The Three Impossible Virtues

There’s something that I’ve been waiting for the church to show me.

I want to see someone who covers these three bases that I’ve listed below. Every Christian I have ever met, including my former self, lacked one of these three things. Yet, it seems that most Christians should be able to have them all, if Christianity is sound.

1. Understands and accepts all the basic, established facts–the scientific, archaeological, scholarly conclusions about the world, the Bible, and the history of life on earth.

2. Displays the appropriately impassioned and emotional state of mind that correctly accompanies Christianity–belief in heaven and hell, the expectation of a life with God, and a burden for all the poor and inevitably damned souls on the planet. Trying to evangelize the lost. Telling people about the news.

3. Is not a hypocrite. Actually lives in a way that is consistently different from the worldly ways of the world, follows all the rules, and gives things up for being a Christian.

I’ve never met anyone who has all three of these qualities. In order for Christianity to work, such a person should be possible. But I have never met such a person. I myself could never manage #2, and for a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.

I have met intelligent scientists who attend church and talk about their sons who work on atmospheric chemistry in such and such a State. They aren’t jumping up and down and quaking with the power of the holy spirit, nor are they preaching red-faced about the flames of hell, or trying to do much about it.

I have met impassioned believers who preach fiery sermons about the Bible, living the radical life. But they don’t know anything about where the earth came from, where humans came from, and where the Bible really came from. If they knew, they wouldn’t be able to be so passionate, because their passion derives from various direct and demonstrable falsehoods.

I have met people who claim to accept all the facts, and who seem rather excited about the Christian things they’re involved in–but ultimately all this charade serves some other purpose, and in the end you find out that their sexual deviance, or worldly gain from the enterprise of Christianity, far exceeds that of people like me.

And of course, most Christians lack all three of these qualities.

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