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apothanein kerdos
Apr 10th 2009, 01:34 AM
I'm reading William Lane Craig's book Reasonable Faith and he has a quote in here from the academic journal Philo (the secular journal of philosophy). The quote comes from an atheist, lamenting the decline of naturalism in philosophy. Here is the quote:

"Naturalists passively watched as realist versions of theism, most influenced by Plantinga's writings, began to swep through the philosohpical community, until today perhaps one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians...Theists in other fields tend to compartmentalize their theistic beliefs from their scholarly work; they rarely assume and never argue for theism in their scholarly work. If they did, they would be committing academic suicide or, more exactly, their articles would quickly be rejected...But in philosophy, it became, almost overnight, 'academically respectable' to argue for theism, making philosophy a favored field of entry for the most intelligent and talented theists entering academia today."

I think it's little secret that I'm studying to be a philosopher, so this caught my eye.

My question is - are churches doing what they can in order to help young people reclaim our heritage as great thinkers and innovators? As I've studied the history of philosophy, I find an interesting trend:

500-100 B.C. - Philosophy is dominated by the Greeks. No one even comes close. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates - all of these men and more come from this period.

100 B.C. - 100 A.D. - Most respectable philosophers are either Sophists or Stoics. The Sophists believe there is no absolute truth while the Stoics believe there is no God (other than the mind) and that we must live very ethical lives.

Here's where history becomes fascinating.

70 A.D. - 1600 A.D. - Philosophy is ruled by Christians. Though Muslims have some glory during the Middle Ages, Christianity is undoubtedly the dominant force in philosophy. This isn't just because it's the dominant religion; before it was even made a state religion by Constantine, Christianity was the dominant philosophical system (70AD - 325AD).

Now, I must be honest and say that from Aquinas on, there's a lot of synchronizing going on so you don't end up with Biblically based philosophy. Though it is still good philosophy, it lacks a solid foundation in Scripture - which leads to some horrible acts by the Church.

Regardless...

1600 A.D. - 1850 A.D. - Philosophy was turned over to the humanists. Though some were Christians (like Descartes), they completely eradicated a Biblical foundation for philosophy. During this time, there was only one major Christian philosopher that made a push to go back to the Bible (Pascal). Other than that, the voices are either muffled or not there.

1850 - 1940 - Logical positivists, athiests, postmoderns, etc all run the philosophy departments. During this period, there are a total of 0 Christians standing up and fighting (with the exception of the fundamentalists, but they fought more against liberalism than against atheism).

1940 - present day - Theism made a come back due to the efforts of C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Alvin Plantinga, and others. Since 1990, more and more orthodox Christians are moving into the field of philosophy.

Now, why does this matter? Why should Christians care? Because where philosophy departments go is where the culture goes.

Descartes came out in the 17th century saying that man is autonomous and that men should be free. Others followed his rallying cry. By the beginning of the 1700's, most philosophers accepted this belief, but there were no democratic governments. Then 1776 rolls around. By 1820, kingdoms were collapsing or giving more power over to the people. It took 120 to see the philosophy played out. 120 years for it to get from Descartes to the masses, but it happened. Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto in the 19th century, and about 50 years after he wrote it we saw the first Communist regime rise. It took 50 years for it to move from the classroom to mainstreet, but it happened.

Nietzsche made the statement "God is dead," but such a statement wasn't heard until the 1960s, almost 70 years after the fact. People didn't begin to live according to his ethics or embrace his nihilism until the last decade (over 100 years after the fact)!

I can give more examples, but the truth is that it generally takes 60-100 years to see a philosophy played out in society. It slowly works its way from the classroom into the general public - it has been this way all throughout history.

So, here we are on a precipice where more and more Christians are getting jobs as professors of philosophy - but hardly enough. Concievably, if we could change the philosophy departments we could eventually create a society that is more hosiptable to hearing the Gospel (as it would see the Gospel as plausible). Here comes the questions:

1) Is there any Biblical precidence for such a calling into the field of philosophy in order to reach out to intellectuals and students?

2) If you believe there is a Biblical basis for such a calling, what is your local church doing in order to encourage that calling among its youth?

3) Are you helping to develop a strong intellectual basis for your youth in your local church, or is it the equivalent of a daycare for teenagers only with praise music and a short Bible lesson?

4) What do you think of the atheists comment?

5) Do you think that having more Christians in the field of philosophy, especially in universities, would help to make Christianity more plausible and therefore easier to accept for some people?

Walstib
Apr 10th 2009, 04:10 AM
My grandfather was a great thinker and philosopher outstanding in a field of tobacco all day. :D

He never finished public school, worked as a laborer his whole life and was never published.

I don't want to seem like a bubble burster but published or recognized people do not typify all of those found in the big picture. I would be bold enough to say some of the greatest philosophers that ever lived never wrote a thing down.


1) Is there any Biblical precedence for such a calling into the field of philosophy in order to reach out to intellectuals and students?

I don't understand what you mean by Biblical precedence. The promotion of Daniel or Joseph? Is this a trick question?


2) If you believe there is a Biblical basis for such a calling, what is your local church doing in order to encourage that calling among its youth?

Hey man there are lots of different body parts. I have good success witnessing to bikers, who are quite good philosophers many times I might add, but don't know if the place I go to worship is encouraging either with a narrow focus. Sure there is a biblical basis as we are to share Jesus with everyone.


3) Are you helping to develop a strong intellectual basis for your youth in your local church, or is it the equivalent of a daycare for teenagers only with praise music and a short Bible lesson?

