Pondering over Camus.

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Like for many of you, news of Anthony Bourdain’s sudden death came as a shock. And if years later I were to recall where I was when I heard that news, I will remember the moment a friend over dinner looked up from her iPhone and annnouced rather brutally, “Bourdain is dead.”

TIME magazine, in commenting on Bourdain’s death, quoted a line from Graham Greene’s book Ways of Escape, “Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human condition.” The writer of the article said that Bourdain kept this particular work of Greene on his nightstand. Rather telling! Continue reading

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losing the historical jesus

ee cummings good

no time ago
or else a life
walking in the dark
i met christ

Jesus) my heart
flopped over
and lay still
while He passed (as
close as i’m to you
yes closer)
made of nothing
except loneliness

– e e cummings

 

Reading cummings, I am reminded of the distortion of the historical Jesus that was portrayed in Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross. In it the historical Jesus is merged if not swallowed up by a vague existentialism covertly depicted by the fishing boat below. Continue reading

Telling the Truth

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Krishnan Guru-Murthy (Channel 4 on British television journalist) interviewing Peter Hitchens in Ways to Change the World.

Guru-Murthy: What is the purpose of your writing?

Hitchens: Telling the truth is a purpose in itself. It’s a good thing in itself. It doesn’t need to have any other purpose.

Guru-Murthy: Do you want people to do something as a result?

Hitchens: I used to. But then I realised they weren’t going to, and that was a dead loss. So I thought what was the justification for me to continue to do what you do. And that’s what it is, its telling the truth . . .

Guru-Murthy: for its own sake

Hitchens: its worth it for its own sake. You don’t know what effect it might have. And also you become more interested in the long term, or indeed eternal effects of what you do and say, rather than immediate ones.

 

 


 

The Scandal of the Christian Mind

Class 8 FINAL

 

O U T T H I N K I N G   P A G A N S

“We live in the twilight of a great civilization,
amid the deepening decline of modern culture.
Our generation is lost to the truth of God . . .
For this loss it is paying dearly in a swift relapse to paganism.
The barbarians are coming.
Savages are stirring in the dust of a decadent civilization.”

Henry, Carl F. H. Twilight of a Great Civilization:
The Drift Toward Neo-Paganism, (Crossway Books, 1988)
___________________________

A story is told of a Sunday school teacher who asked her young class the question: “What is furry, brown, and eats nuts?” One little boy raised his hand and said: “I know the answer is Jesus but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me!”

The story is told for its humour, but it does raise some important questions about the vulnerability of our children in an age where the drift is against belief in God and how well our children are being prepared to live out their faith in a post-Christian society. It is a sad state of affairs when most children growing up in church think they know the answer so long as the answer is “God,” “The Bible,” or “Jesus”. Continue reading

Divine Goodness and Theodicy

Class 7 FINAL

 

T H E   P R O B L E M   O F   E V I L

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of “just” and “unjust”? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?  If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless -I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.

 C.S. Lewis –  Mere Christianity
Harper San Francisco,
Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, pp. 38-39. Continue reading