27 July 2010

The Negation of Christianity

Parents, feeling that their children lack any spiritual axis to their lives, try to impose upon them what is left of the old external morality, so that they are torn between their desire for liberty and the formalism from which they are unable to escape. That is why there are so many neurotics in strict families, among the children of pastors, and where social conformity rates high. This must be clearly and frankly recognized. The majority of our 'cases of nerves' reveal the pathogenic role played by a formalistic upbringing. In liberating such people we are hard put to destroy the conventionalism with which they are still so strongly imbued despite all their rebellion against it.

But formalism is not Christianity. One might even say that it is essentially the negation of it. It was what crucified Christ.
--Paul Tournier, The Healing of Persons, 42

1 comment:

Gary H. said...

This quoute contains the essence of my Christian experience for most of my life. Thanks, Mr. Tournier, and thanks, Mr. Ortlund.