PRAGMATISM: YOU SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS
Pragmatism is the philosophical method that estimates that the only appropriate criteria to find the truth or convenience of any doctrine or theory must be founded in the observation of its real effects obtained in the practice.
In the following passage we see that Jesus Christ advised us to have a pragmatic attitude in relation to the case, fame and all talk (rhetorical), of those who claim to follow God. If the tree is good its fruits are good. We do not pick grapes from thorns or figs from thistles. Do not judge humans for their fame, name, aspect or words, but for their fruit, that is pragmatism.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Mt 7:15-20)
There have been brothers that have opposed the idea that we should be pragmatic. They argue that if it is really true that we should be pragmatic before the wolves dressed as sheep, there are several things that a Christian will do, which if we apply this philosophy we would find ourselves like tree without good fruit, when in truth they are fruits for eternal life. And they added that they did not believe that Christians should be pragmatic in our philosophy of life. Adding, pragmatic are the people of the world, and that is why they distance themselves from religion, for they do not see fruits.
In truth these brothers confuse what I say. It is not true that pragmatism causes someone to distance themselves from religion. What causes these pragmatic people (who are not so much) to distance themselves from religion is the goal or interest which they place before themselves, and to which they apply pragmatism. They want gold, fame, ego, tinsel, etc... If to such goals or interests they apply pragmatism, truly difficultly will they end up in the churches pews.
They have observed the fruits of those who sit to listen to the sermon, and have noticed that their fruits are nothing like the ones for which they yearn. This is why they abandon this path, because pragmatically speaking it does not lead them to their intent. They do not care about inner peace; they do not care about spiritual happiness, but the flesh; they do not care about the satisfaction of giving, but of receiving, etc This is why they distance themselves from faith, because faith does not give them money, women, lifts their ego, or gives them fame, etc., in this they are really pragmatic in relation to their goals.
But if they were truly pragmatic they would choose faith, for they would realize that all those things they want to obtain will not last long, only 70 or 80 years, and then an eternity without joy, without God. The wise thing, the pragmatic from the vast point of view of existence, is faith, the adoration of the omnipotent God, kind and forgiving, and the acceptance of His Son Jesus Christ, because he saves us from the condemnation to which our sins drive us. That is true pragmatism, an integral pragmatism, a pragmatism that takes into consideration all of the factors, not only the ones that are in front of the nose.
The error of these people of the world is not applying pragmatism, their error is that they do not give importance to eternal life, holiness, relationship with God, etc., and this is why their pragmatism distances them from the Church, because they apply it to money, personal pride, power, pleasure, etc.. Likewise, if the goal of a pragmatic person was to look for easy women, it was not logical to seek these women in a church, but in a brothel. This would be pragmatic. But this does not mean that pragmatism drives us to brothels; it depends of the goals pursued by the one who practices pragmatism.
It is the same as a knife. The knife itself does not drive to an assassination. Chefs and house wives use it to cut meat and other things. The fact that an assassin uses it to kill, it does not mean that the knife is bad, it does not mean that the knife drives to the assassination. The same occurs with pragmatism, it all depends on how it is used and how it is applied.
If someone wishing to preach the gospel attends parties, dances, banquets, social reunions, birthdays, etc , and after doing so observes that through those means he does not get too far with his intent, he would proceed pragmatically if he left that and dedicated himself to preaching, let us say, in a tent. Why? Because from experience (pragmatism) he came to the conclusion that that is not the way to reach the goal sought, which is that people hear the gospel.
As we can see pragmatism neither distances us nor brings us closer to faith, it only teaches us that we should or should not follow a method or path. Being pragmatic is not bad. The only bad thing would be exaggerating the tendency to pragmatism, for if it is exaggerated, the person inhibits himself in his decisions, because he could not decide by reasoning alone, but he would have to put it all into practice. Such an exaggerated person would not approve nor decide anything until he sees it in practice. That exaggeration would be bad; but pragmatism is not bad, Jesus Christ advises us in the passage we read earlier to be pragmatic.