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Is Philosophy Important?

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It’s interesting how within spiritual circles there are strong and conflicting opinions about whether or not philosophy is important. I know that many Christians feel the subject is a waste of time, and instead focus exclusively on Biblical revelation as life’s only real source of wisdom. On the other hand, there are many who feel philosophy and religion go hand in hand, and that it is impossible to defend one’s faith without engaging in philosophy on at least some level.

In this article, I will briefly explain why philosophy is important to me, and why as much as I have immersed myself in Christian living, I have never been able to dismiss the importance of philosophical enquiry.

What is Philosophy?

I think that often philosophy can seem like a subject that is highly academic; full of propositions and logic and complex arguments that would give anyone a headache. But for me, this is not what philosophy is at all. Philosophy is the quest to understand the true nature of reality, including ourselves.

Philosophy, for me, begins with fascination and mystery. It starts with the astonishing fact that I find myself in some kind of existence doing something called living, and I seem to experience things like the functioning of my body, mind, and emotions, as well as being aware of a universe that I can observe.

Ever since lying in the bath for hours during my time at university listening to talks by the comparative religion philosopher Alan Watts, I have been excited to try to understand why I am here, what exactly I am, and why anything exists at all.

Can We Really Know Anything?

I have found that through the exploration of many different spiritual paths and philosophical viewpoints, I have been able to answer a lot of the questions that first troubled me when I began to deeply ponder the nature of reality during my time at university.

It has been a long and difficult journey, but through reading the ideas of deep-thinking people, and more importantly examining the answers to philosophical questions for myself, I have been able to form a worldview that makes sense to me, feels honest and truthful, and gives meaning to my life.

How Did I Get There?

Without a doubt my biggest discovery was that God exists. As a youngster I was an ardent atheist, and the idea of God seemed very illogical and even frustrating. I used to be angered by the seemingly ridiculous faith some people had in an entity that to me was no more real than unicorns.

The thing about God is that He reveals Himself to people in His own time and in His own way. This can happen quite unexpectedly. For me, the revelation of God’s existence came during a spell in psychiatric hospital. I had been desperately searching for meaning and truth for years, immersing myself in the spiritual practices of different faith groups, but only experiencing confusion, hopelessness, depression, and desperation.

When I eventually ended up in hospital after a serious breakdown, I felt compelled to ask the staff for a Bible, which would have been a complete surprise to those who knew me, as I had never taken a serious interest in Christianity before. But God used the Bible and my time in hospital to awaken me to His existence. He began to speak to me and show me that He is in control of my life.

Christianity, for me, was a huge awakening. But it didn’t answer all of the questions that I had about the nature of God and reality. I discovered that Christians were unable to answer fundamental questions about the nature of God’s being, the free will predicament, the problem of why anything exists at all, the way in which words communicate, why our thoughts arise, and many other questions which are the subject matter of philosophy.

In recent years, after returning to university to study Philosophy and Religion, I have written several books that expound what I have come to understand about God, and these books explore the compelling reasons for embracing Christianity, as well as those more philosophical questions to which I have found Christians have no satisfying answers.

Conclusion

It is not my intention to in any way belittle the Christian faith. I have been a dedicated evangelical Christian in the past and made the Bible the focus of my life for many years, so I completely understand the passion with which Christians dedicate themselves to their faith. I also fully understand the fear Christians have of being drawn away from Jesus – that’s a fear I have felt myself on many occasions, and continue to feel to this day.

But for me, there are philosophical problems related to the Christian worldview that are very significant. For instance, I have come to understand that God is in control of everything that happens, which is something the majority of Christians disagree with because of what the Bible teaches about man’s rebelliion against God and that we are sinners in need of salvation. These are ideas that only really makes sense if we have free will.

It is through a joint exploration of Scripture and philosophy that I have been able to fully understand and explore this problem, which is at the heart of the Christian worldview and relates to eternal destiny of every human being.

