Monday, May 7, 2012

Natural Law/Morality, C.S. Lewis, Blame...

I've been reading some works masterpieces of C.S. Lewis (yes, he did write more than Narnia...really hoping you knew that...) for religion class, and am just...loving it.

Below are some thoughts and reflections which came to my head (and therefore in pen to margins and empty spaces in between his insights) while reading Right and Wrong as a Clue to The Meaning of The Universe [Book I, from The Case for Christianity of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis].

Here is a link to the book:

Once on the pdf, click the link to "Book I. Right and Wrong..." OR put "11" in the page box on the top bar, next to the two blue arrows.
It may seem like a lot to read, but I promise you, it isn't. You only really need read the first chapter, page 11 to 13. But I HIGHLY recommend reading to the end of Chapter 4 (page 21). (I'm not focusing on chapter 5, though by all means feel free to keep reading).

Do I really think you'll click the link and read it? Am I just going to assume you didn't and give an explanation as I go? no. [at least I am going to try not to.] Why? because I want you to read it!! I absolutely "couldn't say it better myself" than C.S. Lewis (of course)...and even if I gave you a summary of what he was saying, it would give it no justice and you would miss sooo much.
I DARE YOU. For once- don't click the little 'x', don't minimize, don't 'favorite' for later...go make some tea, and read it. [hey, you don't even have to search for it, or get it from your library- it's ALL RIGHT THERE!]

I will be writing this assuming that you HAVE read it.
As proof, I'd be ecstatic to find some comments and/or discussion regarding this, in the comments section. Not only because I often wonder if my audience is imaginary...or just those Russians and Germans who always come up in my stats (if you Russians are really reading this: Вы удивительным. пойти съесть печенье. Germans: Sie sind genial. essen ein Stück Kuchen. To my new French friends: vous aussi êtes génial. aller manger un témoin. and to my homeschool friends: te stupenda es. Nescio quomodo dicere "cookie" in latinae. Sed bonum cibum edi.)
[^got distracted there...i admit it]
So please go read it and start/join some conversation...I'm missing The Big Bang Theory re-runs to write this!

Everybody wants to be "good" or more so "decent" (with the exception of your average phsycopath-criminal). This decency is driven by a vast variety of motivations over the  diversity of individual characters. For many it is to be liked, accepted, to earn respect/job/money, and for some it is to please God.

We can't stand being accused of being "bad" or "wrong" and we try to justify our actions if ever challenged on their 'decency' or 'correctness.'

Now, the Natural Law -or standard which everyone tries to meet, point out when others' actions do not meet, and justify why some questionable actions do meet- is no longer a definite line between black and white. The two are getting incredibly smudged, and the gray area is becoming larger and larger.

I picture this as a wooden table with a deep, straight line carved right down the middle. On one half of the line, the table is covered in black sand. On the other half of the line, the table is covered in white sand. Some people and actions begin to cross the line, dragging their feet in the sand as they cross. Some on the white side may drag into the black, which confuses both sides, and all the sudden they are pushing and shoving where behaviors lie on the entire table [either picture a ginormous table, or little army-figure-sized people]. The definite carved line still exist, but no one can clearly see the line since it is all covered with the gray sand, caused by the confusion between where each grain of black sand and each grain of white sand belongs.
[That is the analogy that comes to my mind, though I know there are probably 100 easier and better ways to visualize it... if you have one- share your analogy in the comments! ...not that i'm, uhh, desperate for comments or anything...*cough*
No, but seriously, I am really interested in other analogies for this.]

SO. Most aim to stay within and keep this Natural Law, whether or not they consciously acknowledge its existence.
But none of us truly keep it. We all, of course, get lost in all the gray, and sometimes even deliberately step into that black. But when we do, we are so quick to make excuses as to why we broke that line of Natural Law, or why under certain circumstances we weren't really breaking the line...

If something gos wrong, its because of the weather, lack of sleep, so-and-so was late, couldn't find your shoes...

But if something goes right- we don't "blame" others (well, sometimes we thank others and give them credit, but I'm guessing for most of us...majority of the time we don't think of it) we simply take the glory for it.

And when we can't blame another human being, who do we blame? We blame God (again, I'm using 'we' in a general sense...if you make a conscience effort not to- *high-five*) So many people claim they don't believe in God until- cancer, death, poverty, bad grades, break-up, job loss...
Now...where was God? Why did He do this to me? [see suffering.]

But when something goes well, it's "only because of my hard work" and "who needs God, I can handle this on my own."

And how about the times we don't even know about? Perhaps God didn't let something happen. Perhaps in your rush to get to that doctor's appointment (you know, because you couldn't find your keys, and traffic was just horrendous...) God deflected that car you cut off (well...he wasn't paying attention...the light was green) ...but how would you know? It's like the story of the little boy learning to walk with his father. The father saw some stones his young son would trip on, and so he -able to see farther (and further) down the path than his son- walked a little farther and moved them.
Does the father say, "Oh, look what I did! I moved those stones. You would have tripped and fallen if I hadn't." No. He just quietly moves them.

But we ask- what about the times he didn't move the stones? Jesus fell three times. [<LazyBloggerMe: not going to expand on that. mentioning Jesus should be sufficient for you to chew on. expand yourself.]

Perhaps the Father saw further down the road, something far worse than the stone you tripped on, or a struggle you endured. Perhaps while you endured that struggle, or frustration, or were being delayed and kept safe from something else. Such as the man who was very late for work one day, stuck in horrible traffic, sirens going all around, questioning why God let him be so late...only to see the sky be swallowed by thick black clouds, and realize that the tower his office was in- was collapsing to the ground. That September morning, he rushed just like any other late morning...

But most times, we don't see what God protected us from. He doesn't point it out to us. He just quietly protects us from it, while we accuse Him for leaving us, and have the audacity to tell him our little stones and delays are pointless.

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