Friday, November 13, 2015

Should Christian students stop studying philosophy and literature? A meandering into the irrational fear of philosophy and literature

I have been thinking a lot...

Well, when its painful to stand up and all I do is sit in front of the computer, there's no choice but to think and to keep my mind off my excruciatingly painful ankle and knee, gout. 

I guess that's why many famous philosophers are either too rich to care about money and the daily grind, or are too poor , eccentric and unmarried to care about anything except thinking of and thinking up crazy stuffs.
Diogenes. He proved that anyone could be
poor, crazy, wise, an a-hole and be
intellectually  intimidating at the same time.
Legends has it that he scolded
Alexander the Great for disturbing his sun bathing.

Anyway, I have always been bothered by preachers on TV and behind the pulpit who say that philosophy is bad. Sermonizing about its evil and discouraging students who are into it as a part of college course. There are even preachers who discouraged reading literature! Whenever I hear this phobic vituperations against philosophy and literature hurled from the pulpit by a preacher, I guess being a teacher, I have this urge to stand up and throw a tome to the preacher's direction (maybe the head) and tell him,: " what do you want us do? Go back to the stone age!".

I am not a student of philosophy. My dose of philosophy was the prerequisite philo I and philo II in college which i heard was already taken off the first year and second year college curriculum for education students.

Nietzsche. Just a mere mention of this
guys name sends shivers down many
pastors asses. Why? Because he made
famous the slogan "God is dead." Which
many Christians believed was the
ultimate blasphemy, a judgment made without
 having read and analyzed some of his books.
Actually, he also killed God but this
death of god is not like stabbing a person
 with a knife and taking his life which
many preachers would like the 
congregation to believe is what this
guy meant. What he meant and what is
actually a reality now is that god has become
irrelevant. Doubtful?
May I ask how many Christians still 
believe that if you curse the name of God
you'll die in your place. 
All I could boast was that I read some stuff about it especially the Greeks because these pioneers were the most accessible read. The only modern philosopher that I could say I read and understood (maybe the more appropriate word is "felt") was Nietzsche and this was because he wrote in bursts of colorful language using lively meter. His writing could shock anyone specially to the first time readers. His attack on Christianity was distilled from his experience with the hypocrisy of Christianity's actions in the background of the political situations of his era that gave birth to his philosophical nihilism (again, he hates Christianity and the clergy, ministers and pastors but he had an affection for Jesus, at least not the same hatred for the clergy). Also, his father was a minister. guess he experienced Christian hypocrisy in the first person. he was not mad, he died mad because he got syphilis.

I tried reading Kant but it's like chewing concrete blocks.

But if there's one thing that endeared philosophy to me, it is inquiry. It's the activity. it's the way philosophy can empower an individual to pursue an idea or anything using pure reason.

Religion has always been hostile to inquiry even internal ones that would challenge the existing status quo, not to mention the tortures and persecutions. It's not because they were afraid of the changes that may come from new ideas or discoveries, it's because the religious feel, which was rightly so, that their authority and hold on the people would be compromised because their power and authority was primarily based on the perceived divinity of their books, hierarchy and lineage and secondly this hold was empowered by the ignorance and the lack of imagination  of the people. They tried to stop the enlightenment but failed. Today, the religious has to take a different tack to spread their religion. They cannot rely on their perceived "holiness" theological dogmas, moral superiority and metaphysics to lure people back to their fold, now they have to engage them in decent intellectual conversations, prove that their religion is relevant to today's settings. 

knowledge is power!

Many preachers love to quote St. Paul in Colossians ‘Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit’ (Col.2:8). What was Paul talking about here? just like today, in St. Paul's time, philosophy could mean a lot of thing. It could mean a specific philosophy like stoicism, epicureanism which Paul had some dealings with. Or it could also mean religions, which in this verse is the case."See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ."

knowledge power! Pinoy version.
This guy knows a lot of stuffs.
He had a lot of herbal formulas
for longevity and preventing diseases.
Ironically, he died of heart attack
atthe age of 56.
Philosophy even the ancient Greeks have very little room for spirits and traditions. This verse is a general warning for anyone not to be hooked on anything that challenges Christ. 

The New Testament was written in Greek, immersed in Greek culture and though many denied but a lot of terminologies and concepts used by Paul in his letters were from Greek philosophies. It's wishful thinking to say that the new testament was written devoid of any Greek philosophical influence.

Many religious will disagree but it is undeniable that most of the language used in the formulations of highly abstract Christian doctrines borrowed a lot from Greek philosophy. Ironic.

(My ankle and knee is killing me.) 

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