Makoto Fujimura on art, paganism, and worship

My former student and current. . . tech guru Stewart Lundy has a fascinating interview with via Makoto Fujimura, the acclaimed Japanese-American abstract artist who is also a devout Christian. Read the whole interview. What struck me the most was what he said about paganism and about worship:

There is spiritual danger in Paganism, and as Origen stated (and recently quoted by Pope Benedict) Paganism is defined by “Lacking feeling and reason, they are transformed into stones and wood.”  In other words, Paganism flattens our perception, makes all experience virtual, dumbing down our senses. Paganism, as in the Matrix movie, is virtual, manageable, flat reality, whereas the red pill takes you down into the harsh reality of pain and suffering. Christianity opens our perception and our understanding of Reality. . . . .

Proper worship is central to our understanding of reality, the arts, and it affects everyone, Christians and non Christians.  Culture is affected by how we worship God. . . .

By “proper worship,” I mean a distinctively Christological way of looking at God, the world and ourselves that is driven by understanding and experiencing God’s grace.

Do you get what he’s saying? What’s the connection between worship as he defines it and our understanding of reality, the arts, and culture?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    Interesting. Popular perception is usually the exact opposite: Christianity is stifling and colorless while paganism is living and vivid.

    Nevertheless, it does make sense. The increasing embrace of paganism has much to do with our “follow your heart” mentality. Of course, we’re not so simple that we only have only one feeling at a time or only feelings that are consistent with each other. Letting your feelings organize themselves ultimately means that you have to ignore most of them (seek the pleasant ones and avoid the unpleasant, usually). Following your heart leaves you with half a heart.

    Christianity can stifle, of course–usually when we turn faith into a duty by trying to ignore doubts, be sinless, etc–but these are perversions of Christianity, not what it is meant to be.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    Interesting. Popular perception is usually the exact opposite: Christianity is stifling and colorless while paganism is living and vivid.

    Nevertheless, it does make sense. The increasing embrace of paganism has much to do with our “follow your heart” mentality. Of course, we’re not so simple that we only have only one feeling at a time or only feelings that are consistent with each other. Letting your feelings organize themselves ultimately means that you have to ignore most of them (seek the pleasant ones and avoid the unpleasant, usually). Following your heart leaves you with half a heart.

    Christianity can stifle, of course–usually when we turn faith into a duty by trying to ignore doubts, be sinless, etc–but these are perversions of Christianity, not what it is meant to be.

  • Brenda Bomberger

    I was a student in Japan twice in the late ’70s. I attended a Japanese Lutheran church(a WELS mission near Tokyo) the second time there. In my Lit class we read a play(forgot the name) about Christians in the Tokugawa era. Japan was refered to as a bog, or a mudpit, drawing people down, which would certainly be stiffling.

    I think that when we are without Christ we never understand how stiffled we are, we just flow along. In Christ, we are lifted up to sing and praise Him.

  • Brenda Bomberger

    I was a student in Japan twice in the late ’70s. I attended a Japanese Lutheran church(a WELS mission near Tokyo) the second time there. In my Lit class we read a play(forgot the name) about Christians in the Tokugawa era. Japan was refered to as a bog, or a mudpit, drawing people down, which would certainly be stiffling.

    I think that when we are without Christ we never understand how stiffled we are, we just flow along. In Christ, we are lifted up to sing and praise Him.

  • Dan Kempin

    This is absolutely brilliant. Thank you for sharing this. It is not very often I read an article or interview that gets me thinking so profoundly.

    “Material reality has significance, and potency, because of the Gospel of incarnation, the fact that God became a man.”

    “Zen does not assume the depravity of our hearts as a Reality, but considers all suffering (and depravity) as a temporal illusion. Christianity is after the narrow gate of focus to see Reality as it truly is.”

    “Kazimir Malevich . . . in the Stalin/Lenin era . . . positioned abstraction as a way to convey transcendence when Christianity was banned.”