Can't say as I have that responsibility now. I used to teach my scout troop how to reason their way out of the woods. That only when I had their attention and they were not talking about girls... so not very often. That count?


4) What do you think of the atheists comment?

Brother, I could really get into thinking for a living. That people make a living from it blows my mind. To me it speaks more about who is doing the publishing and the changing of the times in regards to information exchange. That Christians are not being suppressed now... great!


5) Do you think that having more Christians in the field of philosophy, especially in universities, would help to make Christianity more plausible and therefore easier to accept for some people?

I would have to say yes in some ways. It was my physics Prof witnessing to me that helped me get to reading the bible. But that was a person to person thing rather than a public apology thing. A person on campus sharing his testimony with people, a Prof at a function sharing with the other teachers, is kind of thing I think is where it is the most vital. I'm not sure 20% more philosophers being deists is going to convince your average atheist of anything.

Just talking straight up with you brother. It's great you seem to love what you are doing and are so passionate about it. Awesome that you are privileged enough to be able to pursue it. I am sure I don't understand half of socio-political-historical- stuff that goes along with this without study and you don't have to explain it to me. I'll comment further if you want but please don't overwhelm me or feel any need to defend the topic. This just looked like a fun set of questions to answer and I wanted to see you get some response. :P

Peace,
Joe

crossnote
Apr 10th 2009, 06:44 AM
My question is - are churches doing what they can in order to help young people reclaim our heritage as great thinkers and innovators? As I've studied the history of philosophy, I find an interesting trend:

500-100 B.C. - Philosophy is dominated by the Greeks. No one even comes close. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates - all of these men and more come from this period.

100 B.C. - 100 A.D. - Most respectable philosophers are either Sophists or Stoics. The Sophists believe there is no absolute truth while the Stoics believe there is no God (other than the mind) and that we must live very ethical lives.

Here's where history becomes fascinating.

70 A.D. - 1600 A.D. - Philosophy is ruled by Christians. Though Muslims have some glory during the Middle Ages, Christianity is undoubtedly the dominant force in philosophy. This isn't just because it's the dominant religion; before it was even made a state religion by Constantine, Christianity was the dominant philosophical system (70AD - 325AD).

Now, I must be honest and say that from Aquinas on, there's a lot of synchronizing going on so you don't end up with Biblically based philosophy. Though it is still good philosophy, it lacks a solid foundation in Scripture - which leads to some horrible acts by the Church.

Regardless...

1600 A.D. - 1850 A.D. - Philosophy was turned over to the humanists. Though some were Christians (like Descartes), they completely eradicated a Biblical foundation for philosophy. During this time, there was only one major Christian philosopher that made a push to go back to the Bible (Pascal). Other than that, the voices are either muffled or not there.

1850 - 1940 - Logical positivists, athiests, postmoderns, etc all run the philosophy departments. During this period, there are a total of 0 Christians standing up and fighting (with the exception of the fundamentalists, but they fought more against liberalism than against atheism).

I'm a little curious about this time line. It is interesting to me that during the middle ages (so called dark ages?) philosophy is (mainly) ruled by Christians. And yet in the 15th century we see an resurgence in Greek studies and philosophies and yet this is about the time the Christian influence in the philosophy depts. start to wane.
Could you please explain?

Also in the some christian circles I used to be a part of there was a saying, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem" making the point that philosophy and revelation were on two different planes. I suppose you are speaking in terms of philospophy with a biblical basis?

apothanein kerdos
Apr 10th 2009, 07:59 AM
My grandfather was a great thinker and philosopher outstanding in a field of tobacco all day. :D

He never finished public school, worked as a laborer his whole life and was never published.

I don't want to seem like a bubble burster but published or recognized people do not typify all of those found in the big picture. I would be bold enough to say some of the greatest philosophers that ever lived never wrote a thing down.

Doesn't burst my bubble at all. :)

I'm not saying that people outside of academia are incapable of being deep philosophers. Notice that I listed Francis Schaeffer, who started his life as an electrician. :) The highest degree he attained was a masters of divinity (his PhD is honorary). Yet, he held an impact on the secular world; he is, however, a rarity. (I'm not big on most schools - much of what I know has been self-learned).

My post is more directed to those called into the field of academia. Those who are called to be "collegiate missionaries." We have no problem thinking of someone being called to China to be a missionary and have no problem if he adopts the customs, garb, and culture; but if we turn around and hear that a 17 year old say, "I want to be a professor of philosophy in order to read the intellects," old ladies faint, the choir refuses to sing, the pastor turns red with anger, and Elder Jones must cast the demon out of the poor child (maybe I'm exaggerating a bit ;)).

But my point is, there are those who are called into such a mission field where they are putting their livelihoods on the line. I often wonder what the church is doing to cultivate that calling. We send students on missions trips to Mexico or, if our church is bigger, somewhere in Africa. We try to send them door to door to learn evangelism. But we never give them a book by Nieztsche and go, "Here, this is what the modern world is following - refute it." (Not that I'm saying we should, just getting my point across).

Though some of the greatest thinkers have never graduated high school, most non-Christians in the academic world won't listen to them out of pride. A person in China won't listen to you if you reject everything in their culture and don't know how to speak their language. Likewise, in the world of academics, if you don't speak their language and know their culture, then you don't have a shot of even talking to them. Certainly this is a fault on their part - but what lost culture isn't at fault? :)


I don't understand what you mean by Biblical precedence. The promotion of Daniel or Joseph? Is this a trick question?

Not at all. In fact, Daniel is a perfect example of someone that knew how the Babylonians acted and thought.


