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.

The Poison of Subjectivism

This must have been the most difficult reading for me to understand since beginning this course. Although one particular paragraph did stick out to me. Lewis speaks about the law of nature again, he says that the modern belief that ethics vary from culture to culture is a lie. This goes back to his belief that our moral code is more engrained in us than it is culture bound. He explains that through history themes of mercy and justice appear and most cultures are the same. He explains the differences as “blindnesses in particular cultures,” but he doesn’t believe that they are completely different.

Now back to the matter of subjectivism and objectivism. I have to admit that I was very unclear on Lewis’ views regarding subjectivism so I started to poke around others’ blogs to try and get a better idea of what he was trying to convey. While reading my peers blogs I found Kim Schmitkons’ explanation very helpful. She said that “if a person says that there is no good and evil he is already being subjective.” This really helped me to put subjectivism into the right perspective. I believe what she was saying (and I hope she would correct me if I am wrong) is that when one is trying to prevent subjectivism they will ignore the natural law, but by doing so they are actually being subjective.

It is made very clear at the end of the essay that Lewis is in favor of objectivism when he says “if we returned to the objective view we should demand qualities much rarer, and much more beneficial – virtue, knowledge, diligence, and skill.”These qualities all sound very profound and things that need to be thought out, and one can see that Lewis would prefer that these qualities, with objectivism, would be favored instead of those that are subjective.

Learning in War-Time

First to talk about what we discussed in class. We talked about Lewis’ comment about how life hasn’t ever been normal and it never will be normal. I like how he says “If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure the search would never have begun.” If we waited until life was perfectly convenient to pursue knowledge – or anything for that matter – then we would never learn anything or get anything done. Because the reality of the matter is that life isn’t perfect and it never will be so we have to move forward the best we can with what we have. Someone in class also said that if you do not have the desire to learn then you are not in the right place.

Another point discussed that I found very interesting was that of if we are doing work for God then it is good but if it is not for God then it is sinful. Lewis says “God’s claim is infinite and inexorable. You can refuse it: or you can begin to try to grant it. There is no middle way.” Some of my peers disagreed with Lewis on this statement and I think that I can’t fully agree with it either. I do things every day that I’m not consciously thinking about doing for God, but I don’t think that that means that those acts are sinful or automatically against what God wants me to do. The question is how we define what acts are glorifying, sinful or simply just acts. I think in some cases it’s impossible to know. It’s not like we can have a scale that defines what percentage of an act is glorifying and what percentage is sinful – if we did then life would be much to simple.

I also really liked how Lewis pointed out that God wouldn’t have given us the thirst for knowledge if he didn’t want us to satisfy that thirst. Lewis says that the world might not need learning if it were all Christian, but I disagree. I think that knowledge is a gift and Christians of all people should appreciate this gift and explore it to our fullest potential. A point that Lewis makes revolving around this concept is that “an appetite for these things [knowledge] exists in the human mind, and God makes no appetite in vain.” God makes us hungry so that we know when to eat so that our bodies get the proper nourishment, knowledge is the food of the mind and when it isn’t properly fed it can’t reach its full potential.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Plantinga Chapter 3

Plantinga says that “creation speaks out both sides of its mouth now. It still sings and rings, but it also groans.” This is a really clear way of describing the fall. Some people may think that creation is still perfect and others may think that the whole thing has been tainted with sin. But I think that the truth is that all that God made good is still there and it is still good, but the fact remains that creation has been affected by sin and it no longer exists with just the good but also the bad.

Plantinga also says that “Evil is the main human problem.” I thought this was interesting when I first read it because in class last week we had the discussion of whether or not there is actually evil in the world or if there is just the absence of good. It sounds like Plantinga is clearly saying that there is evil. But then Plantinga goes on to say that “Evil is a kind of parasite on goodness” and that “evil needs good in order to be evil” which suggests that he believes that evil is only the absence of good.

