Say the word ‘atheist’ 100 years ago and it conjured up a vision of sexy, freewheeling rebels celebrating life, love and creativity in their rejection of a higher power. Say it now and a vision of fun-hating killjoys, desperately scared that somewhere a Christian is having a good time by singing lustily in church on a Sunday morning, comes to mind.”
“And, sadly, the alleged ‘humanist morality’ never happened – to this day, 80% of all unpaid and unself-interested voluntary and charity work is faith-driven.”
This comes from an article-confession by Julie Burchill in the Guardian (read complete). I don’t agree with everything she says, but I keep this reversal of Nietzsche, who remarked that Christians lack joy, a situation now changed enough in the West (in Byzantium it never happened). About the other remark, concerning faith and charity, although correct (and I don’t underestimate the significance of charity), I doubt if it can be used to commend Christianity – if it is considered as the highest point a faithful person arrives. Since faith regards God, there is no other action that would really commend faith, except for whatever belongs to the immediate relationship with Him – whether poor people exist or not, anywhere and at all times and occasions.
To place anything above this, or, even worse, to not even know the possibility and reality of the immediate knowledge of God, of the personal relationship with Him, and live our faith in making good works, etc., is like using a rocket to go to the next room! Julie gave to her article the title “For the love of Christ”. The love of Christ is everything – and what we can do because of that – whether to honour that, or just to express it, to transmit it, etc., is less than secondary, let alone the meaning of faith. Otherwise love for Christ proves only an empty phrase pronounced by some kind of a fanaticism. Nowhere will you find real lovers that live for anything else than their love alone – no matter what works come or don’t come out of their relationship. The more we connect faith with charity, the more it proves illusive.