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Show and tell

"Show and tell" Continued...

Issue: "Two-ring circus," Sept. 6, 2008

WORLD: To a student who asks about the relation of faith and reason, you talk about standing at the window of a burning house.

BUDZISZEWSKI: The fireman calls, "Jump! I'm holding the net, and I'll catch you!" Eyes stinging with smoke and dazzled by glare, you cry, "I can't see you!" He answers, "That doesn't matter! I can see you!" Would jumping be reasonable? Certainly. But does knowing this make jumping easy? Does it spare you the necessity of trust? Certainly not, and so with faith. Nothing in faith is contrary to reason; yet we can't see God any more than you can see that fireman with the smoke in your eyes. So there is something more even to reasonable faith than reason alone.

WORLD: How do you respond to a student contemplating the evil in the world and asking, "Why won't He just fix things?"

BUDZISZEWSKI: Would it be good for us if He did? Sometimes we need to suffer one consequence of sin in order to recover from a different consequence. One pain is medicine for the other. For instance, suppose every wound you gave your relationship with your friend healed instantly. In that case, would you even think about the wound you caused your soul-about the bleeding hole you made in your worthiness to be trusted? Surely not, so sorrow may do you good. This illustrates how suffering should mean something different to us Christians. It can unite us more closely to Christ.

WORLD: In one of your dialogues, your fictional alter ego flopped when giving a talk before a student group until students asked what he meant by "false compassion."

BUDZISZEWSKI: Theophilus recovered by explaining that the virtue of compassion is sympathizing in the right way, for the right thing, and doing the right thing about it-but the feeling of compassion is sympathy period, and it's not always right. False compassion may lead people to stick with bad companions, to fall for inappropriate girls or guys, to approve of things that aren't right, to take sides in conflicts that are none of their business, or to offer "help" that doesn't help but only makes them feel better-indulging compassionate feelings at the expense of other people.

WORLD: When students ask questions about religion or philosophy, is there a question that they often fail to ask?

BUDZISZEWSKI: Yes: "Is it true?" That should be our first question about any proposed belief; instead we ask every question but. A convert to Wicca once wrote to tell me how much she enjoyed being a Witch. I'm sorry she never got to the bottom of her former unhappiness. However, we Christians worship Christ because we believe He is the truth, not because He always makes us happy this side of heaven. He desires final joy for each of us, but it is all too possible to delight in the lie and to sorrow in the truth; that's why false religions exist.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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