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Are You Thinking For Yourself?

When I was 17 I knew everything. In one of my many rants, I was discussing belief in God, religion, and spirituality with an older friend. You know, light stuff. Toward the end of my pontificating my friend smiled and said, “We’re heavily influenced by culture.” I didn’t get it at the time.

When I was preparing to go to college (in my late 20’s), my same friend said, “Colleges are heavily influenced by culture.” I still didn’t get it.

I didn’t start to understand the influence of culture until my mid 30’s. Rather than dwell on my painfully slow journey, I read a quote that put my friend’s wise words into context.

The quote comes from Dallas Willard. He’s discussing secular humanism, among many things, in his book, The Divine Conspiracy:

The absurdity of our existence now falls upon the masses of humanity through several generations of intellectual and artistic elites. It surfaced in its modern form within a very small circle of intellectuals during the late eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries.

Are we thinking for ourselves? Probably not. The ideas from a few intellectual elites are standing in our way. A little scary.

Yeah, I know, we like to think we rock – that we’re free thinkers. Sorry to break it – we’re “all” riding the wave of historical thought. Some of it’s great. A lot of it leaves us with a profound emptiness inside. Most are not aware of the influences.

What am I getting at? There’s an intellectual argument out there that this thing we call life is all just an accident. Before we buy into this, we may want to discover that for ourselves. My research and experience has proven the argument false. I stand with many in this.

Thanks for reading this,
~ Ted Olson

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