I found Dallas’s answers compelling, but even as a religious person myself, I was somewhat shocked that Dallas put so much stress on the teachings of Jesus as the foundation of the Good Life today. Dallas is a philosopher who has read thousands of books of all genres; certainly there are books of philosophy and psychology that touch on the same principles that would be easier for modern readers. “There is no other book or philosophical teaching that compares?” I asked.
Again, he answered my question with another question. “Nick, what has been the most influential speech in history?”
I was stumped. I was recalling several speeches from American history including MLK’s “I have a Dream” and JFK’s “Ask not what you country can do for you.” But, I knew these only touched a small slice of people in whole scheme of human history. I thought back to the Bible. “I guess it would have to be Jesus’ teachings.”
He said that I was correct, more specifically, the answer is the Sermon on the Mount. No other speech has had the same massive influence. Nearly every society of the Western world for the last 2,000 years has been impacted by its message and the actions it has inspired. This fact has helped him trust in the Bible to be a source of knowledge that guides him through life’s complicated paths. He believes that everyone, not just professors like himself, can be positively impacted by following its timeless truths.
Looking through a Philosophical Lens
Though Dallas’s ideas were more religious than most that I interviewed, I hope that they did not come across as if it were my attempt to preach on what faith you should ascribe to. What I was hoping to do with this entry is to show an answer to the Good Life question looking through a philosophical framework. I found it interesting that Dallas came to conclusion that life must have a spiritual component by examining it from his philosophical framework.
Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.
I know the power obedience has of making things easy which seem impossible.
–Teresa of Avila
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