Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 13. September 12, 1957
Christ is not the Only One
Christ is not the Only One
To date I have stood on the sideline of the Christian v. Rationalist controversy with increasing disquietude. I feel it is time that light was shed on this discussion from a new source of illumination.
A few of your mental grapplers grasp (I think), albeit dimly, that this is an argument not between Christianity and Rationalism, but between Religion and What-have-you. But even these, and and all the remaining writers, draw their language and illustrations from Christianity. This narrow view is particularly to be deprecated in a University whose privileged inhabitants have the opportunity of taking a much wider view of any subject that the man in the street even more to be deprecated in an institution making some belated steps to include the life and thought of Asia within its purview.
Christianity is not the only religion in the world. It is one of the younger, by no means the most strongly supported on a count of heads, and in the course of its historic development has shown a number of defects—notably a tendency towards aggressive tolerance.
Though I realise there are great individual examples—St. Francis, for instance—to stand against this point of view, it could be said to spring to some small extent from the life and work of its sublime founder. (I cannot imagine Buddha, for example, whipping the money-lenders out of the temple, much as he would have disapproved of them. On the other hand, Mahommed would probably have put them to the sword with the completely mistaken conviction that whipping off a man's head makes him change his mind.)
The advance of Christianity has last it much of its bloodthirstiness, but it still shows regrettable leanings to violence. Billy Graham, for example, seems to imagine that thunder-and-machine-gunlike volleys bring the soul to God. God comes to the heart as warm sun on a winter's morn, bringing day by day an ever-widening, deepening understanding. At its most violent, it is like the serriate ate unfolding of a flower, or the opening of one shutter upon another.
But as cogent a reason for turning to include Asia in our outlook is that the two greatest spiritually-based movements in modern times are Indian. They are the peaceful securing of India's independence by Ghandi, and the land-distribution campaign of Vinova Bhavi. The Western world has magnificent individual gestures such as Schweitzer's or event Huddlestons, but no sweeping movements such as these Indian ones, based on a recorded religious tradition three times as long as the Christian era.
Again, let us take this word "Belief." To listen to the Christian case, one would think the Resurrection was an isolated occurrence, unique in history in fact, countless recorded instances of great souls rising from the dead (descending to the earthly might be more accurate) exist both before and since Christ. It is a simple fact that the great have the power to use subtle forces of nature beyond the crude sensibilities of our mechanical marvels and earthly bodies.
Neither I nor my schoolmaster were present at the defeat of the Armada, but he very rightly expects me to believe it and its importance in our history.
—B. C. [unclear: Walsb].
It is six months since the first issue of "Salient" for 1957 was published as "Vol. 20, No. 1." Yet we still have heard no protest from the alert that Volume 20 appeared last year. The explanation is simple. At the risk of confusing future generations by repeating the same volume numbers for two years the editors have taken this measure for strict accuracy. The first volume of "Salient" appeared in 1938. But a few years ago an editor was somewhat confused, and after several false starts ended up with the wrong volume number. Only this year has the fault finally been rectified.