Dianna Narciso recently wrote in the Rationalism examiner about the contradictions in the Christian celebrations of Good Friday. I hate to remind her that faith is not rational so to critique faith from a rationalist perspective is like trying to judge a poetry content using a mathematical formula.
Christianity and Judaism do have a symbiotic relationship. The fact that Christians use the death of Christ to attack Jews is a rational argument. Jesus, a Jew, begged forgiveness for them on the cross when he said “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” To be a person of faith is not to ignore contradictions, but to live inside them.
Ms. Narciso continues by pondering the divine and human qualities of Jesus. As far as Christians are concerned, he was both fully God and fully human. He fully died and was fully resurrected. This is a paradox, but one I’m comfortable with. To die that others may live, that’s a powerful idea. What idea of the rationalist compares to that? What have the rationalists given the world? Oh yeah, the atomic bomb. That was a product of rational, scientific inquiry and look how many people died and continue to suffer because of it. No church dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The great writer G.K. Chesterton wrote about the paradoxes of Christianity. He said that on the cross God was in revolt, that he uttered the isolation we all feel, and even for an instant appeared to be an atheist when he cried out “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?” Why would Jesus cry out in such despair when he knew this was his destiny? I think it was because he was in a state of tension. He felt the paradox and the contradiction of what his own people were doing to him.
Ms. Narciso assumes that all Christians must be homophobic, xenophobic zealots who only want to create a theocracy to shove their ideas down everyone else’s throat. Why is it all the negative, backwards Christians that must define Christianity? I don’t mind Ms. Narciso’s frustrations with aspects of Christianity, but what bothers me is she doesn’t love what frustrates her. A rational person may think they are the most free minded person on the planet, but they are not allowed to believe in miracles or anything resembling a contradiction. I find that sad because human beings are a contradiction, myself included. I just can’t submit to being a rationalist. I don’t want the world explained perfectly. I want a good mystery, full of intrigue and adventure, paradox and confusion. I want the tension of faith.