The Christian in Philosophy

The Christian in Philosophy

The Christian in Philosophy

The Christian in Philosophy

Excerpt

Christian philosophy is an intellectual venture which is necessarily undertaken whenever a man who is endowed with philosophical tastes, gifts, and temperament believes the Christian Faith. I use the word 'necessarily', because such a man cannot believe with the whole of his being unless he believes in a philosophical and intellectual manner. There are indeed diversities of gifts and temperaments, but of all Christians it is true that genuine personal faith must mean the deliberate surrender and dedication of the entire personality to the service of God. The philosophical type of man must thus choose between being a Christian philosopher and not being a Christian at all.

The philosophic way of believing and practising the Christian Faith will, of course, have its characteristic temptations and dangers. The religion of the primarily intellectual type of man is often cold and more theoretic than real. But all human temperaments carry with them their besetting temptations and typical weaknesses. Thus the temperamentally emotional man is in constant danger of spiritual crudity and religious instability, while the active, 'practical' man must guard continually against superficial forms of belief and pharisaical self-satisfaction. Being a Christian 'intellectual' is not a more precarious adventure than being a Christian of some other temperamental type. The truly precarious thing, spiritually speaking, and the precariousness is perhaps the secret of its thrill and excitement, is being a Christian at all, whatever one's temperament.

In fact, the figure of the Christian philosopher is a relatively familiar one in the history and experience of the Church. A broad survey of nearly two thousand years of Christian history warrants the generalization that most, perhaps all, theologians are in some sense Christian philosophers. Many of them have tried to avoid the philosophical and speculative method, concentrating their attentions upon the narrower, and more easily defined, problems of biblical exegesis, or on the doctrinal . . .

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