A case for faith
There's no sense in going further -- it's the edge of cultivation,"
So they said, and I believed it -- broke my land and sowed my crop --
Built my barns and strung my fences in the little border station
Tucked away below the foothills where the trails run out and stop:
Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated -- so:
"Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges --
"Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and wating for you. Go!
So I went, worn out of patience; never told my nearest neighbours --
Stole away with pack and ponies -- left 'em drinking in the town;
And the faith that moveth mountains didn't seem to help my labours
As I faced the sheer main-ranges, whipping up and leading down.
March by march I puzzled through 'em, turning flanks and dodging shoulders,
Hurried on in hope of water, headed back for lack of grass;
Till I camped above the tree-line -- drifted snow and naked boulders --
Felt free air astir to windward -- knew I'd stumbled on the Pass.
'Thought to name it for the finder: but that night the Norther found me -
Froze and killed the plains-bred ponies; so I called the camp Despair
(It's the Railway Gap to-day, though). Then my Whisper waked to hound me: --
"Something lost behind the Ranges. Over yonder! Go you there!"
Then I knew, the while I doubted -- knew His Hand was certain o'er me.
Still -- it might be self-delusion -- scores of better men had died --
I could reach the township living, but....e knows what terror tore me...
But I didn't... but I didn't. I went down the other side.
-- From "The Explorer" by Rudyard Kipling
I do not, yet, presume to call myself a Christian. I only the vaguest notion of what Christianity really means, my writings on the subject notwithstanding. I don't pretend to be any kind of particularly moral person. I have, oh, many sins to answer for when my time comes. I haven't even read the New Testament yet.
Yet even so, I am pointed to the increasingly inescapable conclusion that it is the Christian understanding of the Lord that makes the most sense, and that the Gospel of Christ is the "one unbreakable shield against the coming darkness, one last blade forged in defiance of fate"*.
*Technically, that's a quote from Warhammer 40K. But it works rather well given the subject matter.