When the Church is silent, complacent, or indifferent about immorality, corruption, and evil, she always weakens and atrophies. When the Church boldly proclaims the Truth, denounces immorality and corruption, and fights evil, she always strengthens and flourishes. ~ Chris Banescu
In his timeless writings C. S. Lewis cautioned us about the battle between faith and reason versus emotion and imagination that frequently rages in our hearts and minds. He wisely warned that intense emotions can destroy our faith in what we already know to be true. Lewis counseled us that teaching our moods “where they get off” was a necessary virtue of being a good Christian or even a “sound atheist.”
In our progressive mainstream culture where rampant emotionalism and subjective feelings have been substituted for reason, logic, and common sense, his wisdom is more relevant and applicable than ever.
- Battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other.
- Emotions can destroy your faith in what you really know to be true.
- Faith… is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.
- For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes.
- Necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods “where they get off,” you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist.
- We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. [Read more…]
G. K. Chesterton points out the glorious sanity and vigorous life that has existed in the Christian Church since Her founding. While Chesterton doesn’t specifically mention the Orthodox Church I found his comments most appropriate for the Sunday of Orthodoxy we just celebrated. “This is the Faith of the Apostles, this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox, this is the Faith which has established the Universe.” ~ Confession of faith from the Day of Orthodoxy
“This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and to sway that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic. [Read more…]
The masterful and wisdom-filled writings of G. K. Chesterton remind us why the Christian Church cannot afford to swerve even “a hair’s breadth” on important theological truths. While not written with regards to the Orthodox Church specifically, his insights also describe how the Orthodox Church has continually fought to defend the Truth and the Christian faith as taught by Jesus Christ, embodied in the Scriptures, preached by the Apostles, attested by the Martyrs, reflected in the writings of the Saints, and expounded by the Fathers.
“Last and most important, it is exactly this which explains what is so inexplicable to all the modern critics of the history of Christianity. I mean the monstrous wars about small points of theology, the earthquakes of emotion about a gesture or a word. It was only a matter of an inch; but an inch is everything when you are balancing. The Church could not afford to swerve a hair’s breadth on some things if she was to continue her great and daring experiment of the irregular equilibrium. Once let one idea become less powerful and some other idea would become too powerful. [Read more…]
by C.S. Lewis –
‘What are we to make of Jesus Christ?’ This is a question, which has, in a sense, a frantically comic side. For the real question is not what are we to make of Christ, but what is He to make of us? The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it. But perhaps the questioner meant what are we to make of Him in the sense of ‘How are we to solve the historical problem set us by the recorded sayings and acts of this Man?’
This problem is to reconcile two things. On the one hand you have got the almost generally admitted depth and sanity of His moral teaching, which is not very seriously questioned, even by those who are opposed to Christianity. In fact, I find when I am arguing with very anti-God people that they rather make a point of saying, ‘I am entirely in favour of the moral teaching of Christianity’ — and there seems to be a general agreement that in the teaching of this Man and of His immediate followers, moral truth is exhibited at its purest and best. It is not sloppy idealism; it is full of wisdom and shrewdness. The whole thing is realistic, fresh to the highest degree, the product of a sane mind. That is one phenomenon. [Read more…]
by Chris Banescu –
Mid-twentieth century C. S. Lewis witnessed and wrote about the increasing moral breakdown and intellectual decay of Western civilization. He observed how secular and atheistic academics, philosophers, politicians, intellectuals, and cultural elites abandoned reason, denied universal truths, undermined Christian doctrines, and rejected moral principles that formed the foundation of civilized society. “Lewis walked our cultural ground,” explained Chris R. Armstrong. “He lived, as we do, in a society that denied objective value; lacked a coherent social ethic; wallowed in instant gratification, sexual license, moral evasion, and blame-shifting; and failed to pass on a moral framework to its children.”
In his book, The Abolition of Man, Lewis warned that moral relativism (the denial of universal and objective moral truths and principles), foolish emotionalism, and the rejection of reason would bring about cultural decay and growing depravity. [Read more…]
“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work.
‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared?’ (Martin Luther).” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.” ~ Justice Antonin Scalia
by Chris Banescu –
Most of recorded human history points to the reality of the Moral Law, written in our hearts, that governs the affairs of men. Since the beginning of time mankind has recognized (more definitively and clearly in some ages and civilizations than others) that universal concepts of right and wrong and good and evil do in fact exist.
We acknowledge this timeless truth every time we judge whether a person’s behavior is just or unjust, right or wrong, or good or evil. We make this determination not by claiming that a specific act is only “good” if we subjectively like and agree with it, but rather by comparing it with an actual standard of good and evil. Such an evaluation is logical only if these standards are real and absolute, otherwise it would make no sense in labeling anything as evil or good. [Read more…]