Initiating the Thought by Tyler Thayer
October 2, 2008, 9:35 am
Filed under: Philosophy, Thought Initiative

The Thought Initiative is a truly exciting concept, and my hopes are that the thoughts and questions posted every Thursday from here on out will spark interest and diligent thinking about the implications of scripture on our every day lives. Since this is the very first TI post, I thought it would be fitting that we start with the basic and most fundamental aspect of The Thought Initiative: thought.

More specifically I would like to discuss the two main arguments of thought. In the West, thought is often heavily rooted in the spoken word. While in the East, philosophical teachings say thought is found in silence. Secondly, if thought is rooted in words, is there power in words? If thought is found in silence, where could power be found?

One way to understand Western thought is to read western philosophy books. One of these would be Words, the autobiography of Jean-Paul Sartre. In his book, Sartre places the characterization of human life within the interactions between people, mainly built upon words. In western philosophy, thought was quite often tied directly to words because words give meaning to thought. Words have the ability to reveal different shades of meaning, and thus allow for complex thought. Socrates primarily used words and discussion as a way to uncover truth and attain higher thought. Socrates would be unsatisfied with a discussion if it did not enter into a higher level of thought characterized by carefully selected words.

The ancient Eastern philosophers had different ideas. Confucius says, “Hear much, but maintain silence.” In a more direct manner the Chinese Tao te Ching declares “Those who know don’t talk, those who talk don’t know.” Unlike the Western religions, much of the Eastern tradition holds that silence was the foundation of the created world. In the East, thought is found in silence, and silence is the root of all knowledge.

Scripture also has a lot to say about thought. Paul writes to the Corinthians that “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Here it can be seen that there is a lot of importance placed on thought, especially if we must take every thought captive in order to obey Christ.

As men, what does thought mean in our lives? What role do you give thought in your life? Do you take every thought captive and submit it to Christ? How do you do it, and what does it look like? What do you find yourself thinking about most often? Is there power in words? Which is biblical: words or silence?


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