I proposes that all Christians should be philosophers. I say this because philosophy is the search for truth, and Jesus is the truth. Jesus said, seek, and you will find. So, philosophy, as the search for truth, is a core component of being Christian. At the same time, philosophy as a science can be difficult to understand, and its historical usage hard to apply.
Having said this, I would share with you what my self-studies have highlighted as a couple of important issues that all philosophers need to understand. The first has to do with the basic assumption regarding the meaning of life. The two major views can be summarized as follows. On the one hand, there is the teleological view, which holds that humans were created for a reason, and that there is an end goal to existence. One’s life endeavors should be directed towards this end goal. On the other hand, we have the mechanistic view, which focuses on humanity as a bunch of biological operations, including neurological. There is no end goal, and each person is thus able to direct his or her life in any direction; one has the right to choose his or her own end.
As Christians, we must hold onto the belief that life has a meaning beyond our individual decisions and desires. We have to believe that there is an end goal, which Jesus phrases as becoming one with God, the creator of all. The question then arises – are all of my endeavors directed towards the end goal of union with God? As sinners, the obvious answer is that no, not all of our endeavors are so focused. In today’s materialistic world, it is easy to fall into the more mechanistic view that life is about personal fulfillment, which typically means seeking sensual delights. By sensual, I’m not just talking about the normal connotations, but anything that delights the mind or senses.
This concept of sense experience is the second issue I want to highlight. For the most part, there are two key methods of seeking truth: through sense experience and by using our intellect to interpret and analyze our experiences and the world around us. The early philosophers spent a lot of time debating the use of sense experience because it can be misleading. Some totally dismiss sense experience, but in my opinion, sense experience has its place in the search for truth; however, it is important to know that we can be mislead by our senses, and that logic is a great tool for combating misperception.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit and ponder the statement that all Christians should be philosophers. Do you follow Jesus’ directive to seek? Do you have a great appreciation for the Christian life as directed towards an end goal of union with God? Where are you caught up in an overabundance of time spent on sense experience, and where do you need to add in logic to direct your analysis of sense experience towards an end goal of union with God? How can you use the tools of sense experience and logic to enhance your search for truth? As you conclude your time of prayer, spend some time thanking and praising the Holy Spirit for the insights and direction that you have received. To the extent needed, wrap up your time of prayer journaling about how these insights should be incorporated into your daily life.