Quotes by J. Budziszewski
It’s a funny thing about us human beings: not many of us doubt God’s existence and then start sinning. Most of us sin and then start doubting His existence.
One little lie leads to another, and pretty soon you’re telling whoppers. To soothe your sense of guilt, you lie to yourself too. Maybe you tell yourself you’re not really lying but just “repackaging the facts.” Maybe you take up the motto “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” Maybe you repeat false philosophies you’ve heard in the classroom, like “Acts must be judged by their consequences.” Or maybe you just make excuses: “I know the end doesn’t usually justify the means, but my case is special.” Before long you’ve told so many lies that you can’t even remember the truth. Worse yet, people who forget the truth usually go on the forget the Truth – and I think you know Who I mean!
God is utterly other than us – other in a way we express with the word holiness. Yes, He dwells within each Christian, but He’s not you. He isn’t the same as you, He isn’t a part of you, and He isn’t a “higher” you. Yes, you’re made in His image, but you’re not Him. You’re not the same as Him, you’re not part of Him, and you aren’t a “splinter” of Him – nor will you ever be. He doesn’t depend on anything else because He is what everything else depends on. He can’t be explained by anything else because He is what everything else must be explained by. Although we can know what He has taught us about Himself, we can never comprehend Him completely because He is greater than our minds. Anything He wills, He can do. He not only holds supreme power but He also uses it. Nothing can defeat Him and nothing can happen contrary to His will. He is also supremely good – light with no darkness. Although evil is real, He detests it and bring it to judgment. He knows everything, He pays attention to everything, and nothing escapes His notice. He’s not just a What and a Who, like me or like you, but one What in three Whos – one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is no one like Him. He is set apart. He is what He is, and there was never a time when He was not.
In the one thing that matters most of all, the believer and the unbeliever are tragically divided. No marriage can paper over that division! If they marry, it will always be like a canyon between them. The more the believing spouse grows in the love of Christ, the wider and deeper the canyon will grow.
If results are the only things that matter, then a false religion that has the desired results would be just as good as a true one. Not only that, but if results are the only things that matter, then if you could find a way to produce these results without religion, you wouldn’t need religion after all. Most important of all, if results are the only things that matter, you aren’t really worshiping God – you’re worshiping results.
What naturalists call “science” isn’t really science – at least not if science means following the evidence! Naturalists like to think of themselves as brave defenders of clear reasoning against irrational superstition, but actually naturalism itself is the superstition. It isn’t supported by reasoning but by blind hostility to the evidence of God.
God is distinct from His creation. He isn’t a part of it; it isn’t a part of Him. He didn’t “arise” from it; it didn’t’ “arise” from Him. He spoke, and where nothing was before, it was.
Feelings change. You can’t promise to have a feeling. So if love is a feeling, the marriage vow makes no sense at all. But the vow does make sense because love is not a feeling. What is it, then? Love is a commitment of the will to the true good of another person. Of course, people who love each other usually do have strong feelings too, but you can have those feelings without having love. Love, let me repeat, is a commitment of the will to the true good of another person.
[In seeing to stay clear from cults]:
1. Avoid groups that reject or twist the Bible.
2. Avoid groups that demean or dilute the Bible.
3. Avoid groups that treat exotic or emotional experiences as the main feature of Christian life.
4. Avoid groups that idolize their human leaders.
5. Avoid groups that try to cut you off from your family.
6. Avoid groups that try to mix Christianity with other religions.
7. Avoid groups that try to mix Christianity with occultic practices.
If it were really true that living together is a trial of marriage, then divorces would be more common among couples who hadn’t first lived together than among couples who had. Actually, just the opposite is true: Divorces are more common among couples who have lived together first than among couples who haven’t. The reason isn’t hard to find. The very essence of marriage is having a binding commitment. The very essence of living together is having no binding commitment. That’s why living together can’t be a trial for marriage, because in everything that matters, the two conditions are opposites. And that’s why not having a binding commitment is less like training for marriage than like training for divorce.
True compassion is when you are the one who bears the burden and pays the price.
According to research, the more hours a man and woman spend alone together, even if they begin with a firm intention of chastity, the further they tend to go and the more likely they are to lose control completely. Hearing this, most Christian young people have the good sense to see that couples who really want to remain chaste need to limit their time alone. That’s realism. Unfortunately, the more time they’ve been spending alone, the less obvious such realism will be to them. The solution is that they need to set their limits firmly at the beginning of their relationship, while their heads are still clear and realism is easier to achieve.
