Question: I have a Christian friend who studies philosophy to attempt to pick out the flaws of atheism and all general non-Christian philosophy. He says that an ounce of philosophy is worth a pound of exegesis. He said that he's trying to stay in the realm of philosophy, since that's where the atheists' argument remains. He's also questioning his own existence (after reading Kant), believes that the physical world doesn't exist (and that what we perceive as "God's creation" is a sort of "thought projection" from God), that we are born a blank slate with no innate knowledge of the divine (also called tabula rasa), that General Revelation might not exist. I've given him [many verses] from the Bible that rejectall of these ideas, but he says that Scripture is moot if one is attempting to stay within pure philosophy and pure reason. I've even quoted Colossians:2:8 to him, but to no apparent avail. What do you suggest?
Response: We strongly suggest prayer for your "Christian" friend. Only the Holy Spirit can deliver him from his being seduced by intellectualism. "Philosophers," whether "Christian" or otherwise, cannot provide final answers. They absolutely insist that there are no absolutes, that it is true there is no truth, and they are certain that there are no certainties. As you pointed out, Paul warned in Colossians:2:8 to let no one take us captive through "philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Your friend has failed to heed the inspired warning and has been taken captive.
The Adversary loves to have us enter the arena of philosophy, knowing, after thousands of years of experience, that when we move away from the certainty of God's Word we are absolutely vulnerable. Was not Satan's question to Eve, "Yea, hath God said?" Yes, He has said--and we must not forget that truth!
In short, it's futile to seek to persuade others through philosophy. It's rather like being challenged to a wrestling match with the provision that our "arms and legs be tied." It's no wonder that too many are "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph:4:14). The Lord declared regarding His Word, "it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Is 55:11). That is our assurance. With your friend's captivity, he is turning to the foolishness of men rather than the wisdom of God. We suggest that he read Dave Hunt's latest book, Cosmos, Creator, and Human Destiny, for a reasoned approach.
In Acts 17, Paul went to the Areopagus to speak to the "philosophers of the Epicurians, and of the Stoics" (Acts:17:18). These philosophers spent their "time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing" (v. 21). Without the intervention of Paul, who spoke of the absolute Word of God, the descendants of those philosophers would still be sitting there, "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tm 3:7). Yet although "some mocked....others said, We will hear thee again of this matter" (Acts:17:32).