Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 5. May 7, 1946
Rev. J. M. Bates Addresses S.C.M
Rev. J. M. Bates Addresses S.C.M.
Organised Christianity today has to meet the challenge of the critics. It is said that there is no need for Christianity in this technological age; or that society will become more moral, rendering religion unnecessary. Critics point to the not unblemished history of the Church, and to the impetus gained by knowledge when the thinkers broke from the medieval Church. Christianity is inadequate for the complexity of our time.
But upon this view, what alternatives offer themselves? Fascism is obviously untenable. Socialism and Humanism, while they have achieved much, are also inadequate. For instance, they may suppose that the origin of evil lies in a particular political action or movement, in the Church, in the forces of Nature, or in mere lack of material knowledge. But this does not explain the origin of evil, only its manifestations. Christianity asserts that the origin of evil lies in the volitional acts of human beings. One of the concerns of Christianity is therefore conscience—that is, the capacity which a person has to form some idea of rightness. It is concerned so to guide this faculty as to make persons' actions more moral—less productive of evil.
Many of the trappings of the different forms of Christianity are out of date. Real Christianity does not depend on churches, hymns or ceremonies; it is a way of living. The existence of so many sects is a blot on the present example of the Church.
The Church properly so called is an association of people, acknowledging Christ as leader, each person reacting to life and to other people in certain characteristic ways. Each member also seeks a conception of the true nature of things material and spiritual. This apprehension of "spiritual truth" is an act of the whole personality. Personal differences in apprehension and achievement make Christianity easy to criticise.
The focal point, however, is that the nature of God may be most clearly seen in the life of Jesus Christ. The true rule of God is shown in a fellowship centred in Christ, in which men live with their fellows in a Christian way. This is the aim of Christianity, not to be good to get to Heaven. In Christian living is found the, greatest harmony of life, our nature, and the purpose for which we exist.
Vigorous discussion and supper followed.
"I might be accused of contempt (of court, as you might say)."
"I'll be courteous and laugh since I'm caught with my puns down."