Thursday, 13 October 2016


in spite of that;  notwithstanding;  all the same

Last blog on Paul Kalanithi's book WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR.  Here he discusses his thoughts on belief in God and Christianity.

"The favorite quote of many an atheist, from the Nobel Prize-winning French biologist Jacques Monod...

'The ancient covenant is in pieces;  man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he emerged only by chance.'

Yet I returned to the central values of Christianity - sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness - because I found them so compelling.  There is a tension in the Bible between justice and mercy, between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  And the New Testament says you can never be good enough: goodness is the thing, and you can never live up to it.  The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.

Not only that, but maybe the basic message of original sin isn't "Feel guilty all the time." Maybe it is more along these lines:  "We all have a notion of what it means to be good, and we can't live up to it all the time."  Maybe that's what the message of the New Testament is, after all.  Even if you have a notion as well defined as Leviticus, you can't live that way.  It's not just impossible, it's insane."

And that is the message of the Bible.  Paul in Romans 7 describes this conundrum beautifully, "I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  And the Good News is that NEVERTHLESS, God loves us.  And that 'love' is a 'love' beyond all definitions.

The beautiful quilt?  Another one of Robyn's - for her grand-daughter.

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