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Tertullian-Quotes-5Listening to the radio this morning before taking Jessica to her church and then going on to my own, I was struck by something about the atheists who were talking. Radio 4, one of the few justifications for the BBC, has a Sunday morning programme which deals with religion. You can tell it is for religious people because it starts at 7 a.m.; you can tell it is the BBC because it is always packed with people who don’t agree with orthodox Christianity. Some find this irritating; I am in the minority who find it illuminating.

This morning it dealt with the findings of the census, and it also interviewed the new president of the British Humanist Association. Both spent their time sniping; both mentioned religion being a ‘crutch’. Perhaps this is what they are taught in ‘Atheism 101’? If so, then like the other things about which they opine, it shows the shallowness of their knowledge.

There is no point to Christianity other than that it is true. If you want comfort, watch the TV, eat chocolate, take to sex, drugs and rock and roll (many do); but don’t go near Christianity. If you want to look after the poor and the neglected, do so. It is a good thing to do so, and many Christians do; but that is not the point of Christianity. If you want to stand in judgement on your fellow men, well, become a Humanist, they have the smug tone once common among certain types in the churches. If you want power, influence and position, go into politics; you won’t find any of these in Christianity any more. The point of Christianity is that it is true; it points us towards God; it helps us to understand the self-revelation God has made. That should have an effect on us, but that effect depends on our relationship with God.

Tertullian noted: ‘ For all love those who love them; it is peculiar to Christians alone to love those that hate them’.  In his Apology he wrote:

[7] But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for themselves are animated by mutual hatred; how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death. [8] And they are wroth with us, too, because we call each other brethren; for no other reason, as I think, than because among themselves names of consanguinity are assumed in mere pretence of affection.

Is that us? If not, why not?

For nearly forty years I have worked with University students. I have not noticed a lack of interest in spiritual matters; indeed it may be that youngsters now are more prone to an interest in ‘spirituality’ than they were back then. So why does that interest not take them towards Christianity?

It is not for want of evangelisation. This present ‘Year of Faith’ is one of many through which I have lived; their effect is evident from the recent census. We say ‘God is love’ and yet we are what we are in our churches. Perhaps if we were more like the Christians of Tertullian’s day, we should enjoy something of their success?