The essence of Christianity is man's free will before God.
Originally Posted by BlueWing
Uhhhh.....one of the major tenets of Catholicism is that reason is a gift from God, so using one's reason to formulate one's relationship with God is not contrary to faith. But as Pascal stated, a major goal of reason is to also acknolwedge its limits.
Yet how can one earnestly believe in something that coerces his thoughts into acceptance of a formula which has no regard for his thoughts or the inner being by and large?
By claiming that Catholicism is only about external enforcement, you clearly ignore the great lengths that the inner life has been explored within the Catholic tradition. Pascal was just one famous example of such. Same with Thomas Kempis, who actually wrote a treatise titled the Inner Life. Then what about mystics like St. John of the Cross with Dark Night of the Soul. St. Therese's "little path to Christ". St. Francis of Assisi. Then of course my name-sakes, Charles Peguy, who concentrated much on the importance of the inner life.
Then what about Leon Bloy, another Catholic writer. Here's the summary given by Frank O'Malley in "The Passion of Leon Bloy":
""Like the other scripituralized critics of modern civilization, Bloy was trying really, I suppose, to redeem the human personality from immersion in matter, to restore vitality of the interior light and love that had become a stereotype, to reverse the tendency to search for solutions of existence in terms of the external world rather than in the terms of the inward and spiritual. Bloy knew what Pascal meant when he said that the heart has its reasons that reason does not know. But this knowledge is not simply emotional: it reunites thought and feeling - and these we are always ready to divorce. This knowledge is, rather, intuitive, reaching reality more utterly and fully than knowledge by logic arranged in formula. The knowledge we speak of is that of the creative, whole, dynamized mind, the mind that is really free. And it is this kind of knowledge alone, knowledge inflamed by love, that permits what Berdyaev has termed an "extraordinary freedom of spirit, a prodigy of free faith, a spontaneous recognition of 'things not seen'." In other words, this is the knowledge that permits vision - the vision of God. This warm, desirous, centripetal knowledge Bloy possessed. His thought was indeed kindled in love, in personality- and personality, for Bloy, was the sacred achievement of vision."Then what about the immeasurable Catholic influence on the philosophy of Personalism, which concerns the importance of the human personality and inter-relationships with others in regards to the development of an authentic life. Then the Catholic Existentialism of Gabriel Marcel.
Oh yeah, can't forget St. Augustine, who was perhaps one of the first persons to address the inner life to any great extent with his book Confessions - the first autobiography ever written. From my own thread concerning Augustinian spirituality:
Seriously, I could go on endlessly about this.
"3. PRIMACY OF INTERIORITY
The beginning of our search and journey is from within, in our own subjectivity. We need to know ourselves first. We need to discover our needs, wants and fears. And the interior is also the place of fulfilment and completion. Therefore, the intrinsic is superior to the extrinsic, the mysterious to the “merely problematical”, reality to appearance, the soul to the body. Man in his interiority: this is the place of life and the place to quest God. “You are within me, more deeply than my deepest soul” (Confessions III, 6, 10)"