book report: Atheist Delusions by Hart part 3

Here is one of Hart's explosive claims about the revolution that Christ brought to humanity, the concept of human.
However, one phrases it, the essential intuition of the great churches remains the same: that Christ is one divine person, who perfectly possesses everything proper to God and everything proper to humanity without robbing either of its integrity, and who therefore makes it possible for every human person to become a partaker of the divine nature without thereby ceasing to be human. The rather extraordinary inference to be drawn from this doctrine is that personality is somehow transcendent of nature. A person is not merely a fragment of some larger cosmic or spiritual category, a more perfect of more defective expression of some abstract set of attributes, in light of which his or her values, significance, legitimacy or proper place is to be judged. This man or that woman is not merely a specimen of the general set of the human; rather, his or her human nature is only one manifestation and one part of what he or she is or might be. And personality is an irreducible mystery, somehow prior to and more spacious than everything that would limit or define it, capable of exceeding even its own nature in order to embrace another, ever more glorious nature. This immense dignity - this infinite capacity - inheres in every person, no matter what circumstances might for now seem to limit him or her to one destiny or another. No previous Western vision of the human being remotely resembles this one, and no other so fruitfully succeeded in embracing at once the entire range of finite human nature, in all the intricacy of its inner and outer dimensions, while simultaneously affirming the transcendent possibility and strange grandeur present within each person. p.211
It is this philosophy of personhood that resulted, even before it was defined, in a group that rescued orphans and abandoned babies, that provided for widows, that opposed slavery, that sought to bring dignity to the dying, that aided the leprous (at their own health's expense), that sees humanity in all humans, from the unborn to the deformed to the dying. For specific examples of many of these claims, go read Atheist Delusions.

update: This article by Chuck Colson jumped out at me in response to the anonymous commenter below. [I don't normally publish anonymous comments but I made an exception here.]

Likewise, Matthew Parris, another well-known British atheist, made the mistake of visiting Christian aid workers in Malawi, where he saw the power of the gospel transforming them and others. Concerned with what he saw, he wrote that it "confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my worldview, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God." While Parris is unwilling to follow where his observations lead, he is obviously wrestling with how Christianity makes better sense of the world than other worldviews...
Students quickly see that only Christianity teaches that humans are created in the image of God, thus protecting their dignity. It's no coincidence that Christians have waged most of the great human rights campaigns.
Or take the question of sin. If people are good, as French political philosopher Rousseau argued, problems can be solved by creating a utopian state. Yet all of history's utopian schemes have ended in tyranny. Meanwhile, Eastern religions see life as an endless cycle of suffering. There's no way for sin to be forgiven. And grace is an unknown concept in Islam.


Anonymous said…
Oh yes, only Christians have ever done good things in the world!

And the two thirds of the worlds population (in 2009) who are not Christian are all ignorant barbaric savages.

As were all of the people who have ever lived in the entire world for the past 2000 years, who were never Christian.

As were (according to your "logic") all of the people that ever lived all over the world before the appearance of "Jesus".

How then do you explain the stuff described on this page (and its website altogether).

Meanwhile have you ever noticed that it was the Christian West that gave us the two World Wars.

And that Christian America (Harts own country) accounts for 48% of the worlds armaments trade.

But that is just an extension of what is portrayed in this stark image.

The imperial conquest and its drive to total power and control continues!

Indeed Harts "conservative" friends are loud boosters and champions of the latest chapter in this drive to total power and control. Via the imperial invasion of Iraq.

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