Forgotten virtue: The more vital and essential victory of Christianity lay in the strange, impractical, altogether unworldly tenderness of the moral intuitions it succeeded in sowing in human consciences.

ressurection

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I have spent the last 3 years trying to complete David Bentley Hart’s book, Atheist Delusions, and the great pleasure I take in reading his inimitable celebration of language makes me wish the book had no final chapter.

In any event, there was one quote (pp. 215-16) on the utterly singular contribution of Christianity to ethical thought that I felt compelled to share here in its entirety. Brace and pace yourself for its density, but let me opine that the yield of insight is worth the labor!

…In short, the rise of Christianity produced consequences so immense that it can almost be said to have begun the world anew: to have “invented” the human, to have bequeathed us our most basic concept of nature, to have determined our vision of the cosmos and our place in it, and to have shaped all of us (to one degree or another) in the deepest reaches of consciousness.

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Editor’s note: Be sure to read the last paragraph of the referenced article.

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3 Comments

  1. I’m sure “Atheist Delusions” is a worthy read. For now—as for a long time, now—I will content myself with my perennial bafflement at the atheist’s fundamental delusion.

    The linked essay—last paragraph, especially—is rich in content, insight and expression. I would (and have) expressed similar sentiment by pointing to this common denominator of the post-Christian world: an almost total dearth of empathy. In the resultant vacuum, there remains only the ego…and the others.

  2. A smaller book that makes the same point (and almost as poetically as this post, thanks to the genius of the source): How Christ Changed the World, TAN books. Christianity is far and away the most wonderful gift God gave us, in a world full of wonderous things. (The little book covers the specific teaching on a variety of concepts, like poverty, the eternal topic of women, suffering, and others.)

    I think often of how it is when Christianity is absent. I feel it whenever I have to go into a mall. The emptiness, the great distance between us, the way the light is flat, the thinness of the people’s thoughts and feelings. How the Incarnation changed everything! The heart of it is the teaching on suffering. I come from a suffering people. My people were not among the elites of history. We were up against it, maimed, drunk, and crazy. Only Christianity dignified such as us, because of what Christ made of suffering. Or at least that’s how it was for me, growing up in the cruel, cold hills of southern Illinois. Oh what He gave us! And oh the poor little girls when He is withdrawn.

  3. Really, it all boils down to: I am a sinner, in need of a Saviour!
    Our lives are so short, like a vapor, and we are not promised, a life without suffering……..But, we are promised Eternal Life, in Heaven without Pain and Suffering!
    I feel for those, that do not believe, and have Hope for Everlasting Life! So Lost and Condemned, living in the flesh…..and they are Blind to the Light!


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