The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Veritas speaker describes journey of life

A senior fellow at the East-West Institute challenged the audience to ask questions and seek answers in their life journey during the second installment of the Veritas Forum.

Os Guinness is the writer and editor of more than 25 books. His speech centered on “The Journey: The Thinking Person’s Search for Meaning in a Pluralistic World.”

“The most common and basic picture of life is a journey,” he said. “We’re all somewhere between life and death on this… journey of life. The challenge is to make the most of the journey.”

Guinness described the challenges of living in a world of many religions and how people can discover truth. He broke the journey into four phases: a time for questions, a time for answers, a time for evidences and a time for commitments.

Out of all the phases, Guinness challenged the audience to reach at least stage one. Guinness categorized people in the first stage as “seekers.”

Many people, Guinness said, enter stage one of the journey when they are prompted by the passages of life. He also said “grand historical crises” and “signals of transcendence” also lead people to begin to question life.

“Seekers… are people for whom life has become a question,” he said. “At many American universities, many aren’t thinking.”

Guinness said tools and gadgets often divert people from thinking. Another reason people have stopped thinking is what Guinness called “bargaining.”

Bargaining, he said, is when a person says “I’ll think about it later.”

For Guinness, the sadness is “people aren’t even at this first stage.” He quoted Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

After the time for questions comes the time for answers, Guinness said.

The second phase, the time for answers, is more conceptual, Guinness said. People set their minds out “like a roving scout,” he said, for the certain questions that they have.

Guinness explained this using the question of identity. He discussed the three “families of faith,” the Eastern religions, the secularists and the Abrahamic religions.

These three families’ very great differences make a difference, he said.

In the Eastern religions, Hindus and Buddhists believe that humanity is caught in a world of illusion. Identity is compared to a drop of water, Guinness said. The only way to escape the world of illusion is to lose identity. Guinness described it as a “freedom from individualism.”

Guinness said the secularists view the universe as meaningless. He said if you want to have an identity, “do it yourself.”

Those under the Abrahamic religions believe individuality isn’t just creation – it’s a sense of calling, Guinness said. More specifically, he said, Jews and Christians have a higher sense of individual purpose.

“Whatever the question,” he said, “the seeker looks comparably.”

The third phase is the “due diligence” and the “justification” according to Guinness.

“Never believe something that you’re not convinced is true,” he said.

The last stage is one of commitments, Guinness said, and it requires a step of faith – not a leap of faith in the dark.

While Guinness spoke on all stages of life, he emphasized the first phase and challenged those in attendance to begin questioning the world around them.

“You only live once, if then,” he said.

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