Monday, July 09, 2007

"Philosphy Does Not Make Me a Better Person"

The last few weeks I have been having some very deep discussions with a lot of people about aspects of this faith - mainly free will/choice. Funny thing is I learned a lot about myself in the discussion - and who I truly am.

I have noticed (and this needs to be a bumper sticker) 'philosophy does not make me a better person'. Wrangling with some very deep issues and looking at something from every logical angle is good to do - but it in no wise makes me a better person. Actually, thinking deep can draw out new emotions and ideas from within we never deal with very often - sometimes making us a worse person for the moment. I find thinking a great exercise but sometimes we need to get back to real life - and love and care for people in the world we live in (so yes - I suck).

My theology is not 'set in stone' and is open to change - I am not 100% sure of all the things I say - so discussion is good for me - it opens my mind to new thoughts and interpretations I may have never considered before. Truth is not something stagnant - it is open and we are learning as we go - so 'no' I am not a theological expert of any sorts (things are still being shaped). I am alright with that - cause Ninjanun said something that spoke volumnes to me "Doubt is not the opposite of faith, certainty is."

The way we treat others on the internet is a sign of the way we treat others in real life - since this is an aspect of reality. I find nothing wrong with disagreeing about points in a discussion and then working through those ideals (and maybe never coming to a concensus) - but to start talking someone down is rude (ie: calling names or just disregading them altogether). I know I don't like it when I am treated this way (disregarded) and I see no reason to do this to others. Maybe there is still a lot to learn about how we treat others on the internet - which I think Dagoods has pointed me towards in a few of his recent posts.

But all in all - I like discussing tough issues about life and how this all works out - since we have to live with our choices and ideologies. I guess I will always be game for a good discussion - about the finer things in life - and I think I could continually use the refining.


Heather said...

**Actually, thinking deep can draw out new emotions and ideas from within we never deal with very often - sometimes making us a worse person for the moment. **

Which, in the long run, would be the best possible thing. The only way to truly address and 'fix' the sin is to see it for what it is, rather than shoving it in a corner. If we shove something in the corner, we can ignore it, and then it can still affect and influence our lives.

So maybe philosophy is one of many tools/pieces that can lead to being a better person after all?

SocietyVs said...

I think so also Heather - provided we are open enough to deal with the aspects we find about ourselves. I share the same hope that you do - it is possible for these discussions to make us better people - at least this is my hope for humanity - in talking we can learn that looking into a lot of deep issues might make us think more deeply about or notions of humanity (and how we effect it).

Cliff said...

"Doubt is not the opposite of faith, certainty is."

I love that quote and since I have come to believe that our purpose is to learn, then keeping an open mind is critical. I would also agree that we really need to exchange ideas and thoughts with each other in a kind and loving way. Good thoughts SocietyVs

the_burning_bush said...

Personally, philosophy did not make me a better person.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Slapdash said...

I have a love/hate relationship with all the philosophical and theological questions I am asking.

I love them because they have gotten me out of a stifling box of pat answers that was sapping my spirit and depressing me.

I hate them because I get really stressed out about figuring out the "right" answer, the difficulty (impossibility?) of which depresses me.

Catch-22, no? :)

Slapdash said...

Oh - I meant to add that sometimes I think I do best in life when I am not consumed by the questions, and I am just doing my best to live life well - loving other people - and not worrying about the eternal consequences.

(But somehow I can't put those questions aside for too long at a time - they eventually jump up and bite me!)

Anonymous said...

Watching two year olds fight over toys can be pretty funny and I think God probably laughs at us in the same way when we fight over theology. We all need to give each other a break and realize that like two year olds, we are envolved in a continuing process of learning. "Correct" and pat answers are for codes and really don't aptly apply to the very intense and daily deepen relationship that those of us who have embraced Christ are involved in. We need to share in love and hear in love also and quit trying to convince each other of our own current point of view. It does no one any good to adopt my current beliefs especially if Christ has not as yet been revealed to them. Each believer must walk the narrow path with Jesus alone and grow in their own relationship as directed by the Father. It is in His hands and we are all right where He knows we should be.:0)I'm okay and you're okay and Jesus is just awesome!


SocietyVs said...

Cliff and BB thanks for the comments - I agree with both of you - being open and being grounded have their relative vakue also (and even when they compete for the same space we become all the more wiser for it).

Slapdash I feel very much the same and it is extremely hard to articulate - I actually love deep conversation and discussing these things however I know that living a life is even more important - and I have to find the great balance in this.

