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DY, JOHN MICHAEL U.

BSAT 3D

PHILO 106

MWF 1:30-2:30P
Long Journey Home

Chapter 13: A Perfect Fit


This chapter begins with the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and on how
he fought for the rights of the Negroes. In 1963, it was Bob Moses who first
pushed for the increase of the black voter registration in the South. Dick
Gregory, a comedian, was with Bob Moses and he (Dick Gregory) was the
first national celebrity to offer help. Martin Luther King Jr. planned protests
but many people and even the sympathizers criticized it. The citys mayor
told everyone to ignore these protests for he was planning reforms. But
Martin Luther King Jr. still continued his protests. He led the march on Good
Friday and the Birmingham police hastily arrested him. King said that it was
a poorly timed protest. While in jail, Kings former supporters and
sympathizers

doubted

his

moral

grounds

for

civil

disobedience.

He

responded to this issue by writing the Letter from Birmingham Jail. This
letter was very persuasive; it included attacks on white moderates and pithy
pronouncements on the principles of justice. King is saying that there are
two types of laws: just and unjust. Law has a bifocal vision, just like the
biblical family of faiths, who believes that they are both world-affirming and
world-denying.
Is this bifocal vision true? There are two mistakes that people make in
answering this question. First is that some people set up impossible
standards for truth that no one could pass. (Page 145) And the other is that
other people simply bypass the question of truth altogether. (Page 145)
Religious believers are mostly the ones who are accused for committing this
second mistake because of believing despite evidence. There are two ways
in investigating whether these beliefs with the evidence and both of these
are very important in our quest for meaning. One way is to examine

particular beliefs close up and in detail and the second is to see the big
picture. Seeing the big picture means examining different approaches to see
which model is better at explaining the most facts.
Examining the different beliefs and worldviews is very essential to
others on their quest for meaning. G.K. Chesterton did this examining. He
was wondering why in Christianity, he was experiencing both the optimistic
and pessimistic factor of the religion. He investigated and examined on this
and later on, the parts started to connect and they are all coming together.
The Christian faith gave G.K. Chesterton an optimism and pessimism with a
difference, and a justification for both at the same time. (Page 150)
Chapter 14: The Best News Ever
The twentieth century was the most evil century in all history because
of the countless millions slain in ethnic and sectarian conflicts, wars, hundred
millions of people slaughtered in political repression, and many more.
Ambrose Bierce said that the defining feature of humanity is inhumanity.
There are two lessons from the evil in humanitys story of inhumanity and
many people were surprised about it. First is that evil hardens the heart to
the point of tearlessness, and it takes goodness to crack the heart open, and
second is that under dire circumstances of suffering, which might be thought
to wound or weaken our faith in God, faith emerges stronger on the other
side of hell on earth.
Phillip Hallie is a professor of philosophy and a Jew. One day in the
year 1975, while he was in Le Chambon, he read a short article about a
small village. While reading that short article, he shed a tear and started to
cry. As what he said, it was an expression of moral praise. He wept while
reading that article because he realized that there is still goodness in
opposition to cruelty. Phillip Hallie said that the holocaust was the storm, the
rain, the lightning the cruelty and Le Chambon was the rainbow the

goodness. Hallie believes that evil can be a way to God. We are getting so
much used to having evil around us that we dont care about it that much
but eventually a good news will come and this good news can help soften
our hearts and it makes us realize that there is still good in our hearts.
The next step in the quest for meaning is to examine in close detail its
keystone belief. For Christians, the keystone belief is the identity of Jesus
Christ. The process of examining this keystone belief can be compared to the
movement of the corkscrew. The first twist of the corkscrew is all about
exploring

certain

preliminary

conclusions

about

Jesus

that

are

incontrovertible two thousand years after his birth. (Page 156-157) The next
twist is all about Jesus unlikely significance. In the next twist, we ask the
question What does it say of him that his claims, if not true, are so
outrageous that many who do not revere him revile him? (Page 160) It is
thee seekers quest to know the truth and the evidence behind that truth.
Another twist of the corkscrew involves a second-person engagement. In
this engagement, we begin to realize that Jesus factual and historical
evidence is inseparable from the personal mission of Jesus and the personal
quest of the seeker.
Chapter 15: Never More Ourselves
Vaclac Havel is a son of a civil engineer. He was one of Europes
premier playwrights and he was an active advocate in the movement for
human rights. Havel became a target for the regime because of his essays
that were on the nature of totalitarianism. Policemen followed him
everywhere and he always bring with him his emergency kit which
contains toothpaste, cigarettes, and razor blades, in case he was arrested in
the streets. He was arrested at five oclock on the morning of May 29, 1979.
He was charged with subversion. He was in prison for five years and in that
five years, he reflected upon his life. Once a week, he is given a chance to

