Philosophy, a word that comes from the Greek (philein, sophia), literally means “the love of wisdom”. Philosophy is cultivated by various means.
1. Pragmatism. Pragmatism is a grouping of associated theories, originally developed by Charles S. Peirce and William James and is distinguished by the doctrine that “the meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences.” Essentially, pragmatism approaches and assesses situations and solves problems in a matter-of-fact manner.
2. Rationalism. A rationalist relies upon human reasoning as the best guide for belief and action. “The exercise of reason, rather than the acceptance of empiricism, authority, or spiritual revelation, provides the only valid basis for action or belief and that reason is the prime source of knowledge and of spiritual truth.” In 580 B.C. the Greek philosopher Thales stated that the source of everything was water. He observed that earth floats on water and that water surrounded all matter therefore, water must be the source of everything.
3. Superstition. Often the basis of wisdom can be traced to superstition. One adopts an irrational belief that “an object, an action, or a circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.”
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:17-25:
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelize—not with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts. Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Wisdom based on pragmatism, rationalism or superstition, is self-centered. It exalts human reasoning as the primary means of determination and its final destination is an intellectual cul-de-sac. Perhaps in our quest to value understanding we ought to consider revering God. Could it be that worship is the vehicle God intended for us to discover the highway of wisdom that runs upward and wider as we come closer to Him? Something to think about . . . in reveration.
Proverbs 9:10--The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
The philosophy of life is based on the topsy-turvy reasoning of going into things in order to find out about them, which is like saying you have to go into the mud before you can know what clean water is. “I must know the world”—if you do, you will only know good by contrast with evil.—Oswald Chambers in The Servant As His Lord
©1998 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
American Heritage Dictionary