Monday, February 21, 2011

Deeper Truths from the Dawn of Time

Reading some more CS Lewis. Don't disagree with much of what he says. There was one point he made I disagreed with though. He was talking about the growth in general human knowledge. He was arguing against the idea that religion as a finite and static body of knowledge was bound to fade into irrelevance. His point was that generally does not follow. His example was the alphabet. No matter how much knowledge increases that still never loses it's relevance. But it did not really work for me. The alphabet remains there but it becomes one level in a many level education. I think if religion becomes something that matters to a certain point but when we reach advanced thought the advance might involve religion but never be religious in character. That means that theology has gone from the queen of the sciences to the hand maid. 

So many Christians buy into this. They learn some basic theology. They reach a certain place in their moral life. Then they are done. Christianity has no more excitement. All the action is in their secular life. Sure they often keep steady with their faith but it is an immature faith. Not one that corresponds to their intellectual development in other areas. How much time do you want to spend on an old time religion when you are trying to keep up in a high tech world?

The right answer is that the Christian faith is not finite. It continues to grow and develop. We not only can understand it better but growing in that area is the key to true progress. What is required to assert this is something other than Sola Scriptura. If Christianity is limited to the bible and really just those propositions that are clearly taught in the bible then we can't look to it as a source of progress. The best you can do is assert that moving away from Christianity cannot be progress. That we can remain static in faith and morals while we advance in every other area of human endeavor. It is no wonder many people don't think truly advanced thinkers would choose a career in religion.

The Catholic faith can grow and even grow in response to the challenges of the day. When new technologies come with moral challenges God can give us the grace to meet those challenges. That can come through a new and fuller understanding of the faith that Jesus revealed to us. This is given by the Holy Spirit and discerned by the church. That is the key piece. Often protestants have all the right answers. The problem is they also have a lot of wrong answers as well. It is not easy for somebody up to his eyeballs in the moral challenges of the modern world to know which one is true.

So we don't need to despair when we see Christianity losing the battle to pornography, relativism, abortion, atheism, etc. Where sin abounds then grace abounds more. But we need to understand that the grace God gave us in the 4th century is not all he has for us. With the knowledge of the world growing at a fast pace our knowledge of God can grow faster. If it doesn't then religion will become irrelevant. But Catholics are the ones who have not closed that door.

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