How Philosophy Changed My Faith…

I recently had a conversation with someone who was concerned about my church attendance and the churches that I had been a part of. Their told me, “Mike, it doesn’t matter what church you go to, as long as it is a Bible-believing church.” I didn’t want to get in it with this person, so I let the conversation end there. But, what I really was thinking was this:

“What is biblical?”
“Are you biblical?”
“Am I biblical?”
“If you think you are biblical and I think I am biblical and we have different answers, then which one of us unbiblical?”
“And, even if I am the one who is unbiblical in knowledge, but my existential structures and systemic living are transformed by the God who is in the Bible, then what is more important: being biblical in thinking, or being biblical in living?”
“Can someone separate biblical living from biblical thinking? Because if we believe in the truth, and that truth sets us free, then how can this person be biblical if they’re an angry, narcissistic tool?”

I didn’t used to think like this. I began thinking like this in my early 20s, when I started reading philosophy. Whereas psychology allowed me to experience God in a way that created experiences that seem beyond logic, philosophy allows me to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct something in a way that is logical. And, unless we as Christians are able to formulate our thoughts and beliefs properly, it is hard to take Jesus seriously when he tells us to love him with all of our mind.

The first part of our lives are spent receiving the worldview, the knowledge, the beliefs, of those around us. Until we learn to break away, to deconstruct, then we can never have a personal faith, our own thoughts, and a unique worldview. I think philosophy exposes problems, and that could serve a great purpose in our modern context of Christianity. If we don’t learn to think, then we should learn to stay silent.

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” -Soren Kierkegaard

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6 thoughts on “How Philosophy Changed My Faith…

  1. I have often pondered what exactly was all implied when the scriptures say “Then you will be transformed by the renewing of your MIND”. I know a lot of people who were very against a certain pattern of thought (based on here-say, for lack of a better word) until they experienced it… and then they changed their minds. I believe God is the same way. If I truly allow God to transform my mind and my thinking, and take every thought captive as the Bible teaches, I do believe that my mind and beliefs would change.

    And with a changed belief about how I view God, I have no chance but to live as I believe. It is evident in myself and in many people around me. You can claim you believe something, but if you really truly believe it, it will have no choice but to overflow into your life in the physical realm. I don’t think humans are capable of anything else. We have no choice but to act out what our true beliefs are – no matter what we claim to believe in.

    So where does that leave me? Well to take a bold step, often I see God as distant, disciplinarian, and not all that interested in me as a person. I see myself as an embarassment to God, which only drives the wedge of wrong belief deeper – as much as I attempt to convince myself otherwise. Based on those beliefs its incredibly difficult to draw into true closeness, intimacy, and worship of God… and that belief does reflect out of my day to day life.

    I know of a number of people who said with everything within them, “God, kill my ‘self”, I don’t want anything but YOU, no matter what it takes”. And they’ve been through incredible times of deep refining… and the peace and joy that they continue to reflect just stuns me. Again, their TRUE BELIEF has no choice but to spill out of the place of belief into every day life.

    Good post Mike. (Philosophy has always seems somewhat vague to me, much like the term mystic. Its a term people have used to describe me on rare occasions, and for whatever reason, it doesn’t sit right with me – must be my Mennonite roots showing! lol)

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Andrew,
      What you’re doing right now is deconstructing your worldview. That’s extremely philosophical. It’s used to crack open our beliefs or worldview and preserve only what is necessary or good.

      Also, I am deeply influenced by Mennonites. And, honestly I think that they should be more philosophical. There whole foundation is on being a people set apart. That insinuates that they are breaking away from the worldview that is inherited or taught in order to live a better way. It’s deconstructing the world, and subverting it through a reconstructed view.

  2. I resonate with a lot of what you say here, Mike. Blessings on the continued journey…

  3. brookwarner1986 says:

    Amen!

  4. [...] you want to write compelling characters, this (from commenter no. 1) says [...]

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