Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Inner Ring

This article by C.S. Lewis was a really interesting one for me. It is one that I could definitely apply to my own life, and I think everyone else can apply it to their own lives as well. It is discussing the inner rings or "cliques" in society that we all either belong to or want to belong to.

I believe that in grade school, high school, and college are all times in our life where these inner rings are most abundant and desired. They are still there later in life, although harder to see. Most people want to get in with the popular group; to fit in with those whom everyone knows. There are those who strive for academic excellence, and want to get in with the smart kids at school. My point is that we always want to belong and be a part of something. It is never fun for the person on the outside.

These inner rings, I believe, can enslave us until we drop everything else only for that goal to fit in where we want to. When we let go of these inner rings, we become free. We must remember that God does not judge us based on what group we belong to. He judges us by where our hearts lie. Our duty here on earth is to praise Him. That is all that matters.

Another thought is that there are really only two important rings in the world, the elect and the unbelievers. To be a part of the elect believing ring is life. However, it is only by the grace of God that we may be a part of it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Problem of Pain

The problem of pain is an article about a questionable issue.  This article is based on the idea that God must not be all-good or all-powerful if He lets people be inflicted with pain.  To further explain it, people say that God cannot be good if He lets evil and pain flourish in the earth, and if he was all-powerful, He would take the pain away.


One quote that I really liked from what we listened to in class was, “We regard God as a pilot regards his parachute.  He knows its there, but he hopes that he’ll never have to use it.”  I think this applies very well to the whole human race because so often we forget about God when everything is going well.  We so often only go to Him for help when we are in pain. 


I also liked how he talked about the story of Job.  The devil had to ask permission of God in order to tempt and torture Job.  This is a great reminder of how God is always there watching over us.  He will always be there for us.  When we are in pain, God knows, and Satan cannot do anything without the knowledge of God.


We must remember that sometimes God brings sorrow and pain upon us for our own good.  Only our Creator knows what is best for His children.  An example of this is Paul.  He prayed three times for God to take the “thorn” out of his side.  We don’t know what this “thorn” was, but we do know that God chose not to take it from him for Paul’s own good.


Romans 8:28, “ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love Him, to them that are called according to His purpose.”  God uses pain for the good of His people.  When everything is going right, we forget about him and we develop self-pride.  Pain reminds us of our sin and the fact that we need Christ.

We need pain to remain low and humble.  God is infinitely wise concerning what is best for us.  

Plantinga Ch. 4


This Chapter in Engaging God’s world is about our salvation and redemption.  God has made a Covenant with His people from the beginning of creation promising to save them from their sins.  Genesis 17:7, “ I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations to be an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and thy seed after thee.”

When man fell, God provided a means to be saved.  One quote from the Plantinga Ch. 4 that I really liked is:“What we have lost… is a full sense of the power of God—to recruit people who have made terrible choices; to invade the most hopeless lives and fill them with light; to sneak up on people who are thinking about lunch, not God, and smack them up side the head with glory.”

I think that this is a very powerful statement concerning what happened to us after the fall, and how badly we need Christ to save us. 

Another quote that I really liked from this chapter concerns the Ten Commandments.  “…Ten Commandments, a set of requirements that people have to fulfill not in order to get rescued by God from slavery, but because they have been rescued.” This quote is telling us that we can’t do any good to participate in our own salvation.  It is entirely of God’s grace that we may be saved.  We obey God’s commandments because he has saved us, not in order that we may be saved. 

As a final word, “How fair and lovely is the hope which the Lord gave to the dead when He lay down like them beside them.  Rise up and come forth and sing praise to Him who has raised you from destruction.”  As a result of our glorious salvation, we should be thanking and praising God’s holy name.  We must also live our lives as witnesses to this wonderful truth.

Man or Rabbit?

This article is about the question ‘can we lead a good life without being a Christian?’  Lewis points out right away that the person who is asking this question is really saying that “ I don’t care whether Christianity is true or not.  I am not interested in finding out.  I just want to lead a good life while I am here on earth.”  I believe that when a person says this, they are acknowledging that Christianity is something better that they don’t have right now. 

