Becoming a Saint: The Practical Psychology of Sanctity [Peter Kreeft]

Becoming a Saint: The Practical Psychology of Sanctity [Peter Kreeft]

[inspiring music]>>Thank you all for coming. And thank Sandals Church
for your hospitality. But I don’t really know
why you invited me to come to talk about sanctity. What do I know about that? My only plea is that those
who live in the valley can see and appreciate the mountain better than those who live
halfway up the mountain. [audience laughing] But then Jesus in effect
divided all of mankind into two kinds of people, saints who know that they’re sinners and sinners who think that they’re saints. [audience laughing] Like pharisees and pop psychologists. My favorite philosopher,
Socrates, did something similar on the intellectual level. He divided all of mankind
into fools who think that they’re wise and the wise
who know that they’re fools. Well, I am certainly not
an expert on sanctity. In fact, I think that there
are no experts on sanctity. So my first question is, why is that so? I take a leaf from one of
my favorite philosophers, Gabriel Marcel. His most famous and enduring idea is the distinction between
two kinds of questions, especially philosophical questions. It’s an answer to the
question, how come philosophers like scientists solve
some of their questions and make at least some progress. And on some of the questions, they don’t. That’s a question that
worried Rene Descartes, the founder of modern philosophy at the beginning of his landmark book, a Discourse on Method. He says since reason is
equal in all mankind, if we only use the right method, we should be able to come
to the same conclusions and overcome philosophical
differences once and for all as the sciences are
doing, even in his day. Why has that not happened? Why are philosophers still
just as much in disagreement? Why are theologians just
as much in disagreement now as they ever were? Unlike each of the sciences? Well Marcel’s answer is that
some questions are problems and some are mysteries. And that doesn’t mean
simply that some questions can be solved and some questions can’t. Or that some questions can be defined and clarified very easily
and some questions can’t. It’s deeper than that. Why are some questions not
able to be finally resolved to everybody’s satisfaction? For instance, psychologists can say a lot about the process of falling in love. But they cannot explain or
predict why Romeo will fall in love with Juliet. Why did Dante fall in love with Beatrice? Nobody expected that. That’s like the Red
Sox World Championship. [audience laughing] It’s almost miraculous. Beatrice was plain Jane. Dante saw her everyday under his window, running errands for her father
who was a cloth merchant. And one day he simply saw her differently. What was the cause of that? Was it a literal miracle? Did the sky part and a bolt
of lightning enter his brain? No. But was it predictable? No, it wasn’t. Falling in love. That’s a very strange thing. There are aspects of it that
psychology can tell you about. Patterning from parents, from friends, from siblings, chemistry. But despite that, you can’t predict it. That would be like predicting
what Shakespeare’s gonna say in Hamlet from an exhaustive
knowledge of the alphabet. Here’s another question that
philosophers have never solved. The problem of evil. Why is there evil? My question is not how can
you reconcile the existence of evil with a good God. There are very good answers to that. But why is there evil at all? What motivates evil? I ask myself that question. And even when I look at my
own most intimate experience, I don’t understand myself. I identify very much
with Paul in Roman seven. He said, I don’t
understand my own behavior. The goods that I want to do, I don’t do. And the evil that I don’t
want to do, that’s what I do. Every moral choice we
ever make is a choice that God offers to us because
He’s given us free will. And you can use this
image for that choice. God imagined him as having two hands, a right hand and a left hand. In His right hand is
obedience to his will. In His left hand is disobedience. And since we have free will,
we can always say yes or no. God is gentleman. The one thing that God cannot
do is rape is a human soul. He can seduce it, He can make love it but He will not rape, He will not force. Now, every time we have
chosen His right hand, we receive joy. Real joy, deep down joy,
permanent joy, lasting joy. Deep satisfying joy, in the long run. Every time we have chosen His left hand, we have found misery. So, the next choice that He offers us, will you have the secret of
joy which is my will be done. Or will you have the secret of misery which is my will be done. C.S. Lewis says that shattering
line in the Great Divorce. There are only two kinds
of people in the end. Those who say to God, thy will be done. And those to whom God
says, my will be done. All right, we know that every
single time we’ve chosen the right hand, we found joy. And every time we’ve chosen
the left hand, we found misery. So, why do we sin? Why do we say, gee God,
that’s a tough one. Gee, I’m tempted, you know. I know I shouldn’t choose the left hand but let me try it, maybe
it’ll work this time. Einstein defined insanity
as doing the same thing over and over again and
expecting a different result the next time. We’re all insane. [audience laughing] The human race is insane. That’s empirical proof of original sin. Now why? It’s a mystery, we’re nuts. Insanity isn’t rational. By definition, it isn’t rational. So philosophers will never
solve the problem of evil. But if they won’t solve
the problem of evil, they won’t solve the
problem of good either. At least in its supreme form, sanctity, the best and the holiest among us. Why did they choose that? Why did they choose more
good than most of us? How can you explain that? Well, Marcel says the
difference between a problem and a mystery is that a
problem can be objectified. A mystery cannot. We cannot solve the problem of evil because we are the problem of evil. He says, a mystery is a
problem that encroaches upon its own data,
invading them as it were and transcending that dualism
between subject and object which is the heritage of Descartes and that haunts the whole modern mind. If it’s out there, you can use
the scientific method on it. In so far as it’s in here, you can’t because in here means the self, the I. Science analyzes and you
have to analyze the complex into the simple and science does a wonderful job of that especially when they use mathematics which is the prime tool of analysis. But the I is the skinniest
word in the language. It has no parts. You have no parts. Oh, you have a body and a soul
but the soul has no parts. It has powers, faculties. It doesn’t have parts, it’s one. You can’t cut your soul in half. You don’t lose a part of your
soul when you get a haircut. The I is simply I, it’s incapable of analysis. So the fundamental mystery
is that little word I which is the image of God because God’s self-revealed name, the one time God named Himself rather than letting us name Him
and when we name Him, we named Him in ways relative to ourself. Creator, Redeemer, Lord, Father, God. He’s not his own God. He’s not his own redeemer. What is he in Himself? Well no religious Jew will
ever answer that question because the answer is the
word that God alone can utter. I am. The word that came from
the burning bush to Moses. And the other word, I
can objectify, Herman. Who’s Herman? An object, third person. But I, I can’t say
there’s I, third person. I can’t get out of my I. So whatever has the I essentially in it is a mystery rather than a problem. This I think is why reductive
materialism is so popular among the scientific elite. I remember having a long
discussion with a philosopher at MIT many, many years ago about whether there was such
a thing as a human self. He was a Humean. David Hume said there are no substances and therefore there is
no substantial self. There’s just thoughts
and feelings that happen to occur together in time and space. And he believed that. And I was trying to
argue calm and sensibly because he was a very intelligent man that at least the word I was meaningful. He said it wasn’t. All words referring to human consciousness were strictly meaningless. It was just a useful
convention that we use them and we went at it for three or four hours. And we made absolutely
no progress whatsoever. And I was appalled. I said surely we should be
able to understand each other but I think after those
three or four hours we understood other even less. His last words are I still
haven’t the faintest glimmering of an idea what you and
philosophers like you mean by the word I. Well, that reduces
everything to a problem. And there’s a great temptation to do that. Because if we can reduce
things to a problem, we can conquer them. We can solve them, we can predict
them, we can control them. And that’s what science is very good at. And you want to expand
what you’re very good at. And you don’t want to expand
what you’re not very good at. But what you’re not very good at is being that perfect I. I think Marcel’s distinction
between problem and mystery explains why of the three
persons of the holy trinity, the Holy Spirit is the most mysterious. As C.S. Lewis puts it
in Mere Christianity, which I’ve come to realize
is a much profounder theological book than it seems. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s also not profound. The Bible is both. He says, God the father is the being that transcends yourself to whom you pray and God the son is the
being that bridges the gap between you and God, the
being along whom you pray. But the Holy Spirit is the
one inside you and behind you that’s prompting you to pray. And just as you don’t see
the sun when it’s behind you when casting a shadow, you don’t see the Holy Spirit. In a very over simplified way, you could summarize all
of salvation history in three stages. In the Old Testament, God
reveals Himself as the God above us that transcends us. God the Father. In the New Testament, because of His love and love seeks intimacy, He attains the intimacy
of becoming one of us. Christ, holy man, as well
as holy God, our brother. Like us in all things but sin. But that’s not enough. When he says to His disciples, it’s good for you that I go away because if I don’t go away,
I won’t send the Holy Spirit. And that’s much better. Better to have the Holy
Spirit here than Jesus here. We still don’t believe that. If you could advertise
that Jesus Christ himself, literally, in person, visibly would appear at Sandals Church tonight,
