Friday, July 1, 2011

The Gift of Reason

"We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right."

"What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind." 

— Ravi Zacharias

The first part talks about the freedom to believe and also it indirectly speaks about the freedom to disbelieve. The good thing about this is that we are giving everyone the freedom to choose thereby freeing their mind to study and think about certain issues and not merely believing something out of tradition.

Well, tradition is good if it is founded on truth. And tradition should only be accepted after a careful consideration of its history and foundation. Blind acceptance of anything is not a good way to come up to the truth but truth will lead to freedom.

Hear what Dr. Jose Rizal, the National hero of the Philippines said to the women of Malolos, Bulacan during the Spanish Colonial era:
The Filipino woman no longer bows her head and bends her knees; her hope in the future is revived; gone is the mother who helps to keep her daughter in the dark, who educates her in self-contempt and moral annihilation. It is no longer the highest wisdom to bow the head to every unjust order, the highest goodness to smile at an insult, to seek solace in humble tear. You have found out that God’s command is different from that of the priest, that piety does not consist in prolonged kneeling, long prayers, large rosaries, soiled scapulars, but in good conduct, clean conscience and right thinking. You have discovered that it is not goodness to be too obedient to every desire and request of those who pose as little gods, but to obey what is reasonable and just, because blind obedience is the origin of crooked orders and in this case both parties sin. The head of the priest cannot say that he alone will be responsible for the wrong order because God gave each one his own mind and his own conscience so that he can distinguish between right and wrong. All are born without chains, free and no one can subject the will and spirit of another. Why would you submit to another your noble and free thought? It is cowardice and an error to believe that blind obedience is piety and arrogance to think and reflect. Ignorance is ignorance and not goodness and honor. God, fountain of wisdom, does not expect man, created in his image, to allow himself to be fooled and blinded. The gift of reason with which we are endowed must be brightened and utilized. An example is the father who gave each of his son a lamp to light his way in the darkness. Let them intensify its flame, take care of it, not extinguish it to depend on the light of others, but to help one another, seek each other’s counsel in the search of the way. He is exceedingly stupid and he can be blamed if he stumbles in following somebody else’s light, and the father could say to him: “What for did I give you a lamp of your own?” But one who stumbles by following his own light cannot be greatly blamed because perhaps his light is dim or else the road is very bad.

Well, I could not say more. That's Dr. Jose P. Rizal.  A doctor of medicine. A poet, novelist, essayist, correspondent  A Filipino polymath. A polyglot who is proficient in twenty two languages. And a logical thinker. What he said about logic and reason is a universal truth.

Listen to this historical record from the lips of a man who influences the whole world with his teachings: 
The Pharisees and some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus. They saw that some of his disciples were unclean because they ate without washing their hands..

The Pharisees and the scribes asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples follow the traditions taught by our ancestors? They are unclean because they don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus told them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites in Scripture:

   ‘These people honor me with their lips,
      but their hearts are far from me.
  Their worship of me is pointless,
      because their teachings are rules made by humans.’

“You abandon the commandments of God to follow human traditions...Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God’s word. And you do many other things like that.” (Matt. 7: 1-13)

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