My crash course in philosophy was in college, where we watched Francis Schaeffer’s “How Should We Then Live?” and read some broader overview texts that followed the history of western thought and philosophy. (Yes, my dear college student friends who I convinced to watch those videos while they were still in high school… you can thank my philosophy prof, lol.) I love to see things in a broader scope, to see the implications of personal philosophies and political process, and see how the ideals we buy into shape our world. At the core of our world view is our beliefs on God, man, the universe and our deepest answers to why we do what we do.
A bonus to all this has been an online gaming community I’ve been a part of for several years now which has given me the opportunity to meet people from various parts of the world who all think very differently than I. I’ve gotten to know people who live in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Japan, Canada, England and various part of the US. I tend to stick to the english-speaking crowd for obvious reasons, though my first group of friends were French and French-Canadian and we had to use online translators which was often more humorous and confusing than helpful. But as I have gotten to know some people better, the discussions eventually turn to “What do you do for a living?” which by default leads to a theological discussion of some sort. I have to say that my experiences as a whole have been ones of respectful disagreement.
And now I am going to get on my soap box, so skip this paragraph if you wish. Something else I have noticed in this community of mostly secular people, and many of them my peers age-wise, is the throwing around of religious words that they don’t really know what they mean deep down. Quite frankly, it drives me nuts. What words am I talking about? How about things like “karma” and “juju”? When I think about karma, I think about entire religious systems based around it, about people locked in to a helpless cycle of rebirth and a striving to be Good Enough to be released from karma’s grasp. I don’t think that’s what people are talking about when they throw around things like “karma is a ———.” When I think about juju, I think about my friends in Africa who have talked about juju markets and powerful witch doctors. And if you don’t think that witch doctors actually DO anything, then you haven’t lived or have friends who live in regions of the world where things actually Happen when witch doctors intervene, both good and evil. Twice this year I have had friends who live in different countries in Africa who have told me about this and were quite serious. I feel like secular westerners have no right to throw out terms like “juju” and “karma.” They don’t really believe in them in That way. If you’re one of those people, just say “good luck,” “bad luck,” or “consequences.” Don’t use other people’s religiously loaded words to tell other people you’re rooting for or against them. (Yeah, not even touching the way Jesus is dragged through the verbal dirt as a swear word. Same argument applies.) It generally comes across to me as sounding uneducated and I’d love to religiously educate though I’d be shut off like a switch. However, now that YOU have read this, you know better!
My goal is to teach others to recognize why they do what they do. I’ve been watching a lot of British police drama and it always comes down to motive. Our lives are like that. What motivates you? What drives you to act how you do? If you’re a Christian, are you truly rooted in Christ? Or are you relying on yourself? Do you like who you really are deep down? Are you proud of who you are? It’s never too late to change as long as it is today. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7, Psalm 95:7-8)