you’d get millions of people. You’d get people trampling to come. But Jesus himself says
that’s not so great. It’s much better what you have. Why? Why is it better that He goes away? By the ascension and
sends the Holy Spirit? Because the Holy Spirit is inside you. Not just outside you and not
just beside you but inside you. That’s a maximum intimacy. It’s like being haunted. It’s like being possessed but not by a demon. But you see you can’t objectify that. Well, this very distinction
between problem and mystery which I think is crucial, raises a great question
for you psychologists. Does that mean psychology
can’t be a science? In so far as phycology is
the study of the human psyche which if not the whole self is certainly at the center of the self. It seems like that’s the one
thing you can’t objectify but science has to objectify. So is all of psychology a fake science? No less a thinker than C.S. Lewis at least suggests something like that, especially in the novel,
That Hideous Strength, where one of his sympathetic characters, Hingest, the martyred
chemist who gets murdered by the N.I.C.E. is
having a brief discussion with Mark Studdock, the
confused protagonist, and he says, I joined this
because I thought it had something to do with science, but I found out that it doesn’t. And mark says, oh yes it does. In fact, I’m a part of it. I’m a sociologist. And Hingest says, sociologist,
I’m talking about science. There’s no such thing as
the science of sociology. Why? Well, sociology is about people. You can’t know people scientifically. You can only get to know them. Now, I think Lewis was
pointing to a problem there but in so far as his
advocating the solution, I think he’s wrong. Sociology is a science and
there can be unsociologist. And there can be unpsychologist. You can study human beings, either individually or collectively. And you can study certainly human behavior individually and collectively. And we’ve learned a lot
from those sciences. But how’s that possible? If they deal with the human self and the self is a
non-objectionable subject? Well I think Lewis on to something. In so far as what you’re
dealing with is subjective and not objectifiable, you can’t deal with it
by the scientific method. You have to deal with it by another kind of knowing
entirely, intuitive knowing. Most languages have distinctions
that English doesn’t have especially in important
words like to know. In German, there’s kennen and wissen. In French, there’s connaitre and savoir. Wissenschaft is science, The savant is someone who has
savior, expertise knowledge. Can you be an expert in this? Well, if it’s a problem,
if it’s objectifiable, yes, there are experts in it. But there are some things that
you can know only by kennen, my acquaintance not by description. Imagine you have two friends, one of them is very simple minded not very educated, not very
bright but loves you so dearly that they would instantly die
for you without a thought. The other is the world’s
greatest psychologist, brilliant scientist, good
honest open-minded person. But doesn’t love you,
doesn’t care about you. But is interested in
using you as a guinea pig. And he wants to interview
you an hour a day, five days a week for the next 10 years. And he’s gonna write a
5000 page tome based on you as his main case study. So he knows every in and
out of your personality. He knows a 1000 times more
than your friend does. Now, who knows you the best? Who knows you? Your friend. No contest. On the other hand, who
knows the most about you. Obviously the psychologist. See, two kinds of knowing. So there are limits to
psychology and sociology which there are not to
the natural sciences. When you look at a stone, the stone doesn’t say,
I’m gonna hide from you. When you look at a fly, the fly tries to hide from you. And you might try to swat
it and it flies away. But you can outwit it. And you can figure out why it flies away. When you try to tame a dog, it’s a little more complicated. The dog might not trust you. And you have to somehow get its trust. But there are dog whisperers who can almost infallibly
overcome that problem. There are no human
whisperers that can over come the problem of mistrust, either horizontally or vertically. Not even the Holy Spirit himself, can without overcoming and
denying human free will, infallibly guarantee that
his whisperers are going to be answered by a yes rather than a no. That’s why there are
essential limits to psychology and evening sociology. Well then what can psychology do? Specifically what can
modern psychology do? Well it can do a lot of things that ancient psychology can’t do. It’s much more sophisticated. It’s much more scientific. We have much more data. And in philosophy as in science, I think the theory has
to be tested by the data. It’s just the data are much more complex. So certainly, we’ve made
enormous progress since the days of Aristotle or even Aquinas. On the other hand, there’s something that we can learn better from the ancients than from the moderns even in these sciences because they are though
not nearly as much in touch with the problem aspects, usually more in touch
with the mystery aspects. We don’t speak in ordinary
language of modern wisdom. We speak in ancient wisdom very easily. We speak of modern knowledge. And that’s the kind of Freudian slip. That’s the unconscious
language use that shows that we really believe that
although we can’t learn that much knowledge from the ancients, we can learn a lot of wisdom. Ah yes, but, if you wanna be empirical, if you wanna learn from
the data of experience, you prefer the modern right? No, I don’t even think that’s true. I think the ancients have
one compensating advantage even in the realm of the empirical. If you mean by empirical,
not merely the kind of sense experiences that
can show themselves equally to an impersonal instrument
like a camera or a spectrograph or to a human being. But you mean rather everything that a human being directly experiences. William James, one of my
favorite philosophers, calls himself a radical empiricist. Now he’s not a materialist at all. Why, because he’s a radical empiricist. He’s not an ideological
empiricist who has the assumption that anything that doesn’t appear to the five senses is unreal. That’s why even though he
was a life long agnostic, he wrote a fascinating very
useful and open minded book called the Varieties of
Religious Experience. And he was fascinated
with religious mysticism. And he never said it’s all fake. Because he’s a true empiricist. The other equally famous
American pragmatist, John Duey, was not nearly
as empirical as James. He was ideologically
atheist and materialist. Or at least ideologically agnostic. James is an agnostic too but
he was a practical agnostic. It’s like two different kinds of skeptics. Socrates is a practical skeptic. But Montane is a theoretical skeptic. A practical skeptic is someone
who practices the method of questioning everything
hoping to find the truth at the end. That’s quite different
than a dogmatic skeptic who says that is the end. There is no truth which of
course is self-contradictory. It’s true that there is no truth. And no matter how you nuance that, it always comes out as
a self-contradiction. It’s only probably that
truth is only probable or it’s subjective that
truth is subjective or it’s absolute that
there are no absolutes or it’s universal that
nothing is universal. You can’t hold that. Okay, back to Marcel’s
distinction between problem and mystery. Marcel made one of the most astounding and challenging statement I have ever read in any philosopher. And I’m sure 75% of
philosophers writing in America when they read that say,
this is absolute nonsense. This is fuzzy-headed,
muddled headed thinking. He says that, I can’t remember his exact words. It’s in the essay on
the ontological mystery. But he says at the end that he thinks that the most fruitful and profound avenue to understanding being, to
understanding metaphysics, to understanding ontology, is the study of sanctity. What? Metaphysic, sanctity? Why does he connect those
two things together? Well, there are two premises
that reveal the connection. Put them together and
you get this conclusion. Premise number one is
something that Marcel shares with Heideger and a number of
other continental philosophers namely that if you want
to understanding being, understand human being. Understand the being of things in nature is understanding a different kind of being than understanding your own being. Things in nature are
real and you are real. But they’re real in different ways. And understanding the things in nature are like reading a book. But understanding your own
being is like reading a letter that’s addressed to you,
written by yourself. It’s more intimate, more inside. You get more information that way. So, maybe in order to
understand being itself, we should start not simply
with the beings in nature that can lead you so far. But maybe we should try
understanding our own being. Human existence. All right, that’s one premise. That’s a fruitful path at least. Second premise, how best to
understand human existence. How best to understand the I. Well, you could try to understand
it by a kind of average or you could understand
it in its most problematic and defective forms or you could try to understand
it in its most perfect form. When you study anatomy, do
you start by studying diseases or do you start by studying
the healthy human body? Is health defined by diseases or are diseases defined by health? The second of course. Well, why not apply the same to the soul as you do to the body? Why not understand diseased human beings by healthy human beings? Well, the answer to that
question is very simple because there are no healthy human beings. We’re all diseases, it’s true. They say to the first to
confess to their sinners but they’re not as diseased
as the rest of them, that’s what makes them saints. So at least relatively, you understand that the more diseased by the less diseased, not vice versa. That’s a radical notion
in modern psychology. Very few if any
non-Christian psychologists see human nature as fallen, as abnormal. They all take it as normal. They all take what we know
as Christians as diseased as if it is the norm. And then they see saints as weird. And as not conforming to the norm. This is why Peter Jackson
spoiled the greatest book of the 20th century. It’s a great movie. And if you never read
