Tuesday, November 8, 2016
This I Believe. Part 1 of Final Essay... Thing?... Enjoy! (H3)
This I Believe
I believe there is one true God. Aliens don’t exist and if they did they wouldn’t try and save us from destroying our planet slowly. Putting our efforts and funds towards the NASA program is not going to save us. Honestly, this class has done little to alter my beliefs. It’s not that I cannot admire what the philosophers like Kant and Socrates believe but it’s not like I can accept them as true either. When we began this class I thought, for some reason, that philosophy dealt with theology hand in hand. In some ways I was right. For instance, when you ask yourself “Does life even matter,” it can lead to questions like, “And if it does why?”, “And if it matters then who made it matter?”, and so on. The truth of the matter is, however, that while the two concepts intersect in some ways, philosophy is quite separate from theology. Although, I often times found myself on the edge of my seat in class, holding myself back from speaking up about my beliefs during our time together. See, what wasn’t clarified in class is that whether the concepts in philosophy and theology relate directly with one another, if you already hold to certain beliefs then you will stand up for your beliefs when they are even briefly questioned; even by dead philosophers. We asked a question at one point which essentially goes like this: Would you be willing to put your beliefs on the back burner in order to open up your mind to other philosophical ideas? I have a minor rub with that concept. In some ways, I of course believe that you shouldn’t shut your mind off from the possibility that you are incorrect, but simultaneously I feel as though it is impossible. For instance, if someone asked me what the meaning of life is, I would say that the meaning of life is to glorify God (essentially). Then the person asks me for a minute to assume that God doesn’t exist and to take on the views of evolution (non-theistic evolution). They ask me the same question. See, I could only objectively give my answer of perhaps, the meaning of life is to pass on our genes or the meaning of life is to survive as long as I can. These answers are base and lack any real significance, however, because I will not and cannot separate myself from what I already believe, which is that God exists and thus there is a deeper meaning to life. I can try and interpret the information in a similar manner to someone who holds to evolutionary theories, but I can in no way rightly assume the position of evolutionist myself and thus cannot properly theorize on philosophical matters without having my beliefs reflected in the results. Truly, when it comes down to it, it is absurd to assume that philosophy and theology can be fully separated. This brings me to the time in my essay where I share what philosophy has done for me and how it has challenged my beliefs. When I signed up for Philosophy class for this semester the last things I was thinking was how philosophy would help me exercise. Day one, I remember I was very surprised by three things: the lack of direct discussion about theology, the baseball scoring system, and the concept of peripatetic walking. At first, I was critical and cautious of the idea. I mean, I’m not one to object to walking around, especially walking around outside, but I had never really thought about that being a helpful or a good thing for my thought processes. When we attempted our first run of the walking I wasn’t sure where to begin. It’s easy to walk and talk, but when we started to do it, it kind of seemed like a joke. I didn’t take it seriously at first, but the second time around I started to find myself loving it. Sometimes just walking around with my group made me have a random thought pop up about life, and I knew that if we had been sitting in our classroom no such thought would have come to my mind. Over the course of the next few weeks I found myself taking my own peripatetic walks around campus. It seemed like my thoughts and my energy could not be contained within the small walls of my dorm room anymore. I would oftentimes come back from my classes and attempt to do homework in my room, but I just couldn’t think properly and I felt constrained by the pressures of school and life. I didn’t realize at first that I was participating in the very thing that I had initially hated but then it became very clear to me. Ben and I even became a pair of peripatetic walkers at one point and discussed shallow and rather deep topics as we strode around the walkways of campus. Each time I went out on my own, however, it became not only a clear opportunity to philosophize about things but also a form of therapy. See, the very act of walking at a slow pace makes you think through things but combined with dealing with upsetting or difficult material and it serves as a way of objectively looking at an issue in a different way. Also, the act of walking almost resembles the ease of pushing past certain difficult problems; thus supporting my claim that peripatetic walking has some therapeutic aspects. I must appreciate and thank philosophy therefore for this astounding change of heart, actions, and mind. If it weren’t for this concept of walking to think more clearly, I’m sure I would have found myself in a difficult spot mentally right now. The truth of the matter is that philosophy has helped me not only with basic difficulties in life but also with the defense of my beliefs. See, I took an Apologetics class during my senior year of high school and so I thought philosophy would challenge me in a very straightforward manner, but it has done quite the opposite. In fact, in no way has philosophy been overbearingly arrogant or ignorant of my beliefs, but it still unintentionally infringed upon my beliefs in a thought-provoking way. I never really took a look at the objectively challenging views and opinions that philosophy had to offer towards my beliefs. Simple questions that we’ve asked over the course of our semester and things that famous philosophers struggled to find an answer for got me to think about my religion and my beliefs in a more objective and exciting way. Also just the exposure to so many other people and their views on things allowed me an opportunity to examine my own beliefs in a different way. For instance, after encountering so many personality types, not only among my classmates, but also amongst my friends, I came to rediscover how and why others believe what they believe. You would think that I would already have a pretty clear understanding of that fact that others have differing opinions than me, but I grew up in a Christian family, went to church every Sunday, went to youth groups, and went to a private Christian school. And so, not only has this class of philosophy shaped and helped my own beliefs, but also my friends, my college experiences, and my other classes have aided me in my progression of my thoughts, my actions, and my beliefs.