Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Inner Ring

In this reading Lewis describes how in this world we have a tendency to join and belong to inner rings. Whether or not we try we automatically drift towards a group of people that we become exclusive with. We don’t always try to be exclusive, in fact most of the time we try to do the opposite. Lewis talks about a good kind of inner circle and the exclusive kind. The good kind is when we have a close group of friends that we care about and can be there to support each other. The problem with inner circles arises when they become exclusive. We want to get into a higher social group and people get left out.

This article of Lewis’ is very important especially for people who are in school. In middle school I think we all naturally form cliques and we automatically become exclusive even if we aren’t trying. As soon as we become aware of what we are doing wrong, for example by reading some of Lewis’ works, we can start to fix the problem and become less exclusive.

The Problem With Pain

While discussing the problem with pain some very interesting topics came up. The first of which was the fact that a lot of the time we only need God when we are in pain. It is so easy for us to attribute the good times to ourselves and blame the bad times on God. Sometimes we only turn to God when we are in pain and we need something from Him. Lewis said “I’ve never had a selfless thought since the day I was born.” I think that this is true for a lot of times in our lives. We do so many things for us and for no one else and we don’t even notice it.

Another thing we discussed was what is the definition of suffering. What one person thinks suffering may be could be a completely different idea from what another person may think suffering is. Another difference that we discussed is what suffering is to God. Does God feel physical suffering? Does he feel our suffering? Or does He feel emotional suffering when we do things to hurt Him? I for one don’t know how to think about this situation. God is very complicated and sometimes with questions like these I don’t know where to start because as was demonstrated in class many people can have very many different opinions and who are we to decide who has the right idea?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Man or Rabbit?

This essay started with a very simply put question; can’t you lead a good life without believing in Christianity? Lewis’ thoughts on this matter got me thinking, but more than that were the discussions that we had in class. This is a topic that I’m sure lots of Christians struggle with on top of if you lead a good life and you are not Christian are you going to go to heaven. I have, but not even a small measure, and answer to this question, but some people have points of view worth considering. I think that some people in the class thought that heaven in going to be for just Christ followers, but that God I giving everyone an equal chance on Earth to become a follower so in the end God has given everyone a fair chance to be with him after death. Some other people in the class had some thoughts that when you are brought up in a different religion you can’t really control that you haven’t accepted Christ into your life as a result of the religion that you have always been surrounded by and your lack of knowledge about the gospel.

For me it is very hard to accept that people who don’t believe in Christ now might not be given the chance after death to be with God. I know a lot of non Christian people who aren’t just good in order to be happy, but they are good because they listen to the natural law and they just want to be good people. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be Christian if my parents were and I don’t see any significant thing that would prompt these good people that I know to up and convert to Christianity. I know that God is fair, but at the same time it feels like he’s given me an unfair advantage next to these people of growing up in a Christian home and if these good people can’t be with God then I can’t see the fairness in that.

On the same note of God accepting people from other religions into heaven. I think that God can see people of other religions’ devotion and faith to their religion as a sign of how loyal they can be. They are being very faithful of what they believe to be true and once they realize that God is the truth I think He can see that they would be just as faithful to Him.

Overall the discussion today was very thought provoking and unfortunately I don’ see an answer near or anywhere in sight until we can talk to God ourselves. Because even is someone thinks they have the answer how on Earth are we supposed to know who has captured the truth.

The Abolition of Man

In this essay Lewis discusses things that he thinks might be contributing to the abolition of man. From what I picked up from this essay Lewis is concerned with the conditioners and the “norm” that they follow which is Toa. The main struggle that I saw was that between the natural law and this Toa that the conditioners are regulating.

The conditioners are the people that are deciding what the Tao entails and what they are going to teach others to follow. The problem with the conditioners is that who are they to decide what is important to be included in the Tao. They could completely neglect the natural law in their interpretation of what the rules for mankind should be.

One thing that I though Lewis emphasized that I don’t agree with is that science is becoming to much of a dominating force in how we view the world and deciding what we think is right and wrong. I think there is some truth when he says that “the stars lost their divinity as astronomy developed, and the dying God has no place in agriculture.” But when he says (in reference to nature, and what I think he meant as science) that “what looked to us lie hand held up in surrender was really the opening of arms to enfold us forever.” I don’t think that nature has taken us over like this, I think that instead of enfolding and shadowing us science is holding us up so that we can see a wider range of landscape. We just have to be careful in which direction we look while we are sitting in its palm.