the Lord of the Rings, you’ll still love his movie. But if you read the Lord of the Rings, and you love it and you understand it, you’ll be outraged at the fact that almost every single character is at least subtly if not overtly changed to a more diseased character, a more conflicted character, a much more cynical character. Obviously example is Faramir, the great medieval knight, a hero of honor, and of almost impossibly heroic virtue who becomes a suspicious
kidnapper of the hobbits. Sam of all people, almost the relationship between Frodo and Sam which is pure friendship almost breaks at the steps of Cirith Ungol
because of Gollum as if evil’s almost more powerful than good. And most people say, well sure, that’s realistic, that’s
the way people are. These old epics that
Tolkien trying to revive are worthless because they give you impossibly perfect ideals,
platonic archetypes. Well that’s their whole purpose. If you want to understand
what a real kind is, look at Aragorn, if you want to understand
what a real wizard, look at Gandalf. If you want to understand
what a real friend is, look at Sam. They’re not perfect but they’re heroes. The very idea of heroism
is something that I think Hollywood barely understands. But we understand it. We have a hero. We have a perfect hero. A literal, incarnate perfect hero. His name is Jesus Christ. And Christ reveals to
us not only who God is, Christ reveals to us who man is. There are two equally important parts to this specifically
Christian dogma about Christ and nobody else believes
this except Christians. Christ is perfect God and
Christ is perfect man. Augustine in his soliloquies
at one point imagine God and himself in a conversation. And he imagines God asking him, Augustine, you’re a curious fellow,
you’re a philosopher. You want to know a lot of things. How many questions you want answered. And Augustine says, just two. Just two says God, yeah. If you give me complete
answers to these two questions, I’ll be satisfied. What are they? Augustine says, who are you and who am I? [audience laughing] That’s pretty wise ’cause those are the only two persons that you can never, ever
avoid for a single second in time or in eternity. Well Christ is the answer
to both of those questions. Perfect God and perfect man. And instead of judging him
in relation to the supposedly empirical facts of who
we are and how we behave, suppose we did the opposite, suppose we judged ourselves
in relation to him which is what Christians do. Therefore there is an enormous gap between Christian psychology
and non-Christian psychology. A gap as radical as a gap would be, if some astronomers believed that before a certain point in
the history of our universe, the fundamental laws of physics
were radically different. And what we have now is
fallen gravity instead of real gravity. And fallen electromagnetic attraction. Maybe there were the three
forces instead of two and one was removed. So if the universe is
essentially bent and crooked, that would be a radically
different physics and all the physics say you’re crazy. Well, that’s in effect
what secular psychologists say to Christians who measure
and judge human behavior by the standard as Jesus Christ. All right, back to Marcel’s statement that to understand human
persons, understand the saints. To understand anything, you understand it in its state of perfection. You don’t understand oak
tress in light of acorns, you understand acorns
in light of oak tress. You don’t understand
people in light of babies, they’re just bigger babies. We are big babies, we’re
not just big babies though. You understand babies in
light of human beings. Why does an unborn baby have feet? It doesn’t need feet in the womb. Why does he have a nose? He doesn’t need a nose in the womb. He doesn’t breath air through his nose. He’s practicing. The only answer to the
question why he’s developing those organs is in terms of his future, in terms of his purpose, his end. His teleology. Even though teleology doesn’t work in the physical sciences, I’m not even sure it doesn’t. But the consensus seems
to be that it doesn’t. It certainly is not only
workable but necessary in the psychology sciences. So, the question, what
is the complete perfect, healthy human being? What is our end? That’s crucial for our
understanding who we are now. In other words, if sanctity
is the meaning of life, then we can only understand ourselves by understanding the saints, who are closer to this than we are. But is it? Jesus says it is. Huh? Doesn’t Jesus just say,
try a little harder? Uh-uh, nope, nothing like that. Nothing like that, sorry. What does he say? He says, you must not
just ought to or should, you must be perfect as my
father in heaven is perfect. Oh come on, he didn’t really say that. Oh, well you don’t like that? Throw that part out of the Bible and you might as well through
everything else out too, whenever you want to. But, but yeah? We can’t do that precisely. Hmm. But we have to. Precisely, that’s a koan puzzle. That’s an unsolvable puzzle. Yes, that’s life’s primary puzzle. We have to do and be that
which we cannot do and be. That’s why we need a savior. So the meaning of life
remains to be a saint. Jesus says so. Even Camus, the atheist knew that. He was haunted by the saints all his life. Never believed in God. He remained an atheist or at
least an agnostic all his life. But he was haunted by the saints. And one of the most
compelling literary characters in modern fiction, I think, is Camus’ alter ego,
Dr. Rue, in the plague. Like Camus himself, Rue is an atheist. He finds himself in Algeria,
a plague breaks out, he’s the only one that
can heal the people. And thousands are dying in horrible pain. And the doctor has a comfortable family and a comfortable practice back in France and everybody expects
him to go back to France and he doesn’t. Why? He says because I know the
meaning of life is to be a saint. I don’t believe in God
but I believe in sanctity. Problem is, the doctor ruminates, I can’t understand how you
can be a saint without God. So I’ve got these three ideas, one of which must be false. And I can’t figure out which one. Number one, the meaning
of life is to be a saint. Number two, there is no God. Number three, you can’t
be a saint without God. Now, that is a wonderful
problem for an atheist to have. If Camus had lived a little longer, he would have been one of the
greatest Christian writers in history, he would have
been a new Dostoevsky. I’m very sympathetic to unhappy atheists. Ask your atheists, are
you happy or unhappy? If he’s happy, either slap him in the face or leave him alone. He’s not going anywhere. But if he’s unhappy, talk to him. He’s on the way. Leon Bloi, the 19th century
French Catholic playwright snuck this line into almost of his plays. There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint. But don’t most of us both
Protestants and Catholics, think of the saints as
unusual and exceptional? Is sanctity for everybody? Well did Jesus preach the
Sermon on the Mountain only to a few people? Did he put a post script on it? This is for clergy only? No. Hmm. Well, even so, you’ve got to
say that some people can do it and some people can’t right? well, who designed people? Were there two Gods that designed people? One designed the people
that could become saints and the other one designed
the people that couldn’t? Or did just one God design all people and human nature as such? Well, yeah. Well therefore you can’t be a nominalist. You can’t say only individuals count, there’s no universals. If human nature is not a universal, you may as well be a racist. And split the humans into different races. It may not be Arians and Jews, it might be saints and
sinners but nothing in common? Impossible. All right, so sanctity is for everybody. That means you can do it. Because ought implies can. You can’t possibly have a moral
obligation to do something that is absolutely impossible at any time and in all circumstances for you to do. But you’re not doing it. Yeah, that’s why you feel guilty. I love that line in William Law’s Serious Call to the Devout Life. He says, if you will
consult your own heart and utter honesty, and ask yourself the
question, why am I not as holy as the primitive Christians? You must come up with the honest answer. Because you do not holy want to be. That’s very unflattering but
it’s also very encouraging. What is sanctity? I’ve been talking a lot
about it without defining it. Ontologically, it’s God likeness. It’s being like God in your being and therefore in your
acting and in your desiring. It’s especially in your desiring, to obey the greatest commandment, to love God with your whole heart and soul and mind and strength. We all love God a little bit. We all love God with part of ourselves. But not the whole. We have a divided will. Augustine discovered that
profoundly in the confessions. At the very moment of his conversion. Why was he holding back? We’re split. The word sin has a lot of meanings, one of them is of course
simply disobeying God’s law and God’s will but another
is, the separation, the [speaks foreign language], it’s the German word from the
verb [speaks foreign language] which means to separate, to alienate, to cut into two parts. Separation not just of the self from God, but also the self from the self. I am not what I will to be. Buddha was who is profound
psychologist discovered that fact, that we’re
alienated, that we’re broken. He called that Dukkha. The word I’m told means
a stick that’s broken or an axle that’s broken
or a limb that’s broken or a bone that’s out of its socket. We’re broken because we
desire to be what we’re not. We are one thing and what we
want to be is something else. And that’s a profound diagnosis but I think Buddha has
exactly the wrong cure. He says stop desiring anything. No, that’s spiritual euthanasia. That’s killing the patient
to cure the disease. All right so, to be a
saint is to be like God. That’s the ontological
answer to the question, how to define the term. The phenomenal logical answer
is much more complicated. What does it feel like. All of us are a mixture
of saint and sinner. There’s a little good in the worst of us, a little bad in the best of us. So it all becomes the best of us to speak out of the worst of us. So, the description of the
details of those two wills, those two movements that we
all find within ourselves, what Paul calls Adam and Christ, the old man and the new man. That’s a very fruitful area
for Christian psychologists and the method is in a broad
sense, phenomenal logical. You just look at the
appearances and say exactly what you experience at the time without judging it with categories. And then, there’s also
an empirical description of the saints. Phenomenology tells you what it feels like and empiricism tells
