Wilkens provides a convincing rationale for why Christians should study philosophy by examining an important issue from the perspective of the following philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, and Sartre. Although some Christians tend to view the faith of the above philosophers as questionable at best and non-existent at worst, Wilkens finds that many of their ideas can enhance Christian faith and yield valuable theological insight. In providing this accessible introduction to some of the key ideas and thinkers in philosophy, Wilkens finds strong grounds for living "the examined life" (playing off the famous quote by Socrates), urging Christians to engage in philosophical reflection, which can strengthen one's faith and deepen one's sense of wonder with the world God created.
"What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the church?" (Tertullian, 3rd century). Such skepticism about the place of philosophy in the life of Christians persists down through the ages. As a student, author Steve Wilkens had deep reservations about studying the works of "pagans" or even "questionable Christians." Now a teacher at a Christian university, Wilkens has developed a deep appreciation for teaching and studying philosophy. In fact, he believes that the life of faith can be enriched by good philosophical reflection. In this book Wilkens helps you begin the same journey. Using generous quotations from the original sources, Wilkens provides an introduction to the study of philosophy by exploring a single key issue from each of the following philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche and Sartre. The questions considered include
- Why ask why?
- Is a just society possible?
- Is God responsible for evil?
- Can you be certain of anything?
- Is morality all about power?
- Do you really want to be free?
Wilkens encourages you not to be a mere spectator but to actively and critically engage the questions and ideas these philosophers raise. Here is a book for beginning students, thoughtful Christians or anyone who wants to explore life's deepest questions.
Steve Wilkens (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of philosophy and ethics at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. He has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at Mount San Antonio College, Glendale Community College, Fuller Theological Seminary and Azusa Pacific University's C. P. Haggard Graduate School of Theology. His books include , (coauthored with Alan Padgett) and . He is also coeditor with Paul Shrier and Ralph P. Martin of .
"Steve Wilkens reliably and accessibly communicates the views of some of the great philosophers and distills their sober and sound wisdom for Christians. A healthy antidote to all who believe that their own theologies have cornered the market on truth."
"Anyone who wonders whether philosophers might actually have something to teach Christians should read this book. Wilkens does a masterful job of clearly explaining some of the most influential philosophers, carefully unpacking the implications of their thought, and evenhandedly assessing their respective strengths and weaknesses. And ultimately, he demonstrates that each of these philosophers does indeed have something to teach us."
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