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Friday, July 16, 2010

If theology has limited value what about philosophy?

Philosophy is for people who find it interesting. It can expand the mind but it can also blind us. I cannot claim to be well versed in the numerous nuances of various philosophies that have captured the fascination of those who have made it a life quest. Nonetheless, I personally view philosophy as a game of lenses. It is helpful to discover that one can embrace different lenses that alter the way you make sense of and respond to things. But ultimately, philosophy eventually becomes an exercise in optical illusions. You begin to see things in a way that seems to confirm your philosophy and at that point philosophy becomes a blind anchor and you are no longer free to sail.

Therefore, philosophy is most useful in being able to demonstrate that there are actually numerous intelligent ways of making sense of things. Indeed, when interpreting the bible, I do not regard an ancient Jewish concept of reality to be superior to a modern twentieth century Western paradigm. All cultural perspectives are merely useful for those on the same page, they are never perceptions of reality, they are only aftereffects of cultural development. Nonetheless a more proper interpretation of scripture will be possible (never certain) by attempting to appreciate the horizon of reality from the point of view culturally owning the author.

If you seek to interpret words, philosophy can be a great tool to help you learn to adopt temporarily a modality you do not personally embrace. However, if it is reality you seek, philosophy is the illusion you are finding it.

And yet, it is impossible to live without a philosophy of some sort. The brain insists on organizing observations into coherent concepts that allow us to live spontaneously while minimizing the potential dangers and maximizing the potential rewards. My philosophy is very anchored in the idea that reality is solid but perception is not. Reality is bio-semiotically an arm's distance away. It cannot be inspected directly. I am lost in an ocean of filtered perception where there is no shore. For me this is why I am so comfortable resting in the presence of Jesus. Ultimately reality is His problem, I live by faith in His abiding love.

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