Don’t Love Me the Way I Am

“Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved. …When we fall in love with a woman, do we cease to care whether she is clean or dirty, fair or foul? Do we not rather then first begin to care? …Love may, indeed, love the beloved when her beauty is lost: but not because it is lost. Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal. Love is more sensitive than hatred itself to every blemish in the beloved….”

-       C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Wonder what I’m thinking, wonder why I’m drinking, but it’s plain to see, I’m not the man I used to be.”

-       Fine Young Cannibals


 

There are two lies we are often told: People never change, and we should love them the way they are. The first is proven false by our experience; the second is based on a misrepresentation of love.

People Don't Change

I don’t know these people…

A dynamic life is full of change, but even the most stubbornly static existence is marked by it. People are forced to change: by nature, by experience, by conflict. People change: their personalities, their ambitions, their motivations, their tastes are all modified – if not fully transformed – at various points in life. And these are not just superficial changes, but rather fundamental alterations that often leave one unrecognizable. The phrase “Once a [fill in the blank], always a [fill in the blank]” is not only unfortunate, it is a lie. Of course, it is also used exclusively with regard to negative attributes. I have never heard someone say, “Once a kind, gentle soul, always a kind, gentle soul.” While this is possibly due to an intuitive understanding of human nature, it is also unmistakable in its purpose: to deny that essential improvement is possible. Continue reading

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The Pride of Skepticism

Perhaps the primary origin of subjectivism today, at least in America, is the desire to be accepted, to be ‘with it,’ fashionable, avant garde, ‘in the know,’ rather than ‘square,’ ‘hokey’ or ‘out of it.’
We all learned this as children – to be embarrassed is the absolutely primary fear of a teenager – but we put more sophisticated, scholarly disguises on it when we become adults.
- Peter Kreeft

The evidence of God’s existence and His gift is more than compelling, but those who insist that they have no need of Him – or it – will always find ways to discount the offer.
- Blaise Pascal


I don’t like to look stupid. I’ve gotten pretty good at laughing at myself, but any ten-cent psychiatrist will tell you that’s just a defense mechanism. Á la Eminem at the end of “8 Mile,” the easiest way to avoid ridicule is to beat them to the punch. I am also proud, and I like to think that my beliefs and opinions are based on something substantial, not just feelings or hearsay. Accepting things based on “authority” has always been difficult, because in that situation the facts are only as reliable as the source, and how well do we really know anyone, much less their motives? I would willingly label myself a “believer,” but in actuality I have a hard time believing a lot of things.

Confession: I am a skeptic. Continue reading

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A Reasonable Doubt?

“Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence.”
- Bertrand Russell, when asked what his response would be if upon his death he was confronted by God demanding to know why he hadn’t believed.

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy, I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

I would like to ask atheists the following question: “What would it take for you to believe in Christianity?” The answers would be as varied as the people themselves, but they would provide a glimpse into what they feel is not offered by the faith I hold so strongly. Most often, my approach is against the intellectual barriers to belief. However, I know that emotional and moral objections are much more substantial in the final reckoning. If Christianity were just another philosophy, then it would hold little appeal to the hurting, destitute and powerless. And it would only be fair for me to be willing to answer the corresponding question from the opposite side: “What would cause me to abandon my faith?”

Continue reading

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God, the Father

You asked for a loving God: you have one…. Not a senile benevolence that drowsily wished you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, not the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes…. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring.

- C.S Lewis, The Problem of Pain [emphasis mine]


Which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness? While it lasts, the religion of worshipping oneself is the best.

-  C.S Lewis, God in the Dock


In my previous post, I mentioned two main objections to the idea of God that are also reasons that many people hate Him. The first objection was a moral one, in that they find their morals at odds with the Biblical stories of the Judeo-Christian God (where those morals come from is something that they should investigate, as well, but is not the point of this post). The second I claimed was an emotional one: they hate the claim He makes on their lives. I would suggest that an answer to the second objection is directly correlated to the first, in that God acts in the way that He does precisely because He loves us, and wishes that we are perfected through Him. In fact, He acts just like a Father.

It has been said that if you pray for patience, God will give you children. Continue reading

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Is God Good?

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
- Richard Dawkins, “The God Delusion”

“There is one fundamental difference between God allowing death when he has the power to restore life and my taking a life when I don’t have the power to restore it. The story of evil is one part of a greater narrative. To ignore the greater narrative is to continue to raise particulars without accepting the general.”
- Ravi Zacharias, “Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend”


There are a number of reasons that men hate God (even those who claim not to believe in God). However, these reasons typically boil down to one of two actual objections, which are essentially moral and emotional objections:

1) They hate God as they see Him portrayed in religious texts and traditions, or

2) They hate the claim He makes on their lives.

I will focus here on the former, while leaving the latter for another time. I am not doing this because I feel the former is the sturdier argument (quite the contrary, actually), but because it is more likely to serve as an obstacle to consideration of the latter. The more simplistic argument is that made by Dawkins above, and yet it is the most often expressed. I also believe it to be a smokescreen against the greater fear of God claiming ownership of our lives, and that is why it must be dispelled first.

Continue reading

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Too Soon?

I am often amazed at how clever people are. While I am sure that people have been just as creative and witty throughout history, the Internet has really allowed them to blossom. From memes and Auto Tune to Photoshop and fails, our drive-thru culture has allowed people to express themselves one small byte at a time to more people than ever before. Of course, the lack of accountability has also opened the door to vulgar, disturbing and deviant creations. While I would imagine that the creators would not be very likely to own the works if their face was attached to it, this supposition is proved false by the overwhelming willingness of seemingly decent people of all persuasions to disseminate them. In the typically contentious arena of politics, it has been taken to a new level; as regards religion, it has become unfathomable. But before I hear the claim that Christians have no sense of humor, I want to look a little deeper. Continue reading

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Do We Really Matter?

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Our culture is always telling us not only what we can be, but what we should be. Especially in the Western world, we must achieve, we must win, we must succeed. However, we are not all leaders, and we are not all capitalist success stories. We are not all tall and thin, and we are not all poetic and kind. But we are all ourselves, and there is a real genuineness in that.

Now I want to digress momentarily for a story. (Yes, it has a moral. Sorry.) My favorite teacher in high school was not my favorite because he challenged me or taught me things that I could never have learned on my own (although he did both of these things). He was my favorite because he was Cool. He was funny, he had fun, and he let us have fun. Anyone who knew him automatically knew that he was cool. He had a great family, he was smart and kind, and people genuinely liked him. As much as I always liked him, I envied him, as well. If only I could be that well liked. And cool. But then something happened, and some people didn’t think he was as cool any more. Continue reading

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