Tuesday, April 14, 2009

AN Wilson: The Resurrection - An Extraordinarily Haunting Story

Can't say I read the Daily Mail, but someone pointed out this Easter article by AN Wilson: Religion of hatred: Why we should no longer be cowed by the chattering classes ruling Britain who sneer at Christianity

"....In the past, I have questioned its veracity and suggested that it should not be taken literally. But the more I read the Easter story, the better it seems to fit and apply to the human condition. That, too, is why I now believe in it. Easter confronts us with a historical event set in time. We are faced with a story of an empty tomb, of a small group of men and women who were at one stage hiding for their lives and at the next were brave enough to face the full judicial persecution of the Roman Empire and proclaim their belief in a risen Christ.

...in contrast to those ephemeral pundits of today, I have as my companions in belief such Christians as Dostoevsky, T. S. Eliot, Samuel Johnson and all the saints, known and unknown, throughout the ages. ...Sadly, they have all but accepted that only stupid people actually believe in Christianity, and that the few intelligent people left in the churches are there only for the music or believe it all in some symbolic or contorted way which, when examined, turns out not to be belief after all.

As a matter of fact, I am sure the opposite is the case and that materialist atheism is not merely an arid creed, but totally irrational. Materialist atheism says we are just a collection of chemicals. It has no answer whatsoever to the question of how we should be capable of love or heroism or poetry if we are simply animated pieces of meat. The Resurrection, which proclaims that matter and spirit are mysteriously conjoined, is the ultimate key to who we are. It confronts us with an extraordinarily haunting story. J. S. Bach believed the story, and set it to music. Most of the greatest writers and thinkers of the past 1,500 years have believed it. But an even stronger argument is the way that Christian faith transforms individual lives - the lives of the men and women with whom you mingle on a daily basis, the man, woman or child next to you in church tomorrow morning." 

Read the rest of the article, it's refreshing. See also The New Stateman: Why I believe again.


  1. One of the points that he makes during the full article is how believes that his original reasons for rejecting Christian faith all those years ago were that it seemed unsexy and nerdy...

    "To my shame, I believe it was this that made me lose faith and heart in my youth. It felt so uncool to be religious. With the mentality of a child in the playground, I felt at some visceral level that being religious was unsexy, like having spots or wearing specs...This playground attitude accounts for much of the attitude towards Christianity that you pick up, say, from the alternative comedians, and the casual light blasphemy of jokes on TV or radio...It also lends weight to the fervour of the anti-God fanatics, such as the writer Christopher Hitchens and the geneticist Richard Dawkins, who think all the evil in the world is actually caused by religion."

    This makes me think:
    1. Culture can be a very powerful thing.
    2. The real atheism that has an effect on people isn't Dawkins and Hitchens, but the jokes and storylines of thousands of radio and television programmes and documentaries.
    3. Engaging with this 'cultural atheism' is very hard because it is non-centralised
    4. Cultural atheism comes not from Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris but the fall and corruption of man
    5. Raises the question: Should evangelism now be designed to be "sexy" and non-nerdy or would that be a compromise too far?

  2. 1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. Yes.
    4. Yes.
    5. Got to include some evangelistic robust doctrine of humanity -
    Let's show people what it really means to be human in God's world... Let's demonstrate that Christians are the ones who can really enjoy creation because we get the world (I like Chris Oldfield's recent ecology work for a start on that)...
    Let's live that we can engage with the hard questions, the meaninglessness, the purposelessness and that we have an alternative...
    Let's be emotionally satisfying and intellectually satisfying in our evangelism...


  3. I'm sure your work on using the Song evangelistically could provide an answer to one of those problems!

  4. Maybe. We'll see where that goes.
    I do think Genesis and the wisdom books will yield a lot though.