What’s the Point?

Archpriest Stephen Freeman | 20 December 2019

For a man who does not believe in God – nothing points to God.

For a man who believes in God – everything points to God.

So who’s right? There is almost no argument between these two experiences. For someone who does not believe in God my own contention that everything points to God is pretty much meaningless. In extraordinary cases we can listen to each other and struggle to understand what the other sees – but I cannot tell a man that he does not see what he sees.

Having grown up in the modern secular world I can perhaps more easily understand the man who does not believe in God than liturgy_ysuch a man can understand me. Belief in no God is the default position in a secular culture (despite the many polls in which people profess belief in God). Thus the average “believer” will likely see the world about him and not see it pointing to God. Indeed, a hallmark of secular Christianity is its restriction of religion to specifically “religious” items or matters. Existence in such a mode is an on-going crisis of faith.

In a world in which everything points to God, belief is not a crisis but existence itself. Some things may point more intensively than others but everything points.

This, I believe, is the great witness of Christianity in the modern world. The challenge will not likely be between Christianity and atheism – but between Christianity-as-true-belief-in-God and Christianity-as-a-religious-option-for-secularists. The latter makes no difference for it is little more than a lifestyle option. It has no point.

The former is indeed a crisis, a turning point. For to believe in God in such a way that everything points to Him, is to change the entire point of our own existence. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

A driving force in my thought and writing is to find ways to speak about belief in God, all-encompassing-belief-in-God, in the context of our modern secular culture. It is the point within my work with the metaphor of a “one-storey” universe. It is the point of my efforts to extricate our language from the secularity of cause-and-effect. It is the point of writing intensively about the place of the heart. It is because I believe that God is the point.

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