The Christian Way - Reality or Illusion?
Alexander J.M. Wedderburn
Is Christianity but a selection of stories, as some suppose, or is there more to it than that? Are its adherents guided by something real or simply following their own fancies? That there are communities of Christians is itself real enough, but is their mere existence its own justification? Events like the birth and death of Jesus are for the most part real enough, though they have been overlaid with stories that may at times be helpful symbolism but may also distract or distort. The very human way Jesus and his disciples followed during his ministry was also real enough, though again overlaid with interpretative material; however, the circumstances of his followers then varied, and those of Christian communities in succeeding generations differ still more. On the eve of his death Jesus sought to bind his followers together with one another and himself rather than offering them a way of otherworldly salvation. He may yet have expected such a salvation, as did the Apostle Paul, but it is more fruitful to follow the latter in seeing "life" to be gained in "death," in a "dying to sin," in this life.