Seeking a Resting Place

Source: Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1910) 120.

“The ADAPTATION of Christianity to the deepest needs of human nature, which it alone can meet. Here belongs Tertullian’s…profound thought, that the human soul is, in its inmost essence and instinct, predestined for Christianity, and can find rest and peace in that alone.”

Schaff is listing arguments that early Christians made for Christianity. This quote somewhat struck a chord with me because of my own desire for rest and peace.

Can Christianity bring those things? I’m sure it does for many people, but it hasn’t always for me. I don’t want to regurgitate in detail my struggles with Christianity, since I’ve gone through that before on this blog. But there came a point in my life when I realized that the Christian life was simply inaccessible to me, or at least how I understand the Christian life: be social, like everyone, don’t lust, have a passion for God and evangelism.

Something else that I dislike about Christianity is that it says I have to believe a certain way, when I want to search. Searching is more interesting than believing I already have the truth. If I know all the answers, then what is there to learn? And if there’s nothing to learn, then life is boring!

But am I content in my disappointment with Christianity and my spiritual searching? The answer is “no.” Sure, I can be entertained as I learn stuff, but I feel like I’m drifting. I wonder if there’s a place to rest. There’s a certain appeal to the Armstrongite mentality of “believe this and don’t question,” for there’s security in knowing what to believe!

One more point: I do think that human beings were made for certain moral values. As Steph said under one of my posts, we feel good when we love our enemies. Walking around with a lot of bitterness isn’t exactly healthy! As far as the Christian sex ethic goes, I find it extreme to tell men not to lust, since the human sex drive is a part of nature. But we can see everyday that the current laissezfaire attitude towards sexuality is a dead end. It leads to pregnancies among people not ready to be parents, STDs, and an absence of love in the sexual act. And I also believe that people do better when they can believe in something or someone beyond and above themselves–someone who is loving, beautiful, inspiring, etc. I don’t always find these things in the Judeo-Christian God, but there have been times when I have!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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2 Responses to Seeking a Resting Place

  1. steph says:

    I also think a fundamental moral value is looking after the poor, taking care of the weak, and giving. It is fundamental because we could be poor, we could be weak and we could be needy. It is also fundamental because it makes us feel good to be giving, useful, helpful… It reminds me of what Christmas should be about: Goodwill to all (and giving to the poor). That’s what it used to be before Coca Cola invented Santa Klaus in 1932 (or whenever it was) and it became a commercial take and grab and greedy fest.


  2. James Pate says:

    That’s a good point. There are some things that are just right, whether they make us feel fulfilled or not. Giving to the poor is one of them.


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