We cannot lead a good life without Christianity.  One quote that I really liked from this article is :


All right, Christianity will do you good - a great deal more

good than you ever wanted or expected. And the first bit of

good it will do you is to hammer into your head (you won't

enjoy that!) the fact that what you have hitherto called 'good'

- all that about 'leading a decent life' and 'being kind'-

isn't quite the magnificent and all-important affair you sup-

posed. It will teach you that in fact you can't be 'good' (not

for twenty-four hours) on your own moral efforts. And then

it will teach you that even if you were, you still wouldn't

have achieved the purpose for which you were created.”


This quote is telling us that we won’t know what is a good life until we find Christianity.  We need the Holy Spirit in our hearts to do any good.  Apart from Christ, there is no good.

A discussion came up in class concerning the salvation of those who have never heard of Christ.  These people are left without excuse.  God shows Himself in all of His creation.  These people are able to see God in that, they are just ignorant of it. 

Another point that I would like to make is that when God saves someone, He will provide a way of doing it.  We don’t know how God does this because God has His ways of saving people.  If that person is predestinated to be saved, then he or she will be saved.

Also, I think that we are asking the wrong question concerning this.  Instead of asking,  “Why doesn’t God save them?” This implies that they live “good” lives and are somehow deserving of salvation.  Instead, we should be asking, “ Why did God save us?”  This clarifies that no one deserves salvation; it is only by God’s good pleasure that He has chosen to save his elect.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Abolition of Man

This essay was very complex and hard for me to understand.  However, I will do my best to describe it as clearly as I can.  This essay is about man in connection with natural law.  It describes man’s conquest of nature and he is constantly trying to come up with new ideas and concepts to conquer it.  Man is always trying to make himself what he pleases.  However, there is this natural law, or a set of rules, that governs everyone.  It is different from someone’s conscience.  The conscience can be altered, but natural law hold’s everyone.  Someone may not think that killing someone is wrong, but it actually is according to the natural law. 

This essay also talks about how man’s power over nature is really the power of some people over other people.  For example, the contraceptive is merely one generation’s power over the succeeding one.  This made me think of our previous discussions concerning knowledge.  In order to control and rule someone, you need to have more knowledge than that person.  It also made me think of a story that I studied in 10th grade called The Pearl.  In this story, a doctor made a man’s baby sick in order that the man would have to come back and pay more money to actually make him better.  The man didn’t know any better though because he didn’t have as much medical knowledge as the doctor.  This was one way that man had control over another man.

What we must remember is that God is in control over all of us.  God governs nature, man, and everything that He has made.  God did not merely create everything, and then take a break letting it go on it’s own.  No, God is still working things out according to His plan.  Man thinks that he is the one controlling everything because of the intelligence that God made us with, but really it is God who governs man.  We cannot do anything outside of His control.

The Four Loves: Eros


This essay compares Eros love with Venus love.  Eros means “being in love.”  It is romantic and selfless.  It is characterized by the man wanting the woman as a person, not just as an object, and vice versa. 

Venus is more of a sexual love that is based purely on lust.  One quote that I really like about this Venus love that I think really explains it well is, “ One does not keep the carton after smoking the cigarettes.”  It is a self-centered carnal love that is merely physical.  The man wanting a woman as an object by which he is able to obtain pleasure characterizes it.  It can also happen the other way around with the woman lusting after the man. 

The question is, which love is longer lasting?  I think that Eros lasts longer because it is more than just a physical love.  Venus wouldn’t last very long.  Once the person has received their pleasure, he or she is most likely to move onto the next person.  With Eros, pleasure is just merely a byproduct of the love that is already there.