Hey man there are lots of different body parts. I have good success witnessing to bikers, who are quite good philosophers many times I might add, but don't know if the place I go to worship is encouraging either with a narrow focus. Sure there is a biblical basis as we are to share Jesus with everyone.

Well, everyone is a philosopher. :) I'm just speaking about the general field in academic study, where they try to professionalize it.

But those bikers are expressing philosophies that were hashed out years ago...in class rooms. One wonders if Christians had been dominant, would those bikers still hold to those philosophies? :)


Can't say as I have that responsibility now. I used to teach my scout troop how to reason their way out of the woods. That only when I had their attention and they were not talking about girls... so not very often. That count?

Actually...yes. Reasoning skills are vitally important for Christians (and humans). I'm sure you built upon many laws of logic. If A, then B / If there is a bear, then run. Something can't both be P and non P / a leaf can't both be poison ivy and still be good to touch.

I mean that lightly, but with some seriousness. It teaches them that we are able to reason our way into and out of things. Christianity has its reasons.


Brother, I could really get into thinking for a living. That people make a living from it blows my mind. To me it speaks more about who is doing the publishing and the changing of the times in regards to information exchange. That Christians are not being suppressed now... great!

Oh they're being suppressed more than ever! It used to be that philosophy departments didn't have Christians because no Christians would be left by the time hiring came about. Now that Christians are growing in numbers...WOW...they're being fired, they're being kicked out of the academic community, they're being slandered. One man I know was fired from a university without notice because of his belief in intelligent design.

Which is why I think we're at such a turning point. When a belief deemed irrelevant and subsequently ignored is being persecuted - that means it's no longer irrelevant. :)


I would have to say yes in some ways. It was my physics Prof witnessing to me that helped me get to reading the bible. But that was a person to person thing rather than a public apology thing. A person on campus sharing his testimony with people, a Prof at a function sharing with the other teachers, is kind of thing I think is where it is the most vital. I'm not sure 20% more philosophers being deists is going to convince your average atheist of anything.

I agree on the Deist part. I even agree on the personal evangelism. I think that's where the real conversions happen. However...

I know many professors who, after giving a lecture defending how the God of the Bible can exist with an evil world, students have come up wanting to know more about this God. Many came to Christ. I've actually witnessed people breaking down in tears in the middle of an apologetic lecture! There is nothing more shocking than watching someone (in this case, Stephen Meyer) explain how science points to there being a Creator and watching someone a few isles over begin to cry.

Apologetics doesn't save anyone. It's not the Gospel. Philosophy doesn't save anyone. It's not the Gospel. What both do, however, is (1) break down intellectual barriers that prevent people from reflecting on their need for Christ, (2) strengthen the faith of the believers already in the room so they can see their faith has answers, (3) makes Christianity plausible and not some fairy tale, and when necessary, (4) makes an embarassment out of hostile professors, to serve as a witness to the power of Truth in Christianity.


Just talking straight up with you brother. It's great you seem to love what you are doing and are so passionate about it. Awesome that you are privileged enough to be able to pursue it. I am sure I don't understand half of socio-political-historical- stuff that goes along with this without study and you don't have to explain it to me. I'll comment further if you want but please don't overwhelm me or feel any need to defend the topic. This just looked like a fun set of questions to answer and I wanted to see you get some response. :P

I didn't see anything you said that I disagreed with. It did show that I needed to clarify on a few things though. :)

I'm not an intellectualist - I don't believe that the academia are solely right. I'm only talking about people getting degrees so they can rich the uppity class in their ivory towers.

I'm going to speak next month at a college function on a speech titled, "Staying Christian in College." The first part is going to focus on the importance of a close personal relationship with Christ. The second part will deal with the importance of being in a community of believers. The third part will deal with the intellect - and that the intellect can only be approached in the context of the first two. Regardless, the person throwing the function is my church's janitor. He's been teaching apologetics to these guys.

Our janitor couldn't read a few years ago and just recieved his GED. Yet, here he is, teaching apologetics. To me, that's Christianity - it takes the uneducated and educates them, degree or not. I'm only talking about those called to actually walk into the ivory towers and share Christ in a way they'll understand - I'm not saying they're the only ones worthy of philosophy or apologetics.



I'm a little curious about this time line. It is interesting to me that during the middle ages (so called dark ages?) philosophy is (mainly) ruled by Christians. And yet in the 15th century we see an resurgence in Greek studies and philosophies and yet this is about the time the Christian influence in the philosophy depts. start to wane.
Could you please explain?

Yeah, that's a historical misunderstanding...

The "dark ages" is quite the misnomer brought about by the Enlightenment. Greek philosophy was actually discovered around 1000AD. We have Anselm, then Scotus, and then Aquinas bringing Aristotle into Christianity. It is during this period that scholasticism is born, predating the Reformation period by about 300-500 years.

Philosophically, the best philosophy in Christianity (other than Scripture) comes from about 70AD - 1300. It is only "dark" due to social unrest, technological problems, and an overpowering Catholic Church.


Also in the some christian circles I used to be a part of there was a saying, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem" making the point that philosophy and revelation were on two different planes. I suppose you are speaking in terms of philospophy with a biblical basis?

That term originates from a disconnect between Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian. Tertullian, though respectful, was fighting against what he saw as Christians adopting pagan philosophies.

I tend to go with a philosophical system that relies on the Bible as the foundation. All other philosophies have truth in them, but they must be put through the crucible of the Bible in order to harness any truth. For instance, the Muslims developed the kalam argument for the existence of God. Logically, it has some problems with it...until you put it through Scripture, which strips it of its impurities and adds much needed Truth to it...once this is done, it is logically sound.

