Quote of the Day: Being a Christian

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“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” – C.S. Lewis

This has been a long time favorite quote of mine. I don’t get how so many people can call themselves Christian but then not take any amount of time in their life to actually learn about it or grow in it. If it is really that important, shouldn’t we act like it? This is our greatest problem with evangelization. So many people calling themselves Christian but not many actually making it their #1 priority in their life. I know I’m guilty of this at times too.

Christianity is either our means of attaining eternal salvation and therefore an infinitely important law to live by, or it’s a cruel joke and a destructive lie. To embrace anything in between is to embrace some half-truth or distortion of reality.

Either Jesus is the means of our eternal salvation or he isn’t. There is no in between. If he is, then what else is left to do but to give every second of our entire life on Earth loving and following him. If he isn’t, then we should stop wasting our time and playing games.

For those of us that know he is, indeed, the means of eternal salvation – let us pray for each other that we start to more truly act like it.

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Jack du Toit December 5, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Only thing I would say to that is there are plenty of people who believe differently. Many people have true faith, not distorted or false faith, that Jesus may be A path to salvation, not THE path. Millions upon millions of people do believe that what Jesus taught bring about salvation of the soul, not necessarily Jesus himself. Among these are Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and even some Jews. There are a grand number of those who have faith that Jesus is an inspirational figure that shows us the way, and nothing more.

With this in mind we, as Catholics, must not disagree. Catholicism teaches that there are many ways to heaven, Jesus is simply the best and most influential way. In this regard, Catholics see Jesus as one way to salvation, but not the only way. Purgatory aside, countless souls may still enter heaven so long as they follow what Jesus taught, not necessarily follow Christ. This is how some, who might even call themselves Christians, may life “half way.”

Andrea Fernandez December 5, 2008 at 4:45 pm

AMEN!

God bless you, Matthew! Again, well said! We ARE to become the Saints–yes, with a capital “s”–of this new millennium!

“Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.”-St. Rose of Lima

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do”–Bl. Pope John XXIII.

In response to our brother Jack’s post, those unknown to the beauty and richness of the one, true, holy, Catholic faith will only come to know Christ personally by our personal sacrifices offered in reparation for all souls of all time. We, graced with the full Truth, are called to offer all our thoughts and actions performed throughout our days for the full union of all people of our time…may one day they too come to adore God, the Holy Trinity, with the depths of their beings and receive the Body and Blood of our Sweetest Savior on their tongue.

Today, at this moment, we offer the depths of our being to You, Christ our King, in union with all our Catholic brethren of the world, in salvation for the souls of our country, our President-elect Barrack Obama, and the souls of the world. May we all so deeply move You, my Jesus, endless tears of joy stream down both Your Sacred Cheeks and the greatest smile comes across Your Sacred Face. We drop to our knees before You and kiss the Wounds on Your Hands and Feet. Sweet Savior, thank You for the gift to personally know You, Divine Love and Infinite Mercy:)

“It is in the simplicity of your ordinary work, in the monotonous details of each day, that you have to find the secret, which is hidden from so many, of something great and new: Love”–St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer.

Matthew Warner December 6, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Jack, anyone who believes that Jesus was simply an “inspirational” figure or good teacher is believing a half-truth or distortion.

Jesus claimed outright that he IS God. And that NOBODY comes to the Father except through Him.

If you don’t believe this, then you would have to take Jesus as a liar or a self-delusional crazy person. Those are the only other options. There is no logical option that says he is only some “inspirational” figure or good teacher. Why would we follow the teachings of a liar or a self-delusional crazy person that goes around calling himself God?

That is why anyone who believes such a thing is not living in reality.

And that is why either Jesus (Christianity) is of infinite importance or of no importance at all. There is no in between, regardless of how many people across the world may happen to wrongly believe otherwise.

And the Catholic Church says you are wrong, Jack. The Church absolutely teaches just as Jesus taught – Jesus is THE way…not “A” way among many or simply the “best” way. He is THE way.

Yes, the Church does teach that it may be possible for those not knowing Jesus explicitly to still be saved.

Here, we are talking about being logically consistent with who Jesus is and claimed to be. You are now talking about who can attain salvation and how. That is not related to this quote at all really. But here is a link for further clarification on that topic if anyone is interested.

The point of the quote is that if we look at the reality of Jesus, what he taught and who he claimed to be, then Christianity is of infinite importance (the key to our salvation) or it’s a lie and of no importance. Anything in between would be based on an imaginary, fictional Jesus that he is somehow only an inspirational figure with great teachings. That view does not coincide with the true, historical Jesus.

Jack du Toit December 7, 2008 at 8:47 am

It would still seem to me, that if one could attain salvation without specifically accepting Jesus as God, that one’s actions would be more important than who they declare as their savior. It would be of greater importance to live the way Jesus taught as opposed to focusing on living by His name. I understand to do both in harmony is ideal, but doing the things Christ taught would weigh in heavier than proclaiming his name. Actions are always more important than words.

