Do you know how it is said there is nothing new under the sun?
Well.. seriously, there is indeed NOTHING new under the sun, the way people think and assume and turn away from one truth in search of another; you can call it one thing or another, but it’s still just a system of thought, and all systems get reworked.
BUT SINCE there is nothing new under the sun, studying the philosophers of old will help us gain great insight into how people think now and trace the development of such thought.
One of the goals I have in my son’s education is to teach him to seek after truth.
So when we study philosophers, I will ask him, “What is true in what they believe? Where do you think they went wrong?”
In that process, he is learning some important skills
- Communication Skills.
- Critical reasoning skills
- Problem-solving skills
He’s also learning to remember what he’s been taught so he can piece things together. It’s not always an easy thing,
As he gets older, I will be assigning him philosophers and philosophies to research and to show me what is truth (which is a meeting ground) and what turns away from the truth (which is also a meeting ground). Through that work, we can better understand what people are thinking and why they form their opinions.
Consider Diogenes of Sinope. Who lived under a washing tub, giving up all he had in search of contentment and peace. The truth… we do have to give up ourselves, giving ourselves over to something else (God) to truly find peace. His turning away from the truth was in not realizing what we have give up TO God. That without God, true peace cannot be attained.
Or Epicurus, who believed that losing the fear of death would make a person happy. The bible tells us that death is conquered; we need not have any fear of it. (his seeing truth) This isn’t something we can do in our power, though (His turning away from the truth).
Then Mozi thought that treating everyone the same would lead to universal peace. Seeing the truth that God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. But not seeing that it is God’s action that needs peace between peoples.
Studying the philosophers of old, Christian or Not, helps us define our worldview better and helps us to understand the world view of others. And in this changing world, with folks making up their worldview as they go along, understanding how they get there helps us form connections and help us lead them to see truth as much as possible.
This post was written by Annette, who blogs at A Net In Time.