you what it looks like. Because the model for
phenomenology is feeling and the model for empiricism is seeing. And seeing is much more
objective and much more clear. And we need a lot of empirical
data about the saints. I’m surprised that there isn’t more. Both inside and outside the church. If all psychologist
were like Williams James we’d have a lot of
unbelievers writing the lives of the saints. They’d be fascinated with them. But even most Christians
don’t pay much attention to them anymore. What a shame. On a purely practical
level, there’s no better way of teaching than by concrete example. And here are our heroes,
our concrete examples. And of course, there are
disagreements about them. But there’s massive agreement. There’s no fundamental disagreement for instance between
Catholics and Protestants about who are saints. I never met a Protestant who said, Mother Teresa and Francis of
Assisi are both wicked people. Or any Catholic who knew people like Charles Wesley, John Wesley, Hudson Taylor and called them sinners instead of saints. So there’s a lot of agreed
empirical data out there. When we define sanctity though, it’s very important to separate it from what’s a very popular
confusion, namely spirituality. That’s a very dangerous word. It can be used correctly but very often, it’s used incorrectly. When you go to bookstores, you’ll often find two different sections. One on religion and one on spirituality. And that’s accurate. They’re very different. You find many people saying,
oh, I’m not religious but I’m spiritual. What does that mean? Well it means that some of you are in a real relationship to God. That’s what religion means, relationship, from religio or religare,
binding relationship. Yoking or binding. But some of you, on the other
hand, are agnostic heretics. And you think of your soul as a perfume, which you must purify
so that it can ascend into the nostrils of
receptive, smiling heaven. That’s not religion. That’s something quite different. There’s nothing particularly
fine about being spiritual. The most evil being in all reality is totally and perfectly spiritual, and he’s called the devil. On the other hand, every
single bit of matter in the universe is good
because God created it and called it good. Buddha was a very spiritual person, very profound person, but
a very spiritual person. Gave his disciples a mode of salvation or deliverance from suffering. Namely his noble, eight fold path, the culmination of the four noble truths. And he shared his mind. He said, this is my mind. Follow that and you will be saved by becoming spiritual. Jesus saved us by giving us His body. Not just His mind. It’s the blood of Christ that saves us. Not the philosophy. So for a Christian, sanctity
doesn’t means spirituality. It’s a relationship. It’s a religious, binding relationship. It’s a free, but
non-negotiable relationship. It’s an absolute
relationship to the absolute. What is that relationship
in a single word? Well, I’m going to shock some of you by saying that the best
word that I can think of for that relationship in a single word comes from another religion, which I think is deeply compromised. The word is Islam. It has two meanings. First of all, it’s cognate
to the word, shalom which means peace in the deepest sense. The peace that Christ promised to bring. Not as the world brings, as He brings. The world brings peace with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Christ brings peace with
God, self, and neighbor. But that peace comes through Islam, which means total surrender. Total submission. That’s the heart of all true religion. The most important petition
in the Lord’s prayer is thy will be done. If you say that with your
whole heart and soul, then by definition,
that makes you a saint. So sanctity is more than spirituality. It’s even more than virtue. The moral virtues are very important, and if you don’t have
them it’s much less likely that you’ll be a saint. But just because you’re virtuous doesn’t necessarily mean
that you’re a saint. The Pharisees had a lot of virtues. They were far from saints. St. Paul, before his conversion,
had a lot of virtues. He was honorable, he was
honest, he was passionate. I love that passage in
Philippians where he goes through all of his worldly pluses. I was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, as to the law, blameless. I was a Roman citizen. I studied under the feed of Gamalial, the greatest Rabbi of the first century. He was called the light of Israel. Yet all of these things,
compared with the knowledge of Jesus Christ I call, and
then there’s a wonderful word, which nobody since the King James Bible dared to translate literally. The word in Greek is scubala. It’s a four letter word
and it begins with S. Dung was the Elizabethen word for it. It’s deliberately shocking. Even the life of moral
virtue, important as it is, compared with the life of Christ is dung. So a saint is not just a virtuous man. He’s a hero. To be a hero you have to
go beyond the call of duty. You have a duty to
practice all the virtues. You have a duty to
cultivate all the virtues. You have a duty to make your own character a virtuous character. That’s your duty, everybody’s duty. But a hero goes beyond the call of duty. Sanctity also goes beyond
virtue in another way. It gives you a kind of ecstasy. The word comes from ecstasis, which means standing outside yourself. What does that mean? Well for one thing it
means unselfconsciousness. Self consciousness ruins good things. It also ruins bad things. So when you are in a bad state, it’s good to be self conscious. Oh look, I am now succumbing
to lust, to envy, to anger. But when you’re doing something good, self consciousness ruins that too. Oh look, I am having a
religious experience. How interesting, I think I’ll write a doctor’s thesis on it. The devil wants you to be self
conscious when you’re good, but not when you’re bad. God wants the opposite
because He wants you to put a thermometer in
your mouth when you’re sick, but not when you’re well. So the saints are not always mystics, but they always have some kind of standing outside themselves, not only that they’re not
willing their own will, but God’s will and not only that they’re more conscious of God than
they are of themselves. They take their temperature
now and then too. But that they identify with
God more than themselves. What does that mean, identify with? It means you find your identity in. A saint is someone who cannot imagine, cannot conceive going to heaven and finding out that there’s no God. You’re there and you’re
fine, but there’s no God. Well a saint would say, then
there’s nothing left of me, nothing at all. It’s not that 10% of me
is mine and 90% is God’s. 100% is God’s, so there’s
nothing left here. That’s why Jesus says you
have to die before you die. The grain of wheat has
to fall into the ground and die in order to grow. Most people, especially Americans, want religion to add
something to their lives. Christ wants religion to
kill something in your life. That old man, that egotism,
that my will be done. Most people want religion,
either because it’s gonna give them pleasure or because
it’s gonna give them happiness which is deeper. But they don’t realize that what God wants is something beyond that. Joy. Joy is as much deeper than happiness as happiness is deeper than pleasure, because joy is always a surprise. Joy never is simply the
satisfaction of our desires as happiness is. And that’s why joy doesn’t get boring. And that’s why heaven’s
not gonna be boring. I had a crisis of faith
when I was a teenager. I didn’t wanna go to heaven. I thought it was gonna be boring. I thought it was an
eternal church service, and frankly, I was bored
at church services. [audience laughing] And then my father, who
was a wise and holy man, pointed out to me that there’s a verse in the book of Revelation that says, there are no churches,
no temples in heaven because God’s there. I said, okay. I’ll go. [audience laughing] Sanctity is practical. It’s winsome, it will work. It will win the world. Our world is dying. There’s a patient on the hospital table and he’s in critical case. And he’s dying. And he hasn’t flat lined yet, but he’s moving there. And the patient is mankind. We’ve been in that situation
in one way or another ever since a certain incident with a snake and an apple in a garden. But the crisis is much greater today because we’re in a
de-Christianized culture, a divorce culture. That is we’re increasingly
divorcing ourselves from God. And a divorcee is not just a virgin. So we’re not Pagans, it
would be nice if we were. People complain the world
is going back to Paganism. I said, oh well what a brave vision. That would be wonderful. Because a Pagan is eminently convertible. Now we’re in desperate states. What can save our miserable world? What can save Western Civilization. No civilization in human
history has ever survived without strong and stable families. None. And the four longest lasting cultures have all had a very high
regard for the family. Jewish culture, Confusion
culture, Muslim culture, and the culture of Rome. Especially the Republic. These are the fundamental
building blocks of any society. And these building blocks are suddenly and radically collapsing. It’s inevitable that the
whole building will collapse unless that’s restored. How? Saints. Saints save civilization. That’s not their fundamental
purpose, but they do. How many saints? Well we don’t know. There’s a Jewish legend that says at each time in human
history God looks down and asks how many saints are there? And the answer is 12. So He says, okay, I
won’t destroy the world. But if the number goes down to 11, He will destroy the world. Now the 12th saint has just died. Somebody’s gotta take his place. Will it be you? Maybe if it’s not you,
it won’t be anybody. So maybe the survival of
the world depends on you. And that’s addressed to everybody. It’s a universal call. There’s no excuse. So please be a saint,
please save the world. I’m supposed to go on for 45 minutes. I have five minutes more, good. I’ll give you one more point. And then we’ll have the really interesting stuff, questions. Last question is sanctity
specifically Christian or are there non-Christian saints too? Well that’s a more complicated
question than it seems because we can see great
saints in other religions. Saint Phillip Neary, who
was a very good person by anybody’s standards. You don’t have to believe
this literally happened, it might be just a myth,
but it’s a useful one. Was preaching in a cathedral once. And he was famous and everybody
