Truth Project 2: Philosophy and Ethics (Says Who?)

The second tour in the Truth Project examines Philosophy and Ethics. Del (in my review of the first tour, I called the presenter by his last name, Tackett, but I’m thinking that is a tad impersonal) starts out with a couple of Bible verses, one of them being Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.” One example of a hollow and deceptive philosophy, says Del, is Carl Sagan’s popular Cosmos series. In it, Sagan says that “The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.” This statement assumes there is nothing outside the physical universe – what Del calls the “Cosmic Cube,” or “the box.”

Del argues that modern philosophy has taken God out of the equation in its search for reality, and is therefore bound to fail. The philosophical “holy grail,” says Del, is the Universals, but all that we can directly observe are particulars. Del says that in secular philosophy, there is a gap between the tradition of Plato (which focuses on ideals, or universals) and the tradition of Aristotle (which focuses on particulars). Secular philosophy begins with particulars and tries to move to universals, which is not possible when you only look inside the box. God’s approach, according to Del, is to begin with universals (accessible through revelation) and move to particulars.

The implications of naturalistic philosophy, because of its limitation, are that there can be no gods or purposive forces, no ultimate foundation for ethics, no free will, no life after death, and no ultimate meaning in life. The problem with Christians in America, says Del, is that we have been taken captive by this philosophy and don’t have a biblical worldview. The solution is that, according to Romans 12:2, we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Overall, I liked this tour. It set forth the issues clearly and simply and issued a clarion call for Christians to not be deceived by hollow and deceptive philosophy but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Also, I think that it gives us a great starting place when dialoguing with people who have a naturalistic worldview. If secular philosophy leads inevitably to a loss of meaning and an inability to have an ultimate foundation for ethics, then a good place to start dialogue would be to push philosophical naturalists to accept the implications of naturalism. All too often, philosophical naturalists “cheat” in order to give their lives meaning. That is, they borrow ideas from Christianity that are not consistent with their stated worldview.

I think, however, that Del misses an opportunity in this tour to show his audience how to interact with a secular philosopher. He tells the story of a freshman philosophy class that he was in at Kansas State where the professor told him, “You don’t have any way of knowing that the chair you’re sitting on is really real.” Instead of telling his audience how to start a conversation with someone like that, Del dismisses that statement by merely saying, “How foolish!” Instead of being dismissive, he would have served his audience (and any non-Christians they come in contact with) better by speaking with them about how to open a dialogue about the important things of life with someone who has been influenced by deceptive philosophy.

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