Lecture 18 (contd)

Third illustration
Before I move onto the third illustration of the way that philosophy has become a substitute for religion I want to make a point about theory and praxis.

This is characteristic of western philosophy – man is on his own, he has to discover the nature of things. His way of living depends on his theorising – it is necessary to have a properly guided theory of life.

I was given a festschrift about five years ago Hearing and Doing . Hearing the word of God – all doing must proceed from that. There are two levels of doing, the pre-scientific and the scientific the second presupposes the first.

Both belong to our covenant doing – which must emerge from hearing the word of God.

The third illustration: contemporary existentialism: Heidegger and Jean-Paul Satre.

A quote from a lecture of S. U. Zuidema:

When Heidegger and Satre in their existentialist philosophy teach that “every man is by nature philosophical” …then with this dogma they have not only failed basically to appreciate the place and task of faith, religion and philosophy, but at the same time they have concealed from themselves the religious background of their own philosophising. Anyone who attaches to this dogma by that very fact flees from his own deepest responsibility and conceals his irreligiousness under the guise of an attitude or self-knowledge that pretends to be philosophically neutral. This flight to an autonomous philosophy is an effort to avoid one’s individual religious responsibility, no it in no way removes this it is in itself an example of Sartre’s bad faith.

Three observations of how philosophy becomes a substitute for religion.

If philosophy has been a substitute for others, it can’t fill that role for Christians. Our faith is determinated upon the sure covenanting word of God who has revealed himself to us as the faithful one

Philosophy is not to be our refuge and consolation, a source of certainty.

Does this mean that there is to be no place for philosophy for the Christian? If there is, what place? What is the task it has to perform?

Unfortunately, many have argued there should be no place in man’s life for it. We should not overlook the historical conditions in the early sub-apostolic church which bought some Christians to such a position. The philosophy they knew was Greek in its Hellenistic form.

Gnosticism was a grave threat to the church in the late first and early second century.

Take a look at Colossians 2:8, before next time:

See that no one take you in or carry you off as booty (plunder) through his philosophysing which is vain deceit.

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