The Opening Argument

We are all in the midst of cultural battles.  Some of us are more entrenched than others.  But all of us at some point have made some attempt to fight the good fight, so to speak, against the forces of evil in our culture.

Some focus on apologetics.  Maybe some moral philosophy.  I know that I have been trying to get at first principles, possibly a combination of those.

I keep on coming back to something else though, and a First Things post really summed it up well.

If Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to open the door to eternal life to me, then every other concern takes a back seat to the radical implications of His call on my life.

The author goes on to explain that the reason for his belief and insistence on any number of social positions is because the Gospel is True.  Not because he has explored the ins and outs of the argument, or because Ryan T. Anderson or Peter Kreeft provided yet another slam-dunk argument for it.

No.  It’s about Jesus, and grace.  It’s about forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body.   It’s about the Church.  The author quotes C. S. Lewis:

One of the great difficulties is to keep before the audience’s mind the question of truth. They always think you are recommending Christianity not because you think it is true but because it is good. And in the discussion they will at every moment try to escape from the issue ‘True—or False’ into stuff about a good society, or morals, or the incomes of Bishops, or the Spanish Inquisition, or France, or Poland — or anything whatever. You have to keep forcing them back, and again back, to the real point. Only thus will you be able to undermine … [t]heir belief that a certain amount of ‘religion’ is desirable but one mustn’t carry it too far. One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.

This last part is the most important part.  The veracity of the faith is the hinge on the door between ecstasy and insanity.  How much easier, the author continues, it would be to be all for all the standard contemporary left-wing causes.  The last thing that our religion is, is easy.  Nietzsche is credited with the phrase that religion is the opium of the masses.  Radical militant non-believers such as Freud argue(d) that religion is just some comfort blanket to help people cope with daily and existential anxieties.

This is true.  For a lot of Christians.  I won’t deny it.  Many Christians turn to the faith in times of distress.  Many lean on their faith.  The faith is comforting, sort of.  If you read what the Gospels actually say, the Gospel is only comforting for those who can stand it.  For those who are willing to suffer.  To give their lives.  To be last.  To carry a cross.  To turn the other cheek.  To fall on the ground and die, like wheat.  To be obedient to a master like sheep.

This doesn’t seem like opium.  But it’s true.  It’s true.  And it’s the only really True thing.  Gay marriage, abortion, all of those things pale in comparison to our striving for holiness.  And it is the veracity of the faith that compels us–beyond natural, worldly reason–to stand up in the public square, and object.

 

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