Book Notes: God Is Not a Christian by Desmond Tutu: God Is Clearly Not A Christian
I read God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations by Desmond Tutu, and it is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I greatly recommend it, whatever your religious beliefs. Desmond Tutu, arch-bishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa has won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, fought against the apartheid, and is incredibly out-spoken concerning issues of tolerance, oppression, civil and human rights. I want to quote ever single page, but I’m trying to limit myself. Today I’ll be sharing my favourite quotes from the first chapter, God Is Clearly Not A Christian.
God Is Clearly Not A Christian:
“My fist point seems overwhelmingly simple: that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong. The chances are very great that if you were born in Pakistan you are a Muslim, or a Hindu if you happened to be born in India, or a Shintoist if it is Japan, and a Christian if you were born in Italy. I don’t know what significant fact can be drawn from this – perhaps that we should not succumb too easily to the temptation to exclusiveness and dogmatic claims to a monopoly of the truth of our particular faith. You could so easily have been an adherent of the faith that you are now denigrating, but for the fact that you were born here rather than there.”
“We do scant justice and honor to our God if we want, for instance, to deny that Mahatma Gandhi was a truly great soul, a holy man who walked closely with God. Our God would be too small if he was not also the God of Gandhi; if God is one, as we believe, then he is the only God of all his people, whether they acknowledge him as such or not. God does not need us to protect him. Many of us perhaps need to have our notion of God deepened and expanded. It is often said, half in jest, that God created man in his own image and man has returned the compliment, saddling God with his own narrow prejudices and exclusivity, foibles and temperamental quirks. God remains God, whether God has worshippers or not.”
“God is clearly not a Christian. His concern is for all his children. There is a Jewish story which says that soon after the episode of the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, while the Israelites were celebrating, God accosted them and demanded, “How can you rejoice when my children have drowned?”
“To claim God exclusively for Christians is to make God too small and in a real sense is blasphemous. God is bigger than Christianity and cares for more than Christians only. He has to, if only for the simple reason that Christians are quite late arrivals on the world scene. God has been around since even before creation, and that is a very long time.”
“My God and, I hope, your God is not sitting around apprehensive that a profound religious truth or major scientific discovery is going to be made by a non-Christian. God rejoices that his human creatures, irrespective of race, culture, gender, or religious faith, are making exhilarating advances in science, art, music, ethics, philosophy, and law, apprehending with increasing ability the truth, the beauty, the goodness that emanate from him.”