Something that I thought connected really well to the Screwtape letters was when Plantinga said that “Satan goes to church more than anybody else because he knows that, at a particular time and place, a corrupt church can devastate the cause of the gospel.” Screwtape said that the church goer was easy to pull down the wrong path because they could still think that they were being a good person. Plantinga points out the same thing.

Mere Christianity

“We cannot see into men’s hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge”
This quote from Mere Christianity really stuck out to me as I read this passage. Sometimes We can see that people are so busy judging other people. And as much as we try not to judging is something that can naturally come to us, I know that I do it without hesitating and after the fact realize that I made a snap judgment. This quote is important for me because it highlights how point less it is for us to judge. We can ponder whether or not we like a person and then we can place judgment on them, but in the end what we think about a specific person is completely irrelevant. Lewis reminds us to leave the judging up to the one who knows all and can see everything inside a person’s heart. God.

I really liked how in this reading Lewis used lots of music metaphors. He has a gift for describing a certain idea in many different ways so that people of many different thought processes can understand what he is trying to say. While explaining the difference between the moral law and our instincts he says “The Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play: our instincts are merely the keys.” I didn’t really understand what He was trying to say until I read this quote because I understand music and this made it much easier to relate to. This just made me think of making a nice melody. Every note on a piano sounds good on its own, but only certain notes put together will sound good. Our moral law direction being situational is the same as playing a song on the piano, you can only play a certain note when another note is already being played for the song to make sense and sound as beautiful as it can.

One other thing about the reading that we discussed was the preface where Lewis says that he does not like to emphasis the views or point people in the direction of a certain denomination within Christianity. Lewis specifically said “Our divisions should never be discussed except in the presence of those who have already come to believe that there is one God and that Jesus.” I think he is so right when he says that we need to all stand together in the church and not put our disagreements out there for the whole world to see, because if people see a divided church there is no way they are ever going to want to join in on something that’s already broken. Lewis emphasizes that we need to stop focusing on the things that divide us, but instead focus on what we do have in common and those are the things that will bring us closer together as part of the body of Christ.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Screwtape Letters

I thought that the screw tape letters were a very interesting way of trying to figure out what’s going on inside the Devil’s mind. One line that stuck out to me the most was when he said “indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one.” This line hits pretty hard, people aren’t just born going down the path of hell or they don’t just decide to switch directions on the highway in a second. The process that Screwtape is using is very subtle and takes many small events to change a person and the way they live.

The last thing that I found very interesting about this reading was how Screwtape said that he was glad the patient was still a church goer. I didn’t understand what this meant until Screwtape expanded on the idea and said that it was easier to fool him into doing the wrong thing because the patient thought that all of his faults were made up by being a Christian. I feel like it’s very easy for a Christian to do the wrong thing because they know they can be forgiven and that we have Jesus. Sometimes we can forget that we should be doing the best we can at all times to be the best we can be.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Weight of Glory

“The cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning”

The above is easily my favorite Lewis quotation so far. It just puts things into a perspective that makes so much sense to me. I was reading this passage with two other girls and when we read that line we all stopped and underlined. It makes sense of how God comes before earthly kings, queens and idols. It also reminds me that every day is a new day and that we should view each day as a new opportunity and not to dwell in the past.

When we got into a group discussion the quote “It was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing” came up in conversation. This combines the ideas of Lewis’ at and along and also Plantinga’s idea of longing. Firstly Lewis spoke of the difference of looking at and along things and I think this quote highlights this idea again. We direct things through us, and in that, we decide the way we are going to see and perceive situations (looking at them or looking on them or both.) and then Plantinga’s idea of longing for God is pulled in when Lewis says that “what came through them was longing.”

A main theme that we pulled from this writing was that God’s glory resides in the people around us. Lewis says “If he is your Christian neighbor he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ the glorifier and the glorified, Glory himself, is truly hidden.” When people let Christ into their lives then they become a part of the body of Christ and since Christ is full of glory that means that each part of the body also contains a piece of this glory. We, as parts of this body, need to seek and recognize this glory in the people around us and instead of always yearning for the glory that we want to come faster we need to embrace the glory that we are already surrounded by.

