When it comes to the question of philosophy’s relationship to God, I suggest there are two very different traditions or postures–two different threads that course through the history of western philosophy. The first I’d describe as the sanguine tradition that, despite disagreements on the particulars, affirms a harmony or complementarity between faith and reason, philosophy and God. Aristotle, Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas all believe that disciplined philosophical reflection will lead us to conclude that God exists and that philosophy enables us to understand some of God’s properties (e.g., simplicity, immateriality, eternity, etc.). Philosophy is seen as a kind of “on-ramp” to theistic belief, or what Aquinas calls a “preamble” to faith.
But there is another philosophical stream, no less faithful, that is more of this sanguine sense of synchronicity, or at least wants to complicate the picture. These are not philosophers who are skeptical of God, it should be noted, but rather philosophers who are skeptical of the god of philosophy. In figures like Kierkegaard, Pascal, Heidegger, and O.K. Bouwsma, there is suspicion whether the being at the end of this philosophical chain of inference should be identified with the revealed God who liberated slaves from Egypt and endured the horror of a cross. The “sanguine” tradition, you might say, was confident that we could climb up to God via the ladder of philosophical reflection; the skeptical tradition worries that the being at the top of the ladder isn’t God but an impostor, a substitute, an idol. Whatever being philosophy climbs up to, they would say, is already a domesticated being cut to the measure of human ingenuity. No, these philosophers would say: if God is going to be known it is only because that God stoops down to reveal himself–sometimes to the scandal of reason.