came to hear him preach because everybody said,
oh this man is a saint. And he used to hear in
his mind, actual words from the Holy Spirit. And he was about to preach
when the Holy Spirit said to him, I want to
show you the most saintly person in this room. And St. Phillip Neary was very afraid that the Holy Spirit would
point himself out to him. And he was saintly enough to realize that he was still proud and he didn’t want that finger to point to him. And the Holy Spirit said, no
don’t worry, it’s not you. He said, okay, show me. And here was a little old
scrub woman in the front row. But she was not a
Christian, she was a Muslim. And the saint said to the Holy Spirit, but Lord, she is a heretic. And the Lord says, yes that’s true, but she loves me more than even you do. It’s possible. We find saints everywhere. What’s happening there? Well, ontologically in objective fact, what’s happening is that the grace of God, mediated through Jesus Christ, which is the only way it comes unless Christ Himself is a liar. No man can come to the father but by me. No one has seen the
father except through me. The grace of Jesus Christ is anonymously entering into that life. And I think we have to
respect that and seek that out and learn from that. And that shouldn’t be a surprise because here is an apparently
very “liberal” idea, namely that other religions
also produce great saints and we should listen to them. And learn from them. That’s based on a very
“conservative” idea. In fact, the essential
idea of conservative or traditional Biblical Christianity, namely that Jesus Christ is not just the ideal human being, but
literally God incarnate. John one, verse nine, who is Jesus Christ? He is the light that
enlightens Christians? Jesus is the light that
enlightens every man who comes into the world. Wow. So this liberal hope for sanctity and even for salvation
because we don’t have the populations to just
use heaven and hell, of non-Christians is based on this essential traditional doctrine that Jesus is the one savior, who is for everybody. If you just look at the
psychological appearances, if you just look at the polls, if you just listen to what people say, they’ll say, no, I don’t
believe in Jesus Christ. Psychology is fundamentally
about know thyself. The solution to Socrates’ great paradox. And the fundamental
answer to that question is Christ Himself, Christ
is the answer to Socrates. How do we know Christ? In many ways, but one of
the most fruitful ways is through those who know Him best, namely, the saints. Another definition of a saint. Those who know, [speaking
foreign language], those who know Christ the best. I can’t think of any other way, any better way to be a
Christian psychologist. I’m going to arbitrarily stop now. And ask you for the most, one of the most precious
things you could possibly give. The one thing that only human
being do, ask questions. Questions are incredibly creative things. That question didn’t exist
for you before you raised it. How creative is that? Nothing else in the universe can do that. Jesus, you’ll notice, never
discouraged questions. He never said, that’s a stupid question or don’t ask questions. So please ask questions. [audience member muffled speaking] Oh he’s just invited me and I came. No mystery about that. But the motivation for
writing a book on heaven, that’s a little more
tricky and mysterious. And I see now that my motivation was that I didn’t know that I was a fool. A fool walks in where
angels fear to tread. When I started writing the book, my uncle said to me, I hear
you’re writing a book on heaven. I said, mhmm. He said, it must be wrong. I said, wait a minute. You haven’t read it because I
haven’t even written it yet. How do you know it’s wrong? He said, well you believe
the Bible don’t you? I said, yeah. He said, well here’s how
the Bible describes heaven. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared
for those who love Him. Now you’re a man, right? And these thoughts have
entered into your heart, right? So they must be wrong. [audience laughing] So I said to myself, I better
throw away the book then. But wait a minute, wait a minute. It might still be useful. So I now think if God
were to read that book, He would frown at little bits of it. He would laugh at most of it. And He would smile at
tiny little bits of it. So maybe those tiny little
bits of it might be useful. But I know about as much about heaven as an unborn fetus knows about California. But even that’s precious. [audience member muffled speaking] Actually, I wrote two books about heaven. One was a psychological book. It was about our desire for heaven. It was called Heaven, the
Heart’s Deepest Longing. And there, I think, I said
some things that are sayable. But the next book was called Everything You Ever Wanted
to Know About Heaven, but Never Dreamed of Asking. And it was a long,
gossipy book speculating about time and space and sexuality and all sorts of other stuff in heaven. And it’s just useful speculation. Just guesses.>>Man: I was wondering, Dr. Kreeft, if you could address what seems to be that opposition we hold
about pop psychology talking about, it being a
good thing [muffled speaking].>>Just the opposite. In order to surrender your will, you have to have a strong will. Because the will to surrender your will has to overcome your contrary will not to surrender your
will, so that’s a fight. So you have to be a fighter. No, my complaint about
pop psychology is not that they teach that you
have to have a strong will. You do. They teach that you have to be autoerotic, you have to hug yourself and
say I am my own best friend. There was an obscene children’s show on when my kids were little,
maybe it’s still on, called The Electric Company, which began with this little diddy. ♪ The most important person in
the whole wide world is you ♪ Really. Sorry, God, you’re number two. Sorry, Jesus, you’re number two. You’re over there, I’m the
sun, you’re my planets. That’s satanic. It sounds good, very flattering. That’s pop psychology in its worst sense. But still, we’re not immune from that. I ask my students sometimes on
questionnaires this question, most of you are familiar
with this question. If you were to die tonight and meet God and God said, why should
I let you into heaven, what would your answer be? About half of them give this answer. I tried, I led a good life. I was trying to be kind. I tried to obey your commandments. I never knowingly hurt anybody. In other words, I’m a Pharisee. Look Lord how good I am. I thank you that I am this good. That’s desperately bad. That’s really stupid. That’s pop psychology. [audience member muffled speaking]>>Man: Beyond the
boundaries of the church and interested in recovering sanctity in the broader culture. Because I think we all agree we would want a sanctified society, a
society in which virtues are not just duties, but people take acts of heroism seriously. But what do you do when you’re, for us you would say
that Jesus is that model of that perfect human being that we are to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and say this is what I ought to be like. Now how do you recover that? Obviously, I know evangelism,
trying to reach people with the gospel is one thing. But what about those who, for example, other religions or maybe
they have no religion, but they don’t want Jesus. So how is sanctity possible when you don’t have the well picture of Jesus by which to judge in what sense you’re sick? In other words–>>Well they don’t want
Jesus, but Jesus wants them. So He’s gonna act on them,
if they let Him, anonymously. And on our part, that’s not
in addition to the gospel, that essential to the gospel. Why is Jesus called Jesus? Look at your Bible. Does it say you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people from hell or from punishment? No, He will save His
people from their sins. So sanctification is equally
necessary to justification. This is not about faith in works. This is about sanctification. That’s part of the gospel. Okay, I believe that the first answer to the question how to do it is to be convinced that it has power. That it can be done and should be done. The methods of being it,
I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a sociologist,
I’m not a politician. I don’t have very many
practical suggestions. I’m an absentminded professor. The most impractical kind
of people in the world. But I am convinced that
the very first step to motivate anybody to do something is to show them how beautiful it is and how attractive it is
and how necessary it is. You believe in gravity, right? And you know that gravity
holds all the matter and the universe together, right? And that that’s a force
that’s incredibly powerful. All right. You’re not a materialist, right? You believe that there’s
a spiritual reality as well as a physical reality. And at least in us, those
two realities are one. We’re not a ghost plus a machine. So it’s reasonable to think
that the spiritual universe is analogous to the physical universe. Which would mean that there is a spiritual equivalent to gravity. What’s that? The presence of God. And what does that look
like when it descends into human beings? Sanctity. So sanctity is a kind
of spiritual gravity. When Jesus was around, people came out from everywhere to see Him. Some hated Him, some loved Him. There’s anti-gravity too. But His mere existence drew out those people as a magnet
will draw iron filings. So will the saint. Here’s a little obscure woman
in India, Mother Theresa and she became one of the most
powerful people in the world. Thousands of people fell
in love with Jesus Christ because of Mother Theresa. All right? How to save the world, be
10 more Mother Theresa’s. That would be a bombshell.
>>Okay, okay yeah.>>And there’s no reason the 10 of them aren’t in this room right now.>>Man: Thank you.>>Man: Dr. Kreeft, I know you said that, is this loud enough? Okay. I know you said that you’re
not a very practical person, but if somebody were
to come to you and say, Dr. Kreeft, I recognize
that I’m a sick person, that I’m diseased. What sort of practical
advice would you give them to become a saint?>>Oh, go to the Great Physician. Go to the saint maker. Run, screaming into His
arms and say, save me. That’s like, that’s too easy an answer. No excuse me, it’s too easy a question. That’s like saying, if you
were the captain of a ship and the ship was sinking
and there was a lifeboat, and you had to give
instructions to the sailors, what would you say? Gee, I don’t know. Let’s see, I might say,
jump in the lifeboat. But then again, that’s too simple. Let me be sophisticated, let
