The Parable of the Saint

This requires some background information to understand. For a while, I have thought that Nietzsche is mature atheism, and Lewis is mature theism. We either look into the abyss of nothingness or rejoice in the fountain of goodness. So, why not create a counterpart to Nietzsche’s famous “Parable of the Madman.” The parable talks about the implications of rejecting the reality of God. It is the origin of the term, “God is dead.” It is an extremely well written and sobering parable; I recommend it. It sums up the unavoidable conclusions of naturalism with style and force. Of course Nietzsche thought the conclusions were a good thing, but I will leave that up to the reader to decide.

Here I try to show what we gain by believing in the Christian God in the same way that Nietzsche showed what we lose by denying him. It is interesting to me that as I wrote it, the saint’s actions seemed to become more and more like Jesus, and Nietzsche certainly saw himself as the antithesis to Christ. Anyways. Enjoy.

Have you not heard of that saint who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: “I seek God! I seek God!” – As many of those who vaguely believed in God were standing around just then, he provoked much nervous laughter. Has he gone radical? asked one. Did he lose his way like the lover of controversy? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of himself? Has he gone on some spiritual journey? emigrated? – Thus they mocked and dismissed.

The saint jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Who is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. He exists – he is Living. He has shown Himself to all of us. But how can we conceive of Him? How can we drink up His ineffable Glory? Who can give us the vision to behold the entire horizon? What was He doing when He unchained us from Plato’s cave? Whither are we moving now? Now that our scales have fallen from our eyes? Towards the Son! Is He not embracing us continually? Above us, beneath us, in all directions! Is there still any doubt? Are we not being led, towards an Infinite Being! Do we not feel the breath of complete Love! Has it not become warm! Is not daybreak continually shining in on us! Do we have a need for any light but the one Light! Do we hear nothing as yet of the music of the angels who are praising God! Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine fragrance! God, too, has an aroma. God is Real. God remains Real. And He has shown Himself to us.

“How shall we live our new identity, the image of the Great Artist? What is the holiest and mightiest of all that the world will ever behold has bled to death for our shame: He has removed our guilt from us. What other water do we need to cleanse ourselves? What festivals of joy, what bountiful games will we invent! Is not the greatness of this hope too great for words! Must we ourselves not shout our utter thankfulness simply to bear the Grace! There has never been a greater love; and whoever is born after us – because of this love he will belong to the same high history as all history hitherto.”

Here the saint fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern into the air, and it burst into magnificent fireworks. “I have come where I am needed,” he said then; “my time is now. This tremendous Beauty is still unknown, still forsaken; it has not yet reached the ears of all men. Humility and greatness require time; the light of the stars requires time; love, though displayed, still requires time to be seen and understood. This love is still more distant from them than most distant stars – and yet it is knocking on the door of their soul.”

It has been related further that on the same day the saint entered several brothels and there struck up his vitam aeternam deo. Led out but followed by many, he is said always to have observed nothing but: “What after all are these women now if they are not the beloved and cherished of God?”

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