Scripture is Truth and Wisdom handed down to us by God - philosophy is, by definition, the love and pursuit of truth and wisdom. Thus, the true philosopher will look to God and what He has already said concerning the world.

billy-brown 2
Apr 12th 2009, 01:11 AM
Doesn't burst my bubble at all. :)

I'm not saying that people outside of academia are incapable of being deep philosophers. Notice that I listed Francis Schaeffer, who started his life as an electrician. :) The highest degree he attained was a masters of divinity (his PhD is honorary). Yet, he held an impact on the secular world; he is, however, a rarity. (I'm not big on most schools - much of what I know has been self-learned).

My post is more directed to those called into the field of academia. Those who are called to be "collegiate missionaries." We have no problem thinking of someone being called to China to be a missionary and have no problem if he adopts the customs, garb, and culture; but if we turn around and hear that a 17 year old say, "I want to be a professor of philosophy in order to read the intellects," old ladies faint, the choir refuses to sing, the pastor turns red with anger, and Elder Jones must cast the demon out of the poor child (maybe I'm exaggerating a bit ;)).

But my point is, there are those who are called into such a mission field where they are putting their livelihoods on the line. I often wonder what the church is doing to cultivate that calling. We send students on missions trips to Mexico or, if our church is bigger, somewhere in Africa. We try to send them door to door to learn evangelism. But we never give them a book by Nieztsche and go, "Here, this is what the modern world is following - refute it." (Not that I'm saying we should, just getting my point across).

Though some of the greatest thinkers have never graduated high school, most non-Christians in the academic world won't listen to them out of pride. A person in China won't listen to you if you reject everything in their culture and don't know how to speak their language. Likewise, in the world of academics, if you don't speak their language and know their culture, then you don't have a shot of even talking to them. Certainly this is a fault on their part - but what lost culture isn't at fault? :)



Not at all. In fact, Daniel is a perfect example of someone that knew how the Babylonians acted and thought.



Well, everyone is a philosopher. :) I'm just speaking about the general field in academic study, where they try to professionalize it.

But those bikers are expressing philosophies that were hashed out years ago...in class rooms. One wonders if Christians had been dominant, would those bikers still hold to those philosophies? :)



Actually...yes. Reasoning skills are vitally important for Christians (and humans). I'm sure you built upon many laws of logic. If A, then B / If there is a bear, then run. Something can't both be P and non P / a leaf can't both be poison ivy and still be good to touch.

I mean that lightly, but with some seriousness. It teaches them that we are able to reason our way into and out of things. Christianity has its reasons.



Oh they're being suppressed more than ever! It used to be that philosophy departments didn't have Christians because no Christians would be left by the time hiring came about. Now that Christians are growing in numbers...WOW...they're being fired, they're being kicked out of the academic community, they're being slandered. One man I know was fired from a university without notice because of his belief in intelligent design.

Which is why I think we're at such a turning point. When a belief deemed irrelevant and subsequently ignored is being persecuted - that means it's no longer irrelevant. :)



I agree on the Deist part. I even agree on the personal evangelism. I think that's where the real conversions happen. However...

I know many professors who, after giving a lecture defending how the God of the Bible can exist with an evil world, students have come up wanting to know more about this God. Many came to Christ. I've actually witnessed people breaking down in tears in the middle of an apologetic lecture! There is nothing more shocking than watching someone (in this case, Stephen Meyer) explain how science points to there being a Creator and watching someone a few isles over begin to cry.

Apologetics doesn't save anyone. It's not the Gospel. Philosophy doesn't save anyone. It's not the Gospel. What both do, however, is (1) break down intellectual barriers that prevent people from reflecting on their need for Christ, (2) strengthen the faith of the believers already in the room so they can see their faith has answers, (3) makes Christianity plausible and not some fairy tale, and when necessary, (4) makes an embarassment out of hostile professors, to serve as a witness to the power of Truth in Christianity.



I didn't see anything you said that I disagreed with. It did show that I needed to clarify on a few things though. :)

I'm not an intellectualist - I don't believe that the academia are solely right. I'm only talking about people getting degrees so they can rich the uppity class in their ivory towers.

I'm going to speak next month at a college function on a speech titled, "Staying Christian in College." The first part is going to focus on the importance of a close personal relationship with Christ. The second part will deal with the importance of being in a community of believers. The third part will deal with the intellect - and that the intellect can only be approached in the context of the first two. Regardless, the person throwing the function is my church's janitor. He's been teaching apologetics to these guys.

Our janitor couldn't read a few years ago and just recieved his GED. Yet, here he is, teaching apologetics. To me, that's Christianity - it takes the uneducated and educates them, degree or not. I'm only talking about those called to actually walk into the ivory towers and share Christ in a way they'll understand - I'm not saying they're the only ones worthy of philosophy or apologetics.




Yeah, that's a historical misunderstanding...

The "dark ages" is quite the misnomer brought about by the Enlightenment. Greek philosophy was actually discovered around 1000AD. We have Anselm, then Scotus, and then Aquinas bringing Aristotle into Christianity. It is during this period that scholasticism is born, predating the Reformation period by about 300-500 years.

Philosophically, the best philosophy in Christianity (other than Scripture) comes from about 70AD - 1300. It is only "dark" due to social unrest, technological problems, and an overpowering Catholic Church.



That term originates from a disconnect between Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian. Tertullian, though respectful, was fighting against what he saw as Christians adopting pagan philosophies.

