Everyone on staff here at RTB knows what to do when they have something to ponder: knock on Kenneth Samples’ door. As RTB’s resident philosopher/theologian, Ken fulfills the important task of keeping the ministry’s science apologetics grounded in sound logic and solid theology.
Ken always advocates a thoughtful Christian worldview, whether answering listener questions on the I Didn’t Know That! podcast or teaching university students. Although during basketball season it’s just as likely he’ll be philosophizing on the Los Angeles Lakers’ chances at the championship.
MB: What got you interested in philosophy?
KS: Even as a kid I was interested in philosophical questions. One of my coaches nicknamed me “Professor.”
My interest in ideas really took shape when my World War II veteran father gave me a book about that war. While looking through the book, I was surprised to discover my father’s photograph in two different places. Though I was already aware my dad played an integral part in the fight against Nazi Germany, this unexpected discovery taught me that ideas have real consequences that affect everyone, even my own family. That epiphany led me on the path to asking the big questions of life—especially questions about God and history.
MB: Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
KS: St. Augustine is my favorite philosopher because he combined a powerful theology of grace with an intuitive ability to defend historic Christianity. He is arguably the most influential Christian thinker outside of the New Testament writers. History knows him as a philosopher, theologian, bishop, and tenacious defender of orthodox Christianity.
MB: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
KS: I love thinking about ideas, and I enjoy helping others explore the big questions of life. Teachers played a significant role in my life. So I understand their importance in helping others grow. I also enjoy helping believers grow in grace and in knowledge of historic Christianity. The church needs to teach its people the truths of the faith along with factual support for those truths.
MB: Why is logic important for Christians?
KS: Theologian John Calvin said God made human beings to be “hunters and gatherers of truth.” The Christian worldview values rationality, which originated in God. As the only creatures made in the image of God, humans possess profound intellectual abilities. As I explain on my podcast, Straight Thinking, logic helps order the mind and enhances reasoning abilities. Thus, a logically oriented mind is better prepared to discern truth. This critical intellectual pursuit brings glory to God.
MB: What are some practical ways people can use philosophy and logic in personal outreach?
KS: Reason and logic are good gifts from our Creator. Critical thinking helps Christians focus on core issues and avoid distractions when engaging in evangelism and apologetics. A solid knowledge of philosophy also helps believers understand and respectfully critique alternative world-and-life views. Remember, the mind provides a pathway to the heart.
By Maureen Moser