Thursday, January 20, 2011

Man or Rabbit?

"Can't you lead a good life without believing in Christianity?" Lewis said one should never ask this question because that means you are not considering if Christianity is true or not; you simply want whatever is most helpful to you. Lewis argues we cannot avoid the question of whether Christianity is true or not.  If we just try to ignore it because we don't want to think about it or the consequences when one does find out about it, we are "shirking....[We are] in a state of dishonest error, and that dishonesty will spread through all his thoughts and actions: a certain shiftiness, a vague worry in the background, a blunting of [our] whole mental edge, will result."  Lewis says such a person is "an ostrich, hiding its head in the sand", not a Man.

Lewis was especially convicting when he seemed to be talking about things he himself did: "evade the Son of Man, to look the other way, to pretend you haven't noticed, to become suddenly absorbed in something on the other side of the street, to leave the receiver off the telephone because it might be He who was ringing up, to leave unopened certain letters in a strange handwriting because they might be from Him....."  After reading this, I was like "Ahhhh.  That's me."  Not about pursuing Christianity's credibility but about other problems I need to face such as choosing majors, greeting people I don't really know, or just things I don't want to find the result of.  But I can't put things off because I simply do not like doing them because I will end up doing them anyways.  I find that if I try to ignore things, it ends up catching to me.  And when I just start out avoiding a couple of things, I get into the habit of doing so, like Lewis said.  It also applies when I know I am sinning and/or not being the best steward of my time, but I try to come up with some excuse for it.

A point brought up in class was errors or sins found in others.  Dr. Ribeiro talked about how she would try to avoid seeing them because she didn't want to confront others.  I found myself doing the same thing sometimes.  Or if I do see it, I don't want to do anything for fear of insulting them or not wanting to cause trouble.  But God has called us to watch out for others and correct them in love, in order to help them grow; it is our responsibility. Lewis emphasizes this: "Knowledge of the facts must make a difference to one's actions."  I have failed at living this out because I know of God's grace and love, I know what He has commanded me, but often it doesn't influence my actions.  I need to live it out, on Christ's strength.
I like how Lewis doesn't want to give us an answer to whether you should be a Christian.  He says, "Here is a door, behind which, according to some people, the secret of the universe is waiting for you."  He wants you to search for it yourself.  "Isn't it obviously the job of every man (that is a man and not a rabbit) to try to find out which, and then to devote his full energies either to serving this tremendous secret or to exposing and destroying this gigantic humbug?"  It seems the problem today is that most young people don't care what others believe.  Something I heard often in high school was, "This is what I believe.  It's okay for you to believe whatever you want to." Or there was just a general ignorance about religion.  I remember in a high school literature class, we were discussing allusions to the Bible, and I was astounded to see the Biblical illiteracy.  What surprised me more was the general apathy to anything even religious.  One of my classmates asked, "This stuff is just myths, right? Science has already proved all this wrong, I thought."  They hadn't even bothered to think about it for themselves and just took what people said as truth, which was discussed in "Our English Syllabus."  

Lewis continues by saying you can never be good on your own, to refute the original question.   That, in fact, is not our purpose:
"We are to be re-made.  All the rabbit in us is to disappear - the worried, the conscientious, ethical rabbit as well as the cowardly and sensual rabbit.  We shall bleed and squeal as the handfuls of fur come out; and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy."
This reminded me of Eustace when Aslan peeled off his dragon skin, which was also discussed in class.  How glorious it will be when we become who God has made us? 

"Morality is a mountain which we cannot climb by our own efforts; and if we could we should only perish in the ice and unbreathable air of the summit, lacking those wings with which the rest of the journey has to be accomplished.  For it from there that the real ascent begins.  The ropes and axes are 'done away' and the rest is a matter of flying."

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