My physique has changed rather considerably over the years, and as a consequence a pair of pants that fit me when I was in college won't fit me now, 35 years later. One might say that I've grown, and need my old clothes to be tailored to fit my new self. We also grow in knowledge and wisdom, of course. Our ideas change. But they should change in the sense that we gain a better understanding of that which is. The world is out there, and it is what it is.
When you were a child you might have thought, for example, that a heavy object surely would fall faster than a light object. A baseball, after all, certainly falls more quickly than a feather. But you grew in knowledge and came to understand that the truth was otherwise. Your view was tailored to your new knowledge.
And so it seems to many with respect to rather more important truths. When they were young, impressionable, naive, perhaps a bit romantic, they believed all this God stuff. There was baby Jesus and Mary the always consoling Mother. There were engaging stories about boats and storms and walking on water and a couple of fish becoming a filet-o-fish feast for thousands. Cool. But as they learned more, and grew in knowledge, they wondered if these things could possibly be true, let alone The Truth. All the most sophisticated and attractive and with-it folks seemed to think it was all bunk. And they learned about science and Darwin and quarks and chemistry, and came to think that all that Jesus stuff was pretty unlikely, and way strange, and (most of all) ever so embarrassing and inconvenient. How uncool is it to have to pass up doing all those things that all the way-cool girls are doing because of . . . . Jesus? Gross.
Now don't mistake me here. This God-as-Man, rise from the dead, virgin birth stuff is pretty strange. And modern, sophisticated people, with the benefit of science, have come up with any number of new arguments against that sort of thing. (Well, maybe not so much new
, but they're good arguments nonetheless.) There are lots of reasons you might tailor your beliefs to fit better with new knowledge, new understanding, new friends, new books, new television shows, new drugs, new freedom, new liberation, new access, new wealth.
I am put in mind of this by the Current Unpleasantness in the Episcopal Church. This is not the place, and I am not the person, to attempt an explanation and explication of those sad events. But I was struck by this quotation from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:
There is a desire to say "Well, I have the fullness of the truth, and there can’t possibly be any truth anywhere else." And if that’s our understanding of God, it’s too small.
To a modern sophisticated person, that sort of statement seems rather ordinary. It's the sort of feel-good stuff that Dr. Phil dispenses. Pick a god, any god, and make her in your own image. We're reminded perhaps of those great philosophical debates in the lounge of the freshman dorm. It's eminently sensible and with-it, but really ought not to be confused with Christianity.
This is Christianity:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
You're free to believe what you want, of course. But let's be clear. What Bishop Schori says may be true, but it's not Christianity. And those passages quoted just now may not be true, but they are Christianity.
Hat tip to Midwest Conservative Journal
, the gateway to more than you ever thought you wanted to know about The Episcopal Church.