15 APRIL 1938, Page 20


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR]

SIR,—The discussion in your columns is bound to be incon- clusive without some definite and accepted idea in the minds of your readers of what is actually understood by the word " Christianity." We know almost exactly what an orthodox Buddhist believes, but what is the essential belief of the Christian ?

In Schwegler's History of Philosophy occurs the statement : " That God became man is, speculatively, the fundamental idea of Christianity." May a man be called a Christian who accepts this in a philosopical sense without believing, as I was told recently by a Jesuit clergyman, that the essential Christian belief is that Jesus the son of Mary was also the Creator of the Heavens and Earth ? •

Tolstoi, for one, certainly did not believe this, yet would anyone say he was not at least a kind of Christian ? Otherwise it would seem that those who are most fascinated by the figure of Jesus in the Gospels are often the least entitled to be called so.

Someone really should offer a prize for the best definition.—