The cross is the means of reconciliation; it is by it man, in the person of a holy victim, comes back to the God who has been waiting to receive him since the world began. In this holy Being, who represents the human race, suffers more than any of His brethren, it is, as we have shown in speaking of the agony in Gethsemane, precisely because of His holiness and His love; He suffers not alone for Himself, but for all generations of mankind; in the strength of His sympathy, He bears in Himself all the shame and all the misery of sin. He repents for us; and in the crime of which He is the victim, He sees and bewails the darkest exhibition of human depravity. His compassion fills up the measure of His sufferings by making Him acquainted with such bitterness as remorse, which His own sinless nature could never have known. It is in this sense that He descends into hell to save us. Stephen could die joyful and triumphant; the feeblest Christian may so die; but Jesus could not, because infinite love, in conflict with infinite evil, could not escape unutterable anguish.1
E. de Pressensé, Jesus Christ: His Times, Life, and Work (trans. Annie Harwood; Fourth Edition.; London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1871), 484. ↩
Peter Lang Verlag is launching a new series titled The History of Reception of Biblical Texts. Scholars working in the field of reception history are encouraged to send along their manuscripts to the series Editor, Jim West.
The Series is brand new and aims to
… include a broad range of topics within the category of biblical reception history. Utilizing cutting edge biblical scholarship, these books discover, explain, and examine how the Bible has functioned in a variety of contexts throughout history. These monographs cover a wide range of topics including religions, visual arts, literature, film, music, context and community.
The description is quite broad because it is our belief that the history of reception of Biblical texts is expansive and virtually all encompassing.
We would love to hear from you if you have any questions and if you have a proposal. Just drop the series editor an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So sayeth science. Well, actually, a “science writer.” I’ve scanned the article and could not find much in collaborative evidence. Don’t get me wrong. I want to believe that science says our metaphysical urges are hardwired and part of our evolutionary tract and thus suggest atheism is not tenable, or even human; however, to write as the author did with only bit quotes — no footnotes or the internet equivalent, links — is to seriously undermine his thesis:
Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.
This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”
I get articles quoting the original piece. However, I suspect that the quote comes from this article. If it does, and it does, the “science writer” misquotes Lawton who is paraphrasing Boyer. The context is this:
Some scientists – notably Pascal Boyer at Washington University in St Louis – have even claimed that atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think. They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.
Indeed, the conclusions in Lawton’s original piece may in fact surprise the “science writer.” Basically, his assumptions go like this. Atheists can’t exist because humans are hardwired to express/desire the common elements found in religion. You should be able to see through that pretty easily.
But, I want to add another wrinkle, if I may. What if there are no believers or atheists? If free will is an illusion, then we are but what we are meant to be in some fashion. This doesn’t mean I am in favor of determinism, but if our “choices'” are shaped by external influences, then our choices are chained to that which surrounds us. Thus, if one is an atheist or a believer, then it has something to do with an outside influence and cannot be the individual’s choice. Thus, there is no conscious effort to believe in God (thus, no believers) and there is no free will analysis capable of producing an unbelief in God (thus, no atheists) because we follow the path laid out before us and can only work within those influences.
Anyway, the article is slightly better than what Jim West writes regarding evolution.