me give some other answers. Come on, that’s too easy.>>Man: Well what sort of practical, like when you say jump into
the arms of the savior, right, run to Jesus. What does that mean? Like what sort of practical–>>Oh, I see. Well that means different
things for different people because we’re all coming
from different places. If He’s in the center
and we’re all alienated from Him at different
parts of the periphery, it depends on where we’re coming from, what we have to overcome
and what our road map is. So that’s where you need
good practical psychology and human understanding. But I sense that I haven’t
really answered your question. Are you looking for a universal formula that’ll practically work as a road map for everybody equally? Like the four spiritual laws? I’m sorry, they’re true, but they’re not everybody’s
adequate road map. People come in such
different sizes and shapes that you have to deal
with them differently. Jesus is like the sun
and when the sun shines through a prism it comes
into different colors. And some of us are in the purple part and some of us are in the red part and some of us are in the blue part. So we see Him differently. Not contradictorily, but just differently. And certainly the obstacles
in people’s way are different. Is your obstacle intellectual? Is your obstacle cultural? Is your obstacle sexual? Is your obstacle depression or guilt? Is your obstacle addiction? Is your obstacle not wanting
to offend your friends? There are thousands of different obstacles that have to be overcome. And there’s no one answer to that. [audience member muffled speaking] Surrender is an activity. It’s a very demanding activity. We Americans aren’t very good at silence and at contemplation. Why? Because we think it’s laziness. It’s not, just the opposite. It takes much more effort than work. We’re fly wheels. It’s very easy to keep
going round and round. It’s very hard to stop. A car is going 50 miles an hour. It’s easy to speed up to 100. It’s easy to turn right or left or even make a U-turn. But to stop it entirely takes a lot of effort. And that act of surrender is not just stopping doing something. It’s, how shall I put it? If you have a lively faith then after you say, thy will be done, the first thing you’ll
do will be you will duck because you know that God will answer it. Watch out. You give Him an inch
and He’ll take a yard. [audience member muffled speaking] Haven’t the foggiest idea. That’s a tempting question to think about, I don’t think it’s a fruitful
question to think about. I think one of the most liberating things Mother Theresa ever said was the thing that she’s most often quoted as saying. God did not put me into
this world to be successful. He put me here to be faithful. You do the will of God and let the chips fall where they may. God picks up the chips.>>Woman: Dr. Kreeft, do
you think the two great commandments that Jesus
gave us in the Bible is perhaps part of the
practical answer to sanctity, to first of all know
that we’re loved by God. But then to respond to
Him and to our neighbor. And I see it in American culture. We think being a saint
sometimes means to be nice to people or to
be tolerant to people. And people are just trying too hard. They’re really not loving and serving and laying down their
lives as we see the saints and as we see as Christ did for us.>>Well first of all, Jesus
never told us to be nice because He wasn’t nice. You don’t take nice guys
and nail them to a cross. Secondly, you’re
absolutely right in saying that the two great commandments
are intensely practical. In A Grief Observed, C.S.
Lewis’ very personal diary about his depression after
the death of his wife, he confesses real Job like tests of faith. And at one point he says
something like this. He says… I’m asking the wrong questions. I know the meaning of life. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know the two great commandments. I’m supposed to get on with them. Everything else is about
feelings and weights and depressions and stuff in me, that the commandments don’t
say anything about that. They just say love God
with your whole heart, love your neighbor as yourself. Commandments aren’t to
think about, they’re to do. We love to think about them
because this gives us excuses. We don’t fully understand
them, so we can’t do them. So we nuance them. We make them more difficult to understand. But God made them almost
impossible to misunderstand. What part of this don’t you understand? You shall love the Lord your
God with your whole heart. Tell me which word you don’t understand. Well I’d like to discuss this some more. Well I wouldn’t. Do it.>>Man: I think this
gentlemen has been wanting to go for a while.>>Man: I love your work, Dr. Kreeft. I just wanted to ask, there’s
a quote that I’ve heard that’s by, I think Merten, I’m not sure. But that says a saint is
not someone who’s good, but somebody who’s experienced
the goodness of God. And I just wanted to hear
your thoughts on that.>>Yeah. That’s my thought, yes. [audience laughing] Yeah, because if you’re good, that could mean many things. It could mean that you’ve
made yourself good. Or it could mean that you think you could be good without God. Or it could mean that
you think good means nice and you’re nice. But once you’ve met God, you’ve met what goodness really means. And that’s when you start
really becoming good. And after you’ve met God
and you’re doing His will, inevitably some people
think you’re not being good. That’s what they thought about Jesus. That’s what they thought
about all the saints. Many saints become martyrs. Why? Because it’s a different kind of goodness. It’s a more shocking goodness. If you’re not offending anybody at all, you’re not really doing Jesus’ work. You’re certain offending the devil. And if you’re not stirring him up and if you’re not being tempted and if you’re being left alone and if everything is going
smooth in your life, worry. Because the better you are,
the more he’ll get at you. And the more problems you’ll have. But they will be the problems of life, not the problems of death. Yeah. [audience member muffled speaking] Oh yeah, that’s easy. Just contemplate three
non-negotiable divine attributes. If you’re at all philosophical and you like logical reasoning, I find that this is a very practical and useful spiritual device. One, God is all powerful. He can do anything. Number two, God is all loving. He loves you infinitely much more than you could love yourself. Number three, God is all wise. He knows exactly what you need. And therefore these things that you fear, these temptations from the false self, this confusion about the false self, this immense difficulty
in cooperating with God, in killing the false self. That is God’s will. That is part of His plan. Trust Him. Faith works a lot better and
more effectively, I think, than the virtues. If you don’t have much
natural human courage, but you have a lot of
faith and you trust God, you could be a martyr much more easily than if you have no faith,
but quite a bit of courage.>>Man: I believe we have
time for maybe one more. Our plan is to end at six.>>Oh, let’s make it two.>>Man: Okay, two more. [audience laughing]>>If there were only
10 men left in Sodom, would you spare it? I’d like to negotiate.
>>Three more, three more. [audience laughing]>>Man: You talked earlier
about God wanting us to be self introspective
when we are in a place where we’re doing evil,
but not when we are living a holy life. But I found personally there’s been times in my life where I thought I was living the life of a saint, but looking back, I have a lot of questions about that now. So where, is there a place
for self introspection? Or how do you on an ongoing basis evaluate kind of that in your life.>>I wasn’t talking about
long periods of time. I was talking about specific acts. And you’re right, sometimes
we deceive ourselves. It’s very easy to be self
satisfied and self righteous, oh look how good I am. So we have to be self critical
and honest at all times. Yet, at any particular time
if in fact you are doing something good, self knowledge spoils it. And if in fact you are
doing something bad, self knowledge spoils it. But how to discern whether you’re doing something good or something
bad is another question.>>Man: You mentioned before about, about the Muslim woman
sitting in the front row, the Holy Spirit pointing
out as being the holiest, or what was it, the most
sanctified person in the room. And saying that she loves
me more than even you do. My question to that
was, how could that be? Doesn’t she love someone else or love a fabrication that
she has subscribed to?>>No, no, no. Where did Muslims learn about God? From the same people
we did, from the Jews. Do any of us fully understand God? No, so it’s a matter of degree. Certainly a Christian knows
God more than a Muslim does. Much more intimately,
much more completely, much more accurately. But though a Muslim has a
primitive and inadequate knowledge of God and line to God, the individual Muslim may well invest more of his or her life and soul and heart in that primitive communication
line than the Christian. Quite possible. To say that Muslims
worship a different God than Christians do is as absurd as saying Jews worship a different
God than the Christians do. The nature of God was
not invented by Muhammad. It was revealed by God Himself to His chosen people, the Jews. And Muhammad met many Jews and Christians and that’s how he learned
about the true God. So there’s a lot of good
theology in the Quran, mixed with a lot of bad theology. To say that something is completely bad without anything good in it, I don’t know any example of that. I’ve even learned from the Nazis. Because a perversion
is always a perversion of something good and if you
could get under perversion and see the good thing,
you can learn from that.>>Okay, one more this time. We really mean it.>>Woman: So who is your
favorite saint then? Like someone who inspires you personally toward sanctity in your own life?>>Well those are two different questions. If you mean, who is my favorite, if you mean by who is my favorite saint, who would I like to be the most like, it would be Jesus’ mother. Because she was the closes to Him. If you mean, what saint
do I love to read about and would I like to interview the most, and do I identify with the most, it would have to be Augustine. I think The Confessions
is the most inspiring book I’ve ever ready outside the Bible.>>Woman: I kind of meant
more where the first answer addressed, but I like both of them.>>Okay, glad you like it. God bless you. [soft music]

