Category Archives: Faith

When the World Falls Apart

When your world is falling apart, what is it that is actually changing so drastically?

It cannot be anything that can affect your salvation. It may be a change in your role – or what you thought your role was – in the story of salvation. When Peter was called from his boat, when Paul was thrown from his horse, their old world ended. Up to that day they thought they knew what their life would be. And the next day it changed forever in response to a call.

A few lines in the Scriptures over simplifies the upheaval such decisions and such callings cause.

On that note, there will be more changes here at Eternal Revolution. The more I pray about things the more I realize a more radical course correction is needed to bring things in line with my calling.

I stated in The Eternal Revolution that we are not fighting as the army of God. An army follows orders in a clear battlefront. We are resistance fighters, and part of that is shifting and responding and changing quickly to adapt to shifting conditions or orders. This is the way we fight.

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

What are You Afraid of?

As we start another week, what is it that you are afraid of? What is keeping you from doing the miraculous, the amazing, the incredible for the Kingdom of God?

Peter could step out of the boat and take a few steps, until he became fearful – even when Our Lord was right there in his presence doing the impossible!

There are always scary stories on the news. There will always be uncertainty and plans gone awry, especially on Mondays. There are always waves, big and small.

But what you fear is what you worship. When you hesitate, catch yourself and ask, “Am I afraid of falling short of what Christ called me to do, or am I more afraid of _______?” If the answer is ever the latter, do everything you can to switch your focus to your King!

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

We Don’t Need Another Manifesto

As Christians, we know what we believe. It is expressed concisely in the Apostle’s Creed or more completely in the Bible itself.

We have a vision. It is that of the Kingdom of Heaven, of Eden and existence beyond the Judgement, where the ideals we desire, justice, truth, and charity are perfectly expressed.

We have a mission. The great commission at the end of the book of Matthew still applies: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

With all these things, why do we falter? Why do Christians everywhere seem lukewarm, compromising, and complacent?

We are not wanting of something to believe in, a vision, or a mission. We lack the courage to do what we must. We need to be reminded of what it is we are to do today for the glory of God. We need particular tasks to do.

In his private notebook, G.K. Chesterton wrote that a soldier, a knight, a warrior does not want to be reassured that his commander has a plan. After all, Our Lord has an inevitable plan laid out for us and the world, repeatedly laid out in the Scriptures. What a fighter wants, remarked Chesterton, is a sword. A weapon or tool with which to strike, to struggle with, and with which he can make a difference for his cause.

We have such weapons, but too often we think they are irrelevant in our time, or too simple. They are found throughout the Scriptures too.  Pray. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless. Those are the acts of a soldier of the Kingdom of Heaven.

We do not need another statement of belief. We need to do.

 

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

Why I Write Short Books (and Blog Posts)

The Eternal Revolution can now be ordered from Amazon, and I am still awaiting my first shipment from the printer. As this latest books finds its way into people’s hands, one of the first things you will notice is that it is relatively short for a book.

At just over 6,000 words and 40 pages in print, it is short for what we have come to expect from a book. As someone commented a few months ago, my blog posts tend to be short too.

This is intentional. How many books of 200-300 pages do you read in a year? How many are published? How many 1,800 word articles posted on blogs can you read in a day, and how many are produced daily? We just don’t have the time to consume all the content – even all the free content – that is made available. Also, the early Church fathers and monastic rules constantly warned about talking too much, not too little.

Book publishing has change drastically in the last few years. I believe it is the biggest change since Gutenberg’s printing press. Since the invention of the press, duplication of printed matter has become easier, but it has not necessarily become open to everyone. Hiring a printer to set type required a return on investment for the time, and producing a modern book for publication required hours of labor, not only from the author, illustrator, editors, marketing team, advertising, printer, truck driver, and so on. A new hardcover book required a $30 price point and a print run in the tens of thousands to make enough to pay everyone a rate worthy of their time and effort. Which means that an idea that could be expressed in 50 pages has to, instead, be padded to make the book thick enough to be worth $30. As a result, non-fiction books especially can feel dragged out, over-fluffed, and appear difficult to read. Like Christianity (according to Chesterton) they are perceived difficult and left untried. The price-setting, page-padding practice is becoming outdated when small books can be printed just as easily as bigger books, and word of mouth can drive sales better than conventional advertising.

