what hath light to do with…philosophy?

A long time ago, in a far away galaxy – I used to devour philosophical treatises like they were my very food. Since the Lord Jesus has gotten a hold of me, however, all that’s changed. This means that the bookshelves that once such dear classics to me as Critique of Pure Reason, Difference and Repetition, and Writing and Difference are now being filled with Institutes of the Christian Religion, Predestination, Evidence for Christianity, and City of God.

I’ve been trying to clean out the old philosophical junk and move in some good theologians, but an old friend of mine called me some time ago and told me that he had some of my old books and that he wanted me to have them.  So he brought them to me. And now…well…now I don’t know what to do with them. I considered half.com or ebay.com, but looking through the books I realized that I had virtually ravaged every margin with tiny seas of criticisms, expletives (remember this was before the Lord found me ;), highlighting and emoticons that served as shorthand symbols for my great and profound thoughts (lol).

I remember enjoying these authors at the time, but now things are different. They really don’t have much to offer me. I see Christ as the knowledge and wisdom of God, in whom are hidden all treasures of knowledge and wisdom. I’ve found that in His physical life, death and resurrection are the concrete answer to all of my previous abstract questions. Christ truly is the Logos, the Reason/Logic/Rationality of God. [Amen]

Therefore, the authors I now have in my possession again don’t really seem to have utility. What use do I have of books like Madness and Civilization, Matter and Memory, Time and Freewill, Creative Evolution, Truth and Existence, “God, Death And Time,” The Blue and Brown Books, Entre Nous: The Thinking of the Other, Hegel (by Raymond Plant), Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis, and The Democratic Paradox?

I see none.

Do I burn the books as a burnt offering? Or do I read them in light of the truth of the God’s Word and acknowledge their occasional bursts of insight and take notes on their theologically antagonistic aims and speculative forays?


The appearance of these books is timely, as I’m trying to see where the Lord would have me go to school, and what it is He would have me study. And it forces me to really consider a number of practical things related to my decision.

I guess the question at the root of this is: To what extent should we as Christians engage with philosophical discourses?



4 thoughts on “what hath light to do with…philosophy?

  1. Joseph Torres says:

    H, hold the doctrine of common grace close to your heart. Are the majority of those authors suppressors of the truth? Yep. Nonetheless, the truth does break out (even against the wishes of said authors).

    Remember that wonderful quote from Calvin:

    *Whenever we come upon these matters in secular writers, let that admirable light of truth shining in them teach us that the mind of man, though fallen and perverted from its wholeness, is nevertheless clothed and ornamented with God’s excellent gifts. If we regard the Spirit of God as the sole foundation of truth, we shall neither reject the truth itself, nor despise it wherever it shall appear, unless we wish to dishonor the Spirit of God.*
    – John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion 2. 2. 15

    On another note, if you don’t want your Derrida books, I’ll take them! ;)


  2. Heather says:

    Your title made me smile–til I realized you actually captured an essential truth of Scripture.

    Atheists and religious cults such as JW’s place huge significance on the ability of humans to reason through available information. Yet, the Bible is clear that “wisdom” of godless men is unfathomable darkness.

    If the treasure of our hearts is determined (or at least revealed) by that upon which we set our “eye”, then it makes sense to guard ourselves so as to not become distracted from what is eternally important, I think.

    I’d agree with the previous commenter that a Christian is able to glean truth even from interaction with those who deny God’s truth. I’ve been able to see this even in otherwise pointless popular culture. There’s a lot of stuff God-haters say that is right in line with Scripture–only, they’re building their elaborate castles on sandy foundations.

    The Lord has revealed much of Himself to all of us even though some will try to ignore Him and grab glory for themselves.
    If a thing is “good”, God deserves full credit. Unfortunately, human philosophy edges God out and makes man the center and standard for truth. It’s plagiarism, I tell ya! ;)

    To what extent should we as Christians engage with philosophical discourses?

    It’s probably a matter of conscience, maturity and priorities, in your case. But I would wonder…If you entered a restaurant and the waitress offered you a cup of coffee that turned out to be 10% of the best stuff ever but it was also 90% raw sewage, and you KNEW it….would you pay for it and drink up or turn around and go next door where they don’t dilute their beverages?

    Personally, I love the “book burning” idea. Not because I think it would make a huge difference or because I’m into burnt offerings but because I would feel guilty about potentially contributing to someone else’s delusion and because I love object lessons. “You see, kids, this is what ultimately happens to the souls and works of those who reject the most gracious offer of our Lord…”

    Just my opinion, of course. Your reality may dictate a completely different course of action :D


  3. Heather says:

    And for my next trick, I shall now amend my previous comment.

    While I see very little value in retaining, reading or even referencing the aforementioned works as sources of God’s Truth, they might be of use as evangelistic tools in the same way as familiarity with the book of Mormon or the Q’ran might be to one who encounters those who hold to such beliefs.

    Atheistic humanism is as much a religion as any other and it can be helpful to know how “the other guy” thinks when trying to engage him. Of course, the battle is actually fought on a spiritual level rather than an intellectual one and if you’ve come from that background, you probably already know what you’d be up against.

    Guess it comes back around to where God leaves you feeling comfortable.


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