Tuesday, October 19, 2004

On Enemy Ground

The Devil Screwtape twists the gift of pleasure:

Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisifying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy's ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it's better style. To get the man's soul and give him nothing in return--that is what really gladdens Our Father's heart. And the troughs are the time for beginning the process.
~C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Chapter 9 (1942)
On this day:

1956 Joy Gresham Lewis is admitted to Wingfield-Morris Hospital with a broken femur, where she is subsequently diagnosed with multiple cancers.

Thoughtful link of the day: British Library Starts Email Archive. How much would have been lost had C.S. Lewis been able to send his letters electronically?

9 Comment(s):

At Tue Oct 19, 12:16:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

Ooh! Great selection! Would have helped alot a few weeks ago. A friend of mine was doing a report on Mere Christianity, and the assignment was "Does anyone ever do evil purely out of evil?" Her conclusion was (or at least last time I talked to her about it): "No, because all forms of pleasure originate in good, and so if the thing the person is doing brings them pleasure, pleasure is in its beginning good, so therefore it is not entirely/purely evil."
Confusing stuff.

At Tue Oct 19, 01:07:00 PM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

What a thoughtful question! Does anyone do anything purely for evil? Well, they think it's good, so who are we to say if it's evil? (Except the person doing evil might be killing or stealing or something else harmful and then it's evil.)

At Tue Oct 19, 01:31:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

Ah yes...but that person is stealing/killing someone to bring *themselves* pleasure, and as Screwtape points out, pleasure in its self is a good thing. So...where is the line drawn in that something is evil?

A very extreme example of this I heard the other day:

Person #1 is making an argument for his/her personal beliefs
Person #2 says that thats *fine*...for them. And how everyone can do what makes themselves happy
Person #1 says, well what if shooting you makes me happy?
Taking away the fact that Person #1 would go to jail forever for that, according to Person #2's worldview, yes, if that is what made Person #1 happy, then they could shoot Person #2.

And just cause I wanna avoid my homeowork...since we both know that shooting each other is wrong, and not just cause we'll go to jail forever, but we know it's wrong. Where did this conscience that says "shooting Person #2 is wrong." come from?

At Tue Oct 19, 03:00:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

I think that Lewis would say, and Joelle if your friend has been doing an essay from Mere Christianity then she has read the chapter "The Law of Human Nature", that there is a basic instinct in man to know right behavior from wrong behavior. And each person has an expectation that others will treat them according to that basic knowledge and when they do not, they will feel that an injustice has been done on them. If there were no instinctual knowledge of right or wrong, the wronged person would not feel the need to say "Hey, you just took something that belonged to me", or "Gee, your shooting me just now was a bad thing for my health". That knowledge has to come from somewhere, and I think it has to do with God creating us in his image. There is that knowledge deep inside that some behaviors are contrary to the nature of the being that God created.

At Tue Oct 19, 04:28:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Here's a little link to throw into the discussion,
Anamire's post on customs between ancient cultures. Read it and think, now whose custom is the proper one?

Beneath the Ruins

At Tue Oct 19, 04:48:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

"I think it has to do with God creating us in his image". I TOTALLY agree! I probably even would have worded it the same way.

That's an interesting question, the knee-jerk reaction is the culture who burns their dead is right. But, whoses is the proper one? I don't know. What are your thoughts?

At Tue Oct 19, 05:19:00 PM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

"I think that Lewis would say,...that there is a basic instinct in man to know right behavior from wrong behavior. And each person has an expectation that others will treat them according to that basic knowledge and when they do not, they will feel that an injustice has been done on them."

Ah, yes, very Voltaire (and doesn't it make sense?). Oh, if it seems like I'm talking about Voltaire all the time it's because I just finished reading Candide (although I do like his works). He also believed that there was a common code of law that all humans had. One such example is that nowhere in any culture is it all right to lie. He used an example of a group of cannibals he had met (they had been taken to France and put on trial because they had eaten some French explorers). We think it's murder, but this is the way that these people get their food. They did not think it was okay to lie.

At Tue Oct 19, 05:54:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Ok, see, I'm grossing out over the whole people-eating-people thing here. I don't think I can give an objective answer to the question, because my innards are obviously biased against the whole cannibalism thought. *shudders*

At Tue Oct 19, 06:40:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

*Joins in the shuddering* My aunt and uncle were missionaries in the Philippines for years, either one or two of their daughters were born there (I'm pretty sure it was two of them), and my mom went to visit them once. So their taking her on a bit of tour of the village and they take her to a nearby village, and she asks why there are all these poles on the outside of the village. My aunt tells her that this used to be headhunter village. For the record, if I was my mom, I would be officially freaked out at that point.

This whole subject makes the guinea pig thing I found normal!


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