I tend to go with a philosophical system that relies on the Bible as the foundation. All other philosophies have truth in them, but they must be put through the crucible of the Bible in order to harness any truth. For instance, the Muslims developed the kalam argument for the existence of God. Logically, it has some problems with it...until you put it through Scripture, which strips it of its impurities and adds much needed Truth to it...once this is done, it is logically sound.

Scripture is Truth and Wisdom handed down to us by God - philosophy is, by definition, the love and pursuit of truth and wisdom. Thus, the true philosopher will look to God and what He has already said concerning the world.

Congrats . . . what a great thread, indeed . . .

Never apologize . . . for apologetics . . or the Gospel!

:hmm:

Walstib
Apr 12th 2009, 03:43 AM
Hey AK,

This is what I meant by overwhelm me. Took me two days to get this together. Does your effervescent verbosity permeate all of your endeavors in a unifomitainistic way? :lol:



I'm not saying that people outside of academia are incapable of being deep philosophers. Notice that I listed Francis Schaeffer, who started his life as an electrician. :) The highest degree he attained was a masters of divinity (his PhD is honorary). Yet, he held an impact on the secular world; he is, however, a rarity. (I'm not big on most schools - much of what I know has been self-learned).

My post is more directed to those called into the field of academia. Those who are called to be "collegiate missionaries." We have no problem thinking of someone being called to China to be a missionary and have no problem if he adopts the customs, garb, and culture; but if we turn around and hear that a 17 year old say, "I want to be a professor of philosophy in order to read the intellects," old ladies faint, the choir refuses to sing, the pastor turns red with anger, and Elder Jones must cast the demon out of the poor child (maybe I'm exaggerating a bit ;)).

I am not disagreeing with the core of your point here, just saying what it is bringing to my mind.

It is a rarity someone makes a living off the gospel in the big picture. Being a full time missionary and including Christ in your work life are two different things. Seems like you are blending the two. I just would find it odd to hear people say there were called to be golf course maintenance technician missionaries in the same way. Then one of these guys just might be the one to witness to the intellectuals while they are on the golf course.

Everyone gets the chance to witness at work, sure some would get fired for it but they have the chance. With speaking of a career, the circle I grew up in if you did not go to university you would be a nothing in life. The choir would praise a decision for a philosophy focus all day long and stop at the thought of someone going into a trade let alone drop out to be an entrepreneur. Everything is just to interconnected to say a focus on one side makes the difference. God has a tendency to use fools in crazy ways to get to people. ;)


But my point is, there are those who are called into such a mission field where they are putting their livelihoods on the line. I often wonder what the church is doing to cultivate that calling. We send students on missions trips to Mexico or, if our church is bigger, somewhere in Africa. We try to send them door to door to learn evangelism. But we never give them a book by Nieztsche and go, "Here, this is what the modern world is following - refute it." (Not that I'm saying we should, just getting my point across).

My point I was sneaking into my words was that if the church cultivated every possible calling that has an impact on the world they would not be able to do anything but discuss it. It is by all means a worthwhile endeavor but not something that I see needs special attention. Too much attention on one thing and another thing withers... then that may just be part of your point ;)

Was Nieztsche a product of his times or did he create anything himself? Was he one voice out of thousands or one voice that created thousands? Is there anything new under the sun? It took me until I was 19 before I realized I was conforming to non-conformity. My artistic buddy I told you about would not get through two pages of that kind of book but sees the world how it is and refutes it in his own way. My point is that this topic while important is just one drop in the ocean.


Though some of the greatest thinkers have never graduated high school, most non-Christians in the academic world won't listen to them out of pride. A person in China won't listen to you if you reject everything in their culture and don't know how to speak their language. Likewise, in the world of academics, if you don't speak their language and know their culture, then you don't have a shot of even talking to them. Certainly this is a fault on their part - but what lost culture isn't at fault? :)

I do understand what you are saying as in the end it was sort of the point I was making about bikers. But I don't have to be a biker to talk with them after earning their trust, and they may just be a bit more exclusive than the academic crowd ;), yet somehow God makes a way. I mean he gave people the power to speak in foreign languages, why not some advanced terminology.


But those bikers are expressing philosophies that were hashed out years ago...in class rooms. One wonders if Christians had been dominant, would those bikers still hold to those philosophies? :)

This is where I can say I do disagree with you. Sometimes things just come to people through thinking about things. Just because some dude wrote down his thoughts does not mean he is the first or only person to make the same conclusions with different words. So no I don't think what I hear was hashed out in classrooms but coming from their life and experience. Definitely a different terminology ;) Sure there an influence in some ways and that is unavoidable but I think too much credit can be given to published people.


Actually...yes. Reasoning skills are vitally important for Christians (and humans). I'm sure you built upon many laws of logic. If A, then B / If there is a bear, then run. Something can't both be P and non P / a leaf can't both be poison ivy and still be good to touch.

I mean that lightly, but with some seriousness. It teaches them that we are able to reason our way into and out of things. Christianity has its reasons.

You got my point then I trust ;)


Oh they're being suppressed more than ever! It used to be that philosophy departments didn't have Christians because no Christians would be left by the time hiring came about. Now that Christians are growing in numbers...WOW...they're being fired, they're being kicked out of the academic community, they're being slandered. One man I know was fired from a university without notice because of his belief in intelligent design.

Which is why I think we're at such a turning point. When a belief deemed irrelevant and subsequently ignored is being persecuted - that means it's no longer irrelevant. :)

Here is where I wonder about who the king of this earthly world is. If the enemy is and we know that the direction of society is downhill till the end this is no surprise. May God grant that it is a true turning point and not just a set up before the real persecution begins. In that light going into it against the grain is admirable. Thinking it might change the ultimate direction of the world to me is like fighting a losing battle. Bringing Christ to people in these circles is great but I don't know we can delay the end of the world or reclaim lost ground.