"I'm okay and you're okay and Jesus is just awesome!" (Pam)

I'm okay, you're okay - MxPx made a song called this a few years back and I liked it. I think these discussions are good though Pam - get the old mouse wheel a spinning and gets me considering some of things I never really gave much though to. But I definitely agree - to each in his/her own time.

chris said...

Everytime I think I have an answer it only leads to another question. It is very frustrating to me, but I still ask!

Anonymous said...


I know I'm getting way old...I don't even know that group and what I said was a pun on a popular psychology self-help book in the late seventies.:0( It was a good book though about accepting others as they are and yourself also. We really don't need to straighten each other out theologically...God is working on that in each of us. It is fun to share though and I like hearing what others know and understand about God.


the_burning_bush said...

Hi Society,

Just dropping in to say I have been considering your response to my post. I could easily agree with you on it.

God bless you, my friend.

SocietyVs said...

Thanks Chris and Pam - BB - I'll have to check that post out again but thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, another thought, philosophy also does not give eternal life.


bruced said...

Neither philosophy nor theology make us better people. But, peace does. Peace draws others to us. Everything else pushes them away.

Azooz said...


My interest in Islam as a religion is more poetry than philosopy - so I hope you do not mind me jumping in.

When a person talks you can get an idea of who and what they are, how they think and construct ideas of philosphy - but never in good enough language to be understood by the uneducated masses, for that you need a poet but even then it is not really enough for all.

To convince someone of your point of view or to agree with theirs, you use words - some words are much more powerfull than others. The Quran's words are powerful and more effective than anything anyone else has to say. This I do not base of faith, just the power of words that are much better than any in any poem. One thing that is not in any doubt - no one can write anything like the Quran, it is simply imposible for anyone to write anything that well about any subject.

If you have questions about the wording of the Quran I will be glad to help - just mind that I only care for the poetic side of it, the rest is beyond me.


Anonymous said...

Hi azooz,

Are you talking about the Quran in its original language or in English?


Azooz said...

Hi Pam,

The Quran in its original language is the only one available. There is no English Quran, it is just a "translation of the meaning of the words" - the Quran's words creates clear mind images that music and poetry try to. It keeps the Imams honest becuase even Christian and secular poets know the Quran better than they do on a language level, scholars of the Quran are all poets and poetry criteqes.

I have to reference this for Muslims who want to look it up, it is called "Fiqh al-loghah" meaning "knowledge of language".

The English Quran say the same things in English as the Arabic one - just not in the same level of style and language. It gets the point across like nothing else. I must add that there is no poetry in the Quran it is plain text - a monologue, but many single words acting as poems do by being in just exactly the right place.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm aware that Muslims don't consider any translation in any language rather than the original to be the true Quran. That is why I asked.

It is a sad thing to know that most Muslims are unable to read their Quran and wholy dependent upon their religious leaders for interpretation and guidance in how to live it. I see this exploited ignorance as the crux of the problems in the Muslim world that are overflowing into the larger world around them. People kept in ignorance by those elite who possess knowlegle is never a healthy thing.

There are Christians who feel that the KJV is the only inspired English version and point to its poetry as part of their proof. They don't seem to mind that the average English speaking person today is unable to understand it either. And who can forget how the Catholics held on to their Latin Mass and the numbers of peoples that they burned because they read the Bible for themselves in their own language.

I like poetry too but I'm not willing to pay such a high price in human blood for its preservation and I'm synical enough to really think that the gap is preserved out of a human need for power and control.

I digress, I these times, it is impossible to think of the Quran one way without also thinking of it in another...


Anonymous said...

'philosophy does not make me a better person'. - poetry does, at least for nomads it makes for more polite kids - hopefully.

Only %10 of Muslims accept a religious leader, Shia. I can not talk of them honestly and with knowledge for Arabic is not as important to their sect. There is no Sunni religious leader for over one billion Muslims, we prefer it that way. When we ask Imams questions they will give us the same answers we could find ourselves if we did a google search or read a book, they just have it memorized and we have no secret knowledge. There is no corruption this way and it is child safe, for often a religious leader can be a bookish boy with a good memory and a preference for books over TV or foot ball.

Ignorant Muslims do not read the Quran in any langauge, knowlegable Muslims read it in any language. Like a book about clocks, some read it some do not. The clock book is any language, if one version is worded better than others I would prefer reading the better one, but both teach about clocks. The Quran just makes more sence in Arabic to the reader, the English one does make sence to, but hard to catch (comprehend), no elequence, and needs much patiance and thought. I can say that if anyone learns enough Arabic to read the Quran they will never get bored of reading it over and over again, I can not say that about the English Quran.

I will leave the subject at this point for I think I have more than covered it, and I wish you all well.