    “We need to not only invite Jesus into our hearts as a Savior, but continue to invite Jesus into our lives as the creator and sustainer of the universe.”

    “The beauty of the gospel is in the foundational reality of God’s created universe .”

    Deep, deep stuff. Good stuff. Thank you for blessing us.

  • Dan Kempin

    This is absolutely brilliant. Thank you for sharing this. It is not very often I read an article or interview that gets me thinking so profoundly.

    “Material reality has significance, and potency, because of the Gospel of incarnation, the fact that God became a man.”

    “Zen does not assume the depravity of our hearts as a Reality, but considers all suffering (and depravity) as a temporal illusion. Christianity is after the narrow gate of focus to see Reality as it truly is.”

    “Kazimir Malevich . . . in the Stalin/Lenin era . . . positioned abstraction as a way to convey transcendence when Christianity was banned.”

    “We need to not only invite Jesus into our hearts as a Savior, but continue to invite Jesus into our lives as the creator and sustainer of the universe.”

    “The beauty of the gospel is in the foundational reality of God’s created universe .”

    Deep, deep stuff. Good stuff. Thank you for blessing us.

  • Dan Kempin

    As I continue to reflect on this, I think it has profound implication for our piety and witness. Here in the west, Christianity is so often perceived as a “belief.” Belief finds its origin in the one believing. Christianity is much more accurately framed as a perception of true and deep reality.

    This perception of reality is not authoritarian, nor the property of an exclusive few. It comes as a gift, and, as with a masterful work of art, our perception of reality can continue to deepen and grow.

    (Wow. I’m even talking about art now.)

    God is in the world, not merely as the one who has authority over it, but as the one who is creating it. Even in a broken world, everything God creates is a work of art. Everything God creates is a masterpiece. There is a wonder of God in the created world that is both immanent and transcendent. It is not the deification of “nature,” but the perception of the handiwork of God, and, to follow Makoto Fujimura, when your eyes are opened, you can even see the second article woven into the first. You can perceive the Grace of God in the very fabric of his creation. (I believe Justin Martyr and many of the church fathers made this argument back in the day.)

    This insight could be of great value in conveying Christ to the culture in which we live.

  • Dan Kempin

    As I continue to reflect on this, I think it has profound implication for our piety and witness. Here in the west, Christianity is so often perceived as a “belief.” Belief finds its origin in the one believing. Christianity is much more accurately framed as a perception of true and deep reality.

    This perception of reality is not authoritarian, nor the property of an exclusive few. It comes as a gift, and, as with a masterful work of art, our perception of reality can continue to deepen and grow.

    (Wow. I’m even talking about art now.)

    God is in the world, not merely as the one who has authority over it, but as the one who is creating it. Even in a broken world, everything God creates is a work of art. Everything God creates is a masterpiece. There is a wonder of God in the created world that is both immanent and transcendent. It is not the deification of “nature,” but the perception of the handiwork of God, and, to follow Makoto Fujimura, when your eyes are opened, you can even see the second article woven into the first. You can perceive the Grace of God in the very fabric of his creation. (I believe Justin Martyr and many of the church fathers made this argument back in the day.)

    This insight could be of great value in conveying Christ to the culture in which we live.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yes, thanks Veith, Stewart, Dan, and special thanks to Mr. Fujimura. I’m going to need to reread and ponder this article a couple times over the next few days. The whole interview carries, much profound insight into culture.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yes, thanks Veith, Stewart, Dan, and special thanks to Mr. Fujimura. I’m going to need to reread and ponder this article a couple times over the next few days. The whole interview carries, much profound insight into culture.

  • Booklover

    Christians have a “belief in sin,” a true understanding of sin, and an (albeit incomplete) understanding of Christ’s sacrifice.

    In our day, there is a rampant unbelief in sin. People live their lives as if their actions don’t matter, as if there is not a Saviour Who redeems us because there is nothing that needs redeeming.

