Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oswald Chambers and the Law of Antagonism

From Oswald Chamber's book, My Utmost for His Highest:
Life without war is impossible either in nature or in grace. The basis of physical, mental, moral, and spiritual life is antagonism. This is the open fact of life.
Health is the balance between physical life and external nature, and it is maintained only by sufficient vitality on the inside against things on the outside. Everything outside my physical life is designed to put me to death. Things which keep me going when I am alive, disintegrate me when I am dead. If I have enough fighting power, I produce the balance of health. The same is true of the mental life. If I want to maintain a vigorous mental life, I have to fight, and in that way the mental balance called 'thought' is produced.
Morally it is the same. Everything that does not partake of the nature of virtue is the enemy of virtue in me, and whether I overcome [them] and produce virtue depends on what moral caliber I have. Immediately I fight, I am moral in that particular. No man is virtuous because he cannot help it; virtue is acquired.
It is the same spiritually as well. Jesus said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," i.e., everything that is not spiritual makes for my undoing, but "be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." I have to learn to score off the things that come against me, and in that way produce the balance of holiness; then it becomes a delight to meet opposition.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

It is my fervent belief that in order to properly engage error and heresy as critical thinking, engaging Christians, we must have a proper perspective on what those hostile to Christianity actually think. Although there are plenty of books by Christians that explain what they think, sometimes it's better to hear it from the opposition's own mouth. Thus, I submit to you the following comment left on a Christian blog that I stumbled across. I have never heard such a vehement atheistic attitude stated so concisely and precisely. Read carefully, and listen to what is being said:
"It doesn't matter what Hitchens said to you because your mind is made-up, slammed shut. But Hitchens pointed out that the Bible is full of errors, bad science, dangerous dogma and is a man-made and socially constructed book. Anyone who claims to get their morals from this highly immoral book is themselves highly immoral and likely very dangerous, not to mention superstitious and childish. Hitchens opponent was reduced to a babbling idiot and a liar, in other words he was exposed as a typical undereducated fundamentalist wacko. It's pretty obvious Hitchens is a smart guy and this Williams guy is an idiot. This is why debates like this are so rare. The Christians always lose them and look foolish even to many of their own. But not closed-minded people like [you].
"It is not accidental that Christianity regards pride as a major sin. A man of self-esteem is an unlikely candidate for the master-slave relationship that Christianity offers him. A man lacking in self esteem, however, a man ridden with guilt and self-doubt, will frequently prefer the apparent security of Christianity over independence and find comfort in the thought that, for the price of total submissiveness, God will love and protect him.
"In exchange for obedience, Christianity offers salvation, that there is something to be saved from. Christianity has nothing to offer a happy man living in a natural intelligible universe. If Christianity is to gain a motivational foothold, it must declare war on earthly pleasure and happiness, and this, historically, has been its precise course of action. In the eyes of Christianity, man is sinful and helpless in the face of God, and is potential fuel for the flames of hell. Just as Christianity must destroy reason before it can induce faith, so it must destroy happiness before it can induce salvation.
"The fundamental teaching of Jesus-the demand for conformity thus gives rise to a fundamental and viciously destructive teaching of Christianity: That some beliefs lie beyond the scope of criticism, and that to question them is sinful, or morally wrong. By Christianity declares itself and enemy of truth and of the faculty by which man arrives at truth-reason."
Thus is the spirit of atheism. Thus is where the battle lies. Prepare yourselves against them, my friends. Know your God, know your Bible, know your faith, because they obviously have no clue what Christianity really is.