I’m crawling my way through a book edited by Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff entitled Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God.
Both of these guys are brilliant philosophers. Plantinga, in fact, is the godfather of Christian philosophy in the modern Academy, the guy who played the leading role in making Christian Theism a respectable position in the philosophical world. So I really respect him and the other writers in this book.
But I can’t help but wonder why it is that philosophical writing is almost always incredibly boring and laborious. Is it the nature of the subject? Or do philosophers just have trouble communicating in the vernacular? I don’t know, but it gets aggravating.
I have to admit that one exception to this general rule is my professor Ronald Nash. Most of his stuff reads pretty well. He has said, sarcastically, that if you want to be thought of as a great thinker down through years to come, it is generally the case that you need to write in such a way that nobody understands you. That way, there will be those who interpret you and argue over what you really meant. (I think he said this in the midst of a discussion of Cornelius Van Til.)
Of course, if there are opposing schools of thought regarding your teaching, as my other professor, James Parker, said last week, then you really must not have been that good of a teacher.
Anyway, I want to be a guy who takes some of the high level ideas (those that are worth bothering with) and makes them practical and understandable on a more popular level. I’m not interested in the ivory tower for its own sake – I want to be relevant.
For now, however, I have to force myself back into the world of philosophers who can’t write.