|Religion and Wisdom
"In my day, students used to complain about everything. But, I never heard
a student complain that we devote too much time at the University to the
study of Christianity and Judaism; even though those beliefs are the foundations
of our Western culture.
Education at the University however, cannot ignore all religion. At the very
least, we have to learn about pagan religion; i.e. the myths and figures
of religion not connected to Abraham and Jesus. We have to learn about pagan
religion in order to understand our own literature. Even today's writers
use pagan religious images and symbols.
The pagan gods will always be with us. They take on new forms and new names,
but they don't go away. Something about us will not let them go. We seem
to need to exalt ourselves along with our stupidities. That's what the pagan
Why are we more interested in pagan gods than in God: more interested in
paganism than in Christianity and Judaism? Because we see ourselves in the
pagan gods. They are like us. That's not true of God.
The pagan gods like us are weak and bull-headed. Like us they are slaves
of desire. They are destructive and vengeful, capricious and silly. And sometimes
they are capable of greatness.
We need some form of religious education because we have some sense that
we are more than dirt. Religion suggests that all will not be lost; that
something of us will remain. It suggests that there is wisdom that needs
to be learned in order to live life, instead of dying young.
The big question of course is: what level of wisdom? Our culture seems more
interested in Hollywood gossip than in the more substantial wisdom enshrined
in either pagan or Judeo-Christian religion. We seem more interested in
entertainment than in real wisdom.
It seems a shame that even after making all the effort and bearing all the
expense of a university education, some students come out not a bit more
wise than when they started.
While you're being educated, don't forget about religion and wisdom."