Philosophy Lite: Have solid foundation of your faith
We are all philosophers at one time or another. Philosophy means a love of wisdom and is a manner of thinking. It is natural that as we discover ourselves early in life that we start pondering the meaning of our existence.
While some give up in frustration, others realize the urgency of the matter and continue the quest eventually coming to terms with God. Such a man was Mortimer Adler who taught philosophy at the University of Chicago. Adler's conversion was a long time coming. But he recognized that if the God he had long considered really did exist, he would have to make the leap from logic to faith.
What you think about all day, that you are becoming. An admirer asked Sir Isaac Newton how he had come to make discoveries in astronomy that went far beyond anything achieved by anyone before him. "By always thinking about them," replied Newton simply.
The noblest philosophical thinking that man can pursue is to find out God. This is an issue everyone must face at some time or another. It may be triggered by a disease, injury, a time in prison, financial loss, divorce or any number of crossroads in one's life.
If God exists, then nothing in this world is more important - neither riches or fame or pleasure, for the life beyond is of absolute importance. Thinking alone won't do it; your idea of God will be different from others. The Bible gives us the standard; we can then ponder those truths.
I have often thought that we teach our students math, social studies and English, but we do not teach them to think for themselves. Such a situation can have dire consequences for our country when people simply vote their feelings.
Philosophy also means a love of truth. There are many areas of life where truth is important: in mathematics, science, medicine, government, education, morals and scores of other things. When truth is discovered, every area of our life is bettered.
In Colossians Chapter 2, Paul writes, "Do not be taken captive by vain philosophies, according to the tradition of men instead of according to Christ."
Paul is not saying that you ought not have anything to do with philosophy at all. He said you ought to be careful of being captivated by vain philosophies that are in the tradition of men.
These vain philosophies often turn up in the philosophy department of major colleges and universities where impressionable young people are sometimes turned away from their faith. Our churches need to prepare these young people to think for themselves and to give them a solid foundation for their faith.
In medicine, what seems to be proven in the test tube, may years later be shown to have an adverse effect. In Christianity, we have 5,000 years of testimony concerning saints and martyrs, as well as great institutions and benevolences created by those who have found the truth. Christianity can stand the test of time.
Raymond F. Smith is president of Strong Families of Victoria