July 24, 2024


Art Is Experience

The Two Sides Of Philosophy

Philosophy is anthropocentric because it uses man as the measure to understand the universe. In my opinion this does not necessarily have to be wrong.. Man has been created in the image of God and as such he is the crown of creation; unlike the otherwise mightier angels. However, a truthful philosophy is also theocentric, because one’s view of God determines every aspect of one’s life.

Philosophy, then, tries to understand the universe in the light of God’s and man’s character.. The true philosophy will keep God and man in balance, as the second great commandment is equal to the first. Corrupt philosophies either overemphasise one side or the other to various degrees, or compose dualisms of these various lopsidednesses; as if a man could walk on two crooked crutches!.

So deistic rationalism is too anthropocentric in that God is pictured as too transcendent to impart knowledge directly to us. In that case we are left to the devices of our own minds to philosophize about Creation. Atheistic materialism tends to be anthropocentric (except in cases like the one of Foucault) and denies god totally. Most of the time man is his own god, or he is lost in the universe.

On the other side of the seesaw there is mysticistic pantheism. Here the theocentric side of reality is overemphasized. Man must feel one with God in order to intuitively discover the higher divine truths about himself and Creation. Occultistic polytheism practically denies man’s freedom. So in Hinduism one must deny one’s individuality and try to realize one’s divinity by becoming one with Brahman.

In the first two cases the divinity is reduced to impersonality, and man is elevated to the role of God’s plenipotentiary. In the last two cases the real God is totally ignored, and man exalted either directly to divinity, or indirectly by God’ absence. Polytheism is an empty theocentricity. It pretends to honor the gods, but really turns them into personal extensions of man. Thus God is totally lost. The pantheist set out with “overly emphasizing” God’s importance and the polytheist loses God altogether. So atheism is an empty humanism. It pretends to honor man, but really turns him into a machine, an animal or even less, a chemical reaction.

Humanity overemphasized, then, is a dead alley also. Therefore the true philosophy is the right balance between God and man, Creator and creation. The theocentric and anthropocentric aspects need each other in philosophy. To emphasize God only, or mainly, is wrong, because God has invested all His interest in man. To emphasize man only, or mainly, is wrong as well; because man has God as his highest interest. We can learn this from the Lord Himself, Who stated that the second clause of the great commandment is equal to the first.

It is my understanding that all corrupt philosophies result from the disequilibrium of these two sides of philosophy. Christians may have thought that they had done a good job. But unconsciously, such as the mediaeval scholastics, they put themselves in the center rather than God. God was only included as a top stone, to finish an imposing system. However the winds of time came to corrode at these pyramids of the human mind. And only what was really true in them, still stands.

The true philosophy, however, is not a system, colossally as some may tower above us, but a living Person, namely Christ. In Him God and man are in perfect balance! Yet our own philosophical understandings must remain products off limited minds. There may be a lot of good in our thoughts, but these are always lacking. Therefore they are really corruptions. Nobody this side of the grave can claim to be fully inspired by God. Not even the writers of the Bible could. For some of their writings were not admitted into the canon. Only those that were fully inspired, by miracle, were recognized as such. Human wisdom, also that of the apostle Paul (in his daily life), is never totally inspired. All we can hope for is a form of derived wisdom and knowledge, that is, in our formulations. Yet with Pascal, I say that the heart has reasons that go beyond reason. And it is in the suprarational heart that we grasp the absolutes of God and His Word.