September 28, 2010

Time Wasters: Philosophy

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
— The Apostle Paul (ESV)

Buon giorno. Don't get the wrong idea, I am not saying that all philosophy is a waste of time, and reject it out of hand. It can be interesting to follow someone's line of reasoning and find out where they're coming from. Personally, I find the Socratic Method quite fascinating.

Nor am I "anti-intellectual" (which I discussed here). What puts me off is the "intellectual" argumentation with philosophy. When discussing the nature of God, or existence, or God's existence, I am not interested in the opinions of the "great philosophers" for very long. Instead, I believe that people are not interested in reaching the truth. I believe that they simply want to have intellectual arguments for their own sake. Some people seem to get personal validation by putting on intellectual airs and throwing around big words. And some people pretend that they are oh-so-smart, engaging in philosophical arguments, but violating simple rules of logic. I laugh, point out their folly and leave.

Me, I prefer to talk like regular people instead of putting my audience off by excessive circumlocution. (How does that example grab ya, Gertie?) Maybe it's just the cowboy in me.

So, if a discussion turns overly philosophical, don't be surprised if I bail out because I feel that it is self-indulgent and unproductive. You may think I'm a cafone for dropping out of philosophical stuff, but I have to draw the line when I think I'm wasting my time, capice? I like to take the simplest approach, and then delve deeper if needed. Especially when it comes to discussion of the Word of God. Occam's Razor states, in essence, that the simplest answer is probably the best one. If you want to add Occam's shaving brush, shaving mug, comb, hair gel and cologne so you can sound profound, well, things are getting a little cluttered (Col. 2.8 KJV).

By the way, there are many philosophers and philosophies through the ages. One reason for this, it seems to me, is because they are all incomplete. Sure, some are clever and raise some good points. But they haven't arrived at the truth which they allegedly seek.

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.
— The Apostle Paul (ESV)
Raphael's painting of the Apostle Paul in Athens


Anonymous said...

Can't resist sharing this philosopher song

Stormbringer said...


I almost used that myself, believe it or not, but it would detract from the main text. Here in the comments, fine. Thanks for sharing. Do I owe you a drink?

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