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10 Reasons Why Christianity Is NOT A Philosophy (Sorry Mr. O'Reilly!)

I'm starting to hear from more and more Christians (and, sadly, some family members and friends who should know better) who are all excited and praising Bill O'Reilly's Killing Jesus bestseller again.

I guess it's because it's back in the news since the movie version of the book starring several big name actors is scheduled to air soon as a miniseries on National Geographic and premiere globally in 171 countries and in 45 languages, because it's not that hard to translate Wolf-speak to the masses who are already deceived and dead in their sins (Ephesians 2; Colossians 2:13).

We wrote about the book way back in September 2013 in a piece titled "Why Would Any Christian Be Excited About Bill O'Reilly's 'Killing Jesus' Book?" and I think it's worth revisiting again if only to try and cut off the controversy at the pass.

In true apologetics form, I thought I'd share an appropriate list of reasons why Mr. O'Reilly is wrong, which is based on an old broadcast of Wretched TV I remembered seeing. 


It was actually a segment that was in direct response to the following sound byte from O'Reilly's program on Fox News or, as I like to call it, Mr. Bill's gross perversion of our shared and cherished faith.





Does such a pronouncement by a so-called "Conservative Christian" remind you of anything at all from the New Testament?




2 Timothy 4:2-4 (ESV) 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 


In response, here are the "Top 10 Reasons Why Christianity is NOT A Philosophy" courtesy of Wretched TV and in direct response to Bill O'Reilly's ridiculous statements you just heard.



10 Reasons Why Christianity is NOT A Philosophy

10.
Jesus never claimed to be a philosopher. He claimed to be God. That's why they killed Him.

9.
A philosopher who claims to be God and isn't, is not a philosopher. He is a nut.

8. Philosophy seeks truth, but Jesus proclaimed He Himself is the truth. Jesus did not ponder what might be right. He proclaimed what was absolutely true.

7. Philosophy is the pursuit of rational wisdom. Religion is the pursuit of supernatural wisdom.

6. Christianity, while rational, is a belief system.

5. Philosophy has no authority. One philosopher's claims are as valid as the next. Not so in Christianity. The Bible claims that the inspired Word of God is the sole standard of truth.

4. Philosophy changes with the times. Christianity does not.

3. Philosophy typically rejects the supernatural. Christianity embraces it.

2. Philosophy is man-made. Christianity is God-inspired.

1. Philosophy does not offer forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Christianity does.



Now, I know that Wretched TV and it's host are not "Lutheran" and so we have to be careful (and might even wish for further explanation when it comes to the points made in the above list), but they're right in this case, and it's a sufficient rebuttal that should at least give you a place to start if this topic should come up in conversation soon like it did for me.

Clearly, each of the 10 points made carry with it it's own commentary on the subject, but I hope that you will be able to use these as conversation starters (or like O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo") with others when confessing and contending "
for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3). 

My dear friends, this erroneous belief about Jesus Christ and Christianity is actually quite prevalent, and it has been here long before Bill O'Reilly decided to start redefining things recently.

Here are a few more things to prayerfully consider in relation to this subject. A few quotes I had written down over the years on this subject, but couldn't tell you where and/or who they came from.




"The one most valuable lesson humanity ought to have learned from philosophy is that it is impossible to make sense of Truth without acknowledging God as the necessary starting point."


"Philosophy claims to be true but is utterly deceitful, like a fisherman who captures his unwitting prey by concealing a deadly hook within a tasty morsel of food. The fish thinks it’s getting a meal but becomes one instead. Similarly, those who embrace a human philosophy about God or man might think they’re getting truth, but instead they get empty deception, which can lead to eternal damnation."
 

"Philosophy has always been the cause of the church going astray, for philosophy means, ultimately, a trusting to human reason and human understanding. The philosopher wants to encompass all truth; he wants to categorize and explain everything, and that is why...(philosophy is) diametrically opposed to the preaching of the gospel."

 

"A Christian has no need of human philosophy. It is unnecessary and, more often than not, misleading. Where it happens to be right it will agree with Scripture, and is therefore unnecessary. Where it is wrong it will disagree with Scripture, and is therefore misleading. It has nothing necessary or reliable to offer. By nature it is speculation, based on man's limited and fallible insights and understanding. It is always unreliable and always divisive. If we want answers to what life is all about -- answers about where we came from, where we are going, and why we are here, about what is right and what is wrong -- then human learning cannot help us. If we want to know the ultimate meaning and purpose of human life, and the source of happiness, joy, fulfillment, and peace, we have to look beyond even what the best human minds can discover. Man's attempts to find such answers on his own are doomed to fail. He does not have the resources even to find the answers about himself, much less about God. In regard to the most important truths - those about human nature, sin, God, morality and ethics, the spirit world, the transformation and future of human life - philosophy is bankrupt."


There you have it. The truth about philosophy. The truth about Christianity. The truth about why they are not both one-in-the-same with a different name.

The Gospel is a life-saving, unmerited gift to us undeserved sinners and not just a "moral call" or an "intellectual idea" that is supposed to motivate us to be "good people" if not "political revolutionaries" also.

Bottom line, philosophy can only ask questions and speculate about the answers. Christianity gives the answers, because Christianity is truth as embodied by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

Yes, there is a battle for truth being waged out there right now, and sadly, it's often a battle with those we think are on our side in such a fight. Be discerning (Acts 17:11). Contend and defend (Jude 1:3). Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

At the end of the day, and from a Confessional Lutheran perspective, the Christian message speaks beyond philosophy.



"What the Christian faith has to say is beyond all philosophy; it rests upon another presupposition, which no philosophy understands, the acknowledgment of which no man can require. This presupposition states clearly: God speaks in His Word. That the Holy Scriptures are not merely a collection of documents from the history of religions, rather that the living God speaks in them; that God in Jesus Christ speaks His word of redemption; that Jesus Christ is the Word of God become man. These are the propositions, which have no place in philosophy, propositions which are not accessible to reason and whose acknowledgement therefore cannot be demanded of anyone. A conscientious philosopher, who is duty bound, to put a question mark behind every assertion, and to express no proposition which he can not 'reasonably' substantiate, could at best come to the conviction, that we possess in the Bible the charter of a unique religious life; and therefore to the thinking man it is an indication of a super-worldly reality; that Jesus Christ is an incomparable form of historic event [Weltgeschichte] and that a metaphysical mystery stands behind his person. A conscientious philosopher could say all of this. In doing so he would certainly place himself in contradiction to other philosophers; for of course, all those facts could be interpreted differently. But he could never go further. That we in the Bible have not one revelation of God, not something which belongs in a general history of religions category of revelation, rather thee revelation, that we in the Bible have thee Word of God; this one can no longer express as philosopher. He has to be a believer to assert such things." 
*- Hermann Sasse, "What is the State?" 1932; trans. Matthew Harrison


Just as we are always talking about "A Proper Distinction Between Law And Gospel" there also needs to be "A Proper Distinction Between Christianity And Philosophy" too.

What do we mean by "A Proper Distinction Between Christianity And Philosophy," you ask? Why is that even important?


 
[Source]


There you have it. Hope this has helped some.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, there's a reason why Martin Luther said that "Philosophy is the Devil's Whore."


NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!  

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About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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