This discussion is meant for a Christian audience–specifically those who believe in a personable and conscious God. If you don’t fall into that category, then we’ll discuss the nature and possible existence of God another day.
First let me start by saying that “independent” thought is a misnomer. Pure independence doesn’t exist for an individual human being, as I understand it.
So, let’s define independent thought as being, “the ability to make decisions by selective choice of influence.” In other words, the ability to decide what influences you will allow upon yourself as you make decisions, and what influences you will not (this also includes being aware of your influences).
Fact: It’s impossible for any human being to be completely independent in a thought process because an individual human being cannot create herself. As her individual origins were dependent on her parents, and their origins dependent upon theirs, it is impossible for that individual to ever be truly “independent” in anything.
Now, as I said above, this conversation is directed towards people who believe in a personable and conscious God, and I say this because I’m about to make a few leaps in logic which would normally accrue debate.
If we are constantly being bombarded by external influences of all types, and if we want to become independent in our thought process in order that our pursuits (for the purposes of this blog–our stories) can take a consistent and individual direction, then we must find a stabilizing point on which to focus ourselves.
This is because without one constant belief, core value, spiritual/intellectual/physical focal point, our life will become a painting without a subject; a story without a climax; a song without a theme.
Just as in each creative story we must know where we want to focus our attention, we must also know in our development of independent thought upon what value we want to develop.
Very well, let’s say that we’re agreed that in order to develop independent thought we must choose a core belief. How do we go about picking it?
If we want to become independent, then we must pick something that is entirely independent in nature.
Yet everything we know of in this universe and our collective human experience is influenced by and therefore dependent to any degree on its environment.
The conclusion as to what core value we must pick is obvious: God.
God, being the creator of the universe, is the only independent belief and value upon which we can focus in order to become independent.
In fact, if he is truly independent, then the more we “depend” on him, that is to say, build upon belief in him as a foundation, the more we independent we become.
Dependence on God=Independence
Complete Dependence on God=Complete Independence
Furthermore, if God exists and, as Christians believe, if all that he is and stands for is Truth, then it’s like that age old saying, “The truth will set you free.”
Now I wonder whether or not my philosophy professor would approve…;)