Alpha and Omega

the-thinker

Believe nothing, question everything.

Thus, the beginning and the end. The beginning because it creates a spark of something new. The end because it destroys everything that had stood before in one’s mind. This statement and the “umph” within it was the beginning of my own philosophical journey, and today it serves as its own end, and new beginning. Thus the cycle continues, self-perpetuating.

My first day of Philosophy started with Phi101 in a private Christian college in NYC. Alfredo Cid served as the proctor, and my proctor through the journey through. Today, he serves as a close acquaintance and friend even. The first class began with a mission statement, his mission “To destroy everything you once thought and believed. To tear it all down. Will we rebuild it? Can we?”

This created a ripple in through a conservative and deeply religious audience. Students looked at each other, looked behind them, whispered to their neighbor, and shook their heads. A few mumbles became a pseudo-question, erupting through the chaos. A challenge, even: “What about God?”

I can remember the reaction on the professor’s face, and my new understanding of his deep understanding and journey into philosophy sheds a “hindsight is 20/20″ kind of reflection. It communicated how he knew the question was a challenge. It was a challenge to his standing as a philosopher, and a challenge to his status as a professor in a Christian college. Which should he protect more? The answer was simple: ” Does God need to be protected from questioning?”

There it was. Not an answer, but another question. It forced thought, it pushed through the presuppositions with such veracity that too many were forced into mind-bubble. Instead of answering the professor’s question, sticking to their pre-formulated belief that philosophy was, in fact, satanic and just plain evil. Others, few of us, took this question within ourselves and toiled with it. Certainly God is not threatened by questions, and certainly His truth can stand against them and shine through.

Before we knew what was happening, questions were being written on the whiteboard, shouted out from students. They were being webbed together from a single core,the first question, until everything had something else connected to it. There wasn’t a single thing not questioned. It was frustrating, but enlightening. Like a box being opened in the mind, opened to the universe.

Blink, and the class was over. The students had to leave with their disheveled pieces of psyche. Question everything? Where does it stop? Do we question the question? Do we question that still? Certainly, there are foundational beliefs but what are they? Why do we have them? Must we have them? How do we know they are true? Can we prove it? How do you prove the proofs are true?

Your Thoughts? A penny for them, in fact.

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4 thoughts on “Alpha and Omega

  1. I like your story and prose style. Questioning to me is true freedom. And, it’s an equalizer and a humbler. It sure humiliated me, but I think I emerged a better person. One thing I feel is hidden within your story is the idea that Christians don’t tend to question (why would they be so distraught in a philosophy class?) or maybe the condition of having faith dissuades questioning or even engenders fear of questioning. As questions bubble up from the depth maybe this is why so many apologetic enterprises have been so quick to deal out answers, seemingly valuing any answer over acknowledging its complexity and ultimate mystery. As a Christian I think two things Christianity needs to get a grip on are 1) appreciating mystery and 2) readopting the language of spirituality used in the New Testament. Those are my thoughts at least.

    • You’re right, it is slightly hidden in my post. I do apologize if that sweated through a little bit. I try to keep that part of my personal opinions to myself, mainly because I despise generalizations. They are simply not true.

      However, I also have to admit that it’s what I faced as a Christian majoring in Philosophy from the INSIDE of the religion, also. So it’s more than just an opinion, it’s a reality. I saw it, I read it, I heard it, almost everywhere I went. It was actually a rarity to have philosopher well received. I do know that this perspective does not represent the entirety of Theism, but it is still a reality.

      I would love to hear you expound on the 1) and 2) you so kindly shared. I love hearing people’s thoughts and perspectives, it’s what life is all about, to me at least. It’s intrigued me, and I will have to give your blog a look now to see what goes on in your mind. 😉

      Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading, as well as replying too. It’s appreciated, and more than welcomed.

      • No need to apologize, I actually agree with you! That was my experience as well as an insider.

        I could talk about 1) and 2) at length for ten blogs, so I’ll expound on these with pleasure. For 1) mystery is just underused and underappreciated as an idea. Maybe this is because it does not draw enough distinction and religions desire to stand out. Maybe it’s because mystery is humbling. I think Christians need to be more intellectually humble and feel a little less certain about apologetics and doctrine. We also need to give more legitimacy to our critics. I sympathize greatly with the critics, I was with them and still love them.

        As for 2) when I reconverted I discovered a rich language of spirituality that blew my mind. So much of it has been tainted by the idea of “supernature” which was not a category when scripture was penned. The spirit of God can be found in how the words speak to your brain. Language has power! Indeed, there’s a theory called linguistic relativity that says that language actually has an effect on how we think. So, we need to explore what it means to be “in Christ” and the phenomenon of the “Holy Spirit”, and so on. God is hidden from our sight but alive in spirit, this is how we perceive God because God is spirit.

    • Forget that last comment about merely poking around, I must follow you. After not even 5 seconds on your page, your titles alone are worth it. I look forward to giving a good read and perhaps engaging the topics a little.

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