40 Replies to “Becoming a Saint: The Practical Psychology of Sanctity [Peter Kreeft]”

  1. I like this guy but sometimes he gets to philosophic and goes on tangents.  BTW though Jesus named God as Father also.  So Father is more than just what men called God.  That was I believe a small incorrect statement by the lecturer. 

  2. I was there. Big fan of Dr. Kreeft's. I think he's one of the brightest Christian minds today… the closest thing to C.S. Lewis, in my opinion.

  3. I'm guarded about Kreeft's last statement on Muhammed and Islam. "There's good and bad in the Quran", he says.  A rather dangerous conclusion, since a fundamental spiritual axiom, as C.S. Lewis observed, is that the greatest lies are founded on half truths – though calling the verses of the Quran half truths would be quite a stretch.

    Muhammad, ipso facto, makes Christ out to be a madman by denying His divinity. As Lewis further observed, Christ either had to be who he said he was or a madman. Logically, there is NO possible middle ground.

    Speaking of logic, cognitive dissonance is at the foundation of the whole Islamic faith. It denies human freedom by asserting that you can and must force people to love Allah. If you refuse, you are to be slain as a subhuman infidel dog. Either that or enslaved to be killed later at their discretion.

    So no, we don't worship the same God. Hell, if we did, why are Muslims still murdering thousands of Christians today? As warped as they are, even they know we don't. Why don't we? Moreover, Muhammad denies one of the three  epistemlogical principles of knowledege: the law of contradiction – that something cannot be true and not true at the same time.

    Muhammad esteems the Bible (supposedly) but seems to have never read it. He either pays no attention to anything in it, or outright contradicts almost everything in it. Saint John tells us that anyone who tries to add anything to scripture after the Book of Revelations will be condemned. But Muhammad blithely ignores such egregious nonsequiturs. John Paul II in his encyclical, "Faith and Reason" reminds us that faith must be based upon reason and can't contradict it. After all, they both involve truth, one on the natural level, the other on the supernatural. But since the Islamic "faith" contradicts reason, how can it deserve to be called a faith at all? And, if not, it would seem to be more of an obstacle to holiness than a help.

