The Divorce of Two Philosophies

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 12, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Philosophy is defined as the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline. It can be synonymous with thinking or reasoning. The philosophy of science can be defined as a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations, methods, and implications of science. The central questions concern what counts as science, the reliability of scientific theories, and the purpose of science. As a side note, naturalism (not the artistic kind) is defined as a philosophical viewpoint according to which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted. My opinion is that naturalism has hijacked science and thrown out the philosophy by which science has been done for hundreds of years. This is not the point of this blog post, but I feel it's important enough to mention. I encourage you to think on that.

So what is my point? Follow me... philosophy is interesting. It's something every single one of us uses but very few have given any thought to building. I believe many of us, because we've not been trained how to think but rather what to think, have never taken the time to describe our personal philosophies concerning life, happiness, God, family, morals, and a large host of other things for ourselves. After completing such a task, it's important to evaluate those philosophies to make sure they're consistent with one another. Essentially, what I'm kind of describing is the worldview by which we determine truth in our world. It is my contention that many of us, myself included, have internally inconsistent philosophies. Weeding them out is a big but important task. Because we've never taken the time to compare them or explore them, we live our lives in an inconsistent fashion. A huge portion of this conflict is between Biblical philosophy and secular/humanistic philosophy. We have allowed humanistic philosophy to infiltrate our homes, schools, churches, government—our lives—and we don't see the urgency of this problem in how it is connected with the loss of our children to humanism, the loss of our Church to liberalism, and the loss of souls because of apathy to the situation as we plunge further and further away from living the life Christ has called us to live. Is this a new problem? Is this something that has cropped up since the Renaissance or the Enlightenment? Has it happened since Darwin's On the Origin of Species was printed? Not at all. We see humanism introduced to the human race in the third chapter of Genesis. And Paul, in his letter to the church in Colosse, warns them (to put it lightly) of the dangers of entertaining man's philosophy over God's. I would like to use this writing as an exploration of that verse of Scripture. First, let's read it. Colossians 2:8-10 says,
“See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah). For in Him the whole fullness of the Godhead continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]. And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead— Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].” (Amplified Bible)

Not necessarily for study purposes but to really bring it down to a great level of understanding, I submit the Message Bible paraphrase of this passage:
“Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”

That really helps make that passage come to life for me. I don't generally use the Message for such things, but I hope you'll allow this exception. I would like to break down this passage so we see the urgency in it and exactly what Paul (and the Holy Spirit) is trying to convey to us. It's important to break down passages like this often times because the Greek (or Hebrew, depending) can lose the deepest sense of their meaning when translated to English.

The word translated in the New King James as “beware” or “see to it” here truly means “WATCH OUT!” in the strongest sense, like if you're watching a tree fall in someone's yard as they stand in its path without knowing what's happening. Paul is very concerned here. His concern is due to the fact that Greek philosophy was all around these believers—a philosophy that was not based on the Word of God or His teachings. They were constantly saturated in it. Paul tells his readers that this philosophy is “vain deceit” or “plain nonsense.” This literally means it is void of truth because it takes us down a path of man's invention and away from God's plan for us. Consider how Jesus tells us to avoid the leaven of the Pharisees. A little leaven will infest the entire loaf of bread. We see the phrase “rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe” which is translated “principles” in other translations. This phrase can accurately be described as the teachings of humanism concerning origins that the Greeks believed in at this time. “The material cause of the universe...” is how some commentaries refer to it. This is truly running rampant in our schools, our thoughts, our government, and even in our churches today. Paul tells us this ought not be.

We are bombarded with evolutionary philosophy (in this umbrella term I include the Big Bang, evolutionism, and liberal social issues) on a daily basis. It's on the news in every format. It's in our conversations. Our taxes are being spent on it. Being in church doesn't inoculate us from such philosophies. In fact, the number of churches not proclaiming these philosophies as truth is shrinking all the time. We have abandoned God's Word as our source of Truth and allowed the “truth” of humanism to seep into nearly every aspect of the Biblical worldview, making it unrecognizable as such. Many churches and believers accept the ideas of the Big Bang and evolutionism without even realizing these are not scientific constructs but tenants of the religion of humanism! This cannot be stressed too much. Humanism is a religion. The Big Bang and Darwinism, although wrapped in scientific terms (big words and intellectual double-talk), are not scientific propositions. Neither are they based on Biblical Truth and have no place in the philosophy by which you live your life if you are a believer. In fact, they have eroded the moral fabric of our culture all the while claiming to be above faith based systems of morality.

Part of the problem, I feel, is that parents have given the task of teaching their children to the church Sunday school teacher and to schools--whatever type of school they attend. We, as a whole, are lazy and don't study the Bible as we should. You can't study the Bible too much. It's literally not possible because the Word of God is alive and powerful and expresses itself differently each time you open its pages. We let the preacher tell us what to think on Sunday and then allow the media, the school, the Discovery channel, and our government tell us what to think the rest of the week. “Is this really a big deal? Is the Big Bang or Darwinism really a problem? Can you accept the Genesis story of creation as a fable that teaches us something good but isn't to be taken literally?” These are very common questions—perhaps questions you have right now. My response to these is, “Yes. Yes. No.” It's a big deal because over half of our young people are turning away from their Savior when they are exposed heavily to humanism after high school. It's a big deal because morals are based on the fact that we are created in the image of God. We are not animals that happened to have opposable thumbs. Any wonder that society preys on itself? We've lost our moral compass because we've forsaken the foundation of morality. These humanistic beliefs consume our culture, increase crime and unethical behavior, creates depression which can lead to suicide, causes the murder of untold millions of babies in the womb, etc etc. And the reason we cannot look at Genesis is nothing more than a nice story with a moral is that every New Testament doctrine originates in the first 12 chapters of Genesis. Without Genesis 1-12, nothing else in the Word of God matters. It's that big of a deal.

For more on this topic of worldview, check out this post and this post by my fellow writer Charlie Wolcott.