  • Booklover

    Christians have a “belief in sin,” a true understanding of sin, and an (albeit incomplete) understanding of Christ’s sacrifice.

    In our day, there is a rampant unbelief in sin. People live their lives as if their actions don’t matter, as if there is not a Saviour Who redeems us because there is nothing that needs redeeming.

  • fws

    Comment #6 Booklover

    “In our day, there is a rampant unbelief in sin. People live their lives as if their actions don’t matter”

    I disagree: turn this slightly…

    In all times, there is the rampant sin of unbelief. People live their lives as if all that matters is how outwardly good they are. They look for their life in outward goodness.

    People generally DO care about their actions. They do this to the extent that they do not see a need for a Savior. The one´s who don´t make it into the daily news. They are the exception and not the rule. The truly outwardly righteous are the problematic ones. the ones who know they are screwed up, who LOOK like they don´t think their actions matter, are easier to reach.

  • fws

    Comment #6 Booklover

    “In our day, there is a rampant unbelief in sin. People live their lives as if their actions don’t matter”

    I disagree: turn this slightly…

    In all times, there is the rampant sin of unbelief. People live their lives as if all that matters is how outwardly good they are. They look for their life in outward goodness.

    People generally DO care about their actions. They do this to the extent that they do not see a need for a Savior. The one´s who don´t make it into the daily news. They are the exception and not the rule. The truly outwardly righteous are the problematic ones. the ones who know they are screwed up, who LOOK like they don´t think their actions matter, are easier to reach.

  • fws

    This is what Saint Paul is talking about when he says the “veil of Moses has been removed”.

    What this means is that the Jews and pagans could not and cannot handle the law full strength, so they have an intermediary to not have to look at God´s face. The written law, codes, rules.

    We who are in Christ, see God face to face. That face IS Jesus. We can see the full implications of the law and not turn to the two choices of those who see the law clearly: Judas´despair or pharasaic denial.

    The augustana: “true worship is faith in Jesus Christ.”

    All that being said, I am still not sure it would be safe to say there we should expect to see a visible difference in either artists or those who view and perceive art.

    We all, as sinners, constantly are looking to insert something besides invisible faith ALONE into the kingdom of heaven. This might be one more, albeit very seductive and convincing way, to do this.

    Luther says we must include ALL visible things that man can do and is about man into the fully VISIBLE kingdom of the earth. the kingdom where faith is fully excluded. Why is it excluded there? because it can only be found ALONE in the heavenly kingdom where ALONE is Christ.

  • fws

    This is what Saint Paul is talking about when he says the “veil of Moses has been removed”.

    What this means is that the Jews and pagans could not and cannot handle the law full strength, so they have an intermediary to not have to look at God´s face. The written law, codes, rules.

    We who are in Christ, see God face to face. That face IS Jesus. We can see the full implications of the law and not turn to the two choices of those who see the law clearly: Judas´despair or pharasaic denial.

    The augustana: “true worship is faith in Jesus Christ.”

    All that being said, I am still not sure it would be safe to say there we should expect to see a visible difference in either artists or those who view and perceive art.

    We all, as sinners, constantly are looking to insert something besides invisible faith ALONE into the kingdom of heaven. This might be one more, albeit very seductive and convincing way, to do this.

    Luther says we must include ALL visible things that man can do and is about man into the fully VISIBLE kingdom of the earth. the kingdom where faith is fully excluded. Why is it excluded there? because it can only be found ALONE in the heavenly kingdom where ALONE is Christ.

  • Steve in Toronto

    I met Makoto Fujimura a few years ago at Redeemer Presbyterian in Greenwich Village (one of that remarkable churches many sites) during the coffee hour after the service I had a wonderful chat with him about the work of Calvin Seerveld (a prominent reformed philosopher of art) he is the real deal not just a fine painter but also a very thoughtful guy (if you know artists you will know that the two qualities do not necessarily go together). The Reformed have a bad reputation for being iconoclasts but my experience is that the modern reformed church is thinking harder about what it means to be a christen artist then any other branch of Christendom right now.

