Things are moving here at Ratio Christi at Collin College. When I sent my last news letter the students and I finished our examination of Islam. We then moved to an examination of Judaism. There are three main branches in contemporary Judaism, Orthodox, Conservative, and Reformed. Orthodox Jews hold to literal interpretations of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) as established in the nineteenth century. The Conservative Jews believe that the Torah is not God’s revelation of Him self to man, but is the human record of the experience of God’s revelation. Reformed Jews believe that all religions are attempting to “grasp the Infinite.” In that sense all religions are valid.
Hinduism is an ancient religion that originated in India. There are many mystical elements in Hinduism. The primary idea in this religions that, “Atman is Brahman.” Atman is the self. Brahman is the impersonal reality that includes everything that exists. The ultimate goal of Hinduism is to realize that you are one with the Brahman. When that happens your identity is absorbed into the Brahman. In other words, you have to deny that you exist and affirm that God exists. However, when you deny your own existence you prove your existence because it is you that is doing the existence. Hindu thought is very confusing and hard to follow.
Buddhism is a religion that grew out of Hinduism. There are several schools of thought in this religion, but the Four Noble Truths are the core of all Buddhist thought and practice. The Four Noble Truths are: 1) Life involves suffering; 2) Suffering is caused by desire for transient things; 3) Suffering can be stopped by eradicating desire; 4) The path of liberation from desire is found in the eight-fold path: right understanding, right thoughts, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation. While many Buddhist traditions believe in many gods, Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, did not think that we could know if God existed. He also did not think that the question was important to living a righteous life.
Next we examined a new religion called Baha’i. This religion teaches that all religions are essentially the same. Any differences in religious teaching are the result of the time and culture that the religions were founded in. However, when you examine the core beliefs of the different religions you find that religions are essentially different despite have some superficial similarities.
I have been working with our student leadership on some different projects. This semester we are holding a food drive within Ratio Christi at Collin College to donate to Frisco Family Services. Next Semester we will hold a college wide food drive donate to the same organization. We will also be hosting a guest lecturer, Sloan Lee, who will speak on the reliability of the Gospels in early March.
I hope you all have a merry Christmas.
Thomas Earl Davis
As things are moving on Ratio Christi soil, Tom and I are experiencing some movement of our own. With our master’s degrees we are settling into a normal rhythm of things and getting used to being married (now that we have time to spend with each other).
Tom sees people that are struggling with their faith on a daily basis and often times those that are just looking for an argument, however, I see people that are internally conflicted with their life, family, past decisions, what the future holds, and possibly their faith. It has become very real to us that it takes all kinds to reach all kinds.
This Christmas season, as you string up your lights, decorate your tree, and make plans for the holiday’s ponder how God is going to use you this season and the upcoming year. I hate to rain on everyone’s parade but the reason for the season is not football and turkey. It’s Christ and how he came to change the world. How will you change your life, the lives of others, or your reaction to the stresses of life this year? Change can be a daunting thing but in the spirit of Christmas and the empowerment we receive from the Holy Spirit we can do much more than change, we can overcome!