According to Garrett J. DeWeese and J.P. Moreland, “[p]hilosophy is thinking critically about questions that matter. Conceived this way, philosophy is something everyone does.” Perhaps so, but few people these days, Christian or otherwise, really know how to think critically. In Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult: A Beginner’s Guide to Life’s Big Questions, DeWeese and Moreland provide a remedy to that problem by offering readers “a useful discussion of basic philosophical distinctions relevant for doing theology and for constructing and defending a Christian worldview.”
Os Guinness, Mark Noll, and others have written about the anti-intellectualism that has plagued evangelicalism at least since the Scopes trial. And, writing a quarter of a century ago, Francis Schaeffer observed that “[Christians] have gradually become disturbed over permissiveness, pornography, the public schools, the breakdown of the family, and finally abortion. But…[t]hey have failed to see that all of this has come about due to a shift in world view…” Not much has changed since Schaeffer wrote that, except that homosexual marriage, assisted suicide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and more could be added to his list. One reason why the situation continues is that most Christians understand neither what it means to have a Christian worldview nor how other worldviews (read philosophies) have shaped the culture in which we live.
As the title indicates, in this book DeWeese and Moreland have done their best to make philosophy “slightly less difficult,” and to show readers how important philosophy truly is, not just to professors inhabiting ivory towers, but to every one of us in our everyday lives. In its seven chapters, the book provides an overview of logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, philosophical and theological anthropology, and the philosophy of science. Though some of these terms are unfamiliar and even daunting to the lay Christian, DeWeese and Moreland use familiar examples, anecdotes, and situations to introduce them to and define them for the reader. Within the chapters of this slim volume, readers will find the basic tools they need to begin to understand worldviews and to develop one of their own.
Although this book will probably appeal primarily to pastors and others in leadership positions, the last chapter makes a compelling case that an understanding of philosophy is critical for all Christians. If, due to ignorance, Christians fail to challenge the false philosophies underwriting the things Schaeffer listed and more, not only will we and our children find ourselves living in an increasingly degenerate world, but our ability to fulfill the Great Commission will be seriously compromised.
If you’re serious about your faith, consider “doing” a little philosophy by reading and studying Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult. And make sure you start with the last chapter! – Linda Whitlock, Christian Book Previews.com
From time to time we all face life's big questions . . .
And as we wrestle with these issues, we may even find ourselves thinking, Perhaps what I need is a good dose of philosophy. It's a shame philosophy is so difficult. Garrett DeWeese and J. P. Moreland understand this frustration and in this book offer help to make philosophy at least slightly less difficult. In straightforward language with everyday examples, they explain the basics needed to understand philosophical concepts and thus bring clarity to discussions of life's big questions.
Students, pastors, campus workers and ordinary Christians will all benefit from this user-friendly guide.