Hence short books. Something that you can look at and think “I can read this in an afternoon or evening.” And if you read it, it will actually have a chance to change your life, unlike that list of best-selling titles you just haven’t gotten around to reading.

For the same $30 cover price as the traditional hardcover, I’ll be able to sell 10 copies of a book to someone who will share my perspective and encouragement with 9 other people. Being short, the book is more likely to be read. That’s a lot more impact for the same price.

My blog posts are likewise short. You have other things to do than sit on the Internet and read other people’s opinions on things. Your time is precious, I just need enough words to present an idea, a concept, or a new perspective at let you think and pray about it means in your life, what God might want you to hear in it, and how, if at all, it will affect your life.

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

The Wind, The Trees, and Revolution – G.K. Chesterton Guest Post

This essay, which appears in the volume Tremendous Trifles, is an important one to me and the idea of Eternal Revolution for (at least) two great reasons. First, it explains the idea that revolution is never the actions of mankind, for the revolution must always start as a spiritual movement towards an ideal. Second, it reminds us that it is right and just to pray for revolution. 

 

I am sitting under tall trees, with a great wind boiling like surf about the tops of them, so that their living load of leaves rocks and roars in something that is at once exultation and agony. I feel, in fact, as if I were actually sitting at the bottom of the sea among mere anchors and ropes, while over my head and over the green twilight of water sounded the everlasting rush of waves and the toil and crash and shipwreck of tremendous ships. The wind tugs at the trees as if it might pluck them root and all out of the earth like tufts of grass. Or, to try yet another desperate figure of speech for this unspeakable energy, the trees are straining and tearing and lashing as if they were a tribe of dragons each tied by the tail.
As I look at these top-heavy giants tortured by an invisible and violent witchcraft, a phrase comes back into my mind. I remember a little boy of my acquaintance who was once walking in Battersea Park under just such torn skies and tossing trees. He did not like the wind at all; it blew in his face too much; it made him shut his eyes; and it blew off his hat, of which he was very proud. He was, as far as I remember, about four. After complaining repeatedly of the atmospheric unrest, he said at last to his mother, “Well, why don’t you take away the trees, and then it wouldn’t wind.”
Nothing could be more intelligent or natural than this mistake. Any one looking for the first time at the trees might fancy that they were indeed vast and titanic fans, which by their mere waving agitated the air around them for miles. Nothing, I say, could be more human and excusable than the belief that it is the trees which make the wind. Indeed, the belief is so human and excusable that it is, as a matter of fact, the belief of about ninety-nine out of a hundred of the philosophers, reformers, sociologists, and politicians of the great age in which we live. My small friend was, in fact, very like the principal modern thinkers; only much nicer.
In the little apologue or parable which he has thus the honour of inventing, the trees stand for all visible things and the wind for the invisible. The wind is the spirit which bloweth where it listeth; the trees are the material things of the world which are blown where the spirit lists. The wind is philosophy, religion, revolution; the trees are cities and civilisations. We only know that there is a wind because the trees on some distant hill suddenly go mad. We only know that there is a real revolution because all the chimney-pots go mad on the whole skyline of the city.
Just as the ragged outline of a tree grows suddenly more ragged and rises into fantastic crests or tattered tails, so the human city rises under the wind of the spirit into toppling temples or sudden spires. No man has ever seen a revolution. Mobs pouring through the palaces, blood pouring down the gutters, the guillotine lifted higher than the throne, a prison in ruins, a people in arms–these things are not revolution, but the results of revolution.
You cannot see a wind; you can only see that there is a wind. So, also, you cannot see a revolution; you can only see that there is a revolution. And there never has been in the history of the world a real revolution, brutally active and decisive, which was not preceded by unrest and new dogma in the reign of invisible things. All revolutions began by being abstract. Most revolutions began by being quite pedantically abstract.
The wind is up above the world before a twig on the tree has moved. So there must always be a battle in the sky before there is a battle on the earth. Since it is lawful to pray for the coming of the kingdom, it is lawful also to pray for the coming of the revolution that shall restore the kingdom. It is lawful to hope to hear the wind of Heaven in the trees. It is lawful to pray “Thine anger come on earth as it is in Heaven.”
The great human dogma, then, is that the wind moves the trees. The great human heresy is that the trees move the wind. When people begin to say that the material circumstances have alone created the moral circumstances, then they have prevented all possibility of serious change. For if my circumstances have made me wholly stupid, how can I be certain even that I am right in altering those circumstances?
The man who represents all thought as an accident of environment is simply smashing and discrediting all his own thoughts– including that one. To treat the human mind as having an ultimate authority is necessary to any kind of thinking, even free thinking. And nothing will ever be reformed in this age or country unless we realise that the moral fact comes first.
For example, most of us, I suppose, have seen in print and heard in debating clubs an endless discussion that goes on between Socialists and total abstainers. The latter say that drink leads to poverty; the former say that poverty leads to drink. I can only wonder at their either of them being content with such simple physical explanations. Surely it is obvious that the thing which among the English proletariat leads to poverty is the same as the thing which leads to drink; the absence of strong civic dignity, the absence of an instinct that resists degradation.
When you have discovered why enormous English estates were not long ago cut up into small holdings like the land of France, you will have discovered why the Englishman is more drunken than the Frenchman. The Englishman, among his million delightful virtues, really has this quality, which may strictly be called “hand to mouth,” because under its influence a man’s hand automatically seeks his own mouth, instead of seeking (as it sometimes should do) his oppressor’s nose. And a man who says that the English inequality in land is due only to economic causes, or that the drunkenness of England is due only to economic causes, is saying something so absurd that he cannot really have thought what he was saying.
Yet things quite as preposterous as this are said and written under the influence of that great spectacle of babyish helplessness, the economic theory of history. We have people who represent that all great historic motives were economic, and then have to howl at the top of their voices in order to induce the modern democracy to act on economic motives. The extreme Marxian politicians in England exhibit themselves as a small, heroic minority, trying vainly to induce the world to do what, according to their theory, the world always does. The truth is, of course, that there will be a social revolution the moment the thing has ceased to be purely economic. You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.
I get up from under the trees, for the wind and the slight rain have ceased. The trees stand up like golden pillars in a clear sunlight. The tossing of the trees and the blowing of the wind have ceased simultaneously. So I suppose there are still modern philosophers who will maintain that the trees make the wind.

