Can we learn much from brief philosophical statements? Regular readers of my blog know that I occasionally feature the segment Friday Philosophy, where I provide quotes from profound philosophical thinkers both past and present. A contemporary philosopher that I appreciate is professor David Naugle. Naugle’s book Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness has been very helpful to me in thinking about life.

Here is a brief sketch of Naugle along with four provocative quotes on philosophy from another one of his books that I’ve used in my social media #FridayPhilosophy segment. I also elaborate on these nuggets of wisdom with the hope that you’ll find them useful.


Who is David Naugle?

Dr. David K. Naugle is chair and professor of philosophy at Dallas Baptist University. He holds doctorates in both theology and in the humanities. He also serves as a Colson Fellow for the Wilberforce Forum, the Christian worldview think tank sponsored by Prison Fellowship near Washington, DC. Naugle specializes on the topic of worldview thinking.

1. On Today’s Zeitgeist of A-B-C

A-B-C = Anything but Christianity.”1

Naugle points out that often in academia and in society, virtually any perspective or worldview is welcome and considered potentially viable except historic Christianity. This is undoubtedly true for two reasons. First, there is a spiritual war taking place where one side opposes the truth of Christianity and seeks to eliminate it from consideration (1 Peter 5:8–9). Second, the natural state of sinful people is to resist the truth of the Christian faith (Romans 1:18–21).

2. On the God of Scripture

“The God of the Bible is a God with wounds.”2

Unique to Christianity is the teaching that God has become man in Jesus Christ (incarnation). As the God-man, Jesus suffered the pain and death of crucifixion. Therefore, the second person of the Trinity, through his human nature, knows intimately what it is to suffer. As the believers’ great high priest (Hebrews 4:14–16), Jesus can both sympathize and empathize with the suffering of his people.

3. On Common Grace

“Even if people go astray and misuse God’s good things, common grace means that these very same people, regardless of their spiritual state, do things well and make remarkable contributions to life and the world. Beethoven and the Beatles, for example, have produced some really good music. Plato and Aristotle wrote some fine philosophy.”3

Common grace refers to the universal grace that God showers on all people, including nonbelievers. This gift to all people means we are the recipients of: (1) being made in the image of God (imago DeiGenesis 1:26–27), (2) common grace (Matthew 5:45), and (3) general revelation (revelation in nature and conscience: Psalm 19Romans 1). All of these blessings and endowments may not lead a person to salvation apart from direct saving grace, but these benefits mean that nonbelievers can discover truth of various kinds and engage in noble and creative acts.

4. On the Goal of Learning

“Jewish philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972) observed that the ‘Hebrews learned in order to revere,’ whereas the Greeks learned in order to comprehend, and modern people learned in order to use.”4

Heschel’s observation of how and why the different people groups have learned helps to understand their overall worldview. Jewish learning reflected their central focus on worshiping God. The Greeks celebrated humanity’s rational nature. People today emphasize practicality and utility. Yet there seems a place for all three in a fully orbed and integrated worldview.

I admire Naugle’s knowledge of philosophy and classical literature as well as his worldview perspective. If you are looking for a clear and concise introduction to philosophy from a Christian perspective, see Naugle’s book Philosophy: A Student’s Guide.

Reflections: Your Turn

How often do you reflect upon the big philosophical questions of life? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.

Check out more from Reasons to Believe

  1. David K. Naugle, Philosophy: A Student’s Guide (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 21.
  2. Naugle, 38.
  3. Naugle, 28–29.
  4. Naugle, 30.


About The Author

Kenneth R. Samples

I believe deeply that "all truth is God’s truth." That historic affirmation means that when we discover and grasp truth in the world and in life we move closer to its divine Author. This approach relies on the Christian idea of God’s two revelatory books - the metaphorical book of nature and the literal book of Scripture. As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity's truth-claims. My writings and lectures at RTB focus on showing how the great doctrinal truths of the faith (the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, creation ex nihilo, salvation by grace, etc.) are uniquely compatible with reason. This approach reflects the historic Christian apologetics statement - "faith seeking understanding." I work to help myself and others fulfill Peter's words in 2 Peter 3:18: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity's truth-claims. • Biography • Resources • Upcoming Events • Promotional Items Kenneth Richard Samples began voraciously studying Christian philosophy and theology when his thirst for purpose found relief in the Bible. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and social science from Concordia University and his MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. For seven years, Kenneth worked as Senior Research Consultant and Correspondence Editor at the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and regularly cohosted the popular call-in radio program, The Bible Answer Man, with Dr. Walter Martin. As a youth, Kenneth wrestled with "unsettling feelings of meaninglessness and boredom," driving him to seek answers to life's big questions. An encounter with Christian philosophy in Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis led Kenneth to examine the New Testament and "finally believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, the Lord and Savior of the world." From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying faith. Today, as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), Kenneth uses what he's learned to help others find the answers to life's questions. He encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical level. He is the author of Without a Doubt and A World of Difference, and has contributed to numerous other books, including: Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men, The Cult of the Virgin, and Prophets of the Apocalypse. He has written articles for Christianity Today and The Christian Research Journal, and regularly participates in RTB's podcasts, including Straight Thinking, a podcast dedicated to encouraging Christians to utilize sound reasoning in their apologetics. He also writes for the ministry's daily blog, Today’s New Reason to Believe. An avid speaker and debater, Kenneth has appeared on numerous radio programs such as Voice America Radio, Newsmakers, The Frank Pastore Show, Stand to Reason, White Horse Inn, Talk New York, and Issues Etc., as well as participated in debates and dialogues on topics relating to Christian doctrine and apologetics. He currently lectures for the Master of Arts program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. Kenneth also teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California. Over the years Kenneth has held memberships in the American Philosophical Association, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Evangelical Press Association. The son of a decorated World War II veteran, Kenneth is an enthusiastic student of American history, particularly the Civil War and WWII. His favorite Christian thinkers include Athanasius, Augustine, Pascal, and C. S. Lewis. He greatly enjoys the music of the Beatles and is a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children.

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