In the Beginning…
The Folly of the Cross blog is an attempt to help me collect my thoughts and systematize them into a written form. I plan to cover the big topics; life, the universe, and particularly God. The latter will particularly be from the perspective of historic Christianity, or what is often called classical theism.
A blog seemed to serve my purposes better than say a journal or book. Blogs afford the added ability to have others interact with your ideas and give feedback.
I have come to believe that one of the best ways to work towards truth is through dialog with others. Philosophy is a conversation (Socratic dialectic). It is an exchange and interaction of ideas. This is true whether it is in person, in real-time, or responding to other philosopher’s written works.
Explaining my ideas to others helps me to sharpen my own understanding of things. I can also expand my own horizons when I try to understand another’s point of view.
For whatever reason, you have stumbled across this place, welcome. I hope you find any information contained here useful in some manner. I welcome you to join me on my journey to uncover truth.
Folly of the Cross?
There is little doubt that there is a growing tide of secularization in western society. The internet has connected everyone around the globe in ways we couldn’t even imagine. This connectedness has forced us to compare and contrast everything, including our belief systems. Secularization has been the promised neutral system to help us all peacefully coexist. Is it really neutral, though?
Secularization has meant replacing a divine authority with a human one. As such, most people now tend to think that moral truth is relative to your personal and cultural beliefs. Furthermore, many believe that science is the only way to confirm truth in the physical world. Sure, some do still hold a belief in God, but it is usually in the “I’m spiritual but not religious” vain.
Many try to avoid claiming certainty when it comes to our worldview, then. They try to avoid making a wave in this sea of pluralism. They try to avoid talking about personal beliefs for fear of offending someone else that may have different beliefs than their own.
Some will say that this secular society is a good thing. It shows we are progressing. It shows we have grown up as a society and we have put away our childish beliefs in God. It’s part of the natural evolution of our species. For many, then, science and the state have replaced the belief in God and the church.
These are the people that look at the Christian symbol of the cross and say that it is absurd. For many, it is absurd to even think that there is a God. For many more, it is absurd to think that God would come to earth in a human body. Or, it is absurd to think God would suffer and die for the sins of the world. And it is utterly absurd to think God would then rise from the dead. The modern world hears the story of the cross and thinks it is pure folly. Is it?
I want to think, believe, and act by what is true. The story of the cross may seem like folly to our modern, scientific minds, but it is anything but. I believe we have blinded ourselves to areas of study and shut out much wisdom from the past. Sure, our ancestors did not have as much scientific knowledge as we have. They did have much wisdom derived from experience and reason that is still very pertinent to our lives, though.
To ignore this ancient wisdom simply because it is old is an error in logic. It is a fallacy. C.S. Lewis termed it chronological snobbery:
Barfield never made me an Anthroposophist, but his counterattacks destroyed forever two elements in my own thought. In the first place he made short work of what I have called my “chronological snobbery,” the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also “a period,” and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them -C.S. Lewis
We have chosen to ignore much ancient wisdom, though. We have chosen to ignore many important parts of reality and truths derived from simple reason. Secularization has not delivered what it promised. It has not brought us closer to ultimate truth. If anything, it has obfuscated ultimate truth or outright claimed there is no such thing. This is not progress.
I have come to believe that Christianity is the most coherent view of the world we observe around us. This blog will attempt to make a rational case for the belief in Christianity.
This is the competing picture I see emerge when I study first principles and follow each worldview to its logical conclusions.
|Principle of Sufficient Reason
|Causality (Causal Powers)
Unfortunately, many of the ideas from the Classical Theism column are the exact ones that the modern world has lost sight of. This is even (or especially) true in a lot of Christian circles. This blog will make a case that the world needs to rediscover many of the ideas of historic Christianity. A return to classical theism will help us see that the most rational view of the world is one in which objective truth exists. Objective truth can only exist if God is the perfect being beyond all being that gives existence to everything.
This blog will aim to structure and systematize my thoughts into one coherent whole. It will do so by visiting many of these forgotten ideas from the past.
This website will categorize topics using a commonplace method. This is a reflection of how systematic theology developed and was often organized. Posts on this blog will make use of a taxonomy of categories and tags.
This graphic is not meant to be exhaustive of all the topics and subcategories that I intend to cover. This is to give a sense of some of the areas of study in this project of searching for ultimate truth.
Folly of the Cross!
Is the cross folly, then? Only in the sense that it uncovers what many have forgotten or are afraid to admit about the world. That there is and has to be, objective truth in it. That there have to be ultimate explanations for what existence is and why it is here. That we, too, are creations and all subject to the ultimate authority of our creator.
The real problem for why people see the cross as folly isn’t because we have a hard time with miracles. If God is real, it logically follows that the creator of existence could perform feats that seem to defy physical laws. This creator made the laws of nature too.
The real problem people have with the cross is actually what separates Christianity from all other worldviews. All other worldviews that I have come across are an attempt to justify ourselves before God or the world. It is how much can I do to earn favor before the world and/or the creator of it. This is moralistic therapeutic deism. This is a theology of works. Most people think that if they are a good person that they have done their part. This is all that a loving God should require of us. He should accept us as we are and for giving it our best. Right?
This is not historic Christianity. This is not the gospel. Historic Christianity says there is nothing you can do to earn favor with God. This is because God is perfect in every way. We are definitely not. We all sin and reject God. All the time. Every day. Without God’s help, we all would continue to do so. Without His help, we do not deserve to be in the presence of His perfection and holiness. God is perfectly just, and we all do deserve His perfect judgment.
God decided to fix this for us, though. He decided to take our punishment for our sins upon Himself. This is what unconditional love looks like. God chose to offer Himself as an infinite and perfect sacrifice for the whole world as a way to shame the wise. It is a perplexing solution to a problem we could not otherwise solve.
It may be hard to understand at first, but once you let go of the idea of justifying yourself before God, the cross takes on an entirely new view. In this new view of the cross, through pain and suffering, you can also see love and grace. Through judgment and punishment, you can also see hope and salvation. The true folly of the cross is that it is only something that God could do. We get no credit, we get the blame. We do none of the work, but we get all the reward. This is the folly of the cross.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
1 Corinthians 1:18–31
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[c] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”