Plantinga Chapter 2

The point that struck me the most during our discussion about Plantinga was that God didn’t need to create us. Plantinga said “ Creation was neither a necessity nor an accident” this passage means a lot to me and it seemed like a lot of other students in the class. Plantinga highlights that God had everything he needed before we came into the picture. God wasn’t lonely (he always has the trinity), he wasn’t bored and he was perfectly happy, he didn’t in any context need to create us. I think that this shows an overwhelming amount of love that God possesses. To want to create beings that, in the end, only cause him grief and anger, and to continue to love and cherish them as his own shows how awesome our God really is.

During the Christmas sermon at my church the priest said “sometimes we make God so divine that he is unreachable.” When I think of all the things that God can do and all the ways that we constantly let him down I sometimes think that there is no way we can ever be at a level where we are even worthy to be in his presence. But Plantinga reminds us of this overwhelming love that God has and some of the barriers that are put up between God and his creation are broken down. One member of our group said during discussion that whatever we do, do it to glorify God” this is another way that we can make ourselves worthy to be with him.

During class discussion the topic of things being inherently good or evil came up. Some people think that things are born good and there is no evil, just the absence of good. Others think that things can definitely be evil. I can’t say that I feel confident enough to stand behind one argument because they both have very convincing cases. C.S. Lewis said that “Evil is a parasite, it is there because good is there for it to spoil and confuse.” I found this really important to remember because evil can’t just be born, or bad things can’t just happen, it all starts from something good. The most important thing is to realize when a good thing is being corrupted and how to help it remain good.

Elenor Rigby

The main point that I took away from this song is that we cannot just wait for glory to come to us, but that we have to go out into the world and seek opportunity to find glory. Elenor Rigby and father MacKenzie seem to be doing the “right” things in theory, but who is there to share their experience with them? Seeking God’s glory in the people around us, I would say, is one of the most interesting and fun things in God’s creation. Finding evidence of God in other human beings can be very exciting, it’s like catching a glimpse of what is to come in the future when we are with God and that glory is infinite and always present. The problem with the people in this song is that they are all lonely. And by being alone not only are they deprived of love, friends and family, but they are deprived of the joy of seeing this glory of God that can be found in other people.

I think another thing that can make the people in this song lonely is that they are doing things to please God and not really seeing results now. Sometimes we forget to patient and we forget that our rewards for good works on earth are nothing like the rewards that we are going to see in heaven. This is partly why it is so hard sometimes to do good things that we don’t get recognized for. It’s important to remember that it’s all for a greater purpose and that God is always watching and he will never forget the things we do.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Our English Syllabus

In this writing by Lewis, he gives some thoughts on the education system. From what I understood Lewis is saying that there are two main typed of education. The first is a broad education where we learn surface, but important, information from a wide variety of subjects. Another type of education is where we specialize in one area of study and become an “expert” on the topic. The problem is that regardless of which type of education you pursue you are missing out on all the information from the other type. Lewis says that the best solution is to achieve a good balance of the two different types of learning – or at least try the best we can.

One of my favorite lines from this reading was when Lewis said “for nothing that we have to offer will do him good unless he can be persuaded to forget all about self-improvement for three or four years, and to absorb himself in getting to know some part of reality, as it is in itself.” I think that many people come to college and think about all the knowledge that they will receive in their time at school and what good it is going to do them. Something that may be pushed aside and forgotten is humility. We need to be humble to learn. Before we can make good of what we learn we have to forget about self-improvement and immerse ourselves in the content we are being taught, then we can go and see what we can offer the world with what we have learned.

