Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas: Everything for Nothing

"Religion in general is man's strategic manual for how to reach God. But Christianity is not a religion in this sense. Christianity holds that man, no matter how hard he tries, cannot reach God. Man cannot ascend to God's level because God's level is too high. Therefore there is only one remedy: God must come down to man's level. Scandalous though it may seem, God must, quite literally, become man and assume the burden of man's sins. Christians believe that this was the great sacrifice performed by Christ. If we accept Christ's sacrifice on the basis of faith, we will inherit God's gift of salvation. That's it. That is the essence of Christianity. To some it may seem ridiculously simple. In this simplicity, however, there is considerable depth and richness . . . . I want to reflect for a moment on God's incredible sacrifice. I am not referring to Christ's crucifixion. I am referring to God's decision to become man. No other religion can even conceive this. The Greek and Roman gods of antiquity often disguised themselves as mortals, but they would not actually become mortal. Mexican author Carlos Fuentes writes that when the Christian missionaries first presented their doctrines to the Aztecs, the Aztecs were totally uncomprehending. Fuentes writes, 'In a universe accustomed to seeing men sacrificed to the gods, nothing amazed the Indians more than the sight of a god who had sacrificed himself to men.' Yet what other religions hold to be absurd and scandalous, Christianity holds to be true . . . . 'Christ offers us something for nothing,' C.S. Lewis writes. 'He even offers everything for nothing. In a sense, the whole Christian life consists in accepting that very remarkable offer.' So what is the difficulty? The difficulty is in realizing that we are sinful and that there is nothing we can do to solve the problem. A related obstacle is accepting God's authority and His plan for our life. The obstacle, in other words, are those of human pride." --Dinesh D'Souza

Taken from chapter twenty-five, "Jesus Among Other Gods: The Uniqueness of Christianity" from Dinesh D'Souza's book, WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT CHRISTIANITY (Regnery, 2007).

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