ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paul Copan (born September 26, 1962) is a Christian theologian, analytic philosopher, apologist, and author. He is currently a professor at the Palm Beach Atlantic University and holds the endowed Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics. He has written and edited over 25 books in the area of philosophy of religion, apologetics, theology, science & religion, and the historicity of Jesus Christ. He has contributed many articles to professional journals and has written many essays for edited books. For six years he served as the president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.
From 1980-1984, he attended Columbia International University and earned a B.A. degree in biblical studies. Copan attended Trinity International University, where he received his M.A. in philosophy of religion, as well as his M.Div. At Trinity International. Copan received the Prof. C.B. Bjuge Award for a thesis that “evidences creative scholarship in the field of Biblical and Systematic Theology.”
In May 2000, Copan received his Ph.D. in philosophy of religion from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His dissertation topic was “The Moral Dimensions of Michael Martin’s Atheology: A Critical Assessment.
What’s the point of studying philosophy when we have theology? Is philosophy anything more than a preparation for apologetics?
Often called “theology’s handmaid,” philosophy has sometimes suffered from an inferiority complex in the church. Many Christians see little point in it at all. But as Paul Copan contends, it is possible to affirm theology’s preeminence without diminishing the value and contribution of philosophy.
In A Little Book for New Philosophers, Copan offers a concise introduction to the study of philosophy. Aimed at newcomers, this brief overview is both a survey of philosophy’s basic aims and categories and an apology for its proper function in the life of the Christian. “By God’s grace,” Copan writes, “philosophy can enhance our understanding and worship of God . . . and assist us in defending the coherence of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is the first time I come across Copan’s writing, therefore I humbly state that I am a complete novice in theological criticism. I picked up the book on the advise of my boyfriend who studies theology and is very knowledgeable on the topic. He said I quote: “In order to understand were my patience and tolerance come from you need to understand who I think.”
Mind you a man’s mind is a complete mystery to the mere mortal women out there, yours truly included, so I was definitely intrigued to learn more about the opposite gender.
In short, the book is a beginners guide to philosophy, most of the information that I found in it I was vaguely roughly familiar with, what I loved about it, though, was the smooth language, the easy with which Copen gently introduces you to theory, terminology and basic tools to approach the topic.
I always tend to admire such talent and skill, for I am, sadly, I very poor teacher and my explaining skills are, well, let’s call them non-existent for lack of a more drastic word. After reading this small, but in the same time very grand book, I understand why my boyfriend suggested I should start with it. You see Copen, he focuses on philosophically inclined Christians who are fearful or cynical about philosophy. He contends that philosophy done right can benefit our understanding and worship of God. And after a brief discussion with my friends who are believer( unlike me) I believe it is save to say that I have gained knowledge at a new level of perceiving religion and belief in general.
I will be completely honest here, I tend to dismiss most of the fanatic believers with a gesture of mere tolerance, for they have made their choice and they do have their reasoning behind it. I never agreed, thou, that one should be devoted to an entity, because at the end of the day, after I have met numerous bad Christians ( here I mean, people who hide behind the safety of their religion, while not taking responsibility for their actions), I have concluded that as and atheist I am a better person, than they will ever be.
Copen, managed to help me see the other side. His book is targeting the intelligent Christians, who have a deep understanding of God and how the whole belief shenanigans work. This book forced me to put aside my skepticism and open my eyes to perceive another cast of believers, who indeed are people more attuned with the way religion fits in reality. I found that extremely refreshing.