Matthew Warner December 7, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Jack – you are creating straw-men arguments in regard to what I originally was saying in this post. Nobody is denying that it is one’s actions that are more important than saying anyone’s name in particular. In fact, if you read that link I provided above quoting Church teaching on the subject that is pretty much exactly what it says.

But you are incorrect when you say that the Catholic Church teaches that “Jesus is just one way among many.” They do not. They teach that he is THE way – just as Jesus taught.

And again, the original post was about the importance of Jesus and who he is. And that anyone who believes in a Jesus that was only an inspirational person or a great teacher is believing in an imaginary Jesus. The historical Jesus was either God (as he claimed) and is therefore of infinite importance, OR he is a harmful liar or a crazy person and is of no importance to our eternal salvation.

So anyone that believes that Jesus is simply “a” path to salvation is not living a “true faith” as you suggested. They may honestly believe it to be true – but that doesn’t change the fact that it is not true. It is a distortion. He is THE path and is infinitely important.

Jack du Toit December 8, 2008 at 4:51 am

You are absolutely right. I apologize for the straw-man. I misread something you wrote. And I can definitely see where you are coming from. It would seem we mostly agree up to a point, but the point of disagreement is a matter of faith. No point in arguing that. I simply have a difficult time, as a human who is known to be very very wrong, ever declaring someone has a distorted faith. That’s just me, though. Probably just because I have yet to find the truth. :)

Matthew Warner December 8, 2008 at 9:14 am

I understand Jack. And I commend you for your caution and thoughtfulness. I want to be careful with what I say as well and if I over step my bounds or when I am wrong I expect you to put me in my place.

But in this instance, I am saying they have a distorted faith because it is based on a distorted REASONING.

The original argument makes no statement of “faith”. It is based on reason. That is why I give the option (just as CS Lewis does similarly in Mere Christianity) that reasonably speaking, Christianity is of infinite importance or of NO importance. This argument is based on reason, logic and a real, historical, verifiable Jesus.

The Faith comes in the next step…WHICH of those options is true? It takes faith to take Jesus at his word that he was indeed GOD. That is faith. But using our REASON we can deduce that Christianity must be one of the two and that Jesus can not be something in the middle. That is NOT a matter of faith…that’s just logic.

ANd the reason I would conclude somebody has a distorted faith is only because they have based it on a distorted reason.

When something is not logical and not reasonable, we must be prepared to call it what it is.

And in regard to WHAT the Church teaches (NOT what we believe) on the matter – it is a matter of verifiable fact. Again, not a matter of faith. You can disagree. That’s one thing. But it is not a matter of faith as to actually WHAT the church teaches on it.

Andrea Fernandez December 8, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Dearest Jack,

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”–Matthew 7:7-12.

Jack, today, December 8th, is the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary within the womb of her holy mother, Saint Anne. May the Mother of the Savior, guide you in your quest for Truth. May She, the Queen of Paradise, allow you entrance into a depth of spirituality since unknown to you, for in the words of St. Louis De Montfort:

“True devotion to our Lady is holy, that is, it leads us to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of Mary. Her ten principal values are: deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom.”

I will offer the sacrifice of the Holy Mass for each of your temporal and spiritual needs and desires, Jack, and each of your loved ones. May each of you be granted the gift of heroic virtue! God bless you!

Thank you Matthew for your defense of the bride of Christ, our Holy Catholic Church:) May our Lady, at this very moment in time, elevate you to Her Son’s very throne in Paradise! Run to him Matthew and embrace him for you are fulfilling His work here on Earth:)

“The more the Holy Ghost finds Mary, His dear and inseparable spouse, in any soul, the more active and mighty He becomes in producing Jesus Christ in that soul, and that soul in Jesus Christ.”–St. Louis De Montfort

Carol January 18, 2010 at 7:54 am

Nice, Andrea.
Thank you Mother Mary for inspiring such faith in the Lord Jesus in us.

Jack du Toit December 9, 2008 at 2:18 am

I believe I actually understand, Matthew. I do see what you mean when you say distorted reasoning. Distorted faith makes little sense to me. Distorted reasoning, however, is a perfectly sensible thing. I can definitely see how the reasoning behind one’s faith could be mislead.

I also believe that when it comes down to it. True faith should not necessarily need reason. We all come with some kind of natural tool to see God’s grace and divine life. Reason may certainly strengthen it, but I do not see it as a foundation. I’m pretty sure the Church says something along these lines. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if most religions did.

Matthew Warner December 9, 2008 at 2:07 pm

I’m not sure if it would call Reason a foundation, but the Church is a big fan of Reason, actually. Today’s quote of the day is for you, Jack! http://www.fallibleblogma.com/index.php/2008/12/09/quote-of-the-day-faith-and-reason-are-like-two-wings/

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