I agree on the Deist part. I even agree on the personal evangelism. I think that's where the real conversions happen. However...

I know many professors who, after giving a lecture defending how the God of the Bible can exist with an evil world, students have come up wanting to know more about this God. Many came to Christ. I've actually witnessed people breaking down in tears in the middle of an apologetic lecture! There is nothing more shocking than watching someone (in this case, Stephen Meyer) explain how science points to there being a Creator and watching someone a few isles over begin to cry.

I know the same thing on a site framing houses witnessing to the construction workers. I am not trying to belittle your point but bring it to par with everywhere else this happens. It's cool but not super special.


Apologetics doesn't save anyone. It's not the Gospel. Philosophy doesn't save anyone. It's not the Gospel. What both do, however, is (1) break down intellectual barriers that prevent people from reflecting on their need for Christ, (2) strengthen the faith of the believers already in the room so they can see their faith has answers, (3) makes Christianity plausible and not some fairy tale, and when necessary, (4) makes an embarrassment out of hostile professors, to serve as a witness to the power of Truth in Christianity.

Cool stuff. :)



I'm not an intellectualism - I don't believe that the academia are solely right. I'm only talking about people getting degrees so they can rich the uppity class in their ivory towers.

I'm going to speak next month at a college function on a speech titled, "Staying Christian in College." The first part is going to focus on the importance of a close personal relationship with Christ. The second part will deal with the importance of being in a community of believers. The third part will deal with the intellect - and that the intellect can only be approached in the context of the first two. Regardless, the person throwing the function is my church's janitor. He's been teaching apologetics to these guys.

Our janitor couldn't read a few years ago and just received his GED. Yet, here he is, teaching apologetics. To me, that's Christianity - it takes the uneducated and educates them, degree or not. I'm only talking about those called to actually walk into the ivory towers and share Christ in a way they'll understand - I'm not saying they're the only ones worthy of philosophy or apologetics.

I hear you. Some beautiful stuff there. I myself have this urge to point out the other side of things. Agreement with additional context. Can get me into trouble now and then though... :)

Peace,
Joe

apothanein kerdos
Apr 12th 2009, 06:58 PM
It is a rarity someone makes a living off the gospel in the big picture. Being a full time missionary and including Christ in your work life are two different things. Seems like you are blending the two. I just would find it odd to hear people say there were called to be golf course maintenance technician missionaries in the same way. Then one of these guys just might be the one to witness to the intellectuals while they are on the golf course.

A good book that summarizes my view is The Call by Os Guinness.

I tend to take the view that every Christian is called to be a missionary in the vocation they're called to. The idea of the modern missionary, the one that packs up everything and goes to another country, is just that - modern. The early Christians never did that. They would take their trade to a city, become a part of that culture, contribute to that culture, but evangelize it at the same time.

This is not to say that modern missionaries are wrong, just that they may not be as effective as they could be.

I think that all of us are called to a specific vocation in life and that in such a vocation, we are called to honor God by being the best we can be in that vocation and sharing Christ with those in our vocation (and outside when we can).

Thus, my belief is that we are all missionaries.


Everyone gets the chance to witness at work, sure some would get fired for it but they have the chance. With speaking of a career, the circle I grew up in if you did not go to university you would be a nothing in life. The choir would praise a decision for a philosophy focus all day long and stop at the thought of someone going into a trade let alone drop out to be an entrepreneur. Everything is just to interconnected to say a focus on one side makes the difference. God has a tendency to use fools in crazy ways to get to people

I'm assuming you had the luxury of growing up in Canada. The US tends to be a slight more anti-intellectual in certain parts. :)

But even then, the whole "you're nothing if you don't go to college," is just as wrong as the attitude of, "A servant of Christ dunt need no edumication." Both deny the callings of God. If God wants to use a person and doesn't want that person to get a college education, we should help that person along. This doesn't mean the person isn't to be educated, just that his education might not be formal.


My point I was sneaking into my words was that if the church cultivated every possible calling that has an impact on the world they would not be able to do anything but discuss it. It is by all means a worthwhile endeavor but not something that I see needs special attention. Too much attention on one thing and another thing withers... then that may just be part of your point ;)

That is my point. I'm not talking about specific callings necessarily, just an overall idea of reaching out to the heart, soul, and mind of a believer. If a church is ignoring all three, then we're going to negletc some calling. If we're addressing all three, then all callings will be cultivated for all callings branch out from those three.


Was Nieztsche a product of his times or did he create anything himself? Was he one voice out of thousands or one voice that created thousands? Is there anything new under the sun? It took me until I was 19 before I realized I was conforming to non-conformity. My artistic buddy I told you about would not get through two pages of that kind of book but sees the world how it is and refutes it in his own way. My point is that this topic while important is just one drop in the ocean.

The bigger point I was making was actually what you made - do these youth know what the modern culture believes and do they know if they've been influenced by it? Do they know if they are a follower of Christ, or do they look at Christ through the lense of their culture?



Though some of the greatest thinkers have never graduated high school, most non-Christians in the academic world won't listen to them out of pride. A person in China won't listen to you if you reject everything in their culture and don't know how to speak their language. Likewise, in the world of academics, if you don't speak their language and know their culture, then you don't have a shot of even talking to them. Certainly this is a fault on their part - but what lost culture isn't at fault? :)
I do understand what you are saying as in the end it was sort of the point I was making about bikers. But I don't have to be a biker to talk with them after earning their trust, and they may just be a bit more exclusive than the academic crowd ;), yet somehow God makes a way. I mean he gave people the power to speak in foreign languages, why not some advanced terminology.

