Fri | Dec 6, 2019

The rebellion against Christianity

Published:Monday | August 29, 2011 | 12:00 AM

"The spirit lusteth against the flesh and the flesh lusteth against the spirit."

Do you know it is vogue to be an atheist on university campuses? Do you know that every young person finds it interesting, modern and attractive when a professor or student says, "I don't believe in God" or "God doesn't matter." There is only one God, whether we be Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, animist. "God is the same for all religions and, therefore, Christianity is neither here nor there," our modern intellectuals would say.

There is also a popular sophisticated agnosticism which says, "I don't know if there is a God or not; it doesn't matter, we just need to live our lives passionately."

How can I deny an inner yearning, a deep desire, sometimes a desperate desire to kneel and bow before the almighty God and simply cry out: "I place myself before you, Almighty God. I know that I am nothing." Sometimes in exultation, sometimes in desperation, but always we want to submit ourselves to the almighty God as sinners, or, as someone yearning deeply for meaning. There are times we feel empty in this lonely and selfish world of ours, but better that than giving into the world.

Christ shows the way

Christ, the incarnate God, revealing the Father's will in the flesh, serving others, forgiving sins, performing miracles, dying on the cross, restoring the brokenness of our nature, loving us and calling us to repentance and to His heavenly Kingdom, suffered rejection and death as he fixed his attention on us, of His infinite love. He shows the way in an absolute world of absurdity, while we journey to the light and everlasting life.

There is a rebellion against the Church and Christianity in our modern times. We are like sheep who have gone astray. Many of us, pastors and shepherds, have lost the central focus of life, which is Christ.

There is also the media's lack of respect and its infinite variety of pagan values and pleasures. This flesh is always crying out to be satisfied. The vulgar part of us wants everything for me, my flesh, my popularity, position and prestige, rather than the spiritual desire to be one with the eternal God.

We no longer believe in the divine, the transcendence of God, and the longing of our spirit, our souls, to go beyond ourselves. Our materialistic and hedonistic flesh wants no moral mandates or restrictions. We want to be free, we want to be on our own, we want to do what pleases us.

Happy with atheism

Christianity - and its call (if it is the true brand of Christianity) - do not go along with the craving for self-fulfilment of every appetite. The market, or the world, is happy with atheism, individualism, and self-satisfaction. Thus, it needs to destroy Christianity and free us to live a hedonistic life.

We cannot continue feeding this valley of the flesh that Europe and North America seem to be encouraging all over the world, taking advantage of the poor countries and their naïve trust of rich countries which propose self-indulgent ways of living to be progressive.

The restlessness of our worldly appetites will only bring about death. We want to destroy the babies in the wombs, the old people, the people who are defective (by some people's definition), the poor and the non-productive people our world.

Wealthy, advanced persons of our world haven't been able to solve the problem of poverty. The rich must kill off the poor in order to eliminate conscience problems.

Yet, the call to self-sacrifice and service shall not stop. Christ, the crucified one, the one true God, the only God of all gods, who lived, suffered, and died for us remains indelibly on our souls, an everlasting image stamped in the very depth of ourselves, forever and ever.

The atheistic, materialistic world finds Christ dangerous. Today, He is ridiculed and mocked in movies, the general media, and the fuzzy-headed arguments at the universities and in our homes. But His word and His ways are firm: "I am the living bread of life: without me you will die."

We might rebel for a while but, finally, we must face up to the truth: "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

Father Richard Ho Lung is founder of Missionaries of the Poor Jesuit charity.