Is Christianity an Albatross?

by Amos Smith

I have heard my peers talk about how Christianity is antiquated. In one video I saw, an author referred to Christianity as an albatross. In other words, it seems to be out-of-step, problematic, and unwieldy. Maybe it has had a great role in history. But how will it fit into the twenty-first century?

When I hear such rumblings, I think of one of my favorite quotations from the Swiss Psychologist, Carl Jung:

“This is not to say that Christianity is finished. I am, on the contrary, convinced that it is not Christianity, but our conception and interpretation of it that has become antiquated in the face of the present world situation. The Christian symbol is a living thing that carries in itself the seeds of further development. It can go on developing; it only depends on us, whether we can make up our minds to meditate again, and more thoroughly, on the Christian premise.” -Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self

I think Jung is correct. Christianity is unfinished and it is up to each generation to make it accessible and relevant to our times. Each generation has the responsibility to take this tradition and make it their own. It is true that this is a big challenge given the questions raised by science, the technological age, interfaith dialogue, and environmental degradation.

Yet, Christianity speaks to our highest human endowments, which include intuition and faith. Christianity’s profound premise to that:

  1. God is real
  2. In the fullness of time, out of love for us, God came to us in Jesus to show us the exquisite paths of justice and inclusive compassion.
  3. Each of us is of profound worth to God and we each have a part to play. Our choices matter.

When these truths sink in, individuals and communities experience greater dignity, self-worth, meaning, and purpose.