Relational Philosophy

Recently, while on a trip to North Carolina, my wife’s father and I had an interesting conversation about “religion”. Interesting in the fact that he is a Buddhist and I am a Christian.

I generally have two semi-loose rules when discussing anything concerning subjects that could be controversial and cause some difficulties. First, I don’t discuss such topics while visiting other people in their homes. It can make for a somewhat unpleasant visit should the discussion go awry. Second, I don’t discuss it when they are visiting my home. I don’t want to make them uncomfortable and harm the relationship. Any other place is fair game. This isn’t to say that I won’t discuss the subject. It simply means I don’t push the issue to the breaking point.

During the discussion my father-in-law stated Buddhism is a philosophy whereas Christianity is a religion. After spending time in places throughout Asia, including countries heavily influenced by Buddhism, I have to disagree with him. After all, with all of the prayer wheels, mantras, and prayer flags, it would be hard not to consider it a religion.

But that’s not what this post is about.

What got me thinking was what “Christianity” is really all about.  I have come to the conclusion that being a Christian is about being involved in what I term: “Relational Philosophy”.

According to Wikipedia, philosophy is simply the “study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.”  I can’t think of a better way to describe what it means to be a disciple. However, the difference between Christian philosophy and other philosophies is that in Christianity, it involves a relationship. In fact, it is the only one that involves a close relationship, a one-on-one friendship, with our creator.

This is very important to know and understand. If not, it simply becomes a matter of religion. And if I don’t attach a philosophy to my relationship with Jesus, it becomes all to easy to see Him as a “good buddy” and not the Master of my life.

There is much more I could write on this subject. However, time and space will not permit me. So, I’ll just keep posting tidbits of this “Relational Philosophy” as I feel led by the Spirit.

I challenge you to look at your discipleship as a philosophy in which to live by…based on a relationship with the Being who actually developed and lived it.

What are your thoughts? Do you see your Master/disciple relationship through the prism of a philosophy? How do you see the definition of philosophy fitting into the message found in the New Testament, especially in light of John 10:10?

–Marc S.

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