Thinking for Ourselves

LabyrinthFor those of you who know me even a little, you probably know of my deep enjoyment of reading. I read all the time . . . or at least try to. I love learning and what better way to learn than through reading? But over spring break, I had no reading material whatsoever. None. Not even my bible. Therefore, for almost 10 days, I was left to bask in my own thoughts, which is quite scary. I like it when I don’t have to think for myself, when all I have to do is attribute somebody’s name to an idea and don’t have to take responsibility for believing a certain thing or doctrine. But I think it is essential to listen to our own thoughts. Even in all their frailty. Even in all their shortcomings. They indeed are still worth listening to. In the academic setting, we are taught to always cite sources, namely to avoid plagiarism. But at the same time, this prohibits us from thinking for ourselves. We are relegated to simply relaying information that we have learned by reading another’s work. The work is never our own. I am the worst at this. I am always quoting people and telling people about what I read in this book or on this blog. But I hardly ever say how I truly feel about anything. This has only been illumined as I have been reading sections of the Church Dogmatics by Karl Barth. Here is a guy who wrote thousands of pages on his doctrine of God, of creation, of Jesus Christ, and of reconciliation. And he hardly cites anybody. This has brought me to face my own thoughts. What do I believe? And why do I believe it?  It’s easy to relay what other people believe. The difficulty lies in listening to our own thoughts long enough that we have to take them to be our own. I hope this comes with maturity. Maybe like when people that have grown up in a Christian home finally take the Christian faith to be their own, when they no longer rely on the faith of their parents. I hope this is the case. All I know is that I hate having to muddle in my own thoughts, of having to synthesize them into a coherent whole. Over the course of the trip, this is what I was wrestling with. All people should stop long enough to listen to themselves at times. There is probably a wealth of information that has been overlooked on account of us gorging ourselves with information and the beliefs of others.

LabyrinthPadre Bay

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