For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe....For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. (1 Cor 18-21; 25)Say the word philosophy to most conservative or fundamentalist Christians and you will probably get the above verses quoted to you at some point. If you raise philosophical objections to their faith or their belief in an inerrant text then they will probably feel these verses are an adequate enough response. They feel they do not need to enter the realm of the philosopher, as their Bible makes it clear that their religion is superior to philosophy.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (Rom 1:21-22)
The circular reasoning is almost comical. It goes something like this:
- The Christian message and the Bible are true.
- The Bible says philosophy is foolish.
- Therefore, philosophical objections to the Christian message and the Bible are foolish.
- Therefore, the Christian message and the Bible are true.
I remember arguing with Mormons about their 'proofs' for the Book of Mormon. They would quote the promise to those who wished to know if the book was true...from the book itself. There is something there about asking with a pure heart and then you get a 'burning in the bosom' or some other thing. To me though, the whole process seemed like asking a used car salesman if the car he was selling was any good. Of course he'll respond favourably to his product. The Book of Mormon isn't going to suggest a test of itself that will fail. That would just be self defeating for the Mormons. What I wanted from the Mormons was something outside of the Book of Mormon, not verses from within their book. They had very little.
Because of this experience, it unsettled me as a Christian when others would apply similar reasoning as an excuse to avoid philosophy or its objections to the faith. To reject philosophy simply because your religion or inerrant text teaches it is 'foolishness' is no different from what the Mormons do.