Musings of a Christian WarriorA Zen Thing . Quotes
This idea came to me in the shower on the morning of January 31, 2013. I should say that is when the title came to me, after a decade of ruminating the rest followed:
An individual’s spiritual journey often manifests as a series of battles and triumphs—a true warrior’s path. As a Catholic, the battlefield is both external and internal, a constant struggle to align oneself with Christ’s teachings in a world rife with secularism and philosophical discourse. The Christian warrior understands this journey is not solitary but part of the broader human quest for truth, knowledge, and a sense of purpose. This article explores the musings of a Christian warrior, navigating the intersections of faith, philosophy, and secular thought.
The term ‘warrior’ denotes a fighter, someone who battles in the physical realm. However, as Christian warriors, the battles fought are spiritual, the weapons are faith, hope, and love, and the realm of conflict is the human soul itself. Saint Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12). Indeed, our combat zones lie within our hearts and minds, wrestling with the ideas, beliefs, and attitudes that oppose God’s truth.
Philosophy and secular thought, while sometimes perceived as challenging to faith, can offer valuable insights that enrich our understanding of the world and our place within it. Several philosophical traditions, including those of Plato and Aristotle, share common ground with Christian thought, pointing to the existence of objective moral truths and the fundamental dignity of the human person. Embracing these secular insights can strengthen our Christian worldview, providing a richer context for our faith and a bridge for dialogue with non-believers.
In our quest for truth, we often encounter existentialism, a philosophical theory emphasizing individual existence, freedom, and choice. Though typically associated with atheistic thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre, existential thought can also resonate deeply with the Christian experience. We, too, understand life as a journey filled with personal decisions bearing eternal weight. Every act of faith, every prayer, every moral choice is a testament to our free will and our personal commitment to living out God’s love in the world.
However, this freedom is not an endorsement of moral relativism—the idea that there are no absolute moral truths. Instead, Christian existentialism acknowledges our free will while asserting that our choices should align with God’s moral law. We can find an ally in Immanuel Kant, whose deontological ethics, secular in nature, also underline an inherent moral duty, a law we ought to follow.
In engaging with secular philosophy, we should also acknowledge its limitations. There are aspects of the human experience and questions of existence that reason alone cannot fully explain. As Saint John Paul II noted in his encyclical Fides et Ratio, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” While philosophy provides insights into universal truths and ethics, faith opens the door to transcendental truths, including God’s nature and purpose for our lives.
As Catholics, we understand that the Word of God is not opposed to reason but rather complements and completes it. Aquinas, drawing heavily from Aristotle, asserted this harmonious relationship between faith and reason. He noted that while some truths about God can be obtained by human reason, others can only be known through divine revelation.
In our engagement with the secular world, the Christian warrior acts not merely as a passive observer but an active participant. We are called to bear witness to the Gospel in all aspects of our lives, including the realms of thought and dialogue. Apologetics—the defense of our faith through reasoned arguments—becomes an essential tool for the Christian warrior. It allows us to respond to critiques, clarify misconceptions about our faith, and demonstrate the intellectual robustness of our Christian beliefs.
This active engagement also invites us to exemplify Christ-like love and humility. Being a Christian warrior is not about ‘winning’ arguments or asserting moral superiority. Instead, it’s about sharing God’s love, fostering understanding, and helping others discover the profound beauty and truth of the Gospel. As Saint Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
In conclusion, the musings of a Christian warrior reveal a journey marked by a constant interplay of faith, philosophy, and secular thought. Orthodox Catholicism is not threatened by these engagements but can thrive within them, proving its relevance and applicability. Our faith is not merely a relic of the past but a living, breathing relationship with God that continues to illuminate our understanding of the world, ourselves, and our purpose. As Christian warriors, we step onto the battlefield armed with faith, fortified by reason, and committed to proclaiming the Gospel’s eternal truth with love and respect. The victory we seek is not our own, but the triumph of God’s love in the hearts and minds of all people.
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