Philosophy needs to be a required religion course for students

Photo by Ethan Winkler ’17 | Mr. Tom Mar proposes to his Philosophy class Feb. 8 that to acknowledge God is to acknowledge His existence. Philosophy teaches students to search for the truth and is vital to a whole education.

Ethan Winkler ’17

When the entire classroom was visibly stunned and baffled, I knew that this course was going to stick with me.

We all walked in that day, thinking we knew the answers to any question that could be thrown our way.

Only 15 minutes later, there we were, silently staring at Philosophy teacher Mr. Tom Mar after he made us all look like fools.

He just asked us what we thought we knew was real, and to all of our answers he had one question: How can you know that for sure?

Mr. Mar’s semester-long Philosophy course tends to immediately teach almost every student that walks in that you can’t believe anything without defending it.

We have grown up in a culture in which everyone is allowed to have their opinions with little backlash.

But, we are going to have to learn that, as an adult, we need to back up the thoughts that we have.

That’s one reason why Philosophy is so important, and why it should be a required religion course for Brophy students.

One of the first topics you can plan on learning during the course is logic.

While we all have a concept of what logic is, this class goes much more in-depth, showing you how to form arguments and present reasoning.

Whether you’re listening to lectures in class or looking at readings for homework, you slowly learn important techniques for critical thinking.

You’ll discover the writings and teachings of legendary philosophical figures such as Socrates, Aristotle and Plato.

An entire class period might be spent debating whether or not you live in “the Matrix.”  

What other courses can you take that will cover things like this? This subject stands out and is unparalleled to any other religious course at Brophy.

And in the case of using logic, critical thinking and many other topics, this class teaches you things that will benefit you greatly in the real world.

Another way this class is especially unique is how it’s not explicitly centered around God, at least on a day to day basis.

As a non-religious student at a Catholic school, there are some required religious courses that just don’t do much for me.

While some of these courses have provided me with priceless knowledge and information that I have used to form my own opinions, it is still an interesting experience to walk into a religion class that might not mention God once over the span of a class period.

God is brought up during the semester because Mr. Mar said he believes that God is an obvious answer to many major questions when using logic, but he stresses that we shouldn’t use God as a defense for our thinking early on in the semester so we can learn how “natural philosophy” works.

But I do still think this is a religious course.

It gives religious students of any culture and tradition the capabilities to defend the way of thinking they’ve been taught throughout their lives.

In other words, it can allow students to start thinking for themselves, helping them decide whether or not the religion they’re a part of is one they feel is true.

Required courses can start to feel repetitive, and Philosophy is a refreshing way for students to learn unique skills that they can use to build upon their belief in God or in whatever they believe in.

Looking at all of this, I find it crazy that Philosophy is not a required course for Brophy students.

I will use what I’ve learned in the class to justify my way of thinking and question others beliefs that don’t have backing, while possibly annoying some people on the way.

As Mr. Mar tells us throughout the semester, you aren’t questioning people enough until everyone hates you.