Monday, March 13, 2017
As I recall – it’s a recollection because I tossed all of his books after reading them for academics of no consequence because, as Tony often says, there’s nothing more funny than a smart guy saying such incredibly stupid things – Bertrand Russell wrote his essay “Why I Am Not a Christian” because he believed the soteriological claims and social ethics of Jesus are senseless.
Back in the early 70s when I had to pretend my professors’ syllabi were worth the paper used to print them, I did the usual brown-nosing thing, tilted my head in profound pseudo-attention, puffed on my pipe which really improved my grades in Europe, and waxed eloquently in saying nothing like a recent President because scholarships often depended upon the aforementioned.
Of course, when you think about it, Christianity does sound senseless in a lot of ways.
Really, “In the beginning, God created…”
That means God was before the beginning.
Then there’s this from Jesus – Emmanuel or “God with skin on” which is another mindblower – “I am the alpha and the omega…”
That means He was before the beginning and after the end.
I can’t begin to tell you how many bottles of Excedrin that compelled.
O.K., while I prefer to believe I’m not related to a tadpole though looking at the behavior of some people begs the question and makes those Planet of the Apes movies seem reasonable, I’m one of those guys who doesn’t take the bait on those creationism versus evolution debates that keeps freshman philosophy and religion classes going when professors run out of notes and have to fill out the hour.
While I’m sure I’ll be wished dead – that’s how Democrats and Republicans and progressives and traditionalists and mainline denominationalists and other fundamentalists have taught us to discourage dissent – I think God could have done it by evolution or just, you know, kinda willed it.
I’m Lutheran in that regard; letting God be God and doing whatever the heaven that He wants/wills to do.
Bruce Ennis, a really smart guy from MIT who said really smart things, said just before I presided at his funeral back in the early 80s, “If this Someone, whom I call God, has the power to grant life on earth, simple logic would dictate that He could also grant life elsewhere, which I call heaven…To any intelligent and perceptive human being exposed daily, as he is, to the beautiful miracles of this earth, and realizing that only some Power greater than he could produce such miracles, it must seem that an atheist has a low degree of intelligence, coupled with an abysmal lack of perceptivity, a deplorably egotistical self-esteem, and an unseemly arrogance.”
Kinda like Russell.
Or as somebody once said, “To believe that everything on earth and in the universe just happened without God as Creator is akin to believing there was a big explosion in the print shop and the dictionary just happened/appeared when the dust settled.”
Tony is right.
Really smart people often say really stupid things.
But, admittedly, Christianity can seem so senseless at times.
If it weren’t for God being God and doing Godly kinda things which is why we refer to Him as almighty or capable of doing whatever the heaven that He wants/wills to do, nothing this side or that side of whatever would make any sense.
It only makes sense because God is sovereign.
And the Bible keeps reminding us that He loves us, came in Jesus to prove it, and we’ll live happily ever after if we accept that/Him.
That really makes no sense.
God loves us even though we break every behavioral rule that He gave to us from Genesis through Revelation.
God loves us even though we keep crucifying Him in government, courtroom, classroom, commerce, media, entertainment, and even churches that increasingly ignore or defy Him and pretend He never meant what He so clearly and conclusively communicated in Jesus by the book about the sanctity of all human life, marriage, lifestyle, mercy, forgiveness, unconditional love, and…other stuff so obviously more important to Him than us.
It doesn’t make sense that God keeps loving us when we have this anything but heavenly repeated history of not loving Him back.
Truth is we are no heavenly good without Him.
So as we look at all of the things that smart jerks like Russell say prove Christianity is senseless – eternal life and loving enemies and miracles and incarnation and resurrection and all the rest – I think, and I may be wrong, the most senseless thing about Christianity is God just keeps on loving us and wanting us to be His in time and forever and keeps inviting us and welcoming us and including us when we return to Him when we’re so bent on doing things that are no heaven good by commission or omission.
The only thing that makes Christianity sensible is God.
God says He is gracious.
He provides what we don’t deserve – confident living in the assurance of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus – and doesn’t decree what we deserve which is anything but heavenly.
So, O.K., let’s admit it.
Christianity doesn’t make sense.
Blessings and Love!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!