    Regards
    Steve in Toronto

  • Steve in Toronto

    I met Makoto Fujimura a few years ago at Redeemer Presbyterian in Greenwich Village (one of that remarkable churches many sites) during the coffee hour after the service I had a wonderful chat with him about the work of Calvin Seerveld (a prominent reformed philosopher of art) he is the real deal not just a fine painter but also a very thoughtful guy (if you know artists you will know that the two qualities do not necessarily go together). The Reformed have a bad reputation for being iconoclasts but my experience is that the modern reformed church is thinking harder about what it means to be a christen artist then any other branch of Christendom right now.

    Regards
    Steve in Toronto

  • Pingback: Christian News New Zealand » Blog Archive » Makoto Fujimura on art, paganism, and worship

  • Pingback: Christian News New Zealand » Blog Archive » Makoto Fujimura on art, paganism, and worship

  • Bruce Gee

    Great interview, particularly his comments about art vs. “Christian art,” which doesn’t really exist, IMO. What is strange however, is the quote about paganism is about as opaque as you can get. I don’t understand it at all. I can only think that any rank and file pagan would reject the definition out of hand. There were many fine quotes in that interview, I’m puzzled, Dr. Veith, that you chose that one in particular.

  • Bruce Gee

    Great interview, particularly his comments about art vs. “Christian art,” which doesn’t really exist, IMO. What is strange however, is the quote about paganism is about as opaque as you can get. I don’t understand it at all. I can only think that any rank and file pagan would reject the definition out of hand. There were many fine quotes in that interview, I’m puzzled, Dr. Veith, that you chose that one in particular.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    Bruce, The notion that paganism of every kind offers a flattened, over-simplified, one-dimensional portrayal of reality, whereas Christianity offers the whole rich complex vision of existence in all of its fullness is something I have been exploring lately. Pagans might reject this, but they still will say that evil is an illusion or we just need to get in touch with the god within or that we must worship the earth or the like. Christians know that reality is much more complicated than that.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    Bruce, The notion that paganism of every kind offers a flattened, over-simplified, one-dimensional portrayal of reality, whereas Christianity offers the whole rich complex vision of existence in all of its fullness is something I have been exploring lately. Pagans might reject this, but they still will say that evil is an illusion or we just need to get in touch with the god within or that we must worship the earth or the like. Christians know that reality is much more complicated than that.

  • Pingback: How God is in the world | Cranach: The Blog of Veith

  • Pingback: How God is in the world | Cranach: The Blog of Veith

  • http://www.genusloci.org Moonlion

    In other words, Paganism flattens our perception, makes all experience virtual, dumbing down our senses.

    I would like to know from where Fujimura takes the idea that Paganism flattens our perception. I am a devout Pagan and the Path that I have taken deepened – not flattened – my perception of myself, my surroundings, other people asn Nature. IMHO, this statement only can come from someone who never really took the time to study Paganism.

  • http://www.genusloci.org Moonlion

    In other words, Paganism flattens our perception, makes all experience virtual, dumbing down our senses.

    I would like to know from where Fujimura takes the idea that Paganism flattens our perception. I am a devout Pagan and the Path that I have taken deepened – not flattened – my perception of myself, my surroundings, other people asn Nature. IMHO, this statement only can come from someone who never really took the time to study Paganism.

  • fws

    #11 Bruce. I am with you brother!

  • fws

    #11 Bruce. I am with you brother!

  • fws

    Comment #14 Moonlion said:
    In other words, Paganism flattens our perception, makes all experience virtual, dumbing down our senses.
    ..IMHO, this statement only can come from someone who never really took the time to study Paganism.

    Proof for what you say is that we still consider Greeco-Roman art, philosophy, science and literature pinacles of those things as we know them in our culture.

    Be sure Moonlion that there are Lutheran Christians who would agree with what you say.

