Tuesday, November 19, 2013


What We Need Versus What We Want

David T. Koyzis @ First Things first quotes George Jonas in the Canadian National Post:
“According to her understanding,” writes Tolstoy, describing Helene, [ed note: a character in War and Peace] “the whole point of any religion was merely to provide recognized forms of propriety as a background for the satisfaction of human desires.” Then Tolstoy continues: “I imagine, (says Helene to her new Jesuit confessor) that having espoused the true faith I cannot be bound by any obligations laid upon me by a false religion.”

Helene would be reassured to know that her heritage lives on. Her standard is held up by men and women who, having acquired the liberty to do as they please, now demand religion to also applaud their moral choices. They want their churches, their priests, even the very Vicar of God, to approve and endorse what they do, or else they threaten him with irrelevance. God Himself becomes irrelevant unless he can be used to rubber stamp human desires—because, as Tolstoy points out, that’s what God is for, at least as far as Helene Bezuhov is concerned. That’s how it was in 1812 and that’s how it is in 2013.
and then comments:
If, on the other hand, genuine religion concerns the little matter of what is true and how we are to live in light of that truth, then whether that truth is relevant to and confirms our desires is beside the point. The martyrs of the church undoubtedly preferred to avoid suffering and keep their lives, but they chose instead to accept their lot for the cause of Christ. Accordingly, we remember and celebrate their lives as signposts pointing to the coming kingdom.
I understand Koyzis jumping from "convenient" religion to martyrdom. After all, the reason we typically reject parts of the faith is because it requires some suffering from us, even if it is just something like being viewed as socially odd. But how incredibly sad is it that we would view something so minor as being socially awkward as suffering on a level comparable to the martyrs of old?

The other thing that is truly sad is that while it is all about truth, people often do not see truth - but what they are truly blind to i this circumstance is simply a better life. Christ should produce in us a demonstrably and visibly better life. And yet, people constantly turn a blind eye to it. In the case of a the War and Peace character she does not see in religion the life, she just sees her marital status. This latter problem is, I think the fault of those of us that do hold to faith. We hold only a half faith where we worry more about making sure people do not get divorced that transforming them into people that don't want to get divorced. we, in fact, treat ourselves this way. we ask God to help us avoid our particular sinful inclination, but how often do we ask him to remove the inclination from us? Rather we hold the inclination close to our hearts for that day we might want to fall off the wagon just a bit.

God does not want to keep us from sinning - He wants to remove our desire to sin. Are we bold enough and faithful enough to claim that?


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