Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tour 2, Philosophy and Ethics

Last night, our study group had a most exhillerating discussion! But it was on "The American Experiment" and I gotta catch up on the series......... so wait.
The basis of the tour is Col 2:8 concerning being taken captive by philosophy and vain deception. One point that needs clarification is that philosophy will often confirm principles that are part of the experience in Christ, so we should not do the "us and them" thing here either, just be grounded in the values we learn in the Spirit and the fruit of that Spirit. Del does mention the point made by, I believe he said Augustine, that true religion and true philosophy must ultimately reach the same point.
Del gets off on the wrong foot in that regard with a presentation of Carl Sagan stating that the cosmos is all there is, was or will be. Del takes this as saying that there is no God and uses the box analogy as a presentation of the physical universe. The problem is that, as I read it, Sagan is defining "cosmos" which would include whatever exists, putting any god or such matter of "spirit" inside his "box." That's ok, the analogy works for naturism, which is essentially saying that there is no god, and that is an element of some human philosophy, it's just that the application of "the box" analogy is more limited than Del would allow.
There are presentations of various schools of philosophy which are less than accurate, but not altogether unrecognizable until Del gets to "Post Modernism," which is less a philosophy than an attitude. Del says that Post modern thought claims that there is no truth, that everything is relative. Likely there are post modern thinkers that state such a thing, but I doubt we would find concensus on that. There would be concensus on the idea that it is not all that easy to get to. In fact, my perception of Post Modern thought is that it could be summed up by saying "It just ain't that easy." Ecology, with all its nuances may well be the ultimate post modern discipline. To apply that principle to Del's line of thought would go something like this: you say the Bible is "truth," but using that basis we have thousands of different warring denominations claiming to be the only ones who are teaching that "truth." What gives?
I think the point needs to be made that it is not a question of empirical "truth" or "right doctrine," but of following the "guide" Jesus promised, the fruit of which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. If a philosophy leads to that, it is a good "point."

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