Comments 2

  1. When you say “Christian philosophy” do you mean “Reformational” or something else? The “all truth is God’s truth” line is, especially as you describe it, a reaction to the epistemological and cultural impact of sectarian Protestantism, particularly in certain Calvinist traditions where it is a question whether anyone but the elect really has access to meaningful truths at all, and if they do how on earth is this possible? Hence the notion of “common grace” and so on. In other traditions it simply goes without saying that all that is good (including truth) comes from God. Certainly “Christian philosophy” if we include Catholic philosophy has had much to say to philosophy coming from non-theistic, Jewish, and Buddhist philosophies. Paul Griffiths comes to mind, as well as C. S. Lewis who came to be a fideist after his rationalism was shattered by G. E. M. Anscombe.

    I also want to ask how your conclusion differs from fideism, especially as you have defined it. It would seem that Fideism + the person of Christ is no less ghettoizing. But then I don’t follow your definition of fideism as necessarily locked into its own world. That is where a system like presuppositionalism goes, but fideism does not imply one cannot understand or talk meaningfully about faith to people of different faiths because they have nothing in common.

    1. Great questions. First, I don’t mean to imply that fideism necessarily leaves one locked into its own world–merely that it can (and historically often has) led in that direction, especially when applied in ‘worldview-ish’ ways rather than in strictly philosophical ways. This is perhaps especially true in the Calvinist and Reformed traditions from which I come, as you point out. Second, how far my conclusion differs from fideism depends on a more nuanced understanding of fideism. In the article, I was using it largely in terms of something like presuppositionalism, which is how it is often deployed in Reformed circles. You are right that the two are not synonymous, and the fideism has a much wider range than presuppositionalism. In my experience, fideism tends to be used in relation to propositional types of truth claims (as providing their ‘ground’, etc.), though it certainly doesn’t have to, especially if one takes a very wide, formal definition like the one Plantinga gives of it. In the latter case, my view may be a type of fideism, but in the article the big difference I was trying to get at was that my view was not primarily propositional when it comes to truth, whereas fideism largely was (even if it takes certain propositions as having to come from revelation and not from reasoned inquiry). I haven’t heard a non-propositionalist view of truth (such as Zuidervaart’s account of “truth as imaginative disclosure”) described as fideistic, but perhaps that’s just an accident of my experience.

      Finally, by ‘Christian philosophy’ I did not explicitly have in mind any of its particular strands. I myself come largely from the Reformational strand, but someone like Michel Henry (cited in a note) comes from a very different strand. When I said that Christian philosophy has little to say to atheists, Buddhists, etc., I meant that only as an illustration of the ghettoization I was talking about. I certainly don’t think this ghettoization is good, as I hope the rest of the piece makes clear.

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