Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Veluti si Deus Daretur

I just began reading "Christianity and the Crisis of Culture" by BXVI (Just finished "On the Way to Jesus Christ, it is amazing, READ IT!)

Anyways, I just read the introduction and Marcello Pera, the person who wrote the introduction, comments on one of the things the Pope says. Back in the day, it was said that we should act in a way even if God did not exist, but that we must now live as if God did exist.

The former is a Pascalian view of the is better to act even if God does not exist, it is a better wager.

But the Pope challenges us differently because the world has changed since the time of Pascal. The Pascalian view is no longer valid in a world that no longer believes in God. If you tell them to act even if God did not exist, they would put you to the side, because they would say that God indeed does not exist.

This new proposition being made now is fundamentally different. The challenge to the world is "Act as if God does exist". This is a more positive view of Pascalian way, but does have it's subtle differences for the better.

Mr. Pera puts the challenge that this is what we are to propose to the world, that they ought to act in a manner as if God does exist, and that this is the proposition to make to those outside the Church.

My question is, however, how is this possible? How can we convince people that this is a proper view of the world and one that is reasonable enough that one would be willing to live by it regardless of what they believed.

Please let me know what you think.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Christianity in Society

I have been doing some reflecting lately on the role of Christianity in Society.

I have been wondering what it is that is the fundamental thing that people have problems with in Christianity. Is it the morality? Is it how we feel about the role of faith and reason? Is it our view of the dignity of the value of the human person?

I think Pope Benedict gives us a good hint in Deus Caritas Est. He states

Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.

People love attaching themselves to Christianity in a fuzzy sort of way. People have no problems with lofty ideas or value systems in essence really. The reason why that is is because it falls into the realm of tolerance and relativism. A value system is fine when there is no motivation for it to convince others, it is good for you, and people appreciate that. People feel nice when they have something to guide their life and their actions. It is the same with the lofty ideas. Prayer is fine when it doesn't intrude on others, when it is only personal and internal, where you and God can relate in a way that is appropriate to you only and not to others. Prayer, of course, is certainly very personal, but we know from our Christian experience that this is not the case.

You see, it is the second line of what Pope Benedict says that makes Christianity unique and unpopular. Christianity is not about values, lofty ideas, mystical experiences, at least not in and of themselves. In and of themselves they do not bring meaning to life. Instead, they just give direction, but direction and meaning are two totally different things.

What Pope Benedict is suggestion is that we have faith in a person, in Jesus Christ, in that faith, the reason for our humanity will be made clear. Our life will be given direction and meaning and purpose.

So, there is a reason why Christians get sick to their stomachs when they see books about Christianity, but only go so far as to say that Christ was a good man, but He wasn't God, and He didn't resurrect from the dead. It is simple, without the resurrection, then our faith is a dead faith, with nice ideas, but nothing convincing to it.

People have no problem saying "I like Christianity, but I can't claim Christ to be my Lord and God because He isn't, that is just too much for me". It is the truth.

I came to realize this past Triduum the true awesomeness of the Resurrection. He is not dead, He is indeed risen. Christians who are convinced of that see that Christianity is meant to inform and change their lives. It is part of their very being because they encounter the risen Christ in everything.

People don't like Christianity because they can't come to believe that Christ is truly present in the world. But He is, He is a reality to the world. And that is why people shy away from it. If one takes Christianity seriously, they have to accept the fact that Christ is alive and well and His love is being poured out to those who accept it. Christ becomes a part of their life and they come to discover Christ in their life on a day to day basis for the rest of their lives.

Those who like Christianity as an idea or a way to encounter God whom they feel transcends religion and is the same for all don't go to the extent that a Christian does. They can't get past the idea that Christ is truly risen.

Without the resurrection, our faith is dead. Thanks be to God that He is truly risen!


I'm Back

I'm back, up and running.

I have great news to share too. I just received my acceptance letter to the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society yesterday which means I'll be going to Poland for July to learn from the greats such as George Weigel, Michael Novak, and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. God has blessed me indeed, and this has been a very humbling but exciting bit of news for me :).

I hope to be posting more often once again.