What do you believe?

Question: Does Christianity answer all of your questions?

Peter Gomes: Well Christianity, strangely enough, does answer all my questions. I mean, it’s the lens through which I view reality. It’s how I make judgments. It’s how I respond to others. It’s how I define reality to all intents and purposes. The Christian myth makes sense to me. It provides a world that’s as orderly and stable to me as the . . . as the Greek myths did for the Greeks and the Romans did for the Romans. I . . . I don’t live in a dark world. I mean, I don’t . . . I don’t live in the sense that everything is going to go up in flames, and we’re all destined and doomed, and terrible things are happened . . . happening. But I do believe we live in what the scriptures refer to as a fallen world. Christian theology speaks of it as a world that has not achieved its ideals. And we are struggling, and moving towards them, and trying to manage as best we can. And certain ideas and ideals have been set before us. The person of Jesus Christ, for me, is such an idea and an ideal. I believe He really existed, but that doesn’t diminish the ideological power or the . . . the sense of imagination that is employed. And I aspire to live my life in the light of what I understand that truth to be – a truth which I have received through the wisdom of thousands of other smarter and cleverer people who existed before me. I admit to being a child of the Western Christian experience, and I embrace it. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not embarrassed by it. And I don’t deny my dependency upon it. It’s the vocabulary with which I work.

When I travel, as I often do, through Western Europe and I look at those great cathedrals and those monuments, they all speak to me. They all makes sense to me. It’s describing a world in which I did not live, but which still lives for me. And that’s very important. Part of my work, I suppose, is trying to call back, as best I can, the life of that world and the people that are far removed from it. I’m much comforted by the … the remark G.K. … once said that “Christianity is not a religion that has been tried and failed. It is a religion that has been wanted and never really tried.” And my job is to try it, and to get other people to try it on for size and hope for the best.

Recorded on: 6/12/07

Gomes believes we live in a fallen world.

The information arms race can’t be won, but we have to keep fighting

The tactics that work now won't work for long.

Politics & Current Affairs

Arms races happen when two sides of a conflict escalate in a series of ever-changing moves intended to outwit the opponent.

Keep reading Show less

10 excerpts from Marcus Aurelius' 'Meditations' to unlock your inner Stoic

Great ideas in philosophy often come in dense packages. Then there is where the work of Marcus Aurelius.

(Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • Meditations is a collection of the philosophical ideas of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
  • Written as a series of notes to himself, the book is much more readable than the dry philosophy most people are used to.
  • The advice he gave to himself 2,000 years ago is increasingly applicable in our hectic, stressed-out lives.
Keep reading Show less

What if all humanity had to do to save itself was listen?

By working together, and learning from one another, we can build better systems.

Videos
  • Many of the things that we experience, are our imagination manifesting into this physical realm, avers artist Dustin Yellin.
  • People need to completely rethink the way they work together, and learn from one another, that they they can build better systems. If not, things may get "really dark" soon.
  • The first step to enabling cooperation is figuring out where the common ground is. Through this method, despite contrary beliefs, we may be able to find some degree of peace.