The Most Fascinating Feature

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That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels. After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of life, character, and teaching of Christ remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.

–Will Durant,
The Story of Civilization

No Higher Ideal

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Even those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardor of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ.
        –Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky

Confronted With Beauty

Lin YutangLin Yutang died in 1976. He was one of the greatest scholars and authors in China. He became a Confucius convert and wrote many books. His most famous is The Importance of Living, which became a runaway best seller. He wrote in it the chapter Why I Am a Pagan. He spent his last decade in New York and one Sunday his wife persuaded him to go to Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the teachings of Jesus. He wrote, “God as Jesus revealed him, is so different from what men thought him to be. There is a totally new order of love and compassion in Jesus’ prayer from the cross, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ That voice, unknown in history before, reveals God as forgiving, not in theory, but visibly forgiving as revealed in Christ. No other teacher said with such meaning, ‘In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ The ‘me’ in this context is God sitting on the Day of Judgment with a first concern for the downtrodden poor, the humble widow, the crippled orphan. There, I said to myself, Jesus speaks as the Teacher who is Master over both life and death. In him, the message of love and gentleness and compassion becomes incarnate. That, I say, is why men have turned to him, not merely in respect but in adoration. That is why the light which blinded St. Paul on the road to Damascus with such a sudden impact continues to shine unobscured and unobscurably through the centuries.”

–Glenn Pease