Philosophy and Theology Personal Statement Example
"When I was a childI reasoned like a child" (1 Corinthians 13:11), yet it was only as I grew older and I began to build a personal relationship with faith on an intellectual level that my religious identity began to form in earnest. It was thus that I began to understand the formative power of faith and reason in practice, being consciously aware of its development within myself and in my environment.
This growing awareness has prompted a perennial desire to read widely in both philosophy and theology, which has enabled me to gainfully explore scholarly opinion from different perspectives.
Each new piece, from G.K. Chesterton to John Bunyan has further enriched my experience and I find that studying the works of both disciplines conducive to developing a fuller understanding of each in its own right, as the topics are often interdependent.
Reading pure philosophy has enabled me to understand the worth of divergent opinion, and reinforced my belief in structured argument as an essential developmental tool. A comparison I find sheds revealing light on polarized secular and sacred opinion on the topic of conscience is that of J.S. Mill's 'Utilitarianism' and C.S. Lewis' 'Mere Christianity'.
Lewis' argument that conscience heeds a 'moral law' established by God is contrasted by Mill's stance, which quantifies the biological and heredity elements of conscience, essentially removing mysticism and rendering it a tool to be conditioned and used to political ends.
Such varied and opposing interpretations of abstract concepts and the profound controversies they create have challenged my intellect and incited a keen interest in further academic investigation.
A combination of mathematical, literary and historical elements as part of a broad IB was beneficial; engaging and developing both logical and aesthetic mental tools complementary to understanding the diverse natures of both philosophy and theology.
Studying music and playing the flute to a merit at Grade 8 level has proved invaluable in developing finesse in my creative expression by training me to sculpt the raw humanity of inspiration into formal western compositional architecture. This methodological approach to academic and musical expression was crucial to the growth of my appreciation for reason as the backbone of enquiry and artistic exploration.
Living at Atlantic College afforded me the opportunity to view the value of my extra-curricular pursuits in terms of the community, rather than merely on a personal level and this was further reinforced though time living and working in India and Egypt.
As editor of the school magazine, my critical and linguistic skills matured greatly, allowing me to appreciate fine shades of meaning in language and the influence it has on people. Simultaneous production of articles on varied topics allowed me to hone my ability to defend an argument in a succinct and captivating fashion and to reflect on my own opinions through literary and critical debate with my peers.
In addition to my bi-weekly involvement in managing the college estates, the responsibility of running college apiculture, largely single-handedly, required constant initiative to develop the project further towards self-sufficiency within a tight budget over two years.
This not only cultivated skills in the rigours of leadership and self-directed progress, but on a managerial level, liaising with college authorities and striving for a positive outcome for the community also taught me the art of compromise.
Through every stage of my gap year, I am finding extensive reading in the fields of philosophy and theology both intellectually invigorating and rewarding; the ideas crystallizing in my mind and becoming a commentator upon my daily thoughts.
This has only strengthened my belief that dedication to the study of the transcendent, continually developing frontiers of faith and reason is essential in nourishing the human spirit of enquiry and discovery.
This personal statement was written by twilson1989 for application in 2009.
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