[Discernment is] a mental sense of smell that helps you notice when “something smells fishy”…How can you sharpen this mental sense of smell? How can you develop discernment? First, you need to have a spirit of obedience to Jesus Christ. If your spirit is in rebellion, your nose will be in rebellion too. Second, you need to study the Word of God and other Christian literature. We’re talking about a mental, not physical, sense of smell. In order to develop it you have to use your mind. Third, you need to practice smelling. Smell everything. Your power of discernment is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. Fourth, you need to be accountable to other believers in a healthy Christian fellowship. If you try to learn to smell by yourself, your mental sense of smell will be eccentric. You’ll be like someone who takes a deep whiff of dung and says, “Ah, roses!”
Listen, God invented sexual arousal. But for what purpose? To prepare your bodies for sex. Leading to sex is what sexual arousal is for. Don’t say, “We’ll do things that sexually arouse us, but we won’t let them lead to sex.” That’s like turning on powerful rocket motors but saying, “Don’t life off.” The solution? Avoid the things that arouse you! If sex is only for marriage, sexual arousal must be too.
Satan can use your nonChristian friends in [many] ways to get to you. God wants you to rub off on them, but the Enemy wants them to rub off on you. So remember: You can have friends outside the faith, but for your deepest comrades you should look to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Hang out with the holy. Get in with the godly. Spend time with the saved. Know who your real family is – the one where the Father is God.
Violent persecution focuses the mind on the fact that the kingdom of this world is an enemy to the kingdom of God. When there hasn’t been any persecution for a long time – as in our part of the world – many Christians start expecting the world to be a friend. They slip into seeking the world’s approval instead of God’s.
The best advice I can give about [sharing your faith]:
1. Pray for the chance to share your faith.
2. Pray to be ready to share your faith.
3. Pray for discretion in sharing your faith.
4. Pray for words to share your faith.
5. Pray for patience to listen as you share your faith.
6. Pray for God to prepare your friend’s heart and mind as you share your faith.
7. Pray to thank God for the opportunity to glorify His name.
Where does [evil] come from, then? The only way to get a bad thing is to take a good thing and spoil it. For example, darkness isn’t made up from nothing; you get it by blocking the light. Disease isn’t made up from nothing; you get it by ruining health. Notice that this doesn’t work the other way around – you can’t get light by blocking darkness or health by ruining disease. So God created only good things, but some of them have been spoiled.
We don’t fear God because He’s bad. We stand in utter awe before Him because He’s so good it’s scary.
Even when you include the amendments, the Constitution says only three things about religion. Here’s exactly what the Constitution says about the subject: Article VI: “No religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Amendment 1: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words: 1. The government is not allowed to make people take a religious test in order to qualify for holding federal office; 2. Congress is not allowed to set up an official national church; and 3. Congress is not allowed to stop people from practicing their religions. These three rules are meant to protect your liberty to follow God, not to abolish it. That famous slogan about a “wall of separation” just isn’t there.
The only way you can get pleasure, sexual or any other kind, is to get it as a by-product of pursing something else – like the true good of another person. So: Do you want true and lasting pleasure? Then you have to stop chasing pleasure. Start pursuing love.
The answer to the “Who can I date?” question has two parts: 1. You can date anyone it would be okay to marry; and 2. You can’t date anyone it wouldn’t be okay to marry. Why these rules? Because dating is about marriage. It’s not a search for fun or a search for sex. It’s a search for a suitable marriage partner. Marriage is the state men and women were designed for, not dating. If you merely want to socialize without excluding members of the other sex and without the intention of marriage, okay, but you’re better off doing that in groups. Face it, when a guy’s out with a girl, it’s just not like being out with another guy – not even when they both insist it’s “not a date.”
Arrogance doesn’t come from having convictions about the truth; it comes from having the wrong convictions about how to treat people who don’t share it with you. Humility doesn’t come from not having any convictions; it comes from having the right convictions about the importance of gentleness and respect [see 1 Pet. 3:15-16].
[Thoughts about truth]:
1. Thinking you know the truth isn’t arrogant or intolerant; arrogance comes from having the wrong convictions about how to treat people who don’t share it with you.
2. The whole point of searching for truth is to find it; saying that the important thing in life isn’t having truth but searching for it is like saying that the important thing in sickness isn’t getting well but seeing doctors.
3. Reasoning depends on faith; falsely placed faith will keep you from the truth, but rightly placed faith will help you find it.
4. It doesn’t make sense that there is no truth because then it wouldn’t even be true that there isn’t.
5. It doesn’t make sense to claim truth can’t be found because to claim anything at all is to imply that the claim is true.
6. The biggest and most important truths aren’t harder to find than the little ones; in fact they’re easier because God has provided help.
7. Truth isn’t whatever you sincerely believe; only a mighty magician could make something true just by thinking it.
8. Popular agreement doesn’t make a statement true; people have been swallowing nonsense since the world began.
9. The slogan that truth is whatever works isn’t a pathway to the truth; it’s a wall to keep it out.