The media greatly elevates the Venus aspect of love.  Our society is polluted with premarital sex, divorce, affairs, pornography, and every sexual sin imaginable. How are we as sinful people supposed to approach this situation and avoid these sins?  First of all, we must remember that we influence the people around us.  Not only our words and personalities influence people, but we show ourselves also by our actions.  If we avoid and condemn these sins for what they are, we will be witnessing to the people around us by this.  We should also be accountable to ourselves and with our friends.  We must first have the willpower to not participate in these sexual sins, but we must also have good friends who will come to us when we have done something wrong.  It is very helpful for people and their friends to be accountable for each other and to keep checking on each other.  You are far less likely to participate in a certain sin when there are people watching.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Plantinga Ch. 5

This chapter is titled Vocation in the Kingdom of God.  Matthew 6:33 says, “Strive first for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  People in the Bible times had such passion for the hope in their salvation.  Contemporary Christians also have this hope for a clean heart and a right spirit with God.  The question is, do contemporary Christians bring the same passion for hope in salvation as the people in the Bible times did?  Praying “thy kingdom come” means something different for contemporary and biblical Christians.  Biblical Christians did actually want God’s Kingdom to come.  Contemporary Christians more than likely want it to come, just not today because of all the fun we’re having on earth.  The fact is, God’s Kingdom is already here, and we all have a vocation in it.

We are all citizens of the Kingdom of God.  We are the prophets, priests, and kings of the kingdom.  This means that we have duties that we must follow.  One of our callings is to be a witness to the people around us.  God calls us to spread his word that he may gather more sheep to the flock. 

We must also be active in the church for everyone else’s benefit as well as our own.  We must attend church worship and bible study that we may learn from God’s word as well as each other.  God calls us to have fellowship with one another in Christian brotherly love.  We are to treat God’s children as Christ would treat us. 

This leads us to our main vocation which is serving God.  This is the very reason why God created us.  We were made for God in order that we may praise Him.  What better way is God to glorify Himself than sending His Son to die on the cross in order to save a sinful and apostate people?  We as the elect of God must thank and praise Him for all of the work that He has done.

Learning in Wartime

This essay that C.S. Lewis wrote answers the question of whether we should continue our education while our country is in a state of war.  This is a question that I have thought about before myself.  Is it appropriate for someone to continue their education post high school when a war is going on overseas?  The answer to this question is yes. 

One point that I really agree with is that the war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it.  We are mistaken when we compare war with “normal life.”  Life has never been normal.  Even those periods in the world in time of peace  are “filled with cries, alarms, difficulties, and emergancies.  Our sinful human natures are the cause of all anguish, sadness, and anger.  There is always excuses to not put forth your time in your own education.  We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs.  If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work.  I agree with this argument, however, I do not think that a higher education is for everyone.  God sometimes does call people to other places in life such as immediate entry into the work place or marriage.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Poison of Subjectivism

This essay by C.S. Lewis was very complex, deep, and difficult to understand for me.  The essay is obviously about subjectivism.  Lewis begins the essay with " One cause of misery and vice is always present with us in the greed and pride of men, but at certain periods in history this is greatly increased by the temporary prevalence of some false philosophy."  I believe that this quote is talking about how subjectivism is sometimes stemmed from greed and pride.  

Subjectivism is basically thinking that something is right because of your own feelings about it.  Lewis goes on to talk about how there is no reason for anyone to ever think that they are right without logical proof.  He gives the example of a King who rules over all the land.  His logic becomes subjective because of his power even though there is no reason for supposing that his logic is truth.

Subjectivism happens because of feelings, traditions, conditions, and attitudes. I especially like Lewis' propositions on subjectivism.  These are first, that "the human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary color in the spectrum."  Second, "every attempt to do so consists in arbitrarily selecting some one maxim of traditional morality, isolating it from the rest, and erecting it into an unum necessarium."  I believe that these proposals mean that we humans cannot come up with any new ideas because they have all been proposed already.  To come up with something new would be to take an old idea and make it appear more important than the rest.

The danger of subjectivism can still be seen today.  For example, in my own life, it is easy to think that my own ideas are better than someone else's just because of my traditions and the way that I was brought up.  People are generally culturally unacceptive today.  This is because they think that their own culture is better than everyone else's.  God tells us in scriptures to be humble.  This means rising above subjectivism and putting others before yourself.

