Christianity has what I sometimes call a “double weirdness problem.” Elements of its teaching that are truly strange—such as the Crucified One at its centre who is paradoxically championed by Christians as being at once Victim and Victor—are still so familiar to most Canadians that they don’t arouse the curious interest they should. Even the doctrine that the Christian God is both one and three, which ought to offend against the most elementary sense of rationality, is met with a shrug.
At the same time, however, Christianity is often brushed off as having teachings far more extreme than it actually does. Two related ideas—charity and love—were recently highlighted…and badly caricatured in major media.
The New Yorker profiled Irish novelist Sally Rooney earlier this month, and the journalist interviewing her shared a view of Christianity that was at once admiring and dismissive.
On the train, eating cookies, Rooney and I started talking about religion.
“Even though Christianity is the dominant Western moral framework, the whole idea of self-sacrificing slipped down somehow.”…
I said that I found it interesting, too, but that to really be a Christian you would have to live in a way that not many people are willing to live. I had a hard time reconciling materialism and religion. I didn’t see how anyone could call herself a Christian and have a computer.
“Right, because Christ called us to give up our earthly belongings,” Rooney said.
Well, no, Christ didn’t. He did call his disciples to leave their jobs and follow him, but those in his inner circle were sustained by the gifts of those in Jesus’s wider circle. Somebody had to remain at work to earn money, and lots of Jesus’s followers did.
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