What Camus Expects of Christians

Church of the Savior is an amazing little church that has spawned more churches and ministries than you could imagine, from the heart of inner city DC.  They have a mailing list that sends out inspirational quotes, etc., and sometimes there are real gems amidst the boilerplate.  Just recently they sent out this remarkable passage delivered by Camus as part of a statement at the Dominican Monastery of Latour-Maubourg in 1948, when he was invited to share what he thought unbelievers expect of Christians.  Camus was a favorite author, and reading The Myth of Sisyphus in highschool was a formative event in my life and somehow I imagine it drives my own theology, that challenge, "one must imagine Sisyphus as happy..."  Here is what Camus had to say to Christians:
What the World Expects of Christians

Inasmuch as you have been so kind as to invite a man who does not share your convictions to come and answer the very general question that you are raising in these conversations, before telling you what I think unbelievers expect of Christians, I should like first to acknowledge your intellectual generosity.
I shall strive not to be the person who pretends to believe that Christianity is an easy thing and asks of the Christian, on the basis of an external view of Christianity, more than he asks of himself. I believe indeed that the Christian has many obligations but that it is not up to the man who rejects them himself to recall their existence to anyone who has already accepted them. If there is anyone who can ask anything of the Christian, it is the Christian him/herself....


What the world expects of Christians is that Christians should speak out, loud and clear, and that they should voice their condemnation in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could rise in the heart of the simplest man. That they should get away from abstraction and confront the blood-stained face history has taken on today. The grouping we need is a grouping of men/women resolved to speak out clearly and to pay up personally....


We are faced with evil. And, as for me, I feel rather as Augustine did before becoming a Christian when he said: "I tried to find the source of evil and I got nowhere." But it is also true that I, and a few others, know what must be done; if not reduce evil, at least not to add to it. Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children.
And if you don't help us, who else in the world can help us do this?


Between the forces of terror and the forces of dialogue, a great unequal battle has begun. I have nothing but reasonable illusions as to the outcome of that battle. But I believe it must be fought, and I know that certain men/women at least have resolved to do so. I merely fear that they will occasionally feel somewhat alone, that they are in fact alone....


It may be that Christianity ... will insist on losing once and for all the virtue of revolt and indignation that belonged to it long ago. In that case Christians will live and Christianity will die.... What I know--which sometimes creates a deep longing in me--is that if Christians made up their minds to it, millions of voices--millions, I say--throughout the world would be added to the appeal of a handful of isolated individuals who, without any sort of affiliation, today intercede almost everywhere and ceaselessly for children and for men/women.

Source: Rebellion and Death: Essays and Resistance

Comments

  1. 若有人問你成功時會不會記得他 試問若你失敗時他會不會記得你 ............................................................

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