Sunday, July 24, 2005We were talking yesterday about the means by which Christianity appeals to our human nature in two forms: wander and structure. Of course people follow other faiths because they fulfill some aspect of one of those needs, but no other faith completes both our desires the way that Christ does. Islam, for example, is a belief system that provides a great deal of behavioral and societal structure. It's something we all need and, on some level, want. We need a certain degree of structure in our lives and certainly Muslims have that. Of course the obvious critique of Islam is that it is an overreach; it's legalism of the highest order and perhaps even a bit degrading in that it never acknowledges some level of human autonomy and it certainly never suggests that God cares for us in specific, tangible ways.
On the flipside, new age faiths - Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, et al - make a powerful appeal to that side of our nature that is fascinated and awed by the spiritual and mysterious. Of course as believers we acknowledge that the Eastern faiths are ultimately misguided in their approach; there are no objectives. Christianity does, however, maintain a level of - to use a modern phrase - spirituality that is often neglected. I can know God through the person of Jesus Christ. I can know a lot about God through studying the Scriptures, but as Job tells us, there are some things I just can't grasp. That is a mystery. I want to avoid mysticism in the perjorative sense of the word, but I love the fact that part of my faith is not something that I can fully and wholly comprehend on this side of eternity. Yet I also remain thankful that my faith is tangible in many respects; that my Creator has established order. I'm glad that God's law has been stamped on my heart and even nonbelievers have some awareness of natural law. This faith is no accident. Our Creator knows us and offers to us everything we need on a very personal, spiritual level.
Jumbled thoughts, I know, but I like talking about this. I think I'll keep fleshing it out. I'll also get around to talking about the sadness of the Christian life, that subtle tinge of loneliness that all believers face as we long for Heaven.