    On the other hand, Dan Kemplin in his comment is saying something different. I wonder if you would be able to understand what he is saying?

  • fws

    Comment #14 Moonlion said:
    In other words, Paganism flattens our perception, makes all experience virtual, dumbing down our senses.
    ..IMHO, this statement only can come from someone who never really took the time to study Paganism.

    Proof for what you say is that we still consider Greeco-Roman art, philosophy, science and literature pinacles of those things as we know them in our culture.

    Be sure Moonlion that there are Lutheran Christians who would agree with what you say.

    On the other hand, Dan Kemplin in his comment is saying something different. I wonder if you would be able to understand what he is saying?

  • Pingback: Fujimura on Christians and Art » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog

  • Pingback: Fujimura on Christians and Art » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog

  • fws

    Dr vieth:

    Luther and the Lutherans are pretty adamant in granting to fallen will and reason the full power to do all outward righteousness. this would include art.

    the ONLY thing humans cannot do on their own is have faith in Jesus, to see him as Savior. that is it. faith ALONE does this.

    Here is why this matters deeply to Lutheran christians:

    Since invisible faith in christ is ALONE what man cannot do, we can only preserve the full force of that word ALONE by saying man can do EVERYTHING with his own powers, that is not included within this ALONE.

    We continually want to include in that ALONE something tangible or visible or that can allow us to distinguish between weed and wheat or sheep and goat. This urge in us to want this, is the work of satan.

  • fws

    Dr vieth:

    Luther and the Lutherans are pretty adamant in granting to fallen will and reason the full power to do all outward righteousness. this would include art.

    the ONLY thing humans cannot do on their own is have faith in Jesus, to see him as Savior. that is it. faith ALONE does this.

    Here is why this matters deeply to Lutheran christians:

    Since invisible faith in christ is ALONE what man cannot do, we can only preserve the full force of that word ALONE by saying man can do EVERYTHING with his own powers, that is not included within this ALONE.

    We continually want to include in that ALONE something tangible or visible or that can allow us to distinguish between weed and wheat or sheep and goat. This urge in us to want this, is the work of satan.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    I’ve studied Greco-Roman culture A LOT! (I just finished teaching “The Odyssey” a few minutes ago.) It is unutterably great, but it is blind to so much.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    I’ve studied Greco-Roman culture A LOT! (I just finished teaching “The Odyssey” a few minutes ago.) It is unutterably great, but it is blind to so much.

  • Dan Kempin

    Moonlion #14,

    I may be mistaken, but I did not take Fujimura’s quote as referring specifically to “Paganism” as you practice it, but to the broader concept of a non-Christian worldview. (Among Christians, the word “pagan” has had a long standing use referring to pretty much anytyhing non-Christian.) I therefore did not take his remark as pejorative of paganism, but rather expressing the insight that all human-guided pursuits tend to gravitate toward gratification and away from the “Harsh reality” of pain and suffering. This is the basic psychology of our nature–shun pain and seed reward.

    Christianity, contrary to our nature, (and I think that is rather the point), directs us to this harsh reality where we learn, counterintuitively, that God is able to open up the things we feared and shunnned into something beautiful. It forces us, in a sense, to have our reality defined (and in the end vastly broadened) from the outside.

    For what it’s worth.

  • Dan Kempin

    Moonlion #14,

    I may be mistaken, but I did not take Fujimura’s quote as referring specifically to “Paganism” as you practice it, but to the broader concept of a non-Christian worldview. (Among Christians, the word “pagan” has had a long standing use referring to pretty much anytyhing non-Christian.) I therefore did not take his remark as pejorative of paganism, but rather expressing the insight that all human-guided pursuits tend to gravitate toward gratification and away from the “Harsh reality” of pain and suffering. This is the basic psychology of our nature–shun pain and seed reward.

    Christianity, contrary to our nature, (and I think that is rather the point), directs us to this harsh reality where we learn, counterintuitively, that God is able to open up the things we feared and shunnned into something beautiful. It forces us, in a sense, to have our reality defined (and in the end vastly broadened) from the outside.

