Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Who said it?
Who said this? (Take a guess... I'll post the answer in the comments tomorrow.)
"There are various explanations for this success [of evangelicalism], from the skill of evangelicals in marketing religion to the charisma of their leaders. But their success also points to a hunger for the product they are selling, a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause. Each day, it seems, thousands of Americans are going about their daily rounds - dropping off the kids at school, driving to the office, flying to a business meeting, shopping at the mall, trying to stay on their diets - and coming to the realization that something is missing. They are deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness are not enough. They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives, something that will relieve a chronic loneliness or lift them above the exhausting, relentless toll of daily life. They need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them - that they are not just destined to travel down a long highway toward nothingness."
I definitely experience this hunger myself, and often observe it in the lives of people around me. Of course my atheist friends would point out that this is no proof that Christianity is actually true. Wishing something were true doesn't make it so. And they're right, though I think that misses the point. The point is the hunger itself. The question is not whether or not anything actually exists to fill that hunger, but why does such a hunger exists in the first place. And I agree with C.S. Lewis that the presence of this hunger, while not conclusively proving anything, does suggest that something which can fulfill it may in fact exist, just as the existence of literal hunger doesn't prove that you shall get any food, but does suggest that something like food may in fact exist as well.

Of course, then one can argue about what exactly that thing is which can actually fulfill the hunger, but nonetheless, I think it's wise to admit that there are many people out there who are in fact hungry for this deeper meaning and purpose to their lives.
 
posted by Mike Clawson at 1:46 PM | Permalink |


7 Comments:


At 2/06/2008 02:27:00 PM, Blogger gerbmom

my guess is Barak Obama...

 

At 2/06/2008 02:28:00 PM, Blogger gerbmom

Maybe from Audacity of Hope?

 

At 2/06/2008 07:25:00 PM, Blogger PrincessMax

That was my guess but I'll put in a second place submission for Don Miller.

 

At 2/06/2008 08:50:00 PM, Anonymous Jen

That would have been my first guess, but the other person I think might have said this is Hilary Clinton

 

At 2/07/2008 01:51:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Yep, it was Barack.

 

At 2/07/2008 05:59:00 PM, Anonymous BZ

What's interesting is that I don't think everyone has this type of hunger. Like most people I have a hunger to be loved by those I care about, but I don't have this spiritual hunger and I never have. Most atheists I think would say that the spiritual hunger is the hunger to be loved, just interpreted differently. I'm not so sure. Thoughts?

 

At 2/08/2008 09:16:00 AM, Anonymous Karl

bz, most Christians would say that the hunger to be loved is a spiritual hunger, just interpreted differently.

They would say the same about the hunger to have a life that somehow "matters" and makes a difference in the world, or the hunger for adventure that causes some to thrill-seek, or the hunger that drives some to ever-higher career ambitions, etc.

All of those things, even if experienced significantly and in depth, tend to leave most people thinking there must be more. They may not experience that desire for "more" as a spiritual desire. They may think the "more" they need is more love from others (or for others to love them better), or more success, more respect and recognition, or more of something else. But there is a restlesness that if not universal, is pretty common in humanity - whether it is experienced and interpreted as a spiritual hunger or not.

Note I'm not trying to argue with you that Christians are right and your atheist friends are wrong, but to describe their perspective on the phenomenon you describe - someone saying "I experience a hunger but it's not a spiritual one."

 

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