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Our two options

February 27, 2011

In the introduction to his collection of essays titled In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments, David Bentley Hart notes that his least favorite essay is “Christ and Nothing.”  “It is somewhat too orotund for my taste,” he writes. He must, however, have seen sufficient value in it to reproduce it in this volume, and I’m glad he did.

I would gladly pull out several paragraphs to quote here, but First Things (where one can find it online) requires that it be reprinted in its entirety, and that’s probably what I would end up doing anyway. Instead I’ll paste in one quote* and leave the reader with the URL to find the complete article.

Hart’s basic argument is this. Having conquered the gods of the Greco-Roman world, Christ left us with but two options for worship: Himself and our own individual wills. Here’s the quote:

“For indeed Christianity was complicit in the death of antiquity and in the birth of modernity, not because it was an accomplice of the latter, but because it alone, in the history of the West, was a rejection of and alternative to nihilism’s despair, violence, and idolatry of power; as such, Christianity shattered the imposing and enchanting façade behind which nihilism once hid, and thereby, inadvertently, called it forth into the open.”

The complete article can be found here: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/12/christ-and-nothing-28

*Originally I included a second quote from Hart in the header of my blog. I have since removed it. Here it is:

“To have no god but the God of Christ, after all, means today that we must endure the lenten privations of what is most certainly a dark age, and strive to resist the bland solace, inane charms, brute viciousness, and dazed passivity of post-Christian culture — all of which are so tempting precisely because they enjoin us to believe in and adore ourselves.”

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2 Comments
  1. Well I comment that please have mercy on the small – scale societies. that’s all

    Thank you

    • Rick Wade permalink

      I wonder if you’d be so kind as to explain your comment. I’m not getting your point. Thanks.

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