I agree, but that's also more of an exception than a rule. We're called to be all things to all people, but some just fit in with better crowds.


This is where I can say I do disagree with you. Sometimes things just come to people through thinking about things. Just because some dude wrote down his thoughts does not mean he is the first or only person to make the same conclusions with different words. So no I don't think what I hear was hashed out in classrooms but coming from their life and experience. Definitely a different terminology ;) Sure there an influence in some ways and that is unavoidable but I think too much credit can be given to published people.

As I tried to show in my OP, what is said in the classrooms eventually moves toward the culture. Look at what started the biker fad. Rugged individualism. Power ethics (the strongest survives). All of this developed in the 1950's from the WWII generation, the same generation that was partially influenced by Nietzsche. When you talk to Bikers, you're talking to Nietzschean followers who have probably never heard of the guy. But it's the same philosophy that has been permeated on down.

Now, this doesn't mean they wouldn't still be lost - just an interesting way of looking at it. Would they hold the same view they have if the influence would have been shut down at the root?


Here is where I wonder about who the king of this earthly world is. If the enemy is and we know that the direction of society is downhill till the end this is no surprise. May God grant that it is a true turning point and not just a set up before the real persecution begins. In that light going into it against the grain is admirable. Thinking it might change the ultimate direction of the world to me is like fighting a losing battle. Bringing Christ to people in these circles is great but I don't know we can delay the end of the world or reclaim lost ground.

Here's a motto I go by:

"Know that things will get worse; act as though you can make it better."

We don't know when the end will come, so there is a possibility that we can redeem our culture. We just don't know, so we must act like we can.

tgallison
Apr 12th 2009, 10:12 PM
1) Is there any Biblical precidence for such a calling into the field of philosophy in order to reach out to intellectuals and students?

5) Do you think that having more Christians in the field of philosophy, especially in universities, would help to make Christianity more plausible and therefore easier to accept for some people?

If Christians would go to all their neighbors doors and witness, and go out and live like what they preached, there would be no need of philosophers.

"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a Stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:20-24

*Hope*
Apr 12th 2009, 10:44 PM
If Christians would go to all their neighbors doors and witness, and go out and live like what they preached, there would be no need of philosophers.

"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a Stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:20-24

Did you even read the topic?

apothanein kerdos
Apr 12th 2009, 10:56 PM
If Christians would go to all their neighbors doors and witness, and go out and live like what they preached, there would be no need of philosophers.

"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a Stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:20-24


This topic isn't for debate on the value of philosophy. I also don't debate such passages with people who are King James Onlyist. I debate with people who are open to reason and the Spirit - not legalists.

Walstib
Apr 14th 2009, 06:22 PM
I tend to take the view that every Christian is called to be a missionary in the vocation they're called to. The idea of the modern missionary, the one that packs up everything and goes to another country, is just that - modern. The early Christians never did that. They would take their trade to a city, become a part of that culture, contribute to that culture, but evangelize it at the same time.

This is not to say that modern missionaries are wrong, just that they may not be as effective as they could be.

I think that all of us are called to a specific vocation in life and that in such a vocation, we are called to honor God by being the best we can be in that vocation and sharing Christ with those in our vocation (and outside when we can).

Thus, my belief is that we are all missionaries.
Is a good one to hold and one we share. This got me thinking of this passage.

Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.(1Co 7:17-24 NASB)

I was thinking about how generations to come after this was written, especially with the freedoms we in our lives now, have the chance to pick vocations instead of being born into them or something similar. The chance those who know Christ from their youth have in this is neat. It sounds like you are getting the desires of your heart for a career and to have this understanding going into it great. An opportunity to get into something with Christ as a focus, I think this was part of your OP. :)


I'm assuming you had the luxury of growing up in Canada. The US tends to be a slight more anti-intellectual in certain parts. :)

I did. I'm sure we could find places with that here. I was thinking about the schoolyard before. I mean when I was a kid you would get picked on for being too smart or a brainer. With our influence of this in American movies we see can't help but be influenced. The context I had was the "system" programed the need higher education to be a success. The attitudes of the individuals in the society a different focus. This is probably what you meant and something I would agree would be here and most other places for that matter.


But even then, the whole "you're nothing if you don't go to college," is just as wrong as the attitude of, "A servant of Christ dunt need no edumication." Both deny the callings of God. If God wants to use a person and doesn't want that person to get a college education, we should help that person along. This doesn't mean the person isn't to be educated, just that his education might not be formal.

That is my point. I'm not talking about specific callings necessarily, just an overall idea of reaching out to the heart, soul, and mind of a believer. If a church is ignoring all three, then we're going to negletc some calling. If we're addressing all three, then all callings will be cultivated for all callings branch out from those three.

The bigger point I was making was actually what you made - do these youth know what the modern culture believes and do they know if they've been influenced by it? Do they know if they are a follower of Christ, or do they look at Christ through the lense of their culture?

I agree, but that's also more of an exception than a rule. We're called to be all things to all people, but some just fit in with better crowds.

Have you ever seen the Woody Allen movie Zelig? About a guy who was a "social chameleon" but over the top with it. Before I believed I thought of myself like that generally. But I would use deception to fit in, lies and the like. It was not being myself but being someone else and playing a role.