Pantinga Ch. 3

This chapter of the Plantinga book is about the fall of man.  Plantinga starts out by saying that God created everything “very good.”   After the fall, “ Creation still declares the glory of God, but it also declares the tragedy of fallenness, of chaos, of painful carnivorousness.”  I agree with this statement because when you look at Creation from the tiny ants in the ground to the beautiful sunsets in the evening, you are clearly able to see the glory of God in it.   Along with the glory of God, we can also see the curse that God has placed on creation because of the fall.  Whether it is in the killing of animals to be eaten or the tragedy of 9/11, the fall is seen everywhere also. 

Plantinga goes on to talk about the fall in relation to the race of man.  One quote that I especially like in this Chapter is “ …we all keep living our lives against what’s good for us.  In what can only be call the mystery of iniquity, human beings from the time of Adam and Eve have so often chosen to live against God, against each other, and against God’s world.”  This quote greatly ties into a previous reading called The Weight of Glory where we talked about how we continuously live our lives so easily pleased with the materials of this world when there is something much better given to God’s people.  The sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, has run down the generations polluting us all.  “Sin grieves God, offends God, betrays God…”  Because of this sin against our almighty Lord, all of humanity is deserving of the punishment of Hell.  Only by the grace of God may the elect chosen by Christ be saved. 

Towards the end of the chapter, once again the issue of common grace comes up.  This is a belief that I highly disagree with.  Common grace in this book is very blatantly described and defined.  “ Besides such regenerating grace, which actually turns a person’s heart back toward God, the Spirit also distributes 'common grace,' an array of God’s gifts that preserves and enhances human life even when not regenerating it.”  The book even gives a definition of common grace, “ the goodness of God shown to all, regardess of faith, consisting in natural blessings, restraint of corruption, seeds of religion and political order, and a host of civilizing and humanizing impulses, patterns, and traditions.”  

The concept of common grace is not biblical.  In believing common grace, people believe that there is some good left in everyone from the creation before the fall.  What these people are forgetting is that the fall corrupted all of the good in man.  Psalm 14:1,” There is none that doeth good, no not one.”  Romans 8:6-8 also covers this in saying, “ For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”  We cannot do any good without the grace of God that He gives only to his elect.  An example that is used by Plantinga to support common grace is that “it rains on the wicked too.”  This does not mean that God is showing grace to the wicked.  He is merely using the rain to bring the wicked to their own eternal damnation.  The rain is only used for good to them who love God.  Romans 8 : 28, " And we know that all things work together forgood to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mere Christianity

In Mere Christianity, Lewis describes Christianity as a hallway with a bunch of doors.  We Christians are all in the same hallway grounded in Christ, but it is up to us to choose which door we choose to go through.  These doors describe all of the different denominations of Christianity.  The thing that we all must remember is that when we all come out of our rooms, we are standing in the same hallway.  I really like this analogy because I think that different denominations focus too much on their differences.  While important key differences should be discussed with healthy attitudes, we must remember that we are all grounded in Christ.   Christ said that we should all be one just as He is one with us.

Lewis says later in the article that impulses are neither bad or good, but how we react to our impulses is bad or good.  I disagree with his thoughts on this because I think that he simplifies this idea a little bit too much.  If we have an impulse that is bad, that mere thought of killing someone for example is a sin against the Lord most high.  Anytime we are even thinking something sinful, it is a sin.  Before the fall, man was good; only capable of producing evil.  After the fall, man is consumed with sin; only capable of producing good by the grace of the Holy Spirit given to God's chosen people.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape letters is a series of letters written by C.S. Lewis.  They are letters from Screwtape, a devil of Satan, to his nephew Wormwood, his nephew.  Screwtape suggests his nephew Wormwood on how to lead his “patient”, through small habit forming changes, on a safe road to damnation.

Screwtape starts off the letter by saying that Wormwood is making excellent progress on his ‘patient’.  He then goes on to warn against moving him with temptations too quickly.  This is a very slow process if it is to work.  I think that we can apply this to our lives because we too stray from the Christian path slowly.  It may start with not going to church once on a Sunday, then a few weeks later again, then a week later again until it becomes so frequent that the person just stops going.  This is a slow process for it to work and for other people to not notice.  If it happens fast, then the person’s friends might be able to help him get on the right track.  This is why it has to happen slowly.