God used the Bible to enlighten me as to reality of His existence, and while the Bible is entirely sufficient in revealing the person and work of Jesus Christ and the Christian gospel, it is through philosophical enquiry that I have been able to examine the implications of Biblical theology in the fullest and deepest way. So that’s why I am happy to argue that philosophy is important.


For a more in-depth look at my philosophical perspective and the arguments for and against Christianity (which are informed by philosophical enquiry), I invite you to check out my essay entitled An Almighty Predicament which is available here. I have also written various other books which are presented and introduced on the books page. Thank you for reading.

43 comments

  1. Once you read the Bible, how did you make the decision of which kind of church you wanted to go to? As you said, there are lots of contradictions from one to the next, and each denomination has their variances. I’m curious to know what your thought process was on that after you started believing in God?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey there! That’s a really great question. It’s a long story but I’ll give you a brief overview!

      During a spell in hospital not long after I became a Christian there was a Catholic activity coordinator and a Catholic priest who came to the hospital to conduct a short service for any interested patients once a week. That got me interested in Catholicism and I started attending a Catholic church, also visiting the priest occasionally to learn about what baptism into the Catholic church would entail.

      However, I felt compelled to explore other churches as I was looking for a more ‘contemporary’ approach to worship, something a bit more lively and vibrant than the traditional Catholic mass. I went to an event one day in a local music venue and the person on the door mentioned Hillsong church to me, and after looking at their website, I thought I’d go along to a service in central London. I thought it was amazing and really appealed to me – so that became my regular church for some years.

      At different times I have also attended Church of England (Anglican) churches, which is the church to which my father is committed. And I got baptised in a Baptist church, but that’s a whole other story!

      Thanks for the opportunity to share a bit about my journey, and let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for sharing with me!
        What was your take away with going to different kinds of churches? Did you feel each one had it’s own thing to offer, or was it hard to know what to believe because each one has its own requirements and expectations?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I felt a deep and real connection with God, so in a sense, it wasn’t too important where I worshipped, the most important thing was that I worshipped. I do feel there are important differences between denominations, but that understanding has come through years of studying theology and was less important to me when I was a new Christian.

          These days I believe that everything in life is governed and unfolded by God, and so different belief systems are in a sense God expressing Himself in different ways. This applies to the Christian faith and to all other beliefs people hold. I believe all of it is God’s will. If you’re interested in why I believe this, here are a couple of relevant posts:

          God’s Grand Game
          Truth Beyond Christianity

          Thanks for another great question and I’m grateful for your curiosity 🙂 If you have any further questions I’d be happy to answer them either in the comments or by email. Blessings!

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  2. I was so enlightened reading your posts. There are some part of it that I can really relate myself and that’s when you started to ask if truly God exists. And the only way we can answer that doubts is when He himself finds way so we can realize His existence. It happened to me many times already. God is always with me since He always answers my prayers.

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    1. Hello! I’m delighted you found some of my posts interesting; thank you so much for taking the time to read them.

      Yes, I feel belief in God comes from His revelation in our minds and lives. Unless He wants people to believe they won’t believe.

      Best wishes, thanks again, and have a wonderful week!

      Steven

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  3. People are searching and for some it is because their old beliefs just don’t feel right anymore. There is a major shift occurring today and I think those who are willing to question and not follow blindly will be richer for it. We are all different and on different parts of our paths, so what resonates for me may not resonate for another. But we are on this journey together and only with mutual respect and unconditional love can we move forward as a people, as a planet and as members of the All of Creation. Lovely blog. thank you for following mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my blog. I love what you wrote about the importance of respect, and that we’re all on different paths. I agree. As for following your blog, no problem! I look forward to reading more from you. Thank you for your kind words and have a wonderful day 🙂

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  4. You stated — “I have come to understand that God is in control of everything that happens”

    My response — Does God ever give you a choice?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there! Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure how much you’ve read of my writing, so I’m not entirely sure where your question is coming from. I don’t believe we have free will, no. I believe all will is God’s will.

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