Reflection 6: Folly, Faith, and Christ

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Reflection 6: Folly, Faith, and Christ

Reflection 6: Folly, Faith, and Christ

Reflection 6: Folly, Faith, and Christ

An early Christian scholar’s statement, I believe because it is absurd (Tertullian 2nd–3rd C), is often quoted to confirm any hostile suspicion that intelligence is superfluous to faith (this is sometimes a “Christian” excuse for not thinking).

Yet the statement is misquoted out of context. Tertullian speaks of not being ashamed of proclaiming that the Son, the very Word emanating from God, was crucified; it may seem absurd, which Paul expressed concerning the apparent absurdity of Christ crucified, stating that the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom.

For Tertullian, we believe the events of Easter because they are impossiblethey can only be believed or trusted, because what transpires in these events is not immediately demonstrable. The context of Tertullian’s statement is Christological. Similarly, the gospel saying that whoever loses life for my sake … will find it is also seeming folly — as too, turning the other cheekreturning good for evil and similar sayings are folly — without the Christological reality of life transcending death, which is only known through trust that lives this strange reality.

Through intelligent faith, we weigh every challenge, encounter, and decision, by trusting an apparent impossibility and seeming absurdity – yet a palpable reality – behind Christ crucified and risen.

 

Dr Stephen J Curkpatrick (Lecturer, Researcher, and Research Supervisor)

Thursday 9 April 2020

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