With you being yourself doing something you love is going to put you there with honesty. This me agreeing with what you are saying. :)


As I tried to show in my OP, what is said in the classrooms eventually moves toward the culture. Look at what started the biker fad. Rugged individualism. Power ethics (the strongest survives). All of this developed in the 1950's from the WWII generation, the same generation that was partially influenced by Nietzsche. When you talk to Bikers, you're talking to Nietzschean followers who have probably never heard of the guy. But it's the same philosophy that has been permeated on down.

Now, this doesn't mean they wouldn't still be lost - just an interesting way of looking at it. Would they hold the same view they have if the influence would have been shut down at the root?

I hear what you are saying. Here is where I am coming from. I can imagine a bunch of horse rustlers 200 years ago as similar, or the rebellion Barabbas was part of, building the tower of Babel, Cain killing his brother, Adam eating from the tree. I tend to see things as always being the same with a bit different face. Well maybe better said cycles as the creation patterns.

You are focusing on our ability to influence things, nothing wrong with that. You are speaking long term and I am speaking super long term. I do agree the influence is there.



Here's a motto I go by:

"Know that things will get worse; act as though you can make it better."

We don't know when the end will come, so there is a possibility that we can redeem our culture. We just don't know, so we must act like we can.

A nice way to look at it. I will admit I struggle with finding the balance in this, picking my battles with the enemy. Ephesians 6 stuff. Making sure I am fighting on a spiritual level and not an earthly, being a good ambassador for Christ and steward of the planet without waisting time throwing pearls to swine.

Peace,
Joe

StevenC
Apr 14th 2009, 07:06 PM
1) Is there any Biblical precedence for such a calling into the field of philosophy in order to reach out to intellectuals and students?

Why not a philosopher? I believe in being able to have both faith and reason. The Apostle Paul advocated approaching people from a perspective that was familiar to them. As he said to the gentiles he became like a gentile that he show them the way to salvation. Students and intellectuals need to be able to have their questions concerning God's Word answered just like anyone else.

-Steven

teddyv
Apr 14th 2009, 07:39 PM
1) Is there any Biblical precidence for such a calling into the field of philosophy in order to reach out to intellectuals and students?
I think someone already mentioned how Paul engaged the Athenian philosophers. I don't know if we can say Paul was specifcally called to do this, but he certainly was equipped intellectually.



2) If you believe there is a Biblical basis for such a calling, what is your local church doing in order to encourage that calling among its youth?
My church and the denomination as a whole has a fairly good history with respect to the importance of education. I certainly would encourage any that I know.



3) Are you helping to develop a strong intellectual basis for your youth in your local church, or is it the equivalent of a daycare for teenagers only with praise music and a short Bible lesson?
I am not intimately involved in the programs in place so I can't speak specifically, but my observation suggests the former. There are some extremely outstanding young people.



4) What do you think of the atheists comment?
I don't think I'd be completely qualified to rebut. I don't think most people are strict naturalists.



5) Do you think that having more Christians in the field of philosophy, especially in universities, would help to make Christianity more plausible and therefore easier to accept for some people?
I think we need more Christians in all areas of academia. I think we are seeing a beginning of change in the last while where Christians are able to express their beliefs within their respective fields and not be dismissed out of hand because they seem to understand the limits of their fields. Francis Collins comes to mind.

Anecdote time. My wife, when writing her Masters comprehensive paper, did not hide her Christianity in the discussion as it was a critical element to her worldview (IIRC it was on ethics in educational leadership context). She was attending a secular university yet received extremely high praise from her non-Christian profs (though I don't think they were atheists)because she argued effectively within the correct standards and bounds of the requirements (that might sound clunky - not sure how to phrase it). Anyway, they stated her paper was on par with quality of a Ph.D. and recommended she continue in this direction.

John146
Apr 14th 2009, 08:33 PM
Here comes the questions:

1) Is there any Biblical precidence for such a calling into the field of philosophy in order to reach out to intellectuals and students?I think so. At least in a way. I'm reminded of what Paul said.

1 Cor 9
19For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

In order to reach intellectuals you have to become one or at least understand how one thinks. If there are no Christians who are intellectuals or understand how they think then how could we ever reach them? They are far more likely to listen to someone who they feel is on their same intellectual level than to anyone else.


2) If you believe there is a Biblical basis for such a calling, what is your local church doing in order to encourage that calling among its youth? They have a Bible quizzing program that helps the kids memorize scripture. So, as far as scripture is concerned this can help them to be able to recite verses while explaining the gospel without having to look them up. I don't know if this qualifies for what you're talking about, though. I don't think they are doing anything specifically to teach the youth how to reach intellectuals, but I'm not sure.


3) Are you helping to develop a strong intellectual basis for your youth in your local church, or is it the equivalent of a daycare for teenagers only with praise music and a short Bible lesson?I'm not personally involved in youth ministry so I'm not really sure, actually. They do Bible lessons in my 6 year old's class but I'm not sure how deep they get in the older age groups.


4) What do you think of the atheists comment?Encouraging. Seems like things have shifted to them being more tolerant of Christians being part of the philosophy department and sharing their thoughts.


5) Do you think that having more Christians in the field of philosophy, especially in universities, would help to make Christianity more plausible and therefore easier to accept for some people?Yes, I do. We need more Christians in all fields because it's easier to reach people at their level than otherwise. I'm not likely to reach an intellectual very well because while I think I have pretty good Bible knowledge (some might disagree - hehe), I don't have a lot of knowledge of philosophy in general. I couldn't tell you what Plato taught or what Socrates believed, for example. So, we need to have people in areas where people like myself aren't best suited. And that would include you. If no one steps up in that area then people like myself will end up having to try to fill the gaps and that's not ideal.

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