Good Ideas from Questionable Christians and Outright Pagans

Good Ideas from Questionable Christians and Outright Pagans

An Introduction to Key Thinkers and Philosophies

by Steve Wilkens

Good Ideas from Questionable Christians and Outright Pagans
  • Length: 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: December 30, 2003
  •  In stock
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-2739-8
  • Item Code: 2739
  • Case Quantity: 40

"What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the church?" (Tertullian, 3rd century).

Such skepticism about the place of philosophy in the life of Christians persists down through the ages. As a student, author Steve Wilkens had deep reservations about studying the works of "pagans" or even "questionable Christians." Now a teacher at a Christian university, Wilkens has developed a deep appreciation for teaching and studying philosophy. In fact, he believes that the life of faith can be enriched by good philosophical reflection. In this book Wilkens helps you begin the same journey.

Using generous quotations from the original sources, Wilkens provides an introduction to the study of philosophy by exploring a single key issue from each of the following philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche and Sartre. The questions considered include

  • Why ask why?
  • Is a just society possible?
  • Is God responsible for evil?
  • Can you be certain of anything?
  • Is morality all about power?
  • Do you really want to be free?

Wilkens encourages you not to be a mere spectator but to actively and critically engage the questions and ideas these philosophers raise. Here is a book for beginning students, thoughtful Christians or anyone who wants to explore life's deepest questions.

"Steve Wilkens reliably and accessibly communicates the views of some of the great philosophers and distills their sober and sound wisdom for Christians. A healthy antidote to all who believe that their own theologies have cornered the market on truth."

Kelly James Clark, Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College, and author of Philosophers Who Believe

"Anyone who wonders whether philosophers might actually have something to teach Christians should read this book. Wilkens does a masterful job of clearly explaining some of the most influential philosophers, carefully unpacking the implications of their thought, and evenhandedly assessing their respective strengths and weaknesses. And ultimately, he demonstrates that each of these philosophers does indeed have something to teach us."

Bruce Ellis Benson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Wheaton College, and author of Graven Ideologies: Nietzsche, Derrida and Marion on Modern Idolatry


Introduction: What's a Nice Christian Like You Doing in a Place Like Athens?
1. Socrates I: Why Ask Why?
2. Socrates II: Are Beliefs Worth Living (and Dying) For?
3. Plato: Is a Just Society Possible?
4. Aristotle: Do You Want to be Happy?
5. Augustine: Is God Responsible for Evil?
6. Aquinas: Can Nature Lead Us to God?
7. Descartes: Can I Be Certain of Anything?
8. Kierkegaard: Are Faith and Ethics Related?
9. Marx: Does Money Determine Our Beliefs?
10. Nietzsche: Is Morality All About Power?
11. Sartre: Do You Really Want to Be Free?
Epilogue: The Examined Life

Steve Wilkens

Steve Wilkens (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of philosophy and ethics at Azusa Pacific University. His books include Hidden Worldviews, Faith and Reason: Three Views, Christianity & Western Thought (volumes 2 and 3), and Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics. He has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at Mount San Antonio College, Glendale Community College, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Azusa Pacific University's C. P. Haggard Graduate School of Theology.