Tuesday, November 16

Christianity's Dirty Little Secret

There is lot of noise and rubbish these days about faith. Brought to a fever pitch in some circles, in their post-election blues, many secular pundits have been going on about the "emotional, dogmatic, and blah blah blah" of the faithful Christians of the nation. Intelligent secular bloggers comment muse about how this faith stuff and scripture, doesn't make sense. "It is all irrational". And on and on.

Well, the "secret", which isn't really a secret but at any rate is a point often missed, is that no Christian "chooses" to believe. This is in fact a subtle point. A person cannot choose belief. It can't be forced by human action. One can only choose not to believe. To believe requires God, i.e., the Holy Spirit entering in to your heart. Saint Anselm pointed out (in the 11th century) that:
The unbelievers strive to understand because they do not believe; we, on the contrary, strive to understand because we believe. They and we have the same object in view; but inasmuch as they do not believe, they cannot arrive at their goal, which is to understand the dogma. The unbelieving will never understand.
Guess what? We haven't changed much since then. And this goes against the experience of the secular student who thinks, study and expertise are all of human origin. And all that is required for understanding is study and intelligence. This fact also explains some of the secular frustration with the faithful. They feel they are missing out (and they are), and further that they, by act of will can either convince us of our folly, or understand on their own what they are missing.