write a letter to his wife, Olga. His letters were very philosophical. He
expressed his thoughts about life and modern society through those letters.
On July 1982, he wrote a letter to Olga telling a story that he have illusions
that at night he rides a car and the car is empty. The fare for the ride is paid
by dropping money to a box. Since no one is there to watch him, he has the
choice to pay the fare or not. He was facing a big problem: to pay or not to
pay? In Havels great dilemma, he realized the concepts of responsibility and
invisibility. The problem is entirely within him. Havel reflected that it was a
conversation between his I and his partner his conscience.
The fourth stage for the quest for meaning is a time for commitment.
In this stage we can finally say that we have started our journey home to
God. There is a common mistake that seekers commit in this stage and that
is to allow the lure of technique to intrude again. Sometimes, the seeker is
confronted with people who want to just simplify the faith and sell it, thus
reducing their understanding about the faith. It decreases the great change
of conversion. Full commitment weakens because it becomes a formality. It
easily becomes abstract and hard to understand, and easily becomes weak
and irrational.
A thoughtful step of faith has three vital components: knowledge,
which grows into conviction, which grows into trust. Knowledge is included in
faith because we are not asked to someone that we do not know. Also, it
includes conviction because we have become sure of the truth about faith.
And lastly, it includes trust because having faith is believing that the entire
person is really committed to someone. Mans faith and the way a man
believes is compared to the way a lion kills.
As for C.S. Lewis, the whole point of this quest is to travel, not to
marvel at the signposts. The learnings and realizations that we are going to
encounter in our quest are very important. Were never more ourselves than
when we make the commitment that forms our part of faith.

Chapter 16: The Hound of Heaven


Simone Weil was called in many names. She had many nicknames
because of her personality. Some people call her the Red Virgin because of
her chastity and radicalism. She was also called the Martian because she
was unlike any other; she has nothing in common with other people. She
always received strong and paradoxical responses from her friends,
teachers, etc. Simon Weil lived a short, sad, and a misunderstood life. She
feels like shes a failure and a disappointment. But after her death, she was
declared as the greatest spiritual thinker. Simon Weil is a philosopher, and
activist, and a mystic. She has a huge desire in seeking the truth. Simon
Weil have encounters on her journey which she called contacts with
Catholicism that really counted. These encounters made her more eager in
her quest in finding the truth. She had one encounter where she really felt
Gods presence and it made her believe in God. She said Christ himself
came down and took possession of me. When she was still young, she did
not believe in God because she did not answer the questions about God
because for her, giving the wrong answers or wrong solutions, is the most
evil thing possible, and so she left it alone. After that encounter, she agreed
with Pascals explanation of the human search for meaning- You would not
look for me if you had not already found me. We find God only because God
finds us.
In the fourth stage on our quest for meaning, there is an
unmistakable awareness that although we start out searching, we end up
being discovered. We think were looking for something, but we find that
were already found by someone. (Page 187) Our quest for meaning is a
personal journey but Gods intervention while we are on our journey is very
important because we all need a guide. Without Gods intervention, we might
get lost on our quest for meaning. C.S. Lewis said that we should continue to
seek God with seriousness. In this stage, we need the complete change that

conversion brings and the complete turnaround of conversion that leads us


in the right direction. C.S. Lewis said that we should continue to seek God
with seriousness.
Chapter 17: Truth or Nothing
Kenneth Clark, the youngest ever director of National Gallery, was an
influential author and was one of the most admired, and envied men of his
generation. He was a fan of Henrik Ibsens Ghosts. Ghosts is a play that is
about the young artist Oswald Alving. Kenneth Clark watched it twice, once
when he was in college, and second time when he was viewing a production
at Londons National Theatre. He fainted in watching this play because of its
very tragic yet meaningful ending. Kenneth Clark, K as his friends call him, is
a very mysterious man. His friend, Graham Sutherland, tried to paint a
portrait of him but he eventually gave up on the portrait because Ks
expressions were changing constantly, and Sutherland cannot understand
what personality K is trying to convey. Kenneth Clarks childhood do not have
religious experiences or examples. His mother was scared of going to church
because it might touch her emotions. When K grew older, he went to the
Church of San Lorenzo and in there, he had a religious experience. He said
that he felt the finger of God touching him but he decisively did not respond
to it. Kenneth Clark died on May 1985 and an Irish priest said that he
confessed and he had been received in the church a week before he died.
Kenneth Clarks story can be connected to the fourth stage for the
quest of meaning. The truth may be pressing, conclusions may be
compelling, but theres no inevitability of faith and commitment even at this
point. (Page 198) In our quest, we have the choice to either to seek to
conform our desires to the truth, which leads us to conviction, or to seek to
conform the truth to our desires, which leads us to evasion. Danger point
as Nietzsche describes it, is the point when men realize that life has no

