A Gospel of Foolishness

Recently, the results of the newest Pew survey were released, showing a decline in individuals identifying themselves as Christians, whereas the population of the non-religious is increasing. In response to this, there have been numerous attempts to answer whether by blaming specific groups or explaining that it is the loss of those who never really belonged to the flock. It is fair to recognize that, sometimes, a person who claims to be a Scotsman is not always a real Scotsman; nevertheless, this matter is one that should generate contemplation within the church. Is the message, which is being brought to the world, vain or does it truly contain the light and life found within Christ Jesus?

Walking into a Christian bookstore, one can find dozens of texts which present an idea that one may come to Jesus by virtue of their intellect, so as to be reasoned into heaven. Even Apologetics has become dedicated to countless “proofs” that try to make our faith seem reasonable – placating to sinful man’s demand. It is Paul who writes victoriously, glorifying God’s purpose, when he explains that, while the Jews demanded miracles, the Greeks demanded wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. He continues and explains that God chose the weak and foolish things of this world to shame the strong and wise.

There is this idea that man, though separated from God through sin, possesses an untainted mind. That which has cursed the flesh of man, though, has cursed man’s mind also. We are cursed in such a way that the only reconciliation for the mind is the very same for the soul: Jesus, our blessed Redeemer, who suffered what He did not deserve to give us what we do not deserve. Where the message entertains the idea that man can be coerced to the cross by mere effort, the truth is replaced with vanity and sensationalism. We should take this to heart and return our words back to the foolishness of the cross on which our Redeemer was nailed. Perhaps then, the lost who respond to the message may have roots which run deep and can withstand being choked or dried out by the heat of the sun.


Many Paths

It is easy to find oneself to have become prideful and inflated when considering an opposing opinion. Perhaps one’s reasoning truly is sound and the opposition’s point is still invalid, but the method with which one answers can grow to be corrupted. My delay has been due to this. See, I know the answer to the “many destinations” argument, but, in my attempts to answer, I could not shake the pride of my flesh. Better than risking harm to the message or, worse yet, dishonor to our Savior, I delayed until I could answer properly.

The initial inclination was to breeze through these arguments and move on to the next areas of thought, which have certainly come and backed up in an intellectual traffic jam of sorts. Looking back, though, I was reminded of the hours and, at times, days which would be poured into everything I write, both to ensure that the writing is both truthful and fair, but this on the hopes that it would first be glorifying to the only God – who crossed the immeasurable gap to save unworthy people. To offer anything that did not take such effort and did not possess such a focus seemed paltry and potentially ineffective or irrelevant, not to mention the ineffectual effort of performing a particular action that is dishonoring to the Most High. Nevertheless, for His sake, I offer this brief address of argument #2 of the man on Easter evening. If any of you have thoughts to share or any comment at all, please leave a comment or send me an email. Thank you and God bless.

It is unnecessary to do the thorough thing, which is to say composing a deep analysis of each world religion to reveal the significant differences (there truly are) between them all. No, instead, one can leave the matter at the interaction of the individual in the world with respect to the religion in particular. Consider Hinduism, which is essentially all-inclusive, but has at its core a belief of freeing oneself from the cycle of rebirth and karmic suffering by eliminating one’s attachment to their identity, because everything outside of Brahma is an illusion. Once achieved, the soul becomes one with Brahma itself.

Granted, this is more of a brief look at Hinduism and there are incredible intricacies which are actually quite interesting, but the point is that when one lives to the contrary manner from which one is supposed to live, according to Hindu beliefs, they do not achieve the proper end fit for our expressed purpose in life. While Hinduism is usually treated as being “all-inclusive”, it is only “all-inclusive” in the sense that it is believed many will have to partake in several rebirth cycles to achieve this release. Nevertheless, living to the contrary is a failure in light of the purpose itself. Being a Christian does not assist if Hinduism is valid.

The challenge, however, which is seen here, is that all paths lead to the same destination. True enough, one could believe – and there truly are vast numbers of people who do – that all paths lead to oblivion, that is “nothing at all”. People who make these assertions, though, are not typically arguing from the point of atheism, but, much like the idea of Hinduism being “all-inclusive”, all paths lead to the same positive destination. All religions? Really.

Cannibalism was and could be still an aspect of religion in certain tribal cultures and common themes in hunter/agricultural religions (often ignorantly called “primitive religions”) were animistic beliefs or those in a sky father and earth mother who were gods that interacted in such a manner so as to produce harvests like an impregnation; this is Religion 101. How are these like the other, more complex religions of the world and, for that matter, how are they compatible or equally valuable to religions that hold the belief that human life is inherently worthwhile, sacred and important? They are not and this difference cannot be reconciled. If there is this god and all religions are equally worthwhile and good for entrance into some concept of heaven, then the “god” who allows equal weight to the Christian and the Satanist or Jewish person and Muslim is an impotent one and not worthy of worship. Further than this, what of the Hitlers or the Pol Pots? If there is a specific destination for people such as these which is distinguished from the eternity the nice people will enjoy, then one must wonder where the line really is.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the children of the promise has given mankind its proper judgment: “…people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). This God has been an active part of our existence from the beginning and has passed judgment or given mercy according to His divine will, but has issued a dire warning that sin leads to death and all have sinned (Gen 2-3; Rm 3:23; 6:23). Nevertheless, despite the hopeless condition of man deserving condemnation, the single Creator of all gave a way that met both His requirement for justice and His mercy and love for the people He formed out of the dust of the earth. He alone came to His creation to draw His creation back to Him through the act of propitiation in His Son, Jesus, on the cross of Calvary. Jesus gives us the single path to reconciliation with a God we did not know and a God who judges according to one’s deeds which are evil at their core.

There is no true peace in a belief that offers bliss to all, even the Hitlers. There is no certainty when the Hitlers are given punishment, but no true line exists. There is no hope in a random possibility of rebirths leading to some obscure, all-encompassing “truth” being accepted, but there is only a single view which correctly assesses the heart of man and there is only one true path to freedom and reconciliation with the divine Creator of heaven and earth. Christ Jesus paved the link between a fallen creation and a loving Creator. Christianity possesses the only accurate assessment of humanity and gives such people the only way and truth and life. There is no reconciliation between the religions of the world and all either lead one off of a cliff into an abyss or one leads to a view of such awe and splendor to make the difficulties and adversity worth it. Yes, though the people loved darkness instead of light, Light came into the world to redeem the people therein (Jn 3:16-21). To the God of glory who redeemed us out of the pit through His Son, all honor and praise. Amen.