Is Christianity Dull?

Take a moment to chew on this lively quote from Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957), a contemporary and friend of both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and herself an accomplished author and playwright. Speaking of the supposed dullness of Christian doctrine, Sayers offers:

Possibly we might prefer not to take this tale too seriously—there are disquieting points about it. Here we had a man of divine character walking and talking among us—and what did we do with him? The common people, indeed, “heard him gladly”; but our leading authorities in Church and State considered that he talked too much and uttered too many disconcerting truths. So we bribed one of his friends to hand him over quietly to the police, and we tried him on a rather vague charge of creating a disturbance, and had him publicly flogged and hanged on the common gallows, “thanking God we were rid of the knave.” All this was not very credible to us, even if he was (as many people thought and think) only a harmless, crazy preacher. But if the church is right about him, it was more discreditable still, for the man we hanged was God Almighty.

So that is the outline of the official story—the tale of the time when God was the underdog and got beaten, when he submitted to the conditions he had laid down and became a man like the men he had made, and the men he had made broke him and killed him. This is the dogma we find so dull—this terrifying drama of which God is the victim and the hero.

If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused him of being a bore—on the contrary, they thought him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him “meek and mild,” and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies. (from “The Greatest Drama Ever Staged” in Letters to a Diminished Church)

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