The recent election and more particularly the reactions to it in on my Facebook news feed, caused me to reflect on a book title I read in college- Politics by Other Means. The book was assigned for a government class called Comparative Models of Democracy. To the chagrin of my former professor, I retain only incomplete and elusive memories of this book. What really stuck with me was the intriguing and suggestive title.
Faith is not mental assent to irrefutable facts.
The classic, oft-quoted, and definitive verse on faith in the New Testament is Hebrews 11:1. And I love the Recovery Version’s translation here (following Darby’s precedent):
“Now faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Liar, Lunatic, Lord? In my last post I presented a brief survey of this argument. A fourth option was eventually suggested as equally viable. Legend- Jesus is not a historical person but is a myth of some sort.
This is just the sort of argument that pseudo-intellectuals will bring up on college campuses. Or the sort of headline story you’d find in the grocery store check-out line. It is either a mark of ignorance or a strategy for sensational journalism and should not be seriously entertained.
Religion, as old as humanity itself, has always managed throughout all millennia to capture man’s mind afresh.
Alain de Botton’s new book, ‘Religion for Atheists’, seems to reinforce this fact.
As much as man may rail against the idea of God or certain portrayals of God, he has a hard time of ever doing away with, once and for all, the question of God and religion. Even some of the most radical proponents of atheism, Feuerbach and Nietzsche, remained fascinated by these questions until the end of their lives.
A while back I read another one of Alain’s books, ‘The Art of Travel.’ Alain is an excellent writer and in general can poetically elucidate many aspects of life. Yet even this very human book on travel draws on religious and theological sources.
The world has lost its bearings. Not that ideologies are lacking, to give directions: only that they lead nowhere. People are going round in circles in the cage of their planet, because they have forgotten that they can look up to the sky… Because all we want is to live, it has become impossible for us to live. Just look around you!
-Eugene Ionesco, founder of the theater of the absurd, 1972
I recently read Alain de Botton WSJ op-ed article entitled “Religion for Everyone.”
In it he suggests importing the Christian love (agape) feast into secular society to remedy the threatened and waning sense of community apparent in postmodern life.
At 10,587,270 views at 11 pm on only the fifth day since it was posted, the “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” YouTube video can officially be dubbed viral.
It’s amazing to me that 685 words with the right video editing and some perfectly timed musical swells can attract such a flash flood of attention. The entire video lasts but a brief 4 minutes and 4 seconds.