Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Unique Faith and Its Unique Founder

Back when half of my friends and enemies were proudly defending Lying as being Just-Fine-with-Jesus, the controversy was given a nasty impetus when Peter Kreeft, of all people, came out rather casually in support of Lying when the Situation Calls for It.  As I pointed out back then, the premise of his mistaken argument was, "We must follow the dictates of our moral common sense", a premise contradicted by the Sermon on the Mount, at the very least.  Our Faith contradicts both our common sense and our moral common sense much of the time.  In fact, you might say that becoming a Christian entails giving up the compromised moral common sense of the Old Adam and learning to live the rightly ordered moral common sense of the New.  Lying when it suits our agendas is something that fits our old moral common sense like an old shoe; being honest even when it hurts us pinches like footwear not yet broken in.

Today Dr. Kreeft has an excellent article out entitled The Uniqueness of Christianity, in which he presents the twelve most common objections to the uniqueness of our Faith and provides twelve pithy rebuttals - the sort of thing that could be very handy the next time you're told, "All religions are the same".

And I'm happy to note that Kreeft reaches a kind of climax in his article with the following ...

The universal sin Saint Paul pinpoints in Romans 1:18 is to suppress the truth. We all sin against the truth we know and refuse it when it condemns us or threatens our self-sufficiency or complacency. We all rationalize. Our duty is plain to us—to be totally honest—and none of us does his duty perfectly.

This is not only quite correct and very well stated, it is in fact the best rebuttal to Kreeft's own confused attempt to rationalize Lying, offered a while back in the early stages of what became a heated internet debate.

We are quite blessed to have a thinker and writer the caliber of Peter Kreeft active in the Catholic Church today.

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And we're also blessed to have James V. Schall writing today, one of the seven or eight good Jesuits left in the world (not counting the young ones).  He has out what is almost a companion piece to Kreeft, entitled The Point of Christianity

For, while Dr. Kreeft points out the uniqueness of our Faith as a whole, Fr. Schall points out the uniqueness of Christ Himself and how Christ established this Faith. 

And if you take a gander at the comment boxes at Fr. Schall's post, you'll see that he didn't make many readers happy pointing out this uniqueness.  Why?

Because Schall dares to prick our favorite balloon, the balloon we've blown up ourselves, activism.  He dares to suggest that Jesus Christ accomplished what He did not through social engineering, military daring, fomenting revolutions in science or industry - but through piety - through what I would call Piety unto Death.

This should be as self-evident to Christians as is the uniqueness of our Faith, but apparently it's not.  Kreeft is lauded in the combox of his article - and rightly so.  Schall is lambasted in the combox of his.

It seems we don't mind when heresies are attacked that we don't like, such as indifferentism.  But take a swing at a heresy we admire, like activism, and we get our dander up.

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The fact is, as Peter Kreeft points out, our Faith at its core is unlike any other; and - as James V. Schall points out - we are called to be unlike all others - we are called not to be smart, successful, happy, sexy or wealthy - we are called to be something much more incredible and revolutionary.  We are called to live a unique Faith in a unique way.  We are called to be holy.  We are called to be like Christ.

And that's where the shoe starts to pinch.

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