The following article was written by a GGCA student, Jeremy Schultz. Jeremy is a junior in our high school and has some thoughts worth reading. See below.
The Desperate Search for Answers
There remain numerous, diverse philosophies in the world today that attempt to answer life’s guiding, pressing questions. The word “philosophy” in literal terms means to be a “lover of wisdom”. The first part comes from the Greek root word “Philo”, which is the love, and the other part is the word “Sophia”, which is the wisdom. This word is generally used as a definition of what an individual person or group truly believes about life. A person’s philosophy is a
conclusion drawn from that person’s worldview; the “lens” through which they perceive life.
Philosophy relates to truth in the way that it can help tell us as human beings what is real. Truth is that which corresponds to reality, so it would make sense that absolute truth means absolute reality. We have been given certain aids that help us as people determine what parts of life are real in order to develop a philosophy that is true and that matches up with what actually exists.
These complex interpreters are called our five human senses – taste, smell, touch, hearing, and sight. We use these all the time to directly detect and interact with our world around us. Other methods used to know what reality is are technological instruments that we have created, as well as scientific models that we test through our own reasoning and logic to determine what life is.
The universal questions that I mentioned earlier have had an answer attempted to be given to them countless times using all of these methods from philosophy. Some of these thoughts include: Who are we? Where did we come from? (origin) Who or what is the first cause? How did we get here? Why are we here? Where are we going? (destiny) These general seeming questions bring about even deeper questions such as: What is thinking? What are purpose, meaning, and value? Is anything wrong with anything?!!! After looking through these all-
important questions, it may seem too overwhelming to even attempt to answer even just one of them. This really leaves one last ultimate question that takes priority over all of them: Where is The Answer found? My friends; it is not found through sight, but it is found through His Faith.
There are three main popular, modern philosophies which attempt to give reasonable answers to life’s “essential” questions. The first, and probably the most popular, is called “naturalism”. This is the belief that reality is composed solely of matter, and that all phenomena can only be explained by natural causes and through natural terms. The underlying assumption is that only the physical exists, and that there is no supernatural aspect to it. The problem with this philosophy is that if the universe always existed, and the natural has been around forever, then what is the underlying purpose behind that occurring? What about human emotions, thoughts, and feelings? Is it all just meaningless, “super-cala-fragilistic-expi-aladocious” nerve impulses in our brain, or is there something called a mind that really exists and carries out these many characteristics? It is already well established that we have a body, but what about a soul and spirit? With naturalism, there is no purpose whatsoever.
The next major philosophy out there is called “non-naturalism”. As you can imagine, it directly contradicts and opposes naturalism. It states that life cannot be reduced to or explained in only natural causes. Its’ underlying assumption is that reality, and therefore truth, is not knowable and cannot ever be figured out and known (agnosticism). The problem with this belief is that if life is just an “illusion”, then why do the thoughts, decisions, and actions of human beings affect them in such an undeniable, profound way? Why is there morality – a sense of right and wrong? Why do we have empathy for other human beings and seek this word we call “justice” in life? Why is there pain, heartache, and suffering in the universe? What we hold to be true cannot just be an imaginative impression or make-believe misconception with a certainty that cannot be absolutely confirmed. With non-naturalism, there is no meaning.
Another philosophy that is becoming more and more popular in the new age we live in is called “post-modernism”. This philosophy tells us that reality is interpreted differently on an individual basis, based on a person’s own mind and experiences. The underlying assumption is that you can choose what aspects/components of the universe are real. It’s basically “what you want it to be”. The only issue is that our own experience of life cannot give us all knowledge that has ever existed. How can we trust our own minds? If relativism and pluralism are the only ways to view life, then the three logical principles of the law of non-contradiction, identity, and the excluded middle would not manifest themselves as clearly as they do now in our world. Is
everything a matter of our own taste, or is there some truth to it all that brings to light the reality? With post-modernism, there is no value at all. The last philosophy is the one of “supernaturalism”. This is described as the condition
or quality of existing outside the known experience of man or caused by forces beyond those of nature. Here, the underlying assumption is quite a unique one. The belief is that a spiritual world exists. To say you believe in the supernatural is to say you believe in a power that goes way above and beyond what we could ever ask or think as people to exist.
There is only one philosophy; supernaturalism, that accepts and supports the reality of suffering in all that exists. It is the only philosophy, I believe, out of all the others out there, most consistent with the world we know and live in. No other philosophy can say that suffering matters, or offer the hope that some sort of deity could possibly exist. Supernaturalism points us toward the spiritual, which leads to Christianity and God as the Creator. Christianity is the
only real belief among all the religions out there under supernaturalism that not only accepts suffering for what it is, but explains the cause, give us a purpose for it in life, and offers the strength to go through it. Not only does it explain the reason for these deep parts of man’s being and personality, but Christianity is the ultimate general revelation that God is the only deity who
created the universe and its contents.
Not only is this revelation important if we are to understand what is real, but specific revelation is just as important once we believe on Jesus Christ. We believe on Him by accepting what the Bible says about Him and what He did for us. Once this is established in a person’s heart, we are not only eternally secure in Him, but we know Him and we begin to know what is real. This is the heart of specific revelation. It is so personal. S.S. Smith stated something very profound. He said, “True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same purpose.” This statement says that the philosophy that is ultimately true needs to have the religion that is the only way to view life as its origin. The philosophy will provide support for the religion, while the religion will “back up” the philosophy in a vigorous way in return. This is the way that they will both arrive at the same ultimate goal or purpose. Christianity is vastly different than any religion in the way that it doesn’t necessarily need the philosophy of
supernaturalism to support it, let alone prove it. It stands by itself as the only way to understand what is real; straight from the Creator to the human heart. The Bible says in Colossians 2:8, “Beware, lest any man take you captive by philosophy and vain deceit; after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”. Verse 10 goes on to say, “Ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power”. This really sums up what
His Faith is, as opposed to our human sight and perception of reality through philosophy, which could never be corresponded to by His Truth.