To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.
-2 Corinthians 2:16
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
-1 Corinthians 3:19
And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
While the charity of true Christians provokes admiration from the world as a testimony to God’s love, much of what Christians do and believe seems like madness in the eyes of the non-believer. Empiricism, with its emphasis on data mediated by the senses, cannot grapple with Christianity’s belief in things unseen. That is not to say there will not be sensory confirmation of Christian propositions (“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him”, Revelation 1:7); however, Christians believe in such things before the confirmation comes, whereas philosophical scepticism withholds belief until after the confirmation. Christ said, following His resurrection encounter with doubting Thomas, “blessed they who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).
As the West tramps along the path of leftism, Christianity’s moral stances also appear like madness – and yet, in former times, they would have been acknowledged as wisdom derived from experience. The truth of some moral propositions may be known by reason alone: where two propositions are mutually exclusive, a person cannot hold both simultaneously and claim that he is upholding truth. Of course, there are those who deny Truth altogether – but they are ensnared in a contradiction and cannot stand; nor can they validly persuade others to accept their viewpoint, for there is no shared objectivity to form a bridge between the parties.
Christians receive truth not only from reason and experience, but also by revelation. This is truth by testimony: God is a faithful witness; therefore, when He speaks to us, we may rely on His word. The difficulty comes in knowing the identity of the one who speaks to us. John the Apostle tells us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1), and the Apostle Paul tells us that as we renew our minds, as we draw close to God, we will learn to recognise what is His will and differentiate it from what is not (Romans 12:2).
Drawing close to God requires humility and trust: we acknowledge who God is and who we are, and we trust in His love for us, even when life seems to be hard and grievous. The problem of evil does not retire, but love and trust find a way through it. If we are to believe that God is truly sovereign, then we must accept the proposition that He allows adversity to befall us, even if He is not the author of it. The non-believer has no trust to bridge that gap. When we stand away from God, no amount of intellectual argument about free will can really heal the hurt we feel that God permits evil to befall us. Only by keeping one’s eyes on the love of God seen in the face of Christ can one make it through the darkness of that vale.
Truly, in the world’s eyes, we are mad. We see not with our eyes, we distrust the feelings of our hearts, and trust in a world of treachery and deceit. How are such things possible? With man they are impossible, but with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).