    For what it’s worth.

  • Dan Kempin

    *SEEK reward . . .

  • Dan Kempin

    *SEEK reward . . .

  • http://www.genusloci.org moonlion

    To Dan Kempin and fws:

    fws wrote
    On the other hand, Dan Kemplin in his comment is saying something different. I wonder if you would be able to understand what he is saying?

    Thanks to both of you for your commentaries. I just would like to add one thing from my point of view: as a Pagan, I can understand completely what Dan Kempin wrote, and apply most of it actually to what I believe in (sorry my English, I am writing from Portugal ;).

    When Dan Kempin writes
    Christianity, contrary to our nature, (and I think that is rather the point), directs us to this harsh reality where we learn, counterintuitively, that God is able to open up the things we feared and shunnned into something beautiful. It forces us, in a sense, to have our reality defined (and in the end vastly broadened) from the outside.
    and applies perfectly, I just have substitute the term Christianity to something perhaps less defined.

    As a Pagan I know that my Goddess shows me many times alternatives and ways to master my fears and problems. Being a Pagan does not mean that I do not have faith or believe in God(dess).

  • http://www.genusloci.org moonlion

    To Dan Kempin and fws:

    fws wrote
    On the other hand, Dan Kemplin in his comment is saying something different. I wonder if you would be able to understand what he is saying?

    Thanks to both of you for your commentaries. I just would like to add one thing from my point of view: as a Pagan, I can understand completely what Dan Kempin wrote, and apply most of it actually to what I believe in (sorry my English, I am writing from Portugal ;).

    When Dan Kempin writes
    Christianity, contrary to our nature, (and I think that is rather the point), directs us to this harsh reality where we learn, counterintuitively, that God is able to open up the things we feared and shunnned into something beautiful. It forces us, in a sense, to have our reality defined (and in the end vastly broadened) from the outside.
    and applies perfectly, I just have substitute the term Christianity to something perhaps less defined.

    As a Pagan I know that my Goddess shows me many times alternatives and ways to master my fears and problems. Being a Pagan does not mean that I do not have faith or believe in God(dess).

  • http://confessionalbytes.blogspot.com/ Jim Pierce

    Moonlion@14,

    “Pagaganism” in the context it is being used means “non-Christian”. The “flat reality” Fujimura is referring to is the idea that because the pagan believes we can’t have knowledge of reality in and of itself, that ultimately reason fails us and we must take an irrational “leap” in providing our own meaning to the world and the “perceived objects” in it. In short, we make sense of the world through experiences with our own mental representations of it. That is a “flattening” of the world, or a reduction of it to the activity of the individuals mind.

    Such an anti-realist view of the world leads to despair. Truth, meaning, and morals are not objective, but wholly subjective. It is maddening to not be able to ground truth in a real world, and to have it hanging upon our own perceptions, since that is really no truth at all. It is just “truth for me” or the community. It is “functional truth” or pragmatism which can’t secure hope. It is like trying to pull yourself into the air by nothing more than griping onto and tugging against your shoelaces. One can never hope to get “air time” no matter how hard they tug on their laces. Paganism (in the sense of the word given above) is much like that. The pagan can never hope to find objective truth and objective love, since these things don’t exist, but are merely mental constructs. And, even if they did exist, the pagan would claim we can’t know them in and of themselves. The best we can do is take an irrational “leap” and experience things like truth and love in our own selves. The problem there is that in ourselves we can only find utter darkness, the sinful human condition. We find those things that brought the world evils such as the Holocaust, Pol Pot’s “Killing Fields”, or the drunken neighbor beating his wife and children at 3 AM, or even the hatred in our own hearts rising against our neighbor at times.

