In this age of extended lifespans for some few people and possible material enrichment for all, one must ask the question, “Why be a Christian?”. Better put the question is what are we to make of the claims of Jesus of Nazareth to be God and his claims to show the way to eternal life, conquer death, and offer us through Him a richer and fuller life? The question at its outset is somewhat akin to a fly sitting atop a giraffe, asking what he must do and it is somewhat absurd, if not comical, in its asking. The question better put is what he will make of us.
The question is pressing since Jesus of Nazareth said things and did things no one else has ever said or done. He claimed to work miracles and cast out demons and heal the disabled. The world tells us to get richer and richer. He tells us to get poor. The secular society tells us to be smart and clever. He tells us to be like children. The world tells us the getting and taking is the answer but he tells us the poor are blessed and the meek will inherit the earth. The media tells us that everything is getting better and better and he tells us the world is corrupt and being replaced by a new world order. In the past century of genocides, Armenian, Nazi, and Rwandan, he commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus socializes with the outcasts and undesirables, is executed as a criminal, and tells the criminal beside him on the same day he will be with him in paradise and tells those that follow him that they will never die. No one before or after has said these things and made the fantastic claims that he has made. In the present age of greed, he offers a radical alternative to the present secular vision.
I am a Christian since there is no other alternative to the hatred, hostility, and suffering of the present world order based on power, money and pride. The world tells us to be superior to those around us, he tells us to serve, using our talents as a gift to God in the service of others. He makes an exclusive claim and tells us that class, wealth, race, and sex make no difference. In a world ruled by greed and egotism, we need a reawakening in the God of Abraham, the God of Mount Sinai, the God of the prophets, the God who spoke to Job in the whirlwind, and the God in the agony at Gethsemane. For each one of us, he still stands at the waters of the sea of Galilee, bidding rich or poor alike, peasant or ruler to follow him with the promise that we will finally be known and know him. I am a Christian, because, at the gates of death, we will reach our full and regenerated humanity, through the faith once and for all delivered to the saints – not the weakened faith of the world, in media jargon, political correctness and relativism but, the faith for which St. Paul was beheaded by Nero and St. Peter was crucified upside down before the gates of Rome, and the faith in which we will finally share the love and communion in Christ.
This blog is largely taken from a chapter of my book, Essays on a Christian Worldview and Others, Political, Literary and Philosophical, published by Hamilton Books. I also attach here a video with this title.