Monday, June 04, 2007

Belief in an afterlife and the Virginia Tech Massacre

Immortality-denying Harry Emerson Fosdick penned the following stanza in his rousing hymn, "God of Grace and God of Glory":
Lo! the hosts of evil ’round us,
Scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways.
From the fears that long have bound us,
Free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the living of these days,
For the living of these days.
Unfortunately, his insipid belief system (especially as it is reiterated these days) is unable to grant the kind of courage needed to face the living of these days. For that, you're going to have to go to something like evangelical Christianity.

4 comments:

regressivepresby said...

Everytime we sing that hymn, and it is a good one- I shake my head at the theology of Fosdick. From what I've read, he was as popular nationally as Billy Graham back in the day. Praise God for Billy Graham. And I suppose it shows, that even a broken clock is right twice a day...

have a good one Chris,
dm

Toby Brown said...

Hear hear! Huzzah!

Fosdick's theology (if you want to call it that) was tepid at best. What use is Christ if most of the biblical accounts of him are made up?

(But it IS a great hymn, despite its author!)

Chris said...

God caused his truth to be spoken by a burning bush, an ass, a false prophet, several wicked kings, and preachers who were in the ministry for the money (HA!).

I'll take truth where I can get it (and I'll recognize it because it resonates with Scripture). God has the right to use whatever means he will to accomplish the end of Divine self-disclosure. As Steve Brown says, "God does what God does, and he does it right well!"

Doug Hagler said...

I definitely disagree that belief in the afterlife is necessary for the courage to live in this world. I don't really see evidence that Evangelical Christians are more courageous than anyone else, on average.

Actually, come to think of it, living without belief in an afterlife is what seems like it would take supreme courage. To know that this is the only chance you get, that you only get this life and no other, to do what you will do in the world - it seems like it would take real courage to live that way.

I'm always very moved by stories of atheists and agnostics who show courage, especially in the face of death. I tremble to imagine what would be possible if people of faith had that much courage, coupled with the freedom that their faith grants them. Some do, certainly, but it is a rare thing.