Screwtape also mentions that if the ‘patient’ keeps doing the external works of a Christian,  he could inwardly be driven from it.  I find this true in our own lives as well.  So often we go through the motions of praying before we eat and going to church while our minds are elsewhere.  We don’t usually think that this is Satan tempting us, but it is.  We need to always be on the lookout watching for temptations.  We must also put our hearts into the things of Christ such as paying attention when we read the Bible, sing, and pray, being glad when Sunday comes to go to church, and looking for God in all that we do.

Towards the end, Screwtape makes the point of saying that it doesn’t matter how small the sins are.  “Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.”  We must be weary of the little sins that we commit because they can lead to bigger and bigger ones.

I believe that C.S. Lewis wrote the Screwtape letters to make people aware of the real battle that is going on.  We must constantly be on the lookout for temptations and sins.  Satan never rests or takes a nap.  He is always working to get at us.  Therefore, we must always be working too to fight him.

Engaging God's World Plantinga book Ch. 2

The creation of this universe has been on debate for hundreds of years concerning how and when it happened.  This chapter of “Engaging God’s World” attempts to answer those questions in a Biblical  Christian perspective. 

The first part of this chapter talks about how Jesus was present at the time of Creation.  This seems impossible because Jesus was incarnated hundreds of years later.  However, we must remember that Jesus Christ is a person of the Trinity who has always existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  This chapter goes on to talk about the hospitality of the three persons toward one another in the Trinity. 

The next part of this chapter talks about Creation itself.  I believe that the universe was created in six 24-hour days, and on the seventh day, God rested creating the Sabbath.  Everything in this world was created by God and for God including ourselves.  We belong to God, and our duty therefore is to praise Him. 

In the next part of the chapter, Plantinga talks about how humans were created and our response to this.  Humans were created in the image of God.  Plantinga states that because of this, everything still has a little bit of good in it.  I disagree with this idea because of the fall.  The whole human race is totally depraved with sin.  We have no good in us apart from the grace that God gives his elect to praise him and do good.   It is by the grace of God that we may live, so must continually be thankful for Him and praise Him for the gift of His Son.





Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Weight of Glory

This essay by C.S. Lewis talks about the glory that we are waiting to experience in heaven.  I really enjoyed reading this essay.  It made me think about the glory and power of God and how wonderful heaven will be.

A quote from the beginning was one that I especially liked.  “ Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far two easily pleased.”  This is so true in our lives how we are so easily pleased with the material things of this world while something much greater is offered us.

Later on, Lewis talks about the promises of scripture that are divided into five heads.  These are told in order as follows: We shall be with Christ, we shall be like Christ, with an enormous wealth of imagery that we shall have “glory,” we shall be red or feasted or entertained, and finally that we shall have some sort of position in the universe.  Lewis also mentions how the first one is more indescribable than all the rest.  He writes that “  he who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.” 

Lewis finally talks about glory and how we long for it in heaven.  However, why doesn’t it feel like we strive for glory everyday making that our personal goal?  This is the question that my group asked when we came together in class.  I think that the answer to this is the fall.  When man fell, he began to seek nothing else but his own personal satisfaction, which is an only earthly longing unless God has given that person grace. 




The English Syllabus

C.S. Lewis starts this essay out with explaining the difference of education vs. vocational training.  Lewis states that the purpose of man is to produce a good man and a good citizen.  The purpose of vocational training is to train the person for a specific job.  He then goes on to add later that education then is for the freedman while vocational training is for slaves. 

Education is learning for the sake of learning.  When we are thinking of a major that interests us in College, we must think of the question, “ What do I most want to know?” However, we must not think of the question, “ What will do me the most good? Something that does you good may not be something that you like, however, when we study what we most want to know, we keep interest with those things and have fun with it making life enjoyable.

