Leaving Flatland - Introduction

2018, Jun 21    

An Introduction

A few days before Easter of this year, I decided to write a little something commemorating the day. I figured a short essay on the reason Christians celebrate on that day would make a nice post. While beginning to put the ideas to a mind map, however, it seemed there was something larger taking shape. I’d begun to launch a light defense of Christianity against Secularism. I soon realized what I’d originally planned on writing had grown into a larger more involved piece and I wouldn’t be able to finish by Easter day.

Since the essay began to approach a significant length, I decided to break the whole thing down into a series of pieces in hopes it’d be more readable and effective. There have been a number of occasions where I’d been wanting to write something on secular humanism but just didn’t have the time or format. Let this post serve as the first and introductory post for the whole series which will take up a yet unknown number of posts since I’m not yet done fleshing things out although I have a good amount planned out. I’d like to outline in this post the thesis I’ll be proving in the essay and tie that thesis to the structure’d I’ve mapped out for the whole series.

A life lived in submission to the teaching of the risen Christ is a life of unmatched freedom which leads to an eternal existence greater in every measure to the life lived before.

Approach

I’ll be defending this thesis in three steps which correspond to three major topics.

First - I would like to liken the experiences of the Christian and Secularist here in this world.
The world they were born into isn’t the way it ought to be, and both parties know this. People in general are not the way they ought to be, and both parties know that as well. Contrary to what the new atheists are trying to tell you, Christians are not insane - they know exactly the place they’re living in. They know the circumstances they and their neighbors are sitting under. They can feel the weight of impatience on their consciences when they see something going wrong in the world - or in themselves. Suffering is obvious and evil is too - both parties see it but they differ in the way they respond to it. In this section, I’d like to discuss the common birth, needs, and the common road to salvation Christians and Secularists have. This topic corresponds to the “life lived before” part of the thesis since it’ll deal mostly with the things Christians and Secularists both experience in the here and now.

Secondly - I’d like to explain the reason Christians have a solid footing when it comes to our response to the “life lived before” - mainly our manifold experiences or circumstances as well as evil in the world and in ourselves.
I want to make clear the framework Christians are working within when it comes to calling the things that happen externally in the world or internally within themselves out for what they are. I also want to demonstrate how that solid footing gives Christians not only the vocabulary to think clearly about the world, but also how it creates for them an urgency when it comes to living out and sharing that solid footing. I’ll also demonstrate how this footing stems from real events in space and time and, because of that, is more meaningful and deeper than any other philosophy or worldview based not in fact, but conjecture. This portion of the essay will correspond to the “A life lived in submission to the teaching of the risen Christ” part of the thesis since it’ll zoom in on the foundations of the Christian faith (i.e. the ’solid footing’) and how they completely envelope the life of the Christian.

Thirdly - I’ll explain what it is Secularists have to gain when they consider and hopefully devote their lives to the teachings of Christ.
The bible explains the conversion of a person from an incorrect self-serving worldview to a worldview with Jesus Christ at it’s center in terms of passing from darkness into light. The bible also describes this transition in terms of a person transitioning from death to life. Since the bible speaks so strongly about what is to be gained when a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, I’d like to spend time listing the new freedoms those who transition in to belief experience. I’d like to address freedoms and securities present in the new life of a believer and contrast them over and against areas of insecurity and lack in the former life. I’d also, in this portion of the essay, like to make a distinction between God and God’s gifts, making clear that it is God that we’re after, not His gifts. I’d like to end this portion of the essay by asserting God’s goodness apart from the great things we might encounter after having changed in our relationship to Him.

Lastly - The final thing I’d like to do in defense of the stated premise is a light deconstruction of a Christ-less worldview.
In doing this with respect and honesty, I plan to bring to the surface truths about the Christ-less worldview one might miss if that worldview is left unexamined - hopefully awaking the reader, to the reality of where they stand. My arguments here will be largely against what I believe to be the prevailing anti-Christian philosophy of the modern age, Secular Humanism.

Style and A Rough Outline

Finally, a note on the writing style. In introducing the series, I’ve chosen to use the terms ‘Christian’ and ‘Secularist’ from a third party point of view in order to make a clean distinction between the two. For the remainder of this series, though, I plan to use a more personal voicing. I’d like to speak from the point of view of the Christian since I am one and since I feel it’ll better convey the urgency of the argument being put forward. In light of that, all instances of ‘we’ or ‘us’ should be taken as speaking of the Christian position.

Here’s a rough breakdown of the sections the entire essay will contain along with the portion of the thesis they correspond to.

  • Part 1: Express Sameness - “…the life lived before”

  • Part 2: Why We Have Solid Footing - “A life lived in submission to the teaching of the risen Christ”

  • Part 3: What They Stand To Gain - “…a life of unmatched freedom”

  • Part 4: Believe and Be Saved - “an eternal existence greater in every measure”

Also during this time, I hope to release related videos and podcasts about these same topics.

If I succeed in defending this premise, I very strongly wish for you to abandon the hope you might have in yourself when it comes to your eternal status or legacy and find a church 1 where you can ask about what Christ’s teachings are and how you can obey them.

If I fail in defending this premise, I very strongly wish for you to know that God is just and that He is also extremely loving. He can be known by reading the Holy scriptures and by observing the universe. Acknowledge Him and defer your plans and your life to His word - it will be the best thing you ever do.

Donald John