Why Philosophy?

Why Messiah University?

As with any excellent program in philosophy, our philosophy major helps students develop both an in‑depth understanding of philosophy and the critical thinking and logical reasoning skills necessary in today’s world. Philosophy at Messiah, however, offers much more. First, unlike at many large universities, each faculty member in the department is personally committed to the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students both inside and outside the classroom. Second, we are committed to helping students develop a strong and engaged Christian faith; indeed, each of us believes this is what God called us to do with our lives. We believe that since worldviews rest on fundamental presuppositions, the ability to uncover and rationally assess such presuppositions is an essential skill Christians must have if they are to fruitfully engage the marketplace of ideas. This is one of the key skills philosophy teaches, and it is more essential today than ever before.


Even though much of the secular academy is hostile to Christian thought, there has been a great revival of Christianity in philosophy that resulted from applying the rigorous standards of philosophical inquiry to issues of faith. In an article that reads like an atheist “call to arms,” leading atheist philosopher Quentin Smith laments the revival of Christian philosophy, noting that since the 1960s atheist philosophers have passively watched as a realist version of theism … began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians … God is not “dead” in academia; he returned to life in the 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments. (Quentin Smith, “The Metaphysics of Naturalism,” Philo, N. 2, 2001, pp. 196-7).


In his book on the nature of reason, atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel concurs. Speaking primarily of other philosophers, he writes, “I am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well‑informed people I know are religious believers.” (The Last Word, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 130)

Given the tremendous philosophical resources currently available for understanding and defending the Christian faith, we believe that no serious Christian who wants to engage today’s world can afford to neglect philosophy.