||[Sep. 21st, 2006|02:19 pm]
Another question which I think new christians often have is about how much I have to change my life, now that I've come to Christ. I think, in most cases this question solves itself within time. But sometimes it doesn't. |
I think when we examine our lives, our doings and our thinking, it's as important to know what is sinful, and what is not sinful. It's no sin to go out for a nice meal. It's no sin to go watch a movie. The difference between the christian way and the worldly way, in such cases, is to be thankful for getting what you need, and to be critical when using the medias. Just like a philosopher who embraces a particular ideology will likely find many things to think about when watching a movie, we christians can do the same. There is much substance to christianity. Besides being a faith, it is also a philosophy - only, the kind of wisdom the christian loves, is different to the kind of wisdom the worldly people love. If you look at the world in its present state, in many ways it's eat or be eaten. Wisdom for such people is about knowing how to eat, rather than to be eaten. Do they even understand the wisdom of Christ that says giving is more blessed than taking?
God gives us new life in Christ, and it is not a bleak and miserable life, not a life that isn't worth living. It's neither a life of loneliness, because in faith we have many brothers and sisters, and neither is it a life of poverty, because we have access to riches that are worth more than anything the world can offer from itself.
It's not the christian faith which is in denial, but the thoughts of the world are. Nietzsche, for example, an atheist philosopher, declares that you must be strong, that you must survive by getting stronger than others. In one of his poems he wrote about the paradise he wanted .. a paradise to which the ill and the old have no access. Nietzsche lived in total denial of life, even when he said he lived by embracing it. For who is strong? The one who is able to help and to give, or the one who says I cannot afford it cuz of such and such? I am not making a cleverly constructed argument, I am only objective.
The christian faith doesn't live in denial. It embraces many virtues, like hope, love, humility, patience, joy, cheerfulness, honesty. The nietzscheanian has no virtues apart from mechanical ones. Nietzscheanian philosophy does not live - it only fights. When the nietzscheanian finds out that love has to do with hope, he thinks that this is a disgrace to love. For him, anything that has to do with faith and hope, unless it is a form of self-esteem, is to be discarted. While for the christian there is a constant seeking of faith and hope. Hope and faith isn't to be discarted, but to be sought. And it can be done. It's not a desperate attempt, it's the recognition that, with God, there is a way out of each kind of despair.
Christianity offers much in that regard. There are those who say christianity is a religion, not a philosophy, and of course there is a difference. But sometimes christian philosophy can help where christian religion cannot, or rather, where the christian religion points to christian philosophy. Don't let them fool you, those who say that christianity is only foolishness are wrong. In history, you can find many christian thinkers. C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Isaac Newton, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Soren Kierkegaard, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raffael ... just to name a few. This is another aspect of Christ giving new life .. he also gives new civilization, gives everything that is needed for civilization. I am not speaking of the christendom of the medievals. The inquisition and the forced conversions, they were not brought by Christ. They were brought by fallible people, by people who mistook the church for a hierarchy, for a bureaucracy, for a worldly power. Ironically, the nietzscheanian sees the church the same way, and even respects her for that, and only for that.
"God is dead", Nietzsche declared, and what he meant was that God isn't revered anymore. But what does that mean? If people do not believe in God, is that a result of God not being powerful? What kind of view is that? If my father doesn't beat me, does that mean he's not my father? If my father doesn't make a show-off punishment for my insufficiencies, is he a weak father? The terms in which people like Nietzsche thinks aren't the most clear or the most straightforward as they like to think. They are the most crude.
This is only an example. Do not worry, your faith will give you much to do. It's hard to be bored as a christian, really. There's always a good work to do, here or there, and if it gets too much, there's always the option to go and have peace. God loves peace .. that's why we have sundays, and for the jews, sabbaths.
If you had spent some time and thought up a philosophy, would you not apply it often to your life? Would you not examine history with this philosophy in mind? Would you not examine the world of thought with your philosophy in mind? Take heed, in christianity you have one such philosophy, the difference is only that it's not just from you. In the christian faith, we have godly philosophy. It's not boring like fashion suggests, no, not at all. It's not about old hats. Modernity's like a snake that eats itself. But sooner or later, the snake will be used up. Fashion brings up the old hats. Not the christian faith. We don't worship old hats, we love that which is true wisdom, the salvation that is in Christ.
Some worldly thinkers realized that. Existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote: "We're doomed. Only a God can save us." He could have learned that much earlier. This way he would not have to collaborate with the nazis and wouldn't have to hold as an argument for Hitler's reign that he had pretty hands.