One thing that I would like to point out is that later on Lewis makes the statement that the good man produced by education means “ the man of good taste and good feeling, the interesting and interested man, and almost the happy man.”  So, an educated person is an interesting person.  This means that they must know a variety of things, not just a lot about one thing.  An interesting person to talk to is someone who can carry on a conversation about a variety of subjects. 

Calvin College provides people with an education, not merely vocational triaining.  We are required to take a lot of General Education courses.  There are good and bad aspects of this.  On the bad side, people might have to take courses that they don’t want to take, and even be persuaded not to attend school here because of this.  On the good side, people at Calvin learn a large variety of things.  A Calvin College graduate generally comes out smarter than people graduating from other colleges.  This is because they are forced to learn a lot more material from a wide variety of subjects.


The Logical Song

This song is about a man who is searching for himself.  He begins the song when he was young.  He talks about how wonderful life was because he was young.   He didn’t really know how complicated life really was.  But then when he grew up, his parent’s sent him away to school.  He writes that he was sent there to be “sensible, logical, responsible, and practical.” He is saying that we go to school to be what the world wants us to be, to fit in.  

 The chorus starts talking about his searching for himself.  “ There are times when all the worlds asleep, the questions run too deep for such a simple man.”  Here he is talking about all of the challenges and questions that we are faced with when we get older.  When we are young, we don’t generally question things; we just believe what we are told, but as for when we get older, there are a lot of things that we start to question because our brain develops as we learn more and more things.I think that the author is also talking about people losing themselves as we get so caught up with fitting into the world and becoming  what the world wants us to be. 

 When it says “Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical, liberal, fanatical, criminal,” it is talking about today’s society when you voice your opinion, people put labels on you and automatically judge you by what you say.   People are also too quick to assume things.  This ties into bulverism, which we have read earlier. 

 I think that this whole song can really relate to Lewis’ life.  Lewis wrote about how when we are young, we are satisfied with everything, but when we get older, we start to question things.  Also, his whole life, Lewis was searching for the thing that would bring him joy.  This song too is about searching for one’s self.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Sermon and the Lunch

In this essay, Lewis starts off with a minister preaching a sermon about home life.  As he gets into talking about home life, people stop listening.  This is because the minster is talking about the home as a sanctuary where anyone who goes there can be he or herself and just let the stress of the day melt off.  The reason why people stopped listening is because the minister is being very hypocritical in that his own home life and dinner table conversations are filled with selfish arguments and quarrels.

 The thing that was wrong with the preacher’s sermon is that he doesn’t once mention the difficulties of the home life, but goes on about how wonderful it is.  He is getting at the tradition of the healthy home, but this is a false tradition that should be addressed with ways to fix it.

 Lewis goes on to talk about the problems of the home.  The problems start with the fact that since the fall, no human interaction goes right.  The family is selfish and resentful towards one another, and only in it for themselves.  The family needs to be redeemed.  Charity begins at home and so does uncharity.  He also makes the point that love is not enough to redeem or sanctify the family life.  It is because people care about each other that they argue with each other.  In the home, Lewis writes, people show what they truly are, but the fact is that this may be bad because we are all selfish creatures.  Because of this, it is never lawful to be ourselves unless ‘ourselves’ have become the sons of God.  We need the grace of God to be presentable to Him and each other.  The last comment that he makes is that if a home is a place of grace, it must be a place of rules.  This is because with out rules, there is a tyranny of the most selfish member.  Humility is needed to follow the rules and become a healthy interactive family.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Have No 'Right To Happiness'

C.S. Lewis begins this essay with a story about two people who had gotten divorced and remarried.  The tragic part about it is that the previous wife of the man had committed suicide because of it.  The man responded by saying, “ But what could I do?  A man has a right to happiness.  I had to take my one chance when it came.” 

 Lewis then goes on to talk about the right of happiness within natural laws and the laws of the state.  With the laws of the state, we may do whatever we want as long as we don’t break the laws that our forefathers have set down for us.  With natural law, we have to make the distinction between what is morally right or morally wrong.  For instance, the man who divorced his wife to marry another was happy himself, but by doing that, he broke his holy vows of marriage which is morally wrong. 

