The Roots of Western Culture. Chapter 1: Roots of Western Culture

The religious antithesis does not allow a higher synthesis. It does not, for example, permit christian and nonchristian starting points to be theoretically synthesized. Where can one find in theory a higher point that might embrace two religious, antithetically opposed stances, when precisely because these stances are religious they rise above the sphere of the relative? Can one find such a point in philosophy? Philosophy is theoretical, and in its constitution it remains bound to the relativity of all human thought. As such, philosophy itself needs an absolute point of departure. It derives this exclusively from religion. Religion grants sta­bility and anchorage even to theoretical thought. Those who think they find an absolute starting point in theoretical thought itself come to this belief through an essentially religious drive, but because of a lack of true self-knowledge, they remain oblivious to their own religious motivation.

By Herman Dooyeweerd

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