Another insight of Lewis’ that I really appreciated was when he stated “things are understood by what precedes them rather than by what follows them.” When we approach a situation our first impression is based on the knowledge that we already have and know. What we have learned is going to change the way we see situations and in the long run the way we have seen the world. For example, if I were to learn that someone I know was skipping class all the time I might judge them as being a slacker based on the information that I have learned. Even though the reason this person is missing class is because they are very sick, since I don’t know that I base my opinion solely on that which I do know. It is important to be educated before judging, and to seek all the knowledge we can so we don’t have a skewed worldview.

The Logical Song

To me the logical song wasn’t very logical at all. It explains that when we are young life is wonderful and we learn and create and it’s “magical,” but that as we grow older we are pointed one way or another and told to act a certain way. To me this doesn’t seem like a logical thing to do at all, but unfortunately it is often reality. The world does tend to teach us a certain way to act and respond to certain things, our social norms are what society expects from us. The song outlines some of the concepts behind these norms, some of which are being clinical, intellectual, dependable and cynical.

Cynical really stood out to me in out of these ideas. We often connect being cynical as a negative trait, but after listening to the song and what it said I think we are taught to be cynical. We are taught not to just accept things as they are sometimes and to dig further in the pursuit of knowledge. This could lead to us becoming cynical about other parts of our lives such as the company we keep and other people that we are associated with.

Another thing that stood out to me in this song was when they said “won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel your acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable.” The first three words are associated with positive characteristics in a person, but being a vegetable? Is that really something we want to sign up to be? I think the artist is trying to show that by conforming to everything we are told to do we lose our ability to think on our own and essentially become a vegetable.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Have No "Right to Happiness"

This piece of writing by C.S. Lewis begins by featuring a couple that he calls Mr. A and Mrs. B. The relationship between these two characters is founded on the two of them both leaving their spouses to be with each other. In this hypothetical situation Lewis is asking the question whether or not we have the right to pursue happiness even if it is at the cost of someone else’s happiness. How far can we go in our pursuit before we have to draw a line?

Lewis seems to think that we don’t have any right to happiness. We should not be pursuing any actions that will hurt other people. The problem is that no matter what we do someone is going to get the short end of the stick. So who are we to decide who gets less than us or another someone else? I think that Lewis is saying in the end we don’t deserve to be happy, the only reason we may find happiness is because of Jesus and God’s grace. The idea of Shalom is also connected to this reading. Before we can pursue our own happiness we have to try and achieve shalom, which when achieved would essentially make everyone happy.

Back to Mr. A and Mrs. B… Lewis says “when two people achieve lasting happiness this is not solely because they are great lovers but because they are also good people; controlled, loyal, fair-minded, mutually adaptable people.” It’s very possible that Mr. A disregarded all these aspects of his marriage and didn’t try to work it out long enough. Not to say that we have to throw our happiness away to make our spouse happy, but love is something that can make a marriage work and when we make a marriage work we can stay in love. It’s like a continuous circle.

Plantinga Chapter 1

I read this first chapter of Plantinga’s book at just the right time. I think being in college and being away from family and friends has really made me feel the longing that Plantinga is talking about. Even if you went up to the happiest person in the world I think he or she would say that there is something or someone that they wish they had. Plantinga does a really good job of explaining why we all feel this longing and how we are supposed to feel this way because it can’t be fulfilled until we meet God.

I really liked how Plantinga quoted Augustine, he said “you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” I don’t think that Plantinga is trying to tell his readers that they should not feel happy, because of course God wants his people to be happy. But I do think that he is saying that it’s okay to feel that longing because in time it will be filled with Christ.

In class the concept of nostalgia was also mentioned. I would think the idea of longing for something in the past is the kind of longing that most college students probably struggle with. I know that from personal experience when you are at school part of you wants to be at home and when you are at home you miss all of your friends from school. It really is a viscous cycle, there’s no way to be perfectly happy. It was also mentioned in class that you can’t yearn for what’s already happened. I think sometimes this is a really hard thing to do because we remember all the good times in our lives and who wouldn’t want to go back to those times? Sometimes we forget to look forward to the potential that the future holds and to be optimistic about that future.

