What is philosophy? and how can we use it as a Christian?

I have a bit of a difficult time comprehending exactly what philosophy is and deals with. I’m sure I use it without realizing it.
And when I try to get a solid definition, people tell me that it means loving wisdom. So in other words, the literal Greek to English translation. And that doesn’t put me any closer to wrapping my mind around it

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Hi @TempusFugit! What an excellent question! I am definitely not the best person to answer this question because I struggle to understand exactly what philosophy is myself. You might find the following video enlightening. It is entitled: “What is Philosophy in Simple Words” by Ravi Zacharias

I know that when I took the Core Module through the RZIM academy, we spent a lot of time learning about the concepts origin, meaning, morality and destiny from the viewpoint of different worldviews. I suspect that how we use philosophy as Christians first involves listening to others’ worldviews and trying to understand where they are coming from. Only once we truly have a sense of what they are grappling with deep down (the question behind the question) can we begin to provide a response from the Christian worldview and we are to do this with gentleness and respect as instructed by 1 Peter 3:15-16.

By understanding what we believe as Christians about how life began (origin), the meaning or purpose of our lives ( meaning), the difference between right and wrong or good and evil (morality) and what happens to us when we die (destiny), we can engage others who have questions about these areas in their own worldviews. We can give a reason for the hope we have in Jesus.

These are just my rather elementary thoughts on philosophy and how we can use it as Christians. I hope and pray that someone with more education in this area can correct me if I am wrong.

May God grant you wisdom as you seek to understand this issue for tbe glory of His kingdom.

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Great Question! Let me say simply that philosophy is basically the habit and practice of thinking really hard about things that encompass in overarching categories of reality (metaphysics), knowledge (epistemology), and values (ethics). But not only is it merely thinking about abstractly, I would also contend that there is a practical component to philosophy (at least in its original estimation), that is actually living by that philosophy (that system of interrelated ideas you have formed and/or adopted.) We can use the skills required in philosophy to better analyze, disseminate, articulate, clarify, and think both critically and logically about the Christian faith. Philosophy will reinforce every part of the Christians thinking and believing, and will help others come to the faith as well as help believers understand their faith more deeply. If you are interested in more of this I would recommend a book by Garret DeWeese: “Doing Philosophy as a Christian”

Blessings,
Clint

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Thanks for breaking that down for me!

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So Philosophy is thinking about all the things and questions that overlap in those categories. Thanks for replying! I’ll be sure to check out that book

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I don’t know if I’m really adding anything, because I think you already have some good answers here. Here’s how I would want to put it in the most simple way I can imagine.

Philosophy is the exploration of ideas.

Philosophy isn’t necessarily a love of wisdom, because that is too exclusive. A postmodernist couldn’t call postmodernism a philosophy, if that was the case. You would have to love something. Philosophy explores ideas about what is truth, but there is often very little assumption. That doesn’t mean that learning about philosophy is wrong or evil. What I have to do as a believer is to explore the truth. That is also a philosophy, an exclusive one. If you can explain anything about what you believe, you have a philosophy.

What I learned taking philosophy in college is that most Philosophy majors want to explore ideas without coming to any serious conclusion. As a christian, my philosophy is that I want to learn more about anything that can lead me and others to a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the Truth.

There are many branches of philosophy that aren’t concerned with ethics or deity, obviously. There are philosophies about quantum theory, etc. What might confuse you the most is that those are just categories of philosophy. Philosophy could be defined an infinite amount of ways, because of the categories. I think the others have answered that well.

Another thing to consider is that any philosophy is usually formally defined as a category when it can’t be considered a science. Calculus is not a philosophy, and physics is not a philosophy. A language is not a philosophy, because it has solid definitions. But there are philosophies that explore those things.

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