MISSION, B.C. – Through the Bible God is trying to reveal only two things: one: "I'm God," and two: "You're not," philosopher Peter Kreeft said here Jan. 28.
The problem, said Kreeft, is that most people, himself included, forget about the second point.
In two talks delivered to an audience of more than 500 people at Westminster Abbey, Kreeft said we need to apply the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity, to our everyday lives.
First, we have to believe in God through faith or by using our reason. Second, we must hope to seek out a relationship with God. Third, we must love God and act in a way that moves us closer to him. We must always remember it is not knowledge, but love, that gets us into heaven, he said.
Philosophy, said Kreeft, is love of wisdom, and is not dangerous to faith. "Philosophy is the handmaid to theology."
Kreeft has made a career out of bringing that notion of philosophy to everyday Christians, helping many to have a deeper understanding of God.
In a talk on Jesus's Philosophy of Happiness, he noted that happiness is not found in the most recent technological advancements such as smart phones.
Jesus, like the Church, is countercultural, and Kreeft demonstrated this using the Beatitudes. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us where true happiness lies.
Kreeft argued that Jesus's paradoxical teaching should not be difficult.
In fact, the Beatitudes are not as difficult to accept as the life of Jesus, who already existed as God the Son before his Incarnation as a helpless baby who needed his mother's care for survival, who then grew up and was executed by crucifixion as a common criminal.
If we believe that this person is the creator of the universe, then we should have no problem adhering to Jesus's instructions about how one finds happiness. "Jesus was able to turn death into life's most powerful instrument," Kreeft said.
God stretched out his arms to us and offered to teach us to do his will, he said. "The problem is, we almost always choose our own will rather than God's."
In a separate talk, Kreeft gave a medical diagnosis of Western civilization.
"The prognosis is not good. Christians are confused when they ask themselves what is the meaning of life." Turning the phrase, Kreeft noted the Creator of life is asking us, "What is your meaning?"
(Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and at King's College in New York City. A full list of his audio and writing is available at www.peterkreeft.com.)