Feuerbach, Ferry and Wilson on Christianity and Physicality
Compare and contrast the following three quotes on Christianity and ‘the physical.’ The first by an ardent atheist, the second by a humanist who is sympathetic to Christianity, and the third by a Christian author. The Juxtaposition is tantalising…
Nature, the world, has no value, no interest for Christians. The Christian thinks only of himself and the salvation of his soul.
(Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity)
Although atheists would have us believe otherwise, the Christian religion is not entirely given over to waging war against the body, the flesh, the senses. If that were so, how would Christianity have accepted that the divine principle be incarnated in the person of Christ, that the Logos take on the physical aspect of a simple mortal? Even the official catechism of the Church, perhaps not the most boldly original of texts, insists:
‘The flesh is the hinge of salvation. We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh … We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess. We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an incorruptible body, a spiritual body. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1015-17)
One can be a non-believer, but one cannot maintain that Christianity is a religion dedicated to contempt for the flesh. Because this is simply not the case.’
(Luc Ferry, A Brief History of Thought, p89-90)
Assumption Two: God only cares about spiritual things. To be honest, I don’t even know what this means, but those elusive spiritual things have been helping Christians cop out of true holiness for centuries.
We are all like accountants with wizard-like abilities, funneling our choices and goals and actions through shell corporations and off-shore banks of unrighteousness. God only cares about spiritual things? His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom? Are you kidding me? God only cares how we emote at him?
That’s part of it, sure, but I was pretty sure that He made physical animals and a physical man and gave him a physical job. I was pretty sure that He made a physical tree with physical fruit and told that physical man not to eat it or he would physically die. He physically ate it anyway and now we physically go into the physical ground, physically rot, and become physical plant and physical worm food.
And because of this incredibly physical problem, He made things even more clear when His own Son took on physical flesh to lead a physical life that lead to a physical cross where He physically absorbed our curse, was physically tortured, and bought you and bought me and bought this whole physical world with His physical blood. If He’d wanted a spiritual kingdom, He could have saved Himself a huge amount of trouble (to say nothing of making the Greek philosophers and medieval gnostics a lot happier), by just skipping Christmas and the Crucifixion.
(N.D. Wilson, Death by Living, p75-76)