Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 9, 2009

Day 6, Summit Semester

This morning we had our final class with Mike Mandt, looking at a range of things from creation and icons of evolution to patterns in Scripture.

After lunch, we had study time, and then an hour to exercise. I went with a group that “walked briskly” down Blue Creek Road and back – two miles total. I still can’t get over the scenery – all the trees are beautiful.

Tonight I met Dr. Michael Bauman for the first time. He’s definitely brilliant and slightly intimidating, but he’s also down to earth, makes jokes about his facebook, and is really sarcastically funny.

He promises to seek us out and destroy our bad ideas by constantly questioning what we believe and why. He doesn’t settle for a single answer – he’ll pepper you with questions until he’s convinced you know what you’re saying or you have no idea what’s going on. He says this is intellectual boot camp, that we have to learn to fight for our beliefs, and his job is to do to us in a friendly setting what the world will do in a hostile setting.

There are four forbidden responses in his class, not “because he’s against free speech, but because he’s against stupidity.”

“Everything is relative.”
“There is no right or wrong.”
“There are no absolutes.”
“Who’s to say?”

“These four sentences are the pervasive mental habits of society in America today – we have learned to give them as answers to every difficult question.”

The four things we should be thinking about all the time, though, are diagnostic questions:
1. What’s a good life and what good is life?
2. What’s a good death and what good is death?
3. What’s a good love and what good is love?
4. What’s a human being?

Everybody has answers to these questions, but most have stupid answers because they’ve never thought about them at all. A large part of our semester here is learning to ask, think about, and answer hard questions like these.

This semester will be hard, but I’m really excited for it now, more than I ever have been. It may be difficult getting through it at times, such as when we’re being relentlessly cross-examined, but we will be much better for the time we spent here.

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