To prove the necessity of Christianity in a few paragraphs would be an entirely foolish—if not preposterous—undertaking, were it not that volumes are not necessary to present a simple idea. By “simple” I mean able to be stated with brevity at the cost of some bluntness, rather than easy to understand fully enough to make it one’s own.
I will rest the case for Christianity on an analysis of the notion of human freedom.
Christian or not, no one, at least no Westerner, will disagree, I presume, with the idea that, of all beings, man is the only one whose paramount characteristic is that he is endowed with freedom. And there is a strong probability that no culture other than the Western one has ever so strongly upheld such a view.
But, Christian or not, no one, it seems to me, has ever denied that the same being who has been favored with such an awesome gift has also demonstrated a manifest capacity for evil: It does not take a follower of Moses to acknowledge it is an unfortunate but constant necessity to forbid man to kill, steal, envy his neighbor, etc.
It is then rather evident that man’s freedom, which is his glory, since it makes him responsible for his good deeds, is also his weakness, since it represents an innate ability to disregard any norm, any reason, any restraint. His freedom is no unmixed blessing, as the moderns would have...