Social media is a great place to share short bursts of pontification, whether in memes, quips, quotes, or what have you. Sometimes a little more research may do some good, though. Several times recently I’ve seen the quote below shared by people protesting what they see as people in power playing loose with Covid data to pompously push pernicious policies that are precariously close to imperious:
“Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire
Since this quote was often posted by Christians, they might be appalled by the context of the quote:
“Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. If the God‐given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God‐given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.”
On the positive side, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” Being a Christian requires holding on tight to things that seem absurdities to the world, but it also means we have the “God-given sense of justice” that requires we show mercy to those whose absurdities are different from our own.
I recently started a series of quote posts, so when I post an absurd quote, it may be intentionally absurd, but probably not. Don’t be shy about letting me know, mercifully…I think Abraham Lincoln said something similar on his website.
 1 Corinthians 1:25
I started a new thing on the blog last week: “A Quint of Quotes” from my collection. Five quotes somewhat related to each other, but not exactly in agreement. These are also related to last weeks. Enjoy!
“In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.” – Yogi Berra
“Grace without truth would be deceitful, and truth without grace would be condemning.” – Warren Wiersbe
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” – William Bruce Cameron
“It is better to will the good than to know the truth” – Petrarch
“My lord, I leave the infinite to Thee, and pray Thee to put far from me such a love for the tree of knowledge might keep me from the tree of life.” – Charles Spurgeon
More to come!
Starting a new thing on the blog today: “A Quint of Quotes” from my collection. Five quotes somewhat related to each other, but not exactly in agreement. Enjoy!
“Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.” – Pascal (in 1670)
“People often use statistics like a drunk uses a lamppost; not for illumination but rather for support.” – Unknown
“When somebody persuades me that I am wrong I change my mind. What do you do?” – John Maynard Keynes
“Dogma does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought.” – G.K. Chesterton
“People are often willing to produce a lot of collateral damage if they can retain their theory” – Jordan Peterson
More next week.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” – 2 Peter 1:3-4
We do not, and cannot, depend on our own merit to convince God to love us, therefore:
“This consolation I would wish all Christians in their prayers: the testimony of a good conscience to assure them of God’s promises. But to obtain what they ask must only depend upon him, all opinion and thought of our own justice being laid aside.” – John Knox
Today in prayer, seek His power in His promises. He wants us to have “all things that pertain to life and godliness” and He is faithful.
Post inspired by McKim, Donald K. Everyday Prayer with the Reformers (2020). P. 115.
While any religious slogan or motto has its shortcomings (we wouldn’t need a Bible with 1,189 chapters if one sentence would do), some can summarize a lot of good truths. Recently in Sunday School a phrase I used a lot during my college years came back to me:
“In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity”
Nobody in the class knew the phrase, and I couldn’t remember exactly where I learned it, so I found and forwarded this article which explains the saying and its origin. Like many things, the phrase has been mis-attributed to well-known figures in Christian history, but it actually is a quote from Rupertus Meldenius, a relatively unknown seventeenth century theologian. I’ve found it useful in striking a balance between doctrine and love, and hope you will too.
What do you think?