Another part of this reading that I really liked was when Plantinga talked about the idea of Shalom. I thought that Shalom simply meant peace, but after the reading and discussion I discovered that it is more than just the word it is a whole concept. Shalom is inner and outer peace and doesn’t revolve solely around one’s own peace, but the peace of the entire creation. Often people will strive to reach a personal level of peace and they forget to try and obtain a more universal peace. It’s important that we think about everyone and everything around us that we affect and that affect us.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


“Bulverism tries to show that the other man has causes and not reasons and that we have reasons and not causes” - C.S. Lewis

While reading this passage I can honestly say that I didn’t know what Lewis was talking about until I hit the line above. It simplified the concept down for me to realize that one man thinks that he has a valid argument and that that same man thinks that another man does not have a valid argument. It’s kind of scary to think that so much of our thinking is simply based on contradictory thoughts. I never would have thought that I formed an opinion based on only arguments that I agree with because they oppose other people before reading this excerpt. Now that I look at it there are many things in my life that I am sure I agree with because there are people who I do not want to be grouped with on the other side of the argument. Lewis is really pointing out how human it is for us to think that we are always right. In just the first two days of class the theme of humility has already come up in both discussions. After reading and discussing these passages I really realize that humility is a major player in helping us to become better people. For example, in this case, we need to accept that there are people out there who are highly educated and that are knowledgeable on certain topics than we are. In these cases we would do well to listen to these people and base our worldviews on the wisdom these people have to offer instead of creating arguments that only exist to oppose other people.

Through this class I kept thinking about fighting and conflict because a lot of Bulverism is based on opposition. Prof. P. Ribeiro said “it’s better to fight for truth than to fight for victory.” This really stuck with me because I think in all aspects of life, sports, religion, education and so much more we forget what we are fighting for. These concepts reminds me of when children will start fighting over a toy and get so worked up and start yelling at each other that by the time their mother gets there to resolve the problem the children have forgotten what they were fighting about in the first place. What is the point of fighting for something just so that we can say we are right? You need to have a reason or a drive behind your argument and what better reason is there than to search for truth. Lewis points out a lot of flaws in humanity in this article, but I don’t think that it is to make us feel like we are not being the best we can be I think he points these things out so that our best can continue becoming better. There’s no reason to base our thoughts on opposing other people and once Lewis has pointed that out and people have read about it then I think they will start to think about why they believe what they do and maybe we can have a more profound thinking society.

Meditation in a Toolshed

Stepping into someone else’s shoes can be a really hard thing to do. I know that for me it’s never easy to try and understand an issue from someone else’s perspective with an open mind. After the first reading of Meditation in a Toolshed C.S Lewis made it very easy to understand that in order to see situations and the world in the right light we have to take that step into another pair of shoes and see things from all perspectives. I really liked the way that Lewis described looking along and at a situation. As soon as I understood the concept I started to classify people that I know into the different categories, then when we were having class discussion I realized that I was thinking exactly the opposite way of what Lewis intended. His article wasn’t at all meant to divide the way that people think, but to bring them together and help his readers to broaden their points of view and understanding of situations. In order for everyone to work in cooperation we have to balance how we look at and along things. I easily found myself thinking of the extremes of looking at and along things. Someone who only focuses on the along could become very emotional and not understand when something needs to be done because it is the logical thing to do. People who only look at situations could have a hard time incorporating other peoples’ ideas and they might travel down a narrower road.

I loved Prof. A. Ribeiro’s thoughts on this article. When she said the only reason we can see the tree is because the beam provides the light from the sun, the whole concept of at and along clicked into place for me. It became so clear that one can’t exist without the other. From this she expanded onto being humble. Humility is a very admirable quality in a person and I agree that the more humility we have and when we admit that we can only see certain things in parts then we will be able to gain wisdom and start to see more of the whole.