I am well into finishing the second book of Lee Strobel called “The Case for Faith” and I cannot keep from noticing how for the evangelical, philosophical problems also include questions about evil, hell, the Resurrection, Church History, the relationship of Faith and Science, Faith and Doubt, and other things that we Catholics would talk about within the context of Fundamental Theology.
I’ve always regarded “Fundamental Theology” as standing in the Twilight Zone between Metaphysics and Theology proper as the science of Revelation. As such, it is still within the province of Faith understood as reasoning with assent (Augustine). I find it strange however that Christian philosophy should cover topics such as are enumerated above (except for evil and science). The topics about hell, the Resurrection and Church History are neatly categorized under Apologetics, the science of the reasonability of faith, not philosophy.
I guess, the topic that Mr. Strobel takes up in the book warrants the inclusion of the above themes under philosophy understood as the search for truth and meaning. Perhaps I’m too much of a Scholastic to feel comfortable with the way the book was written. However, it was a tremendous effort just to be able to put those topics in just one book. The overarching theme is, after all, “The Case for Faith” — the basic underpinnings of the necessity of faith.
The evangelical tendency towards the handling of such a question is the overwhelming evidence presented to the human mind that warrants belief. The Catholic approach would have been the intrinsic need of reason to assent to something that warrants faith. St. Augustine would have pointed out that even reason has to assent to something before it could reason out. St. Thomas would have shown that human reason, inspite of its fallibility, has the capacity to know something certain about God, i.e. His existence and His attributes.
Even the way the questions were handled didn’t seem philosophical to me, at first. Why draw the book of Job into the question of evil considered philosophically? Peter Kreeft, the Catholic (the only one?) that gets interviewed for the book, of course dealt with the book as a milestone in humanity’s attempt to give an answer to the question. I wondered why Augustine and Thomas Aquinas were not considered in giving answer to the question.
The book is interesting reading however, since it gives an idea of how the Evangelicals use Scriptures in responding to philosophy. It sounds very much like the way it was done in the period before the University of Paris delineated the realms of philosophy and theology. Augustine and the other Fathers would have been quite comfortable in answering the same questions.
Originally posted 2004-12-29 08:45:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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