 I think that Lewis emphasizes  natural law more than moral law, but he could’ve better written this essay in the light of God’s word.  There are so many verses in the Bible that point to this answer.  Do we have a right to happiness?  No, we do not.  We are all sinful creatures that deserve nothing other than hell.  However, it is by the grace of God who sent His only begotten son to wash our sins away that we may experience His gift of happiness.

Plantinga book (Engaging God's World) Ch. 1


The first chapter of this Plantinga book is about longing and yearning for self-satisfaction.  This book talks about how there are two different kinds of yearning.  You can yearn for temporary earthly satisfactions, or long-lasting spiritual satisfaction.

 This longing for earthy satisfactions and earthly material things is unfulfillable.  This is because once we get whatever we want, we will only want more.  For example, if someone wants a certain kind of car and then by some chance gets it, that person will eventually look to a better car and long for the ownership of that one.  This longing for material things is a cycle that never ends.

 In this chapter, Plantinga also explains how all human beings want and long for God. I am going to have to disagree with this saying.  First of all, man is totally depraved.  We are all sinners who are only looking for personal satisfaction although none can fully satisfy.  Romans 8:7 explains that the carnal mind is enmity against God and fallen man doesn’t really want God.  Plantinga mentions John 17:21 to explain how all humans want to be with God.  However, in John 17:9, Jesus prays not for every human being, but for those whom God gave unto him.  Therefore, it is only by God’s grace that his elect children can long for God.   However, this is not true for the whole human race.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This article was very difficult for me to articulate and understand.  First of all, bulverism is a term coined by C.S. Lewis to describe a common problem when communicating with others.  Bulverism is assuming that the other person is wrong and then going on to argue about how wrong they are without respectfully reasoning out a discussion in order to reach a conclusion. 

 Lewis talks first about how people’s thoughts are tainted at the source.  This is to mean that we are so easy to think that we are right because of our knowledge and experiences.  Lewis goes on to ask whether or not ALL of our thoughts are tainted at the source.  But how do we find out which ones are tainted or not? 

 Lewis goes on to say that if he had a large sum of money in the bank, someone cannot prove him wrong by pointing out his psychological condition.  They would have to do the arithmetic with the figures to see of he was telling the truth or not.  A tainted thought would be to think that he did not have that sum of money by judging from his wealth in possessions.  You must find logical grounds to explain why a person is wrong before you tell them that they are wrong.  In other words, “ you must show that a man is wrong before you go on explaining why he is wrong.”

 One thing that we can learn from this is how to go on communicating with people.  When we are having a healthy argument with someone, we must remember to put aside our thoughts and judgments of the other person and logically explain our side of the argument.  We must never lash out in an insulting manner, but find a way to reason logically in order to find the truth.

Meditation in a Toolshed

 This essay really makes people think deeper than what they are used to.  I think that C.S. Lewis put a lot of thought into this.  The way that he went about describing everything is really interesting.  His examples were particularly mind-boggling for me.  For starters, I would never have dreamed of how a beam of light can be used to describe the different ways in which we look at things. 

 The whole essay is about looking at things from all angles and perspectives in order to understand them.  I particularly liked the analogy that he made about falling in love.  There were two different angles that you could look at it.  First of all, love was what the man felt for the girl when he talked and interacted with her.  Second, love according to a scientist is just a biological stimulus.  So what is really love?  We have to look at both the science and the experience to make a real definition.  

I also really liked the pain analogy that he described.  Pain to a physiologist is communication between the brain and the body.  However, if he had not really experienced pain, then he would not truly know what it is.  Everyone understands pain having felt it before, but not everyone knows what it truly is.  That is why you need to look at both sides of the equation before solving it.  We must look at something and along it in order to find out the truth.

One thing that puzzles me is where religion fits into all of this.  Religion has its share of facts and experiences, however, where does faith come in?  If you were describing Christianity to a pagan, they might not believe you for their own lack of faith even though you are right.  This means that religion must require more than just knowledge and experience. Also, just because something has science and experience doesn’t make it right.  For example, one religion might have a bit of scientifical support and experienced people, but that does not make it the right religion.