Well Windy34 when studying Christian philosophy it is important to first figure out where you stand on the philosophical issues of god’s existence, the nature of faith, which version of the Christian narrative you appear to advocate, and so on. You probably want to also clarify some of your terms and where you stand philosophically generally. For example, Belinda above rightly asks what is your meaning of the nature of reality and its relation to perception. In other words, you may have what is often referred to as “background beliefs” that are more or less supposed prior to any investigation of which schools of religious philosophy you may hold. You may, for instance, hold to the idea that reality is that which appears to the senses in a sort of common-sense realist way. If so, then this will influence your decision on which school of Christian thought you will be attracted to.
Generally, Christian philosophy is really Christian apologetics: believing thinkers attempt to philosophically defend the faith and justify particulars of the Christian orthodox story. The attempt follows along two broad schools of Christian thought: (1) what is called evidentialist apologetic approach, and (2) presuppositional apologetic approach. With (1) the general belief is that we can take our generic-common sense realist approach of the world, mixed with some sort of empirical set of arguments, and attempt to first prove god’s existence (like the Cosmological argument or even some version of the teleological argument are examples); then the move is that once god is shown to exist or is the best explanation, then such thinkers attempt to bridge the gap between some god existing as the explanation of all being to which god is to be identified, and, in this case, of course, the answer such thinkers would give is that-that god is the god of Christianity.
The second group (2) argues that group (1) is wholly incorrect! They generally assert that one cannot “prove” that god exists and that one can only take such an idea on ‘faith.’ They further argue that the best truth test that can possibly be offered is that all other systems of philosophy (Rationalism, Idealism, and Empiricism) fail, thus leaving god the only decent explanation left. The reason it is the Christian god is because the Christian narrative makes best sense of the so-called Divine texts. They argue that ultimately one must presuppose the existence of god-you cannot utilize fallen human nature to interpret accurately the fallen natural world. So, they would argue that we begin with god and go from there!
Examples of the first group would be found in the writings of Thomas Aquinas, Norman Geisler, Swinburne, William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, and so on. Examples of group (2) would be Alvin Plantinga, Gordon Clark, and Cornelius Van Til. There are mixtures between these two broad schools as well. The point is that the varieties of approaches are many and this distinction is certainly a useful one.
Many believers (especially young ones) are introduced to the faith through some very intense numinous experience and fall deeply in love with their new found faith as a result. However, there’s often much disappointment and even frustration to learn that those of the faith whose job it is to expound and defend the faith are in no near agreement with one another. It isn’t that the above schools of thought merely differ on preference! It is that their respective approaches exclude the other! As a non-believer, it is a rather puzzling thing to see that those who assert to have access to the mind and revelation of god can’t even agree on how each happens to know of that existence and the meaning of that revelation! This troubled situation reveals that the philosophical difficulties with the faith are far more severe than what the new-born believer once thought even possible!
Heading on vacation-will respond after 2:30pm Eastern Standard time U.S. today on August 1st!