Food for Thought...


"The most ancient records we have not only mention but take for granted things like kings and priests and princes and assemblies of the people; they describe communities that are roughly recognisable as communities in our own sense. Some of them are despotic; but we cannot tell that they have always been despotic. Some of them may be already decadent and nearly all are mentioned as if they were old." - The Everlasting Man, pg. 61-62.

Famous Christian author G.K. Chesterton may have written this book as an ode to dispel the silly un-truths that many people take for granted about God. Recently I have been thinking about a particular form of bias as it concerns people trying to discount God, Jesus, and the miraculous. C.S. Lewis refers to it as chronological snobbery; and I have to admit that prior to becoming a Christian... I upheld it. This is basically the belief that ancient people were too primitive to know any better but to believe in some all-powerful Divine entity. That they were so afraid of the weather, the environment, and the like, that they huddled together seeking shelter from things they didn't understand. Man needed God 'back in the oldin' days' because he didn't know any better. Only Zues could have created lightening, right?

I like Chesteron's way of dispelling this myth in the passage above. Ancient man had societies, rulers, common sense, and intelligence. He was able to build and test things, and able to reason with the best of them (remember Plato?). No, I'm afraid that if and when something out of the norm and miraculous did happen, human beings were quite able to understand that it wasn't business as usual. A miracle was a miracle the same then as it would be now. When word got out that a former religious leader named Jesus of Nazereth rose from the dead after being publicly scourged and crucified, it was just as remarkable then as it would be today.

The food for thought is this: if we attempt to escape from the idea of God by dismissing Him as a primitive form of wish-fulfillment, then we need to be careful how we define the notion of primitive. Modern technology and science aside, people were still people - even back in 'the oldin' days.' God is more than wish-fulfillment. He is the very reason that we have wishes in the first place. Thank you Chesterton for reminding us of this.


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Comments

  1. I find that the governing motivator for people to dismiss the miraculous is to also dismiss the divinity of Jesus/God therefore leaving man to himself, to govern however one feels appropriate. Also, I've found that no matter how moral, immoral, schooled, or unschooled in philosophy/anthropology, man hates the idea that they would NEED a God. Man hates the idea that we are intrinsically bad/sinful and we need a Savior. If man could concoct an idea or framework in which we were the most supreme our lives, we wouldn't need a savior, we wouldn't be fearful of ourselves; our depravity, and therefore we would not need to depend on someone bigger, stronger, smarter, holier, etc than us. Man's desire to dismiss the miraculous really comes from mans idolatry of himself. If the miraculous happens and their is a cause and its cause is God, then that means I am no longer king of the jungle. I'm just a chimp. (By the way, that doesn't mean I'm an evolutionist.)

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