 

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

Cheap Entertainment: First World Temptations?

One of many popular memes these days is the “First World Problems.” A frustrating issue for a particular minor problem that frustrates someone in our modern society that really is pathetically irrelevant to most people in the world. For the visually inclined, these are usually delivered on a graphic of a woman crying.

Some examples would be: “Went to the store, they were out of organic apples,” or, “Want to go to the store, but its raining,” or, “Got iPhone for Christmas, but it was only a 4S.” You probably get the idea.

For most of the billions of people in the world, these are not problems, but complaints from spoiled people. Hence the laughable nature of the “First World Problem.” The sad fact is people let such problems ruin their day, or throw full-fledged tantrums – even adults – over the hassle and disappointment.

Not only do we have superfluous “problems” in the modern world, we have detractors from the spiritual life that would have been unheard of a few generations ago, and that would boggle the mind of other who happen to live in other, less developed countries.

As I write this, the minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25. A month of Netflix is $7.99. A month of Amazon Prime (with streaming movies, free ebooks, and free MP3s) is $8.25 per month. For less than an hour and a half of work, you can have more movies and television shows than you could possible watch in a month – possibly even a year – without neglecting work, sleep, and everything else in life.

Binge watching and Netflix marathons are becoming a regular topic online. Just a few years ago, TV and movie marathons were occasional program events conducted by theaters or networks, or a family activity that would cost $5 per movie at Blockbuster. Now you can do it every weekend and evening, for the cost of less than 2 hours of labor.

The video game community has experienced this too. Several years ago, I used to flip video games from Gamestop, buying rare games during “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sales and selling them on Amazon. On the online communities that tracked those and other sales, the term “backlog” became common, and members would post pictures of dozens, even hundreds of unopened video games they had purchased dirt cheap but did not yet have time to play.

