Since the start of January 2017, I have been reading a book entitled, The Story of Christianity. I wrote a post stating that I would be reading that book as a daily devotional this year (click on title). I have already read half of the book and plan to begin volume II starting in July. As I read that book, I began to realize how often the Christian church, almost from its inception, had to respond to one philosophical movement after another.
I learned that when the early Christians, who were mostly of Jewish birth and upbringing, expanded to include the Gentiles, over a short time became more and more Greek. The Church grew in cities such as Galatia, Ephesus, Thessalonica and Corinth. Although these cites were under the Roman Empire’s rule, they remained very Greek in culture very much first influenced by the philosophy of the Greeks which affected the Romans.
With that in mind, is it important for us to be familiar with philosophy? That is why I suggest you have a book such as Philosophy For Dummies.
Again, let me repeat, I especially noticed while studying church history, how the Christian Church was highly influenced by the Greeks. Why was the New Testament written in Greek? Why was it not originally in Latin, the language of the Roman Empire?
As the early Church was growing, it stepped back from the Jewish ways and traditions and became more Hellenized (Greek). Many of the early Christians became alarmed. And to this day, there is some concern over this.
What does all this have to do with this book, Philosophy for Dummies? Well, when I was studying philosophy in college right after accepting Christ as my Savior, the professor was anti-God and anti-Christian. My faith, in that classroom, was highly challenged. I was able, with God’s help, to keep the faith. But I since then had an aversion to philosophy. As a matter of fact, I attribute my later disbelief in the Trinity as being of pagan origin because of my conclusion based on the philosophy of the Greeks.
Now, years later, I am a Christian with orthodox (mainstream) views to some extent. I have returned to believing in the Trinity and have the goal of studying more of Church history. But you cannot do this without becoming aware of the other philosophies that surrounded the church in her infancy, throughout the centuries and in our day.
That is why I purchased, Philosophy For Dummies which I plan to use as a reference book for the moment. I do not plan to read it cover to cover. For now, I will refer to it as often as needed.
Now this other book to your right, Prelude To Philosophy: An Introduction For Christians, I have just ordered it and do not suggest any of you do so. Why am I interested in this one? Well, whenever I read anything, I try to find whether it can be applied to my everyday life as a Christian. It is how I am now wired. I enjoy comparing any concepts being covered with what the Bible has to say and what God is saying about it. This book may help me speed up my internal process of application.
The first three chapters of this book are:
1) What Is Philosophy?
2) Why Is Philosophy Important?
3) What Athens Has To Do With Jerusalem
The Importance of Philosophy for Christians
There are four more interesting chapters in this 208-page book.
Again, I plan, Lord willing, to read this book and maybe Philosophy For Dummies, during the summer months. Once I do this, I may want to post a blog on how they were helpful to me and why you may want to read them through.
Now some of you may be wondering why I did not choose Will Durant’s well known work, The Story Of Philosophy. Good point! My answer, I didn’t think about it until now.
Another point, what about Colossians 2:8 where Paul writes:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
Is this verse telling us that God does not want us to even look at any of man’s philosophy at all? I used to believe so. But not now. Here is a link which closely aligns with how I view the study of philosophy today:
One final thought, if we are to defend against the fiery arrows (darts in the NKJV bible) of Satan he uses in the world against Christians (Ephesians 6:16), it would be advantageous to be at least familiar what some, if not all, of his arrows look like. You will be a better apologist as you give witness to others Jesus Christ and what you believe. Just my thoughts.