    The fact that Muhammad was a liar, a murderer, an advocate of mass murder, and perhaps even a pedophile begs the question as to how a holy book could come from such a wicked man. Answer: it couldn't! We see the results in the world today. In the centuries before our currently politically correct Church of Nice – so nice that it's almost fallen apart – the saints of previous ages proclaimed Muhammed to be a satanic tool to lead the world astray. One of the wolves Christ referred to. After all, would you expect something written by a liar and a murderer to come from heaven? That only leaves one other place. And despite the gushy endorsement of Islam in Nostra Aetate, Article 3 of Vatican II, we continually see the satanic will in Islam behind all the murders, tortures, mutilations, kidnappings chaos, strife war, genocide, hatred etc.

    I'd like to ask Dr. Kreeft whether these seem like fruits of the Holy Spirit or a very unholy spirit. Make no mistake, these actions are not being committed by extremists; they are being committed by devout, orthodox Muslims, the ones being faithful to the Quran's commands. "Moderate" Muslims really correspond to "slack" Christians. Basically, Muslims who don't take their faith seriously, twist it to conform to secularism, or who outright ignore its central commands to conquer the whole world for Allah by extirpating Christianity from the face of the Earth. Now can Christ really be divided? Can God be in a faith which is dedicated to exterminating the very church Christ founded?

    But this is precisely what naive Catholics want to believe. Like stupid sheep, they magically think there can be some form of peaceful coexistence beween Islam and Christianity, between light and darkness; that somehow we can all just get along and respect our diversity. Good luck with that! Satan and his henchman, like Hitler, Stalin and Henry VIII, hate diversity. Ditto for Muhmmad. The saints of previous ages realized that this was a movement from Satan, just like Nazism and Communism. The one who leads the whole world astray will not be satisfied until they have eliminated every last person God has chosen, both Christians and Jews, off the the face of the planet.

    To believe otherwise is not to realize that the only suit the emperor has on is his birthday suit.

  4. Also, the Holy Spirit is omniscient.  So He does know if His whispers are going to be heeded or not.

  5. We're so blessed in Catholicism to get the best and brightest that Protestantism ever produced: Cardinal John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, Cardinal Avery Dulles, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Dietrich Von Hildebrand, Dr. Taylor Marshall, Thomas Merton (Celebrated Trappist Monk), Bishop John Lipscomb, Bishop Jeffrey Steenson, Steve Ray, Dr. Robert Sungenis, Ulf Ekman (Swedish Founder of Word of Faith Evangelical Society), Dr. Scott Hahn (Valedictorian Gordon Conwell Seminary), Gerry Matatics, Francis Beckwith (President Evangelical Society), Tim Staples, Deacon Alex Jones, Norva McCorvey, and Abbey Johnson!

  6. Dr. Kreeft is an absolute genius. A member of a dying class of thinkers. I don't agree with all of his views (particularly toward human sexuality) but he remains one of the few living philosophers who utilizes the genuine tools of reason, logic, and sound moral thinking to derive his conclusions. 

    He should be required listening; He changed my life.

  7. The 12 saints and saving the world from destruction is not acurate. Mr. Kreeft is very knowledable; very impressive to the ego. Thank you for reminding me my ego is well and healthy. If you noticed my bad spelling that is the ego in you! That is a sin, the sin is missing the point. If evil exists, I believe is does relative to my limited understanding and its source is the ego. I do not believe that having a strong will is the amswer. That evil inclination is stronger than the undeveloped spiritual me. I think you have to be smarter and not stronger. Like taking a headach pill for a headach, having a powerful will is the short long way the only way is the long short way and that takes hard work like anything worthwhile it is the ability to concertrate the mind on study, worship & meditation. Writing this is again me sinning as the time would be better spent on study and deep contenplation. I understand that I do not yet understand the level of my ignorance.

  8. Yes cradle Catholics you are very blessed, watch Journey Home you will see many protestants Jews atheist coming into the Catholic faith.

  9. Of course psychology is a fake science. The only reason it began to be called a science is because philosophy became materialist and hit a dead end with nihilism. Psychology has now predictably devolved into drug therapy. It doesn't get rid of demons but tries to make people feel better about having them.

  10. I'm so thankful there are people like him teaching and challenging this to students. Peter Kreeft is heaven sent indeed.

  11. I have only just discovered Dr. Kreeft, and I think he is wonderful.I am so pleased he has decided to make these videos available. Thank you so much Dr. Kreeft .May God bless you.I think it is part of the Liberal desire to destroy the family. It is almost impossible for a man to get paid enough for his work today to support his family So they take away the man's pride in being the provider & head of his own family which gave him a special and respected place in society.Now the wife has to work and it is accepted and the child is farmed out to day care centres. If this is not a deliberate undermining and the family unit what is it?. What is next.?

  12. Buddhism as spiritual euthanasia? The "broken" state of suffering is painful precisely because it distorts our perception. Eliminating desire serves the purpose of correcting one's view, thus becoming clear about how to act, how to conduct one's life – according to divine plan. How is that so many brilliant thinkers and communicators, like Dr. Kreeft, develop these blind spots when they sign up with an organisation of some sort? The mystery that is life is not solved by adhering to a dogma.

  13. einstein is a sissy

  14. Jesus in the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “Be holy as your Father in heaven is holy.'' In effect Jesus is calling all of us especially Catholics to lead saintly lives.''

  15. GOOGLE this: The HEART is More powerful than the brain. x500 More electrical and x1000 times more Magnetically than the brain is a Very Powerful Heart. I have bi-polar
    and when I self-made high Energy, I can Heal with my hand or hands. they are trying to get build a machine to measure this Energy. The Heart runs the show. The Heart
    thinks 1st before the brain 😉 Just ask yourself a Question and never go against your Gut feeling.
    No.1. Heart
    No.2. brain
    No.3. gut
    slán go fóill

  16. I love the Tolkien references, but, groan, it's Kirith Ungol. Cirith, not Sirith, Like Celtic, not Seltic.

  17. Becoming a saint? The Holy Bible WORD assures all who come to CHRIST n only JESUS are Saints! 1Pet 2:9👏👏👏👏👏

  18. If I died and went before God tonight and he asked me why he should let me into heaven I would simply say have mercy on me and because your mother said so LOL.

  19. Here's some Peter Kreeft on Pope Francis's emphasis on the unity in Life (over doctrine) — Angel shows up at 38 mins! Enjoy.

  20. Why waste your breath on these protestants? They don't believe in sanctity or holiness. They believe we are rotten to the end and do not change under the influence of grace.

  21. Take up your cross daily and follow Me.

    The saints and Saints are those who know Jesus well because they are actually following Him.


  22. I'm being 100 percent serious, he is my grandfather. I'm not kidding. You can look it up in look for a person called Simon .

  23. Excellent sermon. There is only one exception about Kreeft's reference to the story of a dream of St. Neary @53:00 is a great example of discerning if a the Holy Spirit is inspiring you or something to the contrary. During Neary's "divine inspiration" the "spirit" says to Neary that a muslim woman is most saintly; while sitting in the front row listening to his sermon. This is an oxymoron she cannot love God more than Neary and what was a muslim doing in the front row of a church, when she is truly muslim? This does not make sense at all because: 1) her religion denies the divinity of Christ as part of triune God. 2) it denies that Christ died and rose from the dead. 3) it refers to Jesus as Esa and not the correct Yeshua Msheekha or Emmanuel very deliberately and intentionally deceptive.
    Equally Kreeft (with all due respect) at @1:19:00 when one in the audience correctly questions him; he doubles down on his errors in understanding of islam. Very sorry islamists have ~99% heretical views of Judaism and Christianity; muhamad's teaching are bunch of old jewish folktales like Solomon and the ants, gnostic gospels and Sabians. When Kreeft says muhamad learned from Jews and Christians he needs to do his study and not virtue signaling; Kreeft needs to give references and names of Christian/Jewish scholars and theologians from whom the muslims developed their theology. Very sad to see such a beautiful sermon from such an intelligent man become so dark in the end. May the Holy Spirit guide Mr. Kreeft and all those who watch this video.

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