WHAT??? YOU NEVER HEARD OF THE 4 “R’s”?        


College humanities courses should expose every student to the 4 “R”s!!  No, not Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic –you’ve already learned those! It is now time to move on to:   Reason, Religion, Relativism and Reality

   *REASON.  This is precisely what differentiates us from animals and other life forms. It is exactly what your Professors expect you to do well and often! Just what can you really know through reason anyway? According to Descartes, reason is the bane and the proof of his existence. To Kant, it is the Will that demands human respect and forms the basis for our human dignity.  Reason is the slave to passion for David Hume and the instrument he uses to deny any knowledge of Self and Morality. So much for Socrates and knowing thyself, right Dave?  Reason remains the key to the Enlightenment and to critical thinking, though it may be limited in its ability to fully know and arrive at the Truth.  The real question asks whether reason is King or merely one of many keys to His Kingdom??   As Pope John Paul II wrote in Fides et Ratio:  "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth;  and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth - in a word, to know himself - so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.

   *RELIGION.  Often confused erroneously with mere belief and spirituality, religion can be found at the heart of every great civilization. It may be seen by some merely as a broad designation that describes the relationship of man to the transcendent. It is an agent of political socialization that often poses a quandary to the State and can be seen throughout history as a vehicle for social change, moral progress and good. Is it reasonable to believe in God?  Is faith a divine gift or merely a free, voluntary, personal choice?  Is religion an ancient, obsolete myth?  Do we all possess a universal yearning for a supreme being that we call God?  Does religion unify or divide?  Does it lead us to true freedom?  Do charity and love or violence and intolerance prevail? Is religion life-transforming?  A chosen way of life?  Does it actually hold the keys to truth, happiness, your eternal salvation and His Kingdom?  What does religion mean to you?  Is it meaningful or irrelevant in your life?  Jesus asks:  Who do you say that I am?  It is a question that cannot be avoided in the humanities or in any individual's sincere search for meaning, wisdom or truth! 

 *RELATIVISM makes one wonder just how many “truths” really exist!   Does it concern what is or what “ought” to be?  Does relativism sanction individual moral codes?  Are there no moral or absolute truths?  Is all truth relative?  Is relativism a consistent, logical and practical theory?  Is relativism a rational companion to freedom, equality, and tolerance in a free and open democratic society or a destructive “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?” 

 and then there's the ultimate humanities concept:  REALITY       

  "For God so loved the World that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him."    Jn. 3:16-7                                                                                             

 "And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness . . .."  Jn. 3:19