A free copy of Commonweal Confronts the Century to the first person who can—without using a search engine—name the authors of both of the following passages. The first will be easy enough for many readers of dotCommonweal, but the second?

The first:

This, therefore, is...my reason for accepting the religion and not merely the scattered and secular truths out of the religion. I do it because the thing has not merely told this truth or that truth, but has revealed itself as a truth-telling thing. All other philosophies say the things that plainly seem to be true; only this philosophy has again and again said the thing that does not seem to be true, but is true. Alone of all the creeds it is convincing where it is not attractive.... Men of science offer us health, an obvious benefit; it is only afterwards that we discover that by health, they mean bodily slavery and spiritual tedium. Orthodoxy makes us jump by the sudden brink of hell; it is only afterwards that we realize that jumping was an athletic exercise highly beneficial to our health.... The outer ring of Christianity is a rigid guard of ethical abnegations and professional priests; but inside that inhuman guard you will find the old human life dancing like children, and drinking wine like men; for Christianity is the only frame for pagan freedom.

And the second:

It is false to the point of absurdity to see in a "belief," perchance the belief in redemption through Christ, the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian: only Christian practice, a life such as he who died on the cross lived, is Christain.... Even today such a life is possible, for certain men even necessary: genuine, primitive Christianity will be possible at all times.... Not a belief but a doing, above all a not-doing of many things, a different being.... States of consciousness, beliefs of any kind, holding something to be true for example -- every psychologist knows this -- are a matter of complete indifference and of the fifth rank compared with the value of the instincts.... To reduce being a Christian, Christianness, to a holding of something to be true, to a mere phenomenality of consciousness, means to negate Christianness.

Matthew Boudway is senior editor of Commonweal.

Also by this author

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.