Sunday, October 4, 2015

Thinking As an Act of Faith and Repentance

I find Phillip Cary’s insights on the role of thinking in Christian life very helpful:

"Questions ought to have a place in our hearts, because asking questions is a way of seeking the truth and the love of truth is an important virtue. The love of truth is essential to making a healthy connection between reason and emotion. Any form of reason that deserves the name desires truth with a passion, and our emotions need reason to stay in touch with reality, to be consistently perceptive about the truth and not blindly self-serving."

"And love of truth really is a virtue, one that belongs at the center of our hearts . It’s not just idle curiosity or intellectual pride. Above all, it shouldn’t be confused with the obnoxious desire to be right all the time, which is a vice, not a virtue. The people who love the truth are not the ones who are always trying to prove they’re right and everyone else is wrong. They’re people who are glad to discover when they’re wrong, because that gets them one step closer to the truth. And that shows how rare and difficult a virtue this is. It’s close kin to repentance, because it undermines our desire to justify ourselves and put others in the wrong, and thereby makes us more fair and just in our relationships. Without it morality is just a sham, a game we play to impress people or to persuade ourselves that we’re good Christians."

"The love of truth means that we want reality to rule our hearts. It is based on a deep and rather extraordinary optimism that says ignorance is not bliss, because ultimately the truth about reality is the best news of all. It’s an optimism that hardly makes sense at all unless God is Truth. What is most fundamentally sad about the effort to prevent people from thinking too much is that it means giving up this optimism. It means being afraid that questions, followed honestly, lead to evil, because the search for truth ultimately leads away from God."

"And we should not be so afraid, because the gospel of Christ is true and it is truly good news. The truth at the heart of all existence is the Truth in person, the Wisdom of God who hung on a cross and died, but then rose from death to eternal life and glory in which we too may share. The cross of Christ alerts us to the fact that we must learn some horrible truths if we are to understand this fallen world as it really is, but the resurrection of Christ should give us hope that asking all the hard questions will lead us in a direction that is good for us. For Christian faith should make us optimists about this: that the ultimate Truth is good news, and that the love of truth is therefore good for the heart."

From Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don't Have to Do

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