I couldn’t sleep last night because I think I found out how to finish my last chapter in the first book of The Desert Warrior Series on philosophical apologetics. I went from the Secular Problem of Evil to the Religious Problem of Evil but I haven’t been able to write the last chapter yet. I needed a rationally sound bridge between philosophy and theology. Somehow I had to bridge the “gap” but not because philosophy didn’t have an answer but because, by nature, it couldn’t give an answer.
Now that I am taking the Masters program with FIET, we are studying philosophy and theology and I came across an idea that I want to explore further. For now, I am calling it the “God of the Gaps in Philosophy” (as over against science). The basic idea is that philosophy based on autonomous (or humanistic) rationality will always end up with “the impersonal plus time plus chance” and this is inadequate to explain the human need for the “irrationality” (on that basis) of faith, hope and love etc.
The rationality of “irrationality” has to start in art, literature and human experience and relationships (i.e. a new focus to natural theology). On p. 266 of Colin Brown’s book, Philosophy and the Christian Faith, I made a comment in the margin that “the god of the gaps but gaps are inevitable rationally since the gaps have to do with the irrationality of being human. The gaps are necessary but painful if autonomous (i.e. humanistic) rationality is our final autority (much like the single man who is a “player” in his relationships with various women who justifies his disbelief in true love as a way of validating his “player” lifestyle).
This the comment that sparked a night of tossing and turning that gave me the conclusion that I had found my last clue to help me write my last chapter. Basically, the idea is that there is something wrong with philosophy (vs. something wrong with theology per se) based on an autonomous rationality that cannot deal with the basic humanness of mankind (i.e. the very things that make us human) which is irrational (eg. love, longing for significance in the face of evil, the existence of rationality in the first place, and the fear of non-being, etc). It is because man is NOT nothing that his lostness is so horrible and philosophy inevitably sends mankind on a wild goose chase into the wilderness of his own making.
There is a fundamental conflict between a philosophy based on autonomous rationality and the absurdity of an abnormal existence and a retreat into the fortress of pride will serve no one in the face of evil and suffering and death which are a primordial attack on our intrinsic value.
There is NO hope for a new philosophical system to solve the problem. It is a fundamental problem with the very foundations of philosophy that forbits it to create a unified worldview that can stand in the face of evil (i.e. a theodicy).
Even if “irrationality” is embraced (as it is today in our post-modern world), without an anchor in history, language and experience, everything can be believed and the divorce between philosophy and theology (reason and empirical knowledge) is final. Irrationality without an anchor fails to be believable and lacks unity (and cogency) as a worldview. It is essential that mankind believe the “irrationality” of divine self-revelation and action and love for it to have any positive effect in fulfilling the psychic needs of mankind.
Obviously all of this is a potporri of ideas and clues and suggestions for further study but I think there is something here to work on. This is a draft, off the top of my head approach that needs a lot more study, verification and finetuning of ideas but it has some merit as a roadmap of sorts for the layman as he is faced with the myriad of ideas and approaches in modern contemporary philosophy.
I need the time to focus on developing this approach in more detail. Yes.
I am coming at all of this from the point of philosophical apologetics (vs. philosophical theology) since as an evangelical Christian, I am interested in “faith seeking understanding” which is the whole point of the exercise (i.e. the irrationality of a reasonable faith seeking to understand itself). Distinctive Apologetics claims that there is a relational breach between faith and rationalism (just like in any relationship) that cannot be overcome withou an experience of “revelation” based on (and anchored in) history, language and human testimony in the face of evil, suffering and death.
Only God by means of revelation can bridge the gap.