“Christianity offers a powerful survival kit”

“Christianity offers a powerful survival kit”

In the most personal of his books, Denis Moreau testifies, as a philosopher, to the energy of the Resurrection, a resource offered to believers to overcome the trials of life.

Does publishing a book in which you, a professor of philosophy at the university, commit yourself as a witness to the resurrection of Christ, shake up the conventions of the community?

I do not believe ! We know that I am a Christian, and that does not pose a problem. Recently, I was invited to explain my Catholic faith at the Sorbonne, as part of training in secularism for National Education staff. An interesting exercise. There is no shortage of great Christian philosophers who used their reason to reflect on their faith, from Saint Justin, in the 2nd century, to Paul Ricoeur or Jean-Luc Marion today. There is a centuries-old connection between Christianity and philosophy.

Is it reasonable to be a Christian?

Yes, in the sense that we do not believe absurd or “incredible” things. I have reasons, arguments, which justify my Christian faith. I also adopt it because it makes me feel good. I assume I have an interested faith. I believe that Christianity is a life-enhancing power, an answer to the great question of philosophy since its origins: What is a successful life? If you convince me that Nietzsche is right, that the Christian faith is ruining my life, I will abandon it without hesitation.

Why do you believe in the resurrection of Christ?

Firstly because I have confidence in the testimonies reported in the New Testament. And also for existential reasons: it’s good news that allows me to improve my life. If I imagine myself on my deathbed, and that, through some kind of revelation, I learn that Jesus is not resurrected, I would tell myself that it is not serious. I would have lost nothing by leading my life following the compass of Christianity.

Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, parish priest of Ars, said almost the same thing: “If, when I die, I realize that God does not exist, I will be caught, but I will not regret having spent my life believing in love. » What place does the relationship with Christ hold in your life?

I have been doing philosophy for thirty-five years, and I have not read anything like the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:7). Neither Plato, nor Aristotle, nor Kant wrote similar things. With the apostle Peter I say: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. » (John 6:68)

You describe “resurrectional situations”, crossings, thanks to faith, of the nights of our lives – mourning, depression, relational difficulties. Resurrection energy working today?

The Christian bet affirms that Jesus was not only resurrected – one day, a long time ago –, but “resurrected”: the Resurrection joins us today. From this life, faith helps us to experience awakenings, to get up again, according to the meaning of the two Greek verbs which are translated as “resuscitate” in our French Bibles. In a sense, we can describe a human life as a series of small deaths and small resurrections. It’s very beautiful, but also a little tiring: fortunately I believe that all of this ends with a “great resurrection”, complete and definitive.

Do we have to fall to experience the joy of getting up again?

Certainly not, I don’t want to exalt pain or present it as necessary to obtain good, the ideal is to be happy without having to go through terrible times or bear crosses. But as I get older, I find that very few go through life without drama, even if they put on a smiling face. I fear we cannot escape the trials.

When things are going well, does a part of reality escape us? Would a certain well-being anesthetize us?

Reading of Germinal, by Zola, left its mark on me as a teenager. The Grégoire couple stuff their little daughter with brioche and chocolate, while people starve in the surrounding settlements. Being content with a little bourgeois happiness, closed to the misfortune of others, is a risk. When things are going well, we don’t question our ability to come back to life. But, once they fall to the ground, the question arises tragically. One day, the people you love die, misfortune hits you.

What does going through trials teach us?

That we should never say to ourselves: “It’s ruined. » Between Good Friday and Easter morning, something happened that gave meaning to a seemingly hopeless situation. We must be acutely aware of the tragic nature of evil. How to survive in such situations? Everyone makes a “survival kit”. It seems to me that Christianity offers efficient equipment.

In terms of “survival kits”, the offer has expanded, so to speak…

I tend to think that if the great traditions have lasted until us, it is because they help people to live. Judaism, Islam, Buddhism offer tools to get through the nights of our lives. In France around 1850, the All-Paris was turning the tables. It was just a fashion. We readily look towards personal development today, and know that a book like The four Toltec agreements has sold millions of copies leaves me wondering. I have nothing against it but for me, it is analogous to homeopathy. When we have real problems, that is no longer enough.

You explore the power of resurrection in the intimate (mourning, depression) or in interpersonal relationships. Do you see it at work in the history of peoples?

Saint Augustine, Bossuet, Hegel, in their time, attempted to describe a History driven by divine providence, but I fear that from a human perspective at least, it is Shakespeare who is right when he evokes “a story told by an idiot , full of sound and fury, which means nothing” ( Macbeth V, 5). I’m exaggerating. I still observe areas of progress, on a millennial scale. Christianity’s affirmation of the equality of all, men and women, without distinction of social status or religion (Galatians 3:28), ended up imposing itself, at least as a principle. Let us say that for two thousand years the “rumor” of the Resurrection has spread throughout the world, kneading it, transforming it in depth, even if it is not always in an immediately visible way.

Doesn’t the Christian word have an echo in politics? Christianity talks about relationships with others…

Catholic means universal, and so ideally there should be Catholics present across the political spectrum. I wouldn’t agree with all of them of course, but that’s the definition of politics. Political action is more about fine-tuning complex problems than constantly rehashing big ideas. The common good of which the social doctrine of the Church speaks is a difficult concept to define. Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas, however, agree in seeing civil peace as one of the essential constituents of the common good. It is important. When I put my ballot in the ballot box, I will think about this: who can carry this demand for civil peace best, or least badly?

>>> Also read on lepelerin.com: Grégoire Ahongbonon: “God never abandons us”

His bio

1967 . Birth in Bordeaux.

1987 . École Normale Supérieure.

1990 . Associate Professor of Philosophy.

1992 . Marriage with Anne-Sophie.

1996 . Lecturer at the University of Nantes.

2010 . University professor.

Similar Posts