Monday 28 November 2016

There can be no repentance and conversion by stealth. Individuals - and the nation - must be Born Again

I often detect a furtive hope that The West will become good by stealth; perhaps insensibly, painlessly, by small incremental degrees... That a wise ruler may introduce reforms such that people are led insensibly back to good lives; or that sheer luck might lead us to stumble on what needs to be done... 

Another variant is that some secular mainstream political figure may lead The West back (or forward) into a spiritual and Christian life; either by covert concealment of his true beliefs, or what he is doing, or simply by applying common sense and realism.

These are nonsensical, dangerous and deeply false ideas: goodness requires, absolutely requires, self-awareness of what one is doing and why. Otherwise it is not goodness. 

The idea of a Born Again Christian has been a running joke among the intellectual elites for several decades - yet it is a necessary (but insufficient) aspect of being or becoming a Christian - even (or especially) for those who have been raised in the faith and lead exemplary lives.

Christianity is not a matter of doing good things, performing good behaviours, having good policies - anybody (an animal, even) might be trained or coerced to 'do good things'.

We cannot have goodness except by wanting it and knowing that we want it; a person or nation that has been leading a wicked life - systematically and strategically destructive of truth, beauty and virtue - cannot stop then reverse the down-escalator to damnation without everybody being aware of a lurch!

We must acknowledge our chronic and deliberate errors and wickednesses, and repent them, before we can reform our live or society in the ways that are necessary. This will not and cannot happen except in conscious awareness.

We must be Born Again.

1 comment:

William Wildblood said...

I agree with all you say here, Bruce, but I would just add that this rebirth must be in the heart as well as the head to be effective. It's not just a change in belief or way of life or even attitude though all these are also required. It's a fundamental change in being that is necessary and that means it has to be a change of heart. Perhaps if it was phrased like that then it would no longer be seen as a joke which I think it’s become because of the histrionics associated with it in the evangelical movement.