Axver (axver) wrote,

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I look into his eyes, they're closed but I see something ...

Before I go anywhere today, I would like to make one thing abundantly clear in response to an incident yesterday: yes, I am a Christian, and yes, I do make entries about it, but no, I do not expect everyone to agree with me. If you don't share my faith, all I ask is you respect mine and if you don't want to read about it, simply skip those parts of my entries. I usually cut them anyway.

Now, with that said, my entry.

I must say, I miss being a young child. Then you have no worries in the world and everyone's your friend. Normally, I'm not really that bothered by how few good, close friends I actually have, but it has been bugging me lately. Maybe I'm a tad more social than I'd like to admit.

After a few days of frantic searching, I have found my dictionary again, hurrah. I would like a better mobile phone and dandruff is evil. But we don't need much better than G. K. Chesterton to kick off the Easter Sunday portion of my entry.

"But my belief that miracles have happened in human history is not a mystical belief at all; I believe in them upon human evidences as I do in the discovery of America. Upon this point there is a simple logical fact that only requires to be stated and cleared up. Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them. The open, obvious, democratic thing is to believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a miracle, just as you believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a murder. The plain, popular course is to trust the peasant's word about the ghost exactly as far as you trust the peasant's word about the landlord. Being a peasant he will probably have a great deal of healthy agnosticism about both. Still you could fill the British Museum with evidence uttered by the peasant, and given in favour of the ghost. If it comes to human testimony there is a choking cataract of human testimony in favour of the supernatural. If you reject it, you can only mean one of two things. You reject the peasant's story about the ghost either because the man is a peasant or because the story is a ghost story. That is, you either deny the main principle of democracy, or you affirm the main principle of materialism -- the abstract impossibility of miracle. You have a perfect right to do so; but in that case you are the dogmatist. It is we Christians who accept all actual evidence -- it is you rationalists who refuse actual evidence being constrained to do so by your creed. But I am not constrained by any creed in the matter, and looking impartially into certain miracles of mediaeval and modern times, I have come to the conclusion that they occurred. All argument against these plain facts is always argument in a circle. If I say, "Mediaeval documents attest certain miracles as much as they attest certain battles," they answer, "But mediaevals were superstitious"; if I want to know in what they were superstitious, the only ultimate answer is that they believed in the miracles. If I say "a peasant saw a ghost," I am told, "But peasants are so credulous." If I ask, "Why credulous?" the only answer is -- that they see ghosts. Iceland is impossible because only stupid sailors have seen it; and the sailors are only stupid because they say they have seen Iceland. It is only fair to add that there is another argument that the unbeliever may rationally use against miracles, though he himself generally forgets to use it.

He may say that there has been in many miraculous stories a notion of spiritual preparation and acceptance: in short, that the miracle could only come to him who believed in it. It may be so, and if it is so how are we to test it? If we are inquiring whether certain results follow faith, it is useless to repeat wearily that (if they happen) they do follow faith. If faith is one of the conditions, those without faith have a most healthy right to laugh. But they have no right to judge. Being a believer may be, if you like, as bad as being drunk; still if we were extracting psychological facts from drunkards, it would be absurd to be always taunting them with having been drunk. Suppose we were investigating whether angry men really saw a red mist before their eyes. Suppose sixty excellent householders swore that when angry they had seen this crimson cloud: surely it would be absurd to answer "Oh, but you admit you were angry at the time." They might reasonably rejoin (in a stentorian chorus), "How the blazes could we discover, without being angry, whether angry people see red?" So the saints and ascetics might rationally reply, "Suppose that the question is whether believers can see visions -- even then, if you are interested in visions it is no point to object to believers." You are still arguing in a circle."

Today is Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate the greatest miracle of them all, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's the day that despair turned into joy, hopelessness turned into hopefulness, and lives were changed forever. Had Christ not risen from the dead, the course of human history would've been unimaginably different. With his resurrection, death was defeated and stripped of its power, the Kingdom became a spiritual reality with Christ reigning over all, and most important of all, Christ's victorious salvific sacrifice on the cross could now be seen as such. The sacrifice was made, every opponent had been conquered, and the covenant of grace came into effect. No longer need we fear a law, no longer are legalistic regulations necessary - we are saved by grace, so that we cannot boast of our works, and all praise is due to God. He has won, and in Him, we have won.

One question begs to be asked, and that is, how do we know Jesus physically rose? The disciples were in such despair - what if they made a mistake or were hallucinating. Credit is due to a friend of mine who commented on this earlier, and I'm going to reiterate it here in more detail. Some Christians wonder about Thomas, and I've even heard him insulted - "how could he possibly doubt?! What a moron!" But in reality, Thomas was needed. The world needed a Doubting Thomas and it still does. Without him, how would we have known Christ rose in the flesh? But with Thomas's insistence on seeing the risen Christ, on putting his hands in the wounds and viewing this miraculous event for himself, we can know this wasn't some sham. Thomas wasn't about to go falling for a hallucination or an imposter - he was the skeptic on the spot, there to confirm or deny. His exclamation of "My Lord and my God!" is all the proof we need that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. His death on the cross was not the end - he did what he said he would do and rose physically in three days, defeating death and winning salvation. Unlike yesterday, a day to mourn, today is a day to celebrate.

For that reason, allow me to present the lyrics of a song U2 covers with King David. It's based on the sixth and fortieth Psalms, and these lyrics are taken from the epic 14:57 version in Stockholm, 25 January 1985 (for the non-U2 fans, 40 was 2:36 in the studio). Some of this is hard to understand so I'm making my best guess. Beautiful performance of a beautiful song, though.

Written by U2 and King David, performed by U2

I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He lifted me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long, how long, how long, how long to sing this song?

He set my feet upon a rock
Made my footsteps firm
Many will see, many will see and fear

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song
Sing it!
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long, how long, how long, how long to sing this?

Nobody going to feel no pain
Nobody going to feel that way
Nobody going to breathe no time [?]
Nobody going to sing my ...

How long to sing this song? [?]
How long?

Nobody going to feel no pain
Nobody going to sing my song [?]
We come on, live again
Somehow, how [?]

How long to sing this song?
God bless you, goodnight!
[Crowd continues the 'how long to sing this song?' chant after band leaves stage]

[Band returns to the stage]
Don't forget tonight! We won't forget tonight.

How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
Nobody going to feel no pain
Nobody going to feel no sorrow
Somebody going to live again
My body won't be no ... [?]
How long to sing this song?
[Indecipherable stuff]
Feed the world, let them know it's Christmastime
Feed the world, let them know it's Christmastime
Feed the world, let them know it's Christmastime
Feed the world, let them know it's Christmastime
Feed the world, let them know it's springtime
Feed the world, let them know it's summertime
Feed the world [crowd chants the rest]
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long, how long, how long, how long ...
Thank you, goodnight.

[Crowd continues chant while band plays out and leaves stage slowly, with Larry the last to stop and exit]

That's a beautiful song when you listen to it. As a footnote, whether you are Christian or not, I think it's fair to say that you have to acknowledge the Bible is a beautiful book and inspired some stunning art and literature. I can't get over the awesome stuff that's come from it sometimes ...
Tags: belief, chesterton, christianity, easter, faith, miracles, resurrection
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