Sunday, September 12, 2004

Every time you make a choice

"People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, 'If you keep a lot of rules, I'll reward you, and if you don't I'll do the other thing.' I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."
~C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

12 Comment(s):

At Mon Sep 13, 12:38:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...didn't think I'd miss this as much as I did over the weekend! The weekend is the only time I have lots of computer time.

"People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, 'If you keep a lot of rules, I'll reward you, and if you don't I'll do the other thing."
Very interesting that you chose that quote, cause thats what my teacher was just talking about (I forget which class, they've kinda all meshed together in my mind). He put it something like this: Man says "We'll obey if everything is perfect!" God puts man in the garden of eden with ONE rule, man blows it. Than man says "give us a list of rules to follow and we'll obey you." Second half of Exodus is a list of rules God gives Israel, and they STILL blow it! And then few hundred years later, Jesus walks on the earth, and man still doesn't obey. Conclusion: Man is a sin sicked shriveled up soul who's only hope for salvation is in Jesus Christ (exa John 3:16)

At Mon Sep 13, 12:39:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

forgot to say...the above post is by me.


At Mon Sep 13, 01:16:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Mon Sep 13, 03:56:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Aww...glad you missed it Joelle. I aim to please!

I like the way that Lewis is describing the way to God as a process. That one's life is constantly being improved towards the heavenly, or is sliding downwards toward the hellish. Or if you are a computer programmer, you would look at it as an infinite decision tree, each branching decision taking you to the next branching decision point. But I think he also means that no matter how far one slides down into the hellish, there is always the decision available to begin the climb back.

At Mon Sep 13, 09:15:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, sorry, Joelle, need to disagree with you (or your teacher or John or wherever that quote is from that says man is sick and shrivelled as sin or whatever). I think that one of the most important things one can achieve is a balance, especially between our earthly and spiritual sides. (I wonder, am I little too young to think something like that up? I was, like, 14 when I decided that.) And so, we must maintain a balance between our good half and our evil half. If what Lewis says is right, which is quite appealing, and I agree with, then as we make decisions, we lean toward one side and another. Man does not start out as shriveled, but he may become that. If he rejects one thing, then perhaps his descendants will accept it. There are always second chances.

I actually like what Pico (Renaissance philosopher) said: that man is better than all living beings, even God, because he has the power to make choices and change. A balance between free will and ordained fate.

At Mon Sep 13, 09:43:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually the "quote" "man is a sin sicked shriveled up soul" isn't a quote, it's a saying of my dads. So you can disagree with my dad. ;) does say in the Bible (in Jeremiah 17:9)

"The heart is deceitful above all things,And desperately wicked; Who can know it?"

So...I've made a personal decision to believe everything the Bible says, so that's where I'm coming from.

The Bible also says, "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

We can try till we're blue in the face "appeal to our good half", but it says in Isaiah "all our righteousness are like filthy rags".

Those two verses (and others I can't remember at the moment) are what I base my claim that man is a "sin sicked shriveled up soul"


At Tue Sep 14, 07:48:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that's rather bleak.

And could you really believe ALL that it says in the Bible? Remember that one of the reasons church officials refused to believe in a heliocentric system is because there are certain passages in the Bible that say that the Earth is the center of the universe.

At Tue Sep 14, 11:02:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Ok, "Anonymous". First of all, if you are going to call another person's beliefs "bleak", which to me sounds like a criticism, you should at least sign your post.

This site is not about putting down each other's beliefs. It is for having rational, open discussions about the works of C.S. Lewis, his books and letters, and talk about what he has stated as *his* beliefs. Now, I'm not saying you can't tell us how you feel about his beliefs, but let's try to play nice with each other, okay?

I've changed the blog rules so that one cannot post anonymously anymore. Sorry. I feel that I need to keep track of who is saying what in case things get out of hand.

At Tue Sep 14, 12:15:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

Sorry Arevanye...didn't mean for you to have to get rid of anonymous posting. I had thought that "Anonymous" had just forgot to sign her post (as I did a few posts up). Oh, and I wasn't offended in the least of her calling my beliefs "bleak". She's right! It did sound bleak, but that goes back up to my other post saying that Jesus Christ is only hope for salvation. If I was easily offended I'd keep my mouth shut on my beliefs. =)
But I would like to answer her question with a question real quick: Anonymous, can you give me the reference for that verse? I've just spent the last week reading through Genesis and Exodus, and I sure didn't see it! For that matter, could you give me any referance to a verse that has been scientifically proven wrong?

Now...I can't prove this (please someone, If I'm wrong, point out my error), but I do believe that Lewis also believed in the inerrancy of the Bible.

At Tue Sep 14, 05:11:00 PM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

Ack! Sorry, you guys, that was me, Sandi.

I apologize for getting you guys all riled up. ^_^;;

Lucky for you I brought my history textbook home (I'm procrastinating for studying for a quiz, lol), and I hope the reference is in there. Otherwise it's in my sourcebook, where Galileo talks about it.

Sorry, I left my sourcebook at school. I hope that I can find the references in there (because I KNOW it says it somewhere). I think one of the references Galileo (or Copernicus, one of the two) cites is in the book of John (?), if that helps, which it probably doesn't.

I hope I didn't offend, Joelle. Judaism can be pretty bleak too! ;P

At Tue Sep 14, 06:41:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

I was almost positive that was you!

Yah, if you could look that up for me and tell me where it says that in the Bible, that'd be great, I'm really curious now.

Oh, and no offense taken whatsoever. =)

At Wed Sep 15, 09:58:00 AM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

**Crawls out from under boulder.** Oh, okay. ;) The quotation I found (there are probably more) that was referenced in my sourcebook is Psalm 93 (not part of the Bible, though?) which says: "Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved." and Luther says that "sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth." Are there any more? Lessee... **Flips through book." Another primary source has a Cardinal Bellarmine writing to the Pope on the matter of a Copernican system: " want to affirm that in reality the sun is at the center of the world... is a very dangerous thing... [it]harm[s] the Holy Faith by rendering Holy Scripture false." He also mentions then modern commentaries on the Bible which say the sun is at the center, the Pope's interpretation of certain passages, Psalms, Eccelesiastes, and Joshua.

Of course, at this time, not only did people believe that everything in the Bible was true, they also took it literally. A little too literally, which unfortunately resulted in the censorship and condemnation of many scientists and halted the Scientific Revolution in all Catholic countries. (Hey, I have a quiz on this today; thanks for helping me review. ;P)

I think these examples that I listed are more about powerful figures abusing the Bible than saying that certain things in the Bible are false. There is no way of knowing if humans are shriveled up inside, spiritually, and hateful creatures for eternity and that all of our prayers to God are in vain. I imagine that that is something that we will learn in a later stage of life (i.e., an afterlife, IF there is one). So I think that for now we have to agree to disagree, Joelle. I think humans are beautiful, and can be, spiritually if they put their minds to it.

When I studied Japanese history in 6th grade, I noticed an interesting belief that came from Shinto (the native religion of Japan). It's that we are all born neutral and only we can decide if we will become good or evil creatures. I guess that's what Lewis is talking about. Why don't Western religions have that belief?


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