Tuesday, January 10, 2006

PHIL 1301

So have you noticed how I often start my posts with "So"? I think it's because most of these ramblings are the end of a thought process, and once I finish thinking and am ready to present it to the world, I feel like I'm finishing a conversation. "So, as I was saying..."


So, I'm taking PHIL 1301, that is, Survey of Philosophical thought. We've got Plato and Aristotle on the agenda, in addition to Kant and a couple others. This professor's a PhD candidate at UGA, so I'm sure he's not exactly the most excellent Biblical theorist. But I was wondering...any of you older types who took philosophy and other classes in college: what do you think the best resources are for introducing a Christian perspective into a philosophical discussion? Also, what should I read that will tell me what to expect in what these people say? Because I have no idea what secular philosophy's inner workings are like. I'm usually on the science end of things, rather than theory.

I know the Bible is not going to be cool for most of these people, so how do I introduce my perspective without Biblical support? I'm sure there's some good reading over at STR, I just haven't checked yet. Plus, I'm asking for your advice. Anyone been here before?


Anonymous Hugh said...

1. The guy with the microphone always wins. He can switch into power-play mode without looking nasty; you cannot. Don't take on a prof in front of the class.

2. Ask tactical questions. Learn the Stand to Reason tactics: "Columbo", the "Suicide Tactic", "Sibling Rivalry," "Taking the Roof Off." By asking tactical questions, A) you stay in the driver's seat of the conversation, B) you induce the other person to convince himself or herself of what you are advocating, and C) you can never be accused of "preaching" at them; note that this solves your problem about what to do with the Bible here.

3. Be reluctant to make claims, and the ones you do make ought to be modest and eminently defensible. The person who makes the claim bears the burden of proof.

4. Remember this bit of wisdom from one of my Cornell profs (a Christian): regarding faculty meetings, he said, "Professors typically made comments based on their respective fields, but when I would make an observation derived from my Christian beliefs the conversation suddenly stopped. There would be an embarrassed silence, and then the discussion would move on as if nothing had happened. It was as if I’d farted."

5. Read Francis Schaeffer. Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth is highly recommended. I've heard good things about J.P. Moreland's Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, too.

7:57 AM, January 12, 2006  
Anonymous Hugh said...

6. Think more about influencing the other students than correcting the professor. Use the class as a powerful opportunity to gossip the Gospel among your peers.

8:00 AM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Jeffrey J. Stables said...

Thanks, Hugh!

8:06 PM, January 12, 2006  
Anonymous Eric said...

Get your hands on a copy of Life's Ultimate Questions by Ron Nash. It is an introduction to philosophy from a Christian perspective. It will really help you. I can lend you mine if you like.

4:26 PM, January 13, 2006  

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