I've only been writing for the opinion section of The Collegian for seven weeks, but this is my last column. Looking back on four years at this university, I decided to write about etiquette that matters more than where you smoke or what you eat. Rather, how you deal with your soul.
This column is not about religion, it's about Truth (the Plato-type of Truth that exists regardless of human perception).
University of Richmond students and professors discuss, learn and pass off as truth every philosophy under the sun, except for one - the philosophy of Jesus Christ, crucified to reconcile broken human souls to a flawless God. Jesus rarely appears in the lesson plans for ethics class, and I couldn't find him on the reading list for CORE.
Well, you might say, that's because "Christianity" is a religion, not a philosophy.
That's where I disagree. Christianity is a way of understanding the human condition.
We devote hours to Plato, Darwin and Marx, yet when it comes to the man who has undeniably influenced the world the most, our textbooks and teachers are silent. The message brought by Jesus changed the planet, but is intentionally omitted from our education.
Who decided that the philosophies of Jesus are not worthy of our educational consideration? Even atheists and Chinese Buddhists mark their calendars based on the life of Christ - the accomplishments of our favorite philosophers are marked in time relative to the life of Jesus.
We don't learn about this world-altering philosophy in CORE class or ethics, so here it is in the opinion section: etiquette for our souls.
No. 1 - Take your soul seriously.
If you don't believe you have a soul, stop reading here - you probably never confront questions about your identity, your self-worth, your purpose or your status with regard to your Maker. On the other hand, if you've considered those things, I challenge you to take yourself seriously.
I dare us to stop looking for answers in things that fail - our career paths, our relationships and our talents. I dare us to stop distracting ourselves from our life-size questions by focusing on entertainment, alcohol, sex, religion, etc. I dare us to be quiet, to strip our souls to their core and look at what's there.
I dare us to consider that our souls might be broken: broken because the world is broken. People die, and we cannot fix it. Nothing works the way we think it ought to. People miss opportunities we think they deserve. We can't figure it out.
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No. 2 - Look for answers, real ones.
In our academic pursuits we support every argument with sources and intellectual thought, yet when it comes to our souls we're content to draw conclusions based on an inspirational book and the way we felt last Tuesday afternoon, or was it Monday? Why?
To avoid being pegged as insensitive, I won't say that's lame, but I beg us to consider it. I beg us to consider that understanding our souls is as important as understanding Nietzsche. If we listen, our souls are asking larger-than-life questions, and I challenge us to look for legitimate answers.
No. 3 - Consider Jesus.
Whether you're an atheist or a born-again Christian, whether you're a Muslim or Hindu, or you grew up attending church every Sunday, I challenge you to consider Christ as he actually is.
Don't consider Christians (historically or contemporarily). They're just as messed up as the rest of us. Don't consider liberal propaganda or the right-wing conservative agenda. Consider Jesus.
Dare to crack open a dusty Bible and find out for yourselves about the man, the myths and the legends of Jesus Christ. What's true and what's something that your ex-girlfriend's mom mentioned once? What's true and what's something that "spiritual leaders" are getting wrong? If you have a soul and if there is a God, the Bible claims to be the infallible message from Him, and is undeniably the best account of Jesus' words, so let's hear what it has to say about our souls and our world.
Finally - I am not claiming that I'm right, or that you should believe exactly as I do. Rather, I'm challenging that we consider our souls for even a fraction of the time we spend considering our GPAs and our Saturday-night plans. And when we find the damage that I'm betting our souls have suffered, I'm challenging that we consider Christ, because his is the only philosophy that involves a God, a Savior and a solution to the human condition instead of a way to endure it.
Christianity isn't a religion to offer guidance about performing rituals to appease a disinterested god. It's a super-philosophy. It doesn't just define our problems. It solves them.
Maybe God is a myth and Jesus a hoax, but maybe not. I'm not demanding you believe it, but I dare you to consider it.
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