    The good news is that objective truth, objective love, and even meaning is found in God whom we can know through His dear Son Jesus Christ who comes to us in history—His suffering and dieing on a cross, and resurrection from the dead—and also comes to us through physical means of the preaching of His Word. This isn’t a human “leap”, but it is the real work of God in our hearts through objective means. This is the answer to the problem of the pagan world today which is in despair over not being able to get outside themselves to find a real world, and on-top of that, they believe if they could find a real world it would be a dark, cold, material world; so what’s the point? I don’t mean to sound “preachy” but the point is that God is real and the grace He provides through Jesus Christ gives real hope in the world, it gives objective hope that is found outside us and is not contingent upon our own “leap” or any other fleeting work we might do in an effort to overcome despair.

    Jim Pierce
    Former atheist of 18 years.

  • http://confessionalbytes.blogspot.com/ Jim Pierce

    Moonlion@14,

    “Pagaganism” in the context it is being used means “non-Christian”. The “flat reality” Fujimura is referring to is the idea that because the pagan believes we can’t have knowledge of reality in and of itself, that ultimately reason fails us and we must take an irrational “leap” in providing our own meaning to the world and the “perceived objects” in it. In short, we make sense of the world through experiences with our own mental representations of it. That is a “flattening” of the world, or a reduction of it to the activity of the individuals mind.

    Such an anti-realist view of the world leads to despair. Truth, meaning, and morals are not objective, but wholly subjective. It is maddening to not be able to ground truth in a real world, and to have it hanging upon our own perceptions, since that is really no truth at all. It is just “truth for me” or the community. It is “functional truth” or pragmatism which can’t secure hope. It is like trying to pull yourself into the air by nothing more than griping onto and tugging against your shoelaces. One can never hope to get “air time” no matter how hard they tug on their laces. Paganism (in the sense of the word given above) is much like that. The pagan can never hope to find objective truth and objective love, since these things don’t exist, but are merely mental constructs. And, even if they did exist, the pagan would claim we can’t know them in and of themselves. The best we can do is take an irrational “leap” and experience things like truth and love in our own selves. The problem there is that in ourselves we can only find utter darkness, the sinful human condition. We find those things that brought the world evils such as the Holocaust, Pol Pot’s “Killing Fields”, or the drunken neighbor beating his wife and children at 3 AM, or even the hatred in our own hearts rising against our neighbor at times.

    The good news is that objective truth, objective love, and even meaning is found in God whom we can know through His dear Son Jesus Christ who comes to us in history—His suffering and dieing on a cross, and resurrection from the dead—and also comes to us through physical means of the preaching of His Word. This isn’t a human “leap”, but it is the real work of God in our hearts through objective means. This is the answer to the problem of the pagan world today which is in despair over not being able to get outside themselves to find a real world, and on-top of that, they believe if they could find a real world it would be a dark, cold, material world; so what’s the point? I don’t mean to sound “preachy” but the point is that God is real and the grace He provides through Jesus Christ gives real hope in the world, it gives objective hope that is found outside us and is not contingent upon our own “leap” or any other fleeting work we might do in an effort to overcome despair.

    Jim Pierce
    Former atheist of 18 years.

  • Booklover

    Jim, #18, I find that response to be eloquent. Have you read Francis Schaeffer? It reminded me of him.

  • Booklover

    Jim, #18, I find that response to be eloquent. Have you read Francis Schaeffer? It reminded me of him.

  • http://confessionalbytes.blogspot.com/ Jim Pierce

    Hi Booklover,

    Thank you. Yes I have read some of Schaeffer.

  • http://confessionalbytes.blogspot.com/ Jim Pierce

    Hi Booklover,

    Thank you. Yes I have read some of Schaeffer.

  • Pingback: Abstract art and the Bible | Cranach: The Blog of Veith

  • Pingback: Abstract art and the Bible | Cranach: The Blog of Veith

  • Pingback: picture fram

  • Pingback: water ionizer

  • Pingback: water ionizer

  • Pingback: http://minecraftlikegames.com/

  • Pingback: Darian Braun Mikki More

  • Pingback: yellow october


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X