Nelson A.Osuala [ 17 November 2016]
Mr. Waliyah Yohana Joseph, is a first class graduate and newly employed graduate assistant lecturer of the department of Modern Languages & Translation Studies, Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
He raised a question for deliberation on his social media(Facebook) page and concluded that Christians should not study Philosophy. Such conclusions led to various influx of comments and counter reactions.
This article is therefore a follow-up publication that contravenes the position of the said Unical Academic.
Those who read my critical reply on Facebook requested that I do an elaborate publication that is why I have decided to replicate those arguments here for knowledge sake.
Quoting Mr Waliyah,
"…Is it right for Christians to study philosophy?
Because Colossians 2:8 king (KJV)
8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8 New Living Translation (NLT)
8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ.
From the foregoing therefore, we should not even go to the department of philosophy nor even greet philosophers for they will deceive us?
My Critical reactions, Counter- position and Refutations of the above Claim:
"..Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God"
Matthew 22:29 (KJV)
I think the first place to start in addressing this issue is to attempt to answer the troubling question: What is philosophy? And Is philosophy same with Heresy.. ? I suppose not.
My first reaction to the above question is that.. That passage of the scriptures is misconstrued, misquoted, misinterpreted, misguided and misrepresented.
Paul the Apostle.. was not talking about academic well structured critical thinking.. but rather, those heresies based on spurious logicisms and rhetorical expressions that are antithetic to the Being called.. God.
Come to think of it..
How do you know and recognise the so called "vain Philosophy" as used by Paul.. if you are yourself, ignorantly ignorant of the extent, nature, scope and limit of philosophy and philosophical knowledge.?
Aristotle did put it well when he informed that, "All men by nature is a philosopher". In so far that you can THINK.. that you are a THINKING being.. it follows deductively, to argue that you are a PHILOSOPHER.
In fact, l will not be mincing words to call
GOD a PHILOSOPHER.. Going by the Biblical text of (Isaiah 1:18a), wherein, the Being – God calls Man to a round table dialogue- a discussion- an intermingling of dialectical understanding- a meeting of minds'.
What apostle Paul was referring to as "Vain PHILOSOPHY" I suppose, are those unfounded "high- sounding" ideologies triggered through a lost in the soulish realm of heretic cum blasphemous intellectualism which are anti-thetical anti – God, such that leads one into the abyss of careless, fruitless, empty arguments that does not reveal the truth of the glorious personality of Christ to us through salvation.
At this juncture, permit me to lay a rock bottom foundation..which is the fact that, I am a sound Christian; a trained philosopher and I am proud to be one!
It might interest the reader to know that .. PHILOSOPHY MAKES YOU A BETTER CHRISTIAN.. Did I say better..? It will make you a perfect Christian.. if followed and pursued with the fear of God.
Bible says.. The FEAR OF God is the beginning of Wisdom (philosophy) .
It stands to reason therefore.. that Wisdom here is synonymous to PHILOSOPHY.. which is akin to Sound reasoning..
If (1) God is all – Wisdom
And (2) PHILOSOPHY is the love or pursuit of wisdom
(3) the pursuit of ( true) philosophy is THE SEARCH FOR GOD.
According to Sir FRANCIS BACON.. who put it right when he argued that..
Less PHILOSOPHY Takes you farther away from GOD, but true and in depth PHILOSOPHY draws you CLOSEST to GOD.
Saint Augustine of Hippo, alluded to the above when he argued that.. the soul of man will remain RESTLESS until it finds HARMONY in GOD.
This Restlestness is the quest for knowledge..(wisdom) or TRUE PHILOSOPHY.
Don't tell me you have knowlwdge of GOD until you can comfortably proof by LOGIC(philosophy) through well structured arguments that he is GOD..one I am inclined to call
" The Absolute Zero"
My point is: YOU NEED TO BE A PHILOSOPHER TO BE A TRUE CHRISTIAN.
If not, how will you be able to present Christ to those of the opposite religion, and other world religions like the Buddhist, freethinkers, grey messengers, zhintoist, islamist etc When you lack skill in philosophical versatile knowledge of argumentation and cross referencing of God's word?
I so submit that, that passage is misconstrued by our reductionistic, anthropo- religiosity and dogmatic mindsets & caprices.
Part 2 (Side attraction) : A Rejoinder:
Who says that God is afraid of our questions – philosophical so to speak?
If you really have researched into apostle Paul's writings.. you will understand that he was a man of letters.
He read philosophy to the core that was why for instance, when he stood in the accused deck for judgment before King Agrippa and other co-judges, where in he was interrogated about his teachings on Resurrection..
See Acts Chapters 25 & 26.. he was able to decipher through logic ( philosophy), and critical evaluation as a philosophical skill, that his audience were divided into 2 camps.. ie
1# Those who believe in ressurection
2# those who do not..
Hence bible says that he cried out to the judge that he was brought to question about such issues of resurrection..what I call, ( The paradox of refutation by mercy plea). Hence there was dissension amongst d pharisees and Sadducees.
Do you also remember the story about the prostitute who was condemned and to be stoned to death as a capital punishment for adultery? To this, Jesus employed the philosophy of law.. the concept of plea bargain and fair judgement.
When himself (Jesus) was tempted and asked if tribute should be paid to Caesar or not as the law of the land demanded, he(Jesus) requested for a coin to be shown to him.
That action by Jesus is what we know in philosophy of science as the 'verification principle'.
So you see.. philosophy is everything.. it is more than an academic discipline.. it is a way of life..
Now on the question as to whether Christians should study philosophy..?
I say a BIG YES.. Even the bible says that .. HE THAT WINS SOULS IS WISE ( a philosopher) .Going by our earlier established premise of PHILOSOPHY BEING SYNONYMOUS TO WISDOM.
Is a Preacher, a Trained Philosopher, a Blogger & the Assoc. Editor of Negroidhaven.org