The Fall of Man

ob_a19d5f_hqdefault

Unless a thing is dignified, it cannot be undignified. Why is it funny that a man should sit down suddenly in the street? There is only one possible or intelligent reason: that man is the image of God. It is not funny that anything else should fall down; only that a man should fall down. No one sees anything funny in a tree falling down. No one sees a delicate absurdity in a stone falling down. No man stops in the road and roars with laughter at the sight of the snow coming down. The fall of thunderbolts is treated with some gravity. The fall of roofs and high buildings is taken seriously. It is only when a man tumbles down that we laugh. Why do we laugh? Because it is a grave religious matter: it is the Fall of Man. Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified.” Unless a thing is dignified, it cannot be undignified. Why is it funny that a man should sit down suddenly in the street? There is only one possible or intelligent reason: that man is the image of God. It is not funny that anything else should fall down; only that a man should fall down. No one sees anything funny in a tree falling down. No one sees a delicate absurdity in a stone falling down. No man stops in the road and roars with laughter at the sight of the snow coming down. The fall of thunderbolts is treated with some gravity. The fall of roofs and high buildings is taken seriously. It is only when a man tumbles down that we laugh. Why do we laugh? Because it is a grave religious matter: it is the Fall of Man. Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified.

 –G. K. Chesterton

Almost Persuaded

GK Chesterton C copy
As I laid down the last of Colonel Ingersoll’s
atheistic lectures the dreadful thought broke
across my mind, “Almost thou persuadest me
to be a Christian.”

I was in a desperate way…

As I read and re-read all the non-Christian or anti-Christian accounts of the faith, from Huxley to Bradlaugh, [now there are new names: Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett] a slow and awful impression grew gradually but graphically upon my mind—the impression that Christianity must be a most extraordinary thing. For not only (as I understood) had Christianity the most flaming vices, but it had apparently a mystical talent for combining vices which seemed inconsistent with each other. It was attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons. No sooner had one rationalist demonstrated that it was too far to the east than another demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west. No sooner had my indignation died down at its angular and aggressive squareness than I was called up again to notice and condemn its enervating and sensual roundness…

The very people who reproached Christianity with the meekness and non-resistance of the monasteries were the very people who reproached it also with the violence and valor of the Crusades.

…What again could this astonishing thing be like which people were so anxious to contradict, that in doing so they did not mind contradicting themselves?

–G. K. Chesterton,
Orthodoxy

The God Who Is Outrageously Good

9781773028040 copy

If God were as many perceive him to be, we would do well to reject him. A celestial caesar who is harsh, implacable, demanding, easily annoyed, fussy, vindictive, overbearing, and unforgiving is not worthy of worship. To those who turn away from such a deity, I would say, “You’re absolutely right. I can’t bring myself to believe in that God either.”

If, however, God were as compassionate, humble, kind, genuine, irreproachable, and furiously good as Jesus—that changes everything! We have never seen anyone as irresistibly wonderful as Jesus, and if God were like him—that would be the best news ever broken on planet Earth! Before a Christ-like God we would gladly bow, amazed and entranced.

The Christian message affirms that Jesus came not only to redeem but to reveal the true nature of God. Christ declared that if we have seen him, we have seen the Father. And what we see when we take a close look takes our breath away.

There’s a story that Jesus told that distils the key features of his vision of God into one concise parable. Christ’s narrative brings to light the unspeakable goodness of God’s heart. The story is loaded with spiritual dynamite that blows away the falsehoods that many have believed about God.

There is so much to be learned about God from the Parable of the Prodigal Son that I ended up writing an entire book on it. If people are to know God as He truly is, Jesus’ story is a fabulous place to start.

If you dare to let Jesus overhaul your view of God, you might want to check out the book, WHAT JESUS WISHED PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT GOD. You can find it on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, etc.

A Lesbian Professor’s Journey to Faith

risenmagazine_2013summer_rosariabutterfield_03In the LGBT community, the opposite of pride is self-hatred. But in the Bible, the opposite of pride is faith. Was pride keeping me from faith, or was pride keeping me from self-hatred? That was when the question inserted itself like a foot in the door: Did pride distort self-esteem the way lust distorts love? This was the first of my many betrayals against the LGBT community: whose dictionary did I trust? The one used by the community that I helped create or the one that reflected the God who created me? As soon as the question formed itself into words, I felt convicted of the sin of pride. Pride was my downfall. I asked God for the mercy to repent of my pride at its root. . . .

My conversion left my former friends and family thinking I was loony to the core. How could I leave a worldview that was open, welcoming, and inclusive for one that believes in Original Sin, values the law of God, seeks conversion into a born-again constitution, believes in the truthful ontology of God’s Word as found in the Bible, claims the exclusivity of Christ for salvation, and purports the redemptive quality of suffering? Only one reason: because Jesus is a real and risen Lord and because he claimed me for himself.

―Rosaria Champagne Butterfield,
Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ

The Rage Against God

Peter HitchensI thought this gesture [burning the Bible] was a way of showing that I had finally rejected all the things that I had been brought up to believe, and I went on to behave for the next 20 years of my life exactly as if I didn’t believe in him [God], and that’s how I discovered in the end that what I had rejected was right.

The current intellectual assault on God in Europe and North America is, in fact, a specific attack on Christianity – the faith that stubbornly persists in the morality, laws, and government of the major Western countries. . . .The God they fight is the Christian God. . . .God is the leftists’ chief rival. Christian belief, by subjecting all men to divine authority and by asserting in the words ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ that the ideal society does not exist in this life, is the most coherent and potent obstacle to secular utopianism. . . . the Bible angers and frustrates those who believe that the pursuit of a perfect society justifies the quest for absolute power.

…when it comes to the millions of small and tedious good deeds that are needed for a society to function with charity, honesty, and kindness, a shortage of believing Christians will lead to that society’s decay.

–Peter Hitchens,
The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith

Trials, Errors, and Homecoming

3-keys-to-seeking-god112310 copy

I now understand that I would never have been able to become a plausible critic of the absurdities of modern consciousness until I myself had experienced them. I did not become an orthodox believer or theologian until after I tried out most of the errors long rejected by Christianity. If my first forty years were spent hungering for meaning in life, the last forty have been spent in being fed. If the first forty were prodigal, the last forty have been a homecoming.

―Thomas C. Oden,
A Change of Heart: A Personal and Theological Memoir

An Atheist Rethinks his Faith

6729543099_95c4fd001e_bAtheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain. The opportunity to talk with Christians about their faith revealed to me that I understood relatively little about their religion, which I had come to know chiefly through not-always-accurate descriptions by its leading critics, including British logician Bertrand Russell and German social philosopher Karl Marx. I also began to realize that my assumption of the automatic and inexorable link between the natural sciences and atheism was rather naïve and uninformed.

–Alister McGrath,
Atheism, Christianity, Religion, and Science