Today, Humble Bundles, Steam Sales, and other digital distribution channels for PC and mobile games have made the backlog a reality for even the most casual of gamers. This week Steam is wrapping up one of two major seasonal sales where top-tier games that were $60 last year are sold for as little as $5. Message boards around the internet are full of people bemoaning how much they spent on the sale, and how many hundreds, or thousands, of unplayed games still reside in their digital libraries.

In the last nine years, costs for entertainment have plummeted, even has costs of necessities have risen.  Even the most impoverished in America can have all the media they can consume, and still not afford food or housing. Is not spending $8 on Netflix really going to buy you much more food? It will, however, help you forget your troubles and is a tremendous value.

If Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin & Hobbes) was correct and TV, not religion, is the opiate of the masses, what does it mean now that it is cheaper and more accessible than ever?

To make matters worse, a recent study has found that just two hours a day of television is enough to reduce the life expectancy of a person, especially young adults.

The spiritual life, too, suffers under the burden of so much cheap and free entertainment. It is all too easy to fill the silence and downtime in your life with shows, movies, and video games than prayer. It is too easy to sedate yourself with entertainment than to acknowledge and do something about the needs of others in your community – or in your own home.

The saints and mystics had little no idea of this (although Teresea of Avila, a 16th century mystic, nun, and Catholic saint prophesied that “a little black box” would destroy the family). People today with no access to the Internet do not bear the burden of this “First World Temptation.”

You cannot fight what you do not first identify as something working against you. The next step is to do something about it.

Disturb us, Lord.

Pray for Revolution.

 

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

It’s Not For You

The first thing you see when you open up The Eternal Revolution, or at least before you get to the main text of the book, is a warning:

This is a book written for Christians, that is, those who accept that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead.

For those who believe Jesus was just a good man, or a fiction, or wrong, or that Christianity is basically about being good to others, kindness, and tolerance – this book is not for you. Close it now, and go read something else.

There are many books that explain Christianity and attempt to justify it. This is not one of them. I would suggest G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, one of many books bearing the title Introduction to Christianity, or, best of all, read through of our sacred text, the Bible. If you then find you accept the basics of our faith, then come back to this book.

Without accepting the idea that Jesus of Nazareth is who He claimed to be, nothing that follows will be understood or acceptable. If you proceed to read this book, keep that in mind.

“Christianity is, as far as you are concerned, a horrible mystery. Keep clear of it, keep silent upon it, as you would upon an abomination. It is a thing that has made men slay and torture each other; and you will never know why. It is a thing that has made men do evil that good might come; and you will never understand the evil, let alone the good. Christianity is a thing that could only make you vomit, till you are other than you are. I would not justify it to you even if I could. Hate it, in God’s name, [like] a man. It is a monstrous thing, for which men die.”

–  G.K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross

There are a great many books that attempt to justify Christianity, building up its members while evangelizing to the unchurched at the same time. Some books might manage to pull it off, but others seem to make a mess by trying to do too much and either not evangelizing or not evangelizing well, or doing far worse by trivializing the faith of the faithful or confusing the newcomer.

I wanted to make it clear from the outset that The Eternal Revolution was for a particular group, namely, those who already consider themselves to be Christians. Identifying and admitting that shared faith from the start, the book can then cut right to the matter it was written to communicate, without having to justify the prerequisite steps such as the authority of Jesus, the validity of the Scriptures, or the existence of heaven and the devil.

It might seem unkind to tell people to put the book away, and that it is not for them. But it is charitable to both the Christian and the non-Christian exactly where the message stands – we must of course preach the Good News to all people (even the saved), but at the same time we must also encourage one another on the journey. You cannot do a very good job of encouraging someone on a path they have not yet accepted.

I quote a rebuke from Chesterton’s Ball and the Cross because it is delivered to just the sort of person who might pick up the book and become even more confused, even to the point of anger or hatred. In the Ball and the Cross the speech is directed to a well-meaning and well-read man who expects Christians to be peaceful and loving, without understanding what it means to be Christian, or quite possibly what the meaning and purpose of love might be. The passage is harsh, it is violent, but it is true. Christianity is a faith the changes the person, and demands change and improvement until the end. It does not teach complacency, even as it teaches contentment. Most importantly, people have died for it, still die for it, and will continue to die for it until Kingdom come.

