“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  What did Socrates mean by this?

Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who, along with Plato and Aristotle, is credited with founding western philosophy.  Supposedly, he uttered these words right before he was sentenced to death for “corrupting youth” (with his philosophy).  While people have interpreted these words a number of different ways, the most common is this: only when—like a philosopher—you vigorously pursue the answers to life’s ultimate questions (What is the meaning of life?  How do you live a virtuous life?  What happens when you die?  Is there a God and, if so, what is God like?) can you reach your full potential as a human being; only then can you know the fullness of life. 

There’s a great scene toward the end of the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Indiana comes to the edge of a huge abyss.  Some one hundred feet straight across is the entrance to a cave that contains the Holy Grail—he needs to find the Grail quickly in order to save his father’s life.  The entrance is cut into the flat rockface that drops hundreds of feet to the ground.  Standing at the precipice of this great chasm, all he can see are the jagged rocks hundreds of feet below—one more step, and he will fall to his death.

How often do we want to cry out: “God, if you’re really out there, show me!”

Why doesn’t God just show up? Why does faith have to be so hard?

IF there is a God, why doesn’t He give us a clear, unambiguous sign of His existence? Especially if our response to Him is the whole point of this life, if it determines our eternal destiny. You would expect Him to show Himself somehow so we could fulfill the purpose of our being.

This “hiddenness” of God is perplexing. It’s a real obstacle to faith.

What’s the first name that pops into your head when you hear the word doubt?  If you’re like the other seven billion of us, it’s Thomas. 

Doubting Thomas.

How would you like to go down in history as the one person whose name is most associated with doubt?  Not Thomas the valiant, Thomas the wise, Thomas the loyal disciple.  But Thomas the doubter.  What a loser!  For an apostle, a believer, it doesn’t get much worse.

But take a closer look.  The Gospel doesn’t present him as a loser at all.  Just the opposite.

In the entranceway to one of the Catholic high schools where I used to teach there was a picture of Jesus that had a truly bizarre effect.  No matter where you stood, the eyes in that picture gave the impression that Jesus was looking right at you!  As you passed by, His piercing eyes followed you, as if they were penetrating into the depth of your soul everywhere you went.

A number of the kids I taught were terrified by that picture.  They thought it was creepy.  They cringed every time they walked by it. 

But the effect that picture gave points to a fundamental truth about God.  If He exists, then by definition, God is omniscient, all-knowing.  He sees you no matter where you go; no matter what you do.

For most of us, this is a huge TURN-OFF: God is a Moral Policeman, a Cosmic Party Pooper, watching our every move, ready to pounce the moment we step out of line. 

When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was be a firefighter.  Every Saturday night, I could be found glued to the TV set, mesmerized by Emergency—for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, it was the Chicago Fire of the 70’s—dreaming what it would be like to be one.

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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