Human Freedom and Social Order: An Essay in Christian Philosophy

Human Freedom and Social Order: An Essay in Christian Philosophy

Human Freedom and Social Order: An Essay in Christian Philosophy

Human Freedom and Social Order: An Essay in Christian Philosophy

Excerpt

In other parts of the world, philosophy is recognized as a basic human need to be fulfilled, so far as this is possible, through the acts of living men inspired by religious ideals and images that have been developed in the histories of different lands. Thus we speak naturally of a Buddhist philosophy, a Hindu philosophy, and a Confucian philosophy, and in our own tradition we distinguish between English, French, German, and Marxist philosophies. But until very recently the term Christian Philosophy has not been received into common usage, and it is now clear that this is no mere verbal accident. It is rather the expression of a noteworthy gap in our intellectual history.

The possibility of a Christian philosophy has been glimpsed by a few original thinkers like Augustine, Pascal, and Kierkegaard but it has never been coherently and persistently worked out as an independent discipline. Instead of this, Christian faith has been combined with an abstract mode of objectivist thought which arose in Greece under the inspiration of alien religious sources. This type of philosophy claims to have access to a divine faculty of reason in man which is able to apprehend the timeless essences of all things, and to deduce a closed system of being from self-evident principles. In the course of our history, these conceptions have been subjected to a very searching criticism, partly coming from Christian sources, which in our time has had its effect. Many of our contemporaries find it hard to believe in a worldless faculty of reason separate from the rest of human nature. They doubt whether any closed system will ever be finally demonstrated in such a way as to rule out all other . . .

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