If that does not at least sound a little familiar to the beliefs you already hold, The Eternal Revolution is going to sound like some sort of new religion – for if you thought Christianity was about kindness and peace and tolerance, it is going to sound new.

Note: Starting this week, the blog will be updated every Monday and Thursday.

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

All For the Glory of God

“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

As Christians, we hear the instruction to do everything for, or to, the Glory of God. But what does it actually look like when we do things for His glory, and not our own?

The story of Gideon is a great example of this. The odds were against Gideon’s 32,000  Israelite soldiers from the start, facing the combined Midianites and Amelekites that were too numerous to count. However, even those odds were too humanly possible. God had Gideon challenge and test the men until just 300 remained. Unlike the famous Spartans, these 300 had no allies but God alone.

When instructing Gideon to reduce his fighting force, God’s reason was this: “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ ” When something is to be done for God’s glory, it should be done without personal pride in the accomplishment, and without taking credit for it.

This doesn’t just apply to sports stars and performance artists. It doesn’t just apply to public victory and celebration. It is supposed to apply to everything we do.

Why does it seem that the biggest miracles have all happened in the past? Perhaps we have grown too confident – not just in our own abilities, but in knowing what is possible and impossible. But God is in the impossible tasks He sets before us.

If we set out to do something we know is possible, and achieve it, how have we shown the glory and power of God in that achievement? But if we set out to do what is necessary, against odds that are obviously impossible – then the success can truly be a witness to God’s presence and majesty.

 

 

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

Pagan Christian Churches

Over the past few years, I have been reading some of the trendy business strategy books that have been coming out. I’m not convinced it has been particularly useful, for other than Seth Godin there have been few, if any, that seemed to offer much in the way of advice that should be applied to a Christian ministry.

What has been alarming, though, is the number of case studies that came up about Christian churches. Yes, Christian churches that were being hailed as great examples for business leaders.

Christian Churches as Business Case  Studies

For example, in Made to Stick by Chip Heath, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church is highlighted as a case study – specifically, their profiling of potential “customers” under the name of “Saddleback Sam” and “Saddleback Samantha.” This case study has been cited over and over again in business books for its marketing genius. The profile of Sam and Samantha includes such details as education, income, job type (“professional, manager, or successful entrepreneur”) number of kids, debt level, and so on. The church’s marketing is then tailored to meet this profile “customer” to whom they evangelize.

In Relaunch, Mark Rutland writes about turning around troubled businesses and organizations. He describes the most valuable lessons of his early career from Dr. Paul Walker of Mount Paran Church. According to Rutland, Dr. Walker taught him valuable lessons in leadership. He gives the following examples:

  • The first time Rutland went on stage at the church, Dr. Walker expressed concern that Rutland was not wearing his best dress shoes. Those were Rutland’s only dress shoes, so Dr. Walker told him to get new ones. It was a requirement that a certain level of fashion be reflected in the church leadership.
  • Dr. Walker insisted that professional titles, such as “Dr.” were used. It was for the sake of the congregation, that their were confident in their leaders. “Mount Paran was a congregation of professionals who wanted their leaders to inspire confidence,” summarizes Rutland.
  • Rutland describes Dr. Walker’s reputation from the point of view of area businessmen. One described Dr. Walker as “the best cash flow man in Atlanta.” This had a profound effect on Rutland, who wrote, “I remember thinking, ‘I want businessmen to talk about me that way. I want to be the kind of minister that buisnessmen respect professionally.'”

After leaving Mount Paran, Rutland was hired by Calvary Church in Florida, when the congregation was reeling from money and scandal problems. According to Rutland, the previous pastor was fired by the bank holding the note for the church, and they had final say in the hiring of Rutland as replacement. In the interview process, Rutland recalls that the bankers wanted an account of how he was going to turn things around, and without “any spiritual nonsense.” Rutland writes about the situation, “The borrower, as the ancient words go, is slave to the lender.”

Rutland threatened to move the congregation to a new building and default on the bank’s controlling interest, but he did in fact turn the finances of the church around.

God or Money

I have a hard time reconciling such a vision for Christian ministry with the Bible’s instructions to faithful Christians. Christ told us to go out to all people, not just the urban professionals with white collar jobs. He did not send us forth, telling us to wear not only our best clothes, but the best clothes that are available.

