As many of you know, not only do I serve as a deacon in the Orthodox Church, I also teach philosophy at college. This presents many interesting opportunities. Not only do I have the privilege of continuing my own education by teaching a variety of philosophy classes each semester, I get to help students learn to think correctly and critically about many important issues. This is truly an honor, but it also comes with many challenges. As a professor of philosophy, I want the very best for my students. I want them not only to be able to distinguish truth from falsity, good arguments from bad arguments, critically question interpretations of basic philosophical positions and their presuppositions, etc., I desire that my students acquire the moral virtues as well as the intellectual virtues that will lead them to the good life. Teaching Ethics every year gives me a unique opportunity to deal with both the intellectual and moral virtues necessary for leading a good life. However, the challenge is that you cannot simply tell students the correct answer. Like many things in life, they must be able to discover these truths on their own. The good instructor simply provides the gentle guidance that will hopefully steer the student away from what is false and towards what it is true. This is very difficult and it is truly an art. Moreover, it is something that is rarely seen in professors today. Most professors unfortunately have become liberal secular propagandists for the establishment, adopting Pavlovian conditioning techniques to – in effect – brainwash students to believe whatever trend or idea that is currently in vogue and sanctioned by the secular establishment to be true. In short, they teach students “what to think,” not “how to think.” It is my personal philosophy of education to embrace the latter in my own teaching.
Foundational to Christian living is the remembrance of God. Remembrance while waking. Remembrance while at work. Remembrance while fulfilling the duties of life. Remembrance while going to sleep. The Christian must be cultivating the remembrance of God in all things. It need not be elaborate, the believer may offer this service in the inner chamber of the heart. He may offer it in solitude or while in the midst of a multitude.
“Let this mind be in you …” (Phil. 2:5).
Mind, in the above instance in the Greek, phroneo. When applied to the Christian life it means, basically, to have understanding, to be wise. To think as to think soberly. It is in some sense a governing principle. One’s phroneo will indicate one’s state.
Phroneo can become corrupted and perverted.
True Christianity calls a person to total faith in God. A Christian must believe wholeheartedly that his life and his bodily death are in God’s hands. This does not mean such a one becomes reckless, no, rather, such a person goes through life knowing that his days are numbered by God Himself. He goes through life with deep faith in God. Of course, a Christian takes precautions and care, he also must be a good steward of this earthly life which is from God. Yet, he understands that this life is not his own, nor is this fallen world his home.
In times past, humanity was mindful of God. Sovereignty belongs to Him alone. Western civilization of olde was indisputably Christian. Inevitably it — civilization — was imperfect, there are no perfect institutions on earth. But it was governed by the mindset that there exist immutable realities, principles, that have their origin in God. And humanity is answerable to these Divinely instituted principles, be it the king, the civil authorities or the people. Sovereignty resided only in God. By Him, rulers ruled, and the people lived.
Free-thinking is one of the greatest phantasies of modern times. The fact is, there is no such thing as “free-thinking.” Every “free-thinker” is a slave to a certain set of ideologies, uniform or conglomerate. Such ones encounter the world around them based on those ideologies and they judge people and events accordingly. It is a self-flattering term, moreover, it is delusional.
Gray high-rise apartment buildings loomed in the gray overcast sky. Through the dust-covered window of the charter van, I watched as we passed an overcrowded electric trolley bus which was leaning heavily to one side. I wondered how the trolley was even driving … at the time it seemed more like a human sardine can. I glimpsed stoic faces staring off at some unknown point.
Humanism is not by default a bad thing. There have been, in the past, positive humanists. This positive humanism sought to lift mankind up through higher principles, culture, and beauty. Most importantly, positive humanism never viewed humanity as the end-all. Humanity was striving towards something sublime, something that is greater than man. An excellent example of positive humanism exists in a group known to history as the “Byzantine humanists.” There existed a clear understanding of beauty, of which humanity partook and even strove to guard (but it was still exterior to humanity; humanity was not the source). I will not unravel this point at the moment, because that is not my goal at present. I simply wish to note that there have been manifestations of positive humanism.
Life, Light, Freedom, Truth Himself is revealed to the world and yet many encounter the revelation of Eternity, of the very Divine One, and shrink back into the shadows of fallen human distortion. There, in the murky shadows, humanity may comfort itself with self-affirming platitudes.
“The light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn 3:19). In the darkness, evil movements and blindness caused by sin may be declared light by fallen man. Evil may be called good. Thus, in this case, darkness is taken for light. True light is rejected because it causes a painful exposure of the true state of humanity and persons.
In this stream I am joined by Jay Dyer to discuss the problem of circularity as it relates to foundationalism, worldviews, and why it is so important concerning Christian apologetics. We will be hitting on everything from induction (Hume & Kant), the work of Thomas Kuhn, Willard Quine, and Kurt Gödel, as well revelation and the coherency theory of truth. Make sure to check it out and let me know what you think.