April 3, 2002
volume 13, no. 63

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Reason Enough!

    "How different are the so-called thinkers of today. Pick up a volume of Karl Marx, the philosopher of Communism, and there will not be found any consideration of the other man's point of view, such as the argument for private property or for the existence of God. In the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, arguments against morality, decency, and virtue, private property, socialism, and totalianarism are more strongly and honestly presented than they are by their own protagonists. Francois Voltaire, the scoffer at Christianity, recognized this. He once boasted that it took twelve men to spread the 'infamy' of Christianity but that it would take only one man to destroy it, and that would be Voltaire himself. In order to arm himself with arguments against Christianity, Voltaire once went to a Benedictine monastery; he lived there for about six months. During this time, news spread about France that Voltair was about to accept the faith; the truth of the matter is that during these six months Voltaire spent all of his time copying out objections in the writings of Thomas Aquinas but never reading the answers.

    Sigmund Freud could have found in Saint Thomas better arguments for the primacy of the instinct of sex and the psychic life of man than he gives in any of his own writings. Saint Thomas actually gives five reasons, and better ones than Freud gives, but he also gives the answers.

    Not only does Saint Thomas use his reason; not only does he give both sides, but he always maintains that you must argue from the other man's point of view and not your own. Saint Thomas said it was no good to tell an atheist that he is an atheist, nor to berate a man who denies immortality because he equates a man with a beast. He would have said that it makes no sense to attack a Communist on the ground that he is a materialistic. His position was that you never can prove a man is wrong on someone else's principles. We must argue with a man on his ground or not argue with him at all.

    Long before pragmatism, Thomas Aquinas was writing on the view that truth is utility and answering it on the grounds of the pragmatist. Long before Communism, he was arguing against the suppression of private property, but doing so after manifesting a thorough understanding of that position. Long before Freuid, he said that doctors 'were wont to examine the dreams of the patients in order to determine their psychic state,' but without falling into the error of believing that man is to be interpreted in terms of sex.

    The great and noble faculty of reason was not given to us to rust unused. Unfortunately, some are even using their reason in orer to destroy reason. It is a crazy world when men ask themselves if they have selves, and a mad world when thinkers ask if there i a world. If the modern position that we can never know anything with certainty continues to increase, there is danger that the world may die of skeptic poisoning. It is about time we gave up asking ourselves questions and began looking for answers. Too long have educators been concerned with extending the frontiers of knowledge and not sufficently intersted in deepening the knowledge that they already possessed. The heart of man was made to be soft; the head of man was meant to be hard. If our brains soften, our hearts will harden. False reason has too long been 'the bawd to lust's abuse.' May reason, which is the reflection of the light of God in man, be restored to its primacy over feeling, sex, and prejudice. As Sir William Drummond said, 'He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; he who dares not is a slave.' "

April 3, 2002
volume 13, no. 63
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