Jesus and his apostles certainly do not seem to be on the same page as to where to find esteem. James writes, “Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Jesus warned that we cannot serve both God and mammon (wealth or money), as we will hate one and love the other. If your pastor is fired and hired by the bank that holds your mortgage, to which of the two are you beholden – or enslaved?

If, according to God, we are blessed when the world hates us and persecutes us, what does it mean if the world thinks we’re the best cash-flow business in the region?

If King David and Israel were punished for a census, what is the fruit of evangelizing to a target demographic based on economic well-being?

At our churches, are we to be inspired by the Spirit of God, or the professional skills and fashion sense of our ministers?

Pagan Christianity

Anything can become a false idol, and that even holds true for Christ himself. If your identity of Jesus and His message conflicts with the warnings, the nature of His ministry, and His commands so much as to put the esteem of the world before Him, then you are service a false image.

I mentioned Phil Vischer’s description of the “Oprah god” before:  “We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. ” 

Mainstream Christianity in America is something other than Christianity. If we cannot serve both God and money, then we need to ask ourselves: who the hell have we been preaching, praising, and following?

Photo Credit: Tricia on Flickr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.

Athesim is Dead

In 2009, Joss Whedon created a moderate stir when he gave speech in response to receiving the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism at Harvard University’s Memorial Church. You can see his brief speech below:

Some Christian bloggers protested the blasphemy in his speech, but it should have been the humanists objecting.

“…there’s a lot of best sellers, like God is not Great, or the God Delusion… but I find those books to be, I mean (sigh), well, they’re old news, for me… For me, the important thing is not that we’re right. The important thing is ‘Where do we go from here?’ If we are to have a foothold in American or world society, how do we codify our moral structure without the sky bully looking down on us telling us what to do? I’m here to tell you I don’t really have the answer.”

Whedon echoed the sentiments that G.K. Chesterton had stated decades earlier, when he called Atheism “The supreme example of a simple faith,” and “one of the dead heresies,” – in 1922.

The man says there is no God; if he really says it in his heart, he is a certain sort of man so designated in Scripture. But, anyhow, when he has said it, he has said it; and there seems to be no more to be said. The conversation seems likely to languish. The truth is that the atmosphere of excitement, by which the atheist lived, was an atmosphere of thrilled and shuddering theism, and not of atheism at all; it was an atmosphere of defiance and not of denial.

Irreverence is a very servile parasite of reverence; and has starved with its starving lord. After this first fuss about the merely aesthetic effect of blasphemy, the whole thing vanishes into its own void. If there were not God, there would be no atheists.

To Simple to Be True

To further prove this point, after his insightful proclamation that the New Atheism had nothing new to offer, Whedon offers the only ideas he has – humorous suggestions such as moving the Holy Land to Jamaica, or a new schism or more Popes to make Catholicism more lively (little does he know how lively Catholic politics are!). With nothing new to offer, he sinks back down to the level of defiance. The only thing atheists can build is a rise out of believers.

Certainly, the field of apologetics should prepare for intellectual debate as always, but when your opponent’s case is that he can reasonably prove a negative (which is impossible with logic) or that life originated from inorganic material naturally (a medieval alchemist’s theory which was debunked centuries ago) it is about a fruitless as having a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

Atheists decry religion for being a human construct. But if we are all accidents of evolution, products of “survival of the fittest,” how can one human deny another’s claim of racial superiority without resorting to a myth of equality and a human-constructed code of ethics? And if you cannot condemn genocide, what moral code can you proclaim, or what so-called evil can you condemn? Either we are created equal, as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, or we certainly evolved unequal, as Chesterton observed.

At its best, atheism today is about the emotional, not rational, reaction to hypocrisy and bloodshed perpetrated by those who proclaim belief in God. At its worst, it is the passionate and emotional denial of external limits and definitions of morals, usually for personal, not logical, reasons.

So do not fear the simple faith of the atheist; it is not new, it has not grown or developed like a living thing. The most effective way to combat its necrophilia-like allure is to live as Christ taught, not argue with those who may very well be rightfully angry with hypocritical Christians.

 

photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 7, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.