meaning. Another danger point is when seekers find out the truth and they
may not like it, and so they reject it.
As human beings, we are truth seekers and as fallen human beings,
we are truth twisters. We are truth seekers in the sense that we are having
this quest for our meaning, trying to find the truth and meaning of our lives.
But on the other hand, we are also truth twisters in a way that when we do
not like the truth that is being handed to us, we tend to reject it and we try
to change it according to our liking and expectations. The truth hurts and
that is why we try to refuse and reject these truths that we cannot fully
accept. But no matter how hurtful accepting the truth is, we must conform
to it.
Chapter 18: Entrepreneurs of Life
The end of the quest for meaning is the beginning of the journey of
faith. This is the last chapter of the book and this chapter basically tells us
what we have achieved and what we have learned during our quest for
meaning. This chapter tells us that all our success and our achievements
money, the perfect job, having a happy family, power would all be put to
waste if we do not satisfy out need and deeper longing for the truth and our
purpose. Finding the purpose of our life is very important for without it, we
do not know who or what we are living for. We are living a blind and
pretentious life without knowing our meaning. Even though our life is already
very perfect, we will still flunk and fail without finding the meaning of our
life.
There are three factors that have combined to fuel a search for
significance. First is that our search for our meaning is one of the most
intimate, personal, and at the same time the most meaningful issues that we
are experiencing. Second, our expectations of living and having a purposeful
and meaningful life has given a boost by the modern societys offer of

change everything that we do. And lastly, our fulfillment is opposed by the
fact that modern Western civilization is the very first to have no agreed-on
answer to the question of the purpose and meaning of life. The three
families of faith have different views of purpose. For the Eastern faith, they
believe that our desire for finding our purpose traps us in a world of illusion.
For the Western faith, they believe that we must create our own purpose,
instead of discovering it. And for the biblical faith, their belief is to follow the
call of the Creator God.
Answering and following the call of God is highest source of purpose in
this journey of finding the meaning of our lives. By doing this, we become
entrepreneurs of life. Gods calling means that he calls us to himself so that
everything that we are, everything we do, and everything that we have is
invested with a special devotion to his summons and service. Entrepreneurs
of life means that by answering the call of God, as entrepreneurs of life, we
use our talents to be fruitful and to bring more value to the world that we
are living.
Personal Response
I find the last sections of the book very meaningful since those are the
sections that are concluding our quest for meaning. In reading those last
sections, I realized that finding the purpose of our lives is very important
because this is what we long for since the day of our birth. All the success,
wealth, money, and power that we will have in the near future would be
useless if we do not satisfy this need and longing for the meaning of our
lives. This means that no matter what you achieve, your life would still have
a missing piece if you dont find the meaning of your life. I have also learned
that we need to learn how to accept the truth. We all know that the truth
really hurts and despite the pain and disappointment that we will have in
accepting this truth, we should be thankful that we knew the truth. Knowing

the truth, even if it hurts, is better than just hearing lies, lies, and more lies
just for us to satisfy the truth that we want. As human beings, we are truth
seekers and as fallen human beings, we are truth twisters. Responding to
the call of God, our Creator is the most important and meaningful lesson
that I have learned in reading the last sections of this book. God is our
Father, our Creator, our Savior and He should be respected. We should follow
his commands and respond to His call. By doing so, we can easily find the
meaning of our life.
This journey is a very long journey but I think it will all be worth it in
the end. All the sufferings, the hardships, and the challenges that we will be
facing as we continue this journey are very worth it because in the end, we
will be satisfying our longing our meaning and the purpose of why we are
living. Though this journey is not as easy as it seems, it will be very worth it.
Finding the meaning of our lives is one of the most rewarding experiences
that we will be having in this journey, that is our life.