll run in to self-defeating notions of how we are to interpret certain passages if we don’t already have an understanding of reason, the use of that faculty, and a hermeneutic already in place. When I refer to Sola Scriptura I believe we should understand that as Scripture being the final authority on matters it addresses not that all knowledge comes from Scripture alone. Scripture doesn’t say anything about particle physics or brushing your teeth in the morning or how to put on a tuxedo. Scripture will set the direction of our philosophical and theological inquiry. We have an understanding and notion of the trinity by witness of Scripture, but we can only outline and create a doctrine of the trinity by theological and philosophical reflection. That’s the same with many doctrines. We get the parameters from Scripture, and the rest is derived from a controlled reflection.

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