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Sunday Musings about Religion, Colored by My Medieval/Thomistic Beliefs

I spent Sunday afternoon, after attending Mass, reading a book by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. I had already read three other books by him, and I realize that all four of these are thought-provoking, not conclusion-giving. This is as philosophy should be, and it is also the reason why most people dislike philosophy. Most people dislike thinking, so they want simple answers to their questions that would allow them to do what they should, or avoid doing what they should not, without thinking any more about it. Philosophy rarely provides such simple answers; more often than not, it raises more questions than it answers, thus increasing the need for thought, which most people hate.

Though most people dislike philosophy, they love religion, because it gives them the answers they crave and makes it possible for them to slumber mentally their whole lives. This, in my opinion, is tragic. Religion should not be used as a justification for not thinking. Everything that exists is created by God for His glory. We can love God more and glorify God better by knowing about and understanding the reality that comes from Him, most especially by knowing about and understanding ourselves.

As a Roman Catholic Christian, I believe in The Bible. It says that man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). Our best way to know and love God is to know and love ourselves. This requires thought. Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1). Where Bibles translated into English have ‘Word’, the original Greek has Logos, which means ‘thought’. Furthermore, the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) show Jesus telling parables and asking questions much more than giving answers. In fact, the few times that people asked Him questions He refused to give simple answers. The whole life of Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels, was thought-provoking. If Jesus was God, which I believe, then He knew everything and therefore never had to ask a question, yet He questioned so as to make us think. If we are truly His followers, then we should be more thoughtful, not less, than all other people.