Plantinga Chapter 4

As I read through Plantinga’s thoughts on redemption I found myself underlining a lot of single lines that really stuck out to me. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told or heard about how redemption works, Jesus came to save us and because of him our sins are forgiven. I don’t mean to undermine the importance of this subject because it is a very important topic, especially to followers of the Christian faith. But that doesn’t change the fact that I have read many articles and lectures about what redemption is, so when I started to read Plantinga I expected the same concepts brought up that have already been revealed to me in the past. The concepts were the same, but the way in which Plantinga described them and the examples that he used were eye opening and thought provoking.

The first thing that Platinga described that I really liked was “sin traps people and makes them wilt; Godly obedience liberates people and helps them to flourish.” This was a refreshing take on what our problem is here on Earth and why we needed and continue to need Jesus in our lives. Plantinga really captures the image of God as a father and the fact that he will do anything for us and even though at times it seems like he isn’t present and doesn’t care, he most definitely does. Plantinga says “What’s striking, once more, is the persistence of God’s grace. God refuses to let the shipwreck happen.” This reminded me of the story of the man who was trapped in a flood. The town began to flood and the man prayed for God to save him. Another man floated by in a canoe and said “get in I’ll help you” but the man called back “no, God will save me.” Then another man came by on a raft and said “get on I’ll help you” and again the man said “no, God will save me.” Finally, another man drove past in a boat and said “get in I’ll help you” and again the man said “no, God will save me.” Eventually the man drowns and when he’s standing in front of God in heaven he says “God why didn’t you save me!” God replies “who do you think sent the canoe, the raft and the boat?”

Sometimes we forget that just because we can’t see God it doesn’t mean that he’s not there. He really doesn’t want us to drown and he’s going to do whatever he can to keep our “ship” afloat. No father wants to see his children in a wreck.

Another line that helped me to see Jesus as a man that walked and talked just like us was the line “God incarnate, God with a thumbprint.” Thumbprints are one part of our identity that no one else can have and no one ever will. Jesus had his own thumb print just like us. I would guess that God’s thumbprint is a collection of everyone one of our human thumbprints put together. But Jesus had his own identity as a man and could finger paint just like the rest of us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Lewis has a very interesting take on love between a man and a woman that I have never heard described from anyone before quite like the way he does. It’s clear that Lewis is a firm believer in the emotional relationship between man and woman being the key to their success as a couple. In order to separate the emotional and sexual side of the relationship Lewis uses the terms Eros and Venus. Venus is the sexual desire and side of a relationship and Eros is the deeper more important part of the relationship. The way that Lewis describes Eros reminds me of the term soul mates. He says that Eros is the sensation of being “in love” and that when this happens the two people involved can’t stand to be apart from each other. He says that they reach the point where they would rather be together and miserable than apart and content.

It seems that in modern culture sex is so commercialized and, in some cases, has become so casual that we don’t think twice about how often we see it dispersed through the media. This is part of the reason why I was so surprised when describing Eros Lewis said “The fact that she is a woman is far less important than the fact that she is herself.” I was shocked to hear this line because it’s not often that you hear something poetic like that now, that really shows how deeply a person can be cared about for who they are alone, and not be expected to do anything else to be appreciated besides be themselves.

I liked Lewis’ connection to diving in and swimming to describe how Eros works. It is easy to dive in and fall in love. All you have to do is have a little faith and take the plunge. The tough part is when you are in the water and you have to stay afloat. Eros can get you in the water and it can for sure keep you in there, but in order to make the relationship work you have to add sense and responsibility to make sure that you are floating instead of drowning.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Plantinga Chapter 5

One of the first things that stuck out to me while doing this reading was “God’s kingdom has always sounded like good news for people whose lives are bad news.” This is so true in our world today, it seems like the people who have so little give themselves completely to God without a thought because they have something to look forward to. People who have everything have a harder time giving there life to God because they can really easily forget that their success does not just come from themselves, but that it is more than success, it is a blessing.

Plantinga highlights that our primary reason for living is to live in and for God’s glory. This is why we must strive to do our best. This also connects to the previous idea blogged about that God has given us the thirst for knowledge for a reason, and that we should strive to quench that thirst.

Something that really stuck out to me during this reading was “a citizen of the kingdom takes part in government – at minimum by voting intelligently, praying for leaders faithfully, and paying taxes willingly.” With the inauguration tomorrow this really struck me. Sometimes I can get so caught up in thinking that what is happening in the world isn’t as important as what is to come, I can forget that my vocation on earth is a very important part of God’s will. I realize that the kingdom of God in full is the ultimate goal, but I am so often forgetting that what happens here and now is also a part of the kingdom. I think reminding myself that receiving a vocation isn’t a choice, it’s a calling, is very important. It’s a calling that we can pretend not to here (like when our mother calls us to do chores and we ignore them) but nonetheless we know it is the right thing to do (just like we know it is right to listen to our mothers). In the end it is coming from our Father and we should obey him to.