Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Now that we have finished this class, we are back on our way.
We have been well informed, well supported and well prepared from this class. But this does not mean the battle is over yet.
We still have to strive to learn, strive to defeat the devil and strive to be a true children of God in this dark world.
May the God of peace be with each one of us and to remember that we are never alone in this journey!
That we will defeat evil and will see the glory of God.
Thank you Professor Paulo and Adriana.
In this writing Lewis talks about the people’s desire to be part of a group or the inner ring because nobody wants to be left outside the circle. Lewis quotes “I believe that in all men’s’ lives at certain periods, and in many men’s lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside.”
This is very true because in psychology we have studied that people tend to conform to a particular group. A study was conducted in a way where there were six people in the group. One person was the subject and the rest were part of the study. When the researcher asked them which line (on the board) is longer, all of the men said the shorter line was the longest. Now this was an obvious wrong answer but surprisingly the subject said the same answer along with the other men. Why? Because he wanted to get along, be a part of the group rather than an outsider or an outlier. This theory is called the group conformity.
We have experienced this in our schools. In middle school friends will threat other friends that if you do not follow or do what they are doing, then you are not part of the group anymore. So for one to be a part of the group they need to do something crazy but they still do it just to be in the group. Many times it has a negative consequence rather than a positive.
So what can we do about it?
I would say listen to your heart. Do not let the voice of others interfere with what you want but doing what the individual wants is very important. In the lasts paragraph Lewis says “The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it.” We need to break that desire to be in the inner ring because if we don’t, then it will destroy us.
“If you live for other people’s opinion, you are dead.”
If God is good and omnipotent, why doesn’t he do anything about the pain and suffering in the world? This question has been asked by non Christians and Christians trying to understand God. But many people seem to have trouble understanding pain in a Christian way.
As Kreeft says in his talking we think that a loving God is someone who is kind to us. What we really like is we want a grandfather in heaven rather than a loving father. Yes, the grandfather enjoys to see us what we want to do but he does not necessarily discipline us. I believe we need to shift our thinking from a grandfather God to a loving father.
Pain tingles many words such as suffering, sacrifice and sadness. People don’t like pain. They don’t like problems, hardships and troubles. But the thing people miss is that these troubling things is what makes us move forward for the better. Pain can hurt but at the same time it is a blessing. The most when I have learned to love God is not through the times of prosperity but the times of grief, anger and frustration. That is truly when I meet God, feel his presence and love for me.
So is pain really bad? I think it is beneficial for people to go through. Of course it is not a pleasant feeling but it turns out to be a blessing.
“No pain, no gain.”
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The major differences between Christians and other religion is the part of redemption. Forgiveness, grace and love is the characteristics found in Christianity alone. We believe in a God who is loving, who gives himself for the sinners, who gives grace and mercy to his children. So for me the God I believe and pray everyday is a personal God. He feels close to me, he is alive and he is real. I don’t think I will ever feel the same with Hinduism, Islam and any other religion.
Also in the last two paragraphs in this chapter, the author mentions the purpose of higher education. Good and evil seldom appear alone so our Christian response can be a mix. Therefore part of the goal for Christian higher education it to “test the spirits”. In college, we need to learn how to discern well because it is a feature of wisdom and wisdom is the main goal of higher education. The reason we seek wisdom is because it helps us find and follow our vocation within the kingdom of God, which has “come near” but has not yet “come home.”
So yes I do agree we need higher education to gain that wisdom but I also think it can come from elsewhere too. We should not solely rely on higher education but we must learn the attitude of stewardship and a life learning student. Thanks to the attitudes, we are able to do more.
Here is why:
It is the ‘advance man’ of our true selves.
Its roots are inward but its fruit is outward.
It is our best friend or our worst enemy.
It is more honest and more consistent than our words.
It is an outward look based on past experiences.
It is a thing which draws people to us or repels them.
It is never content until it is expressed.
It is the librarian of our past.
It is the speaker of our present.
It is the prophet of our future.
The author tries to answer the question “can you lead a good life without believing in Christianity?” So his conclusion is that we cannot be good without God. In the last paragraph he writes “morality is a mountain which we cannot climb on our own efforts.” But I think the good life which Lewis argues is not true. I think that living a morally good life is possible without God and without Christianity because moral values does not only exist in Christianity but also in other religion and culture. For example in elementary school I was taught not to lie, to follow rules, to obey my parents, respect elders and to be nice to others. These are not taught in a Christian way but they are the values of a Christian.
I know a Japanese friend who has the character of an angel. She is a role model to the class by doing her studies well, being considerate to others, athletic but she is not a Christian. The reason why she is so good is because she was brought up in a culture and tradition that is being good. I can tell you that Japan is not even a Christian nation but their tradition can be morally excellent. So for this example how can Lewis say being moral is something that we cannot do it by ourselves. It is possible I guess.
Lewis views that the modern system of education is failing to understand what it is to be human. C S Lewis criticizes the modern education because it is neglecting the emotions, which is the natural values and focuses on the reason. According to CS Lewis, this produces two problems, one is it produces empty chested man meaning that they have no emotions. We are producing men without chests, men without operative organs of apprehending objective values or natural law, or the tao.
Man’s conquest of Nature will be completed when human nature is conquered. Values will then be a thing for humans to produce and modify at will, not a thing to be guided by. So the only force left to motivate us will be the force of natural impulses which is the tao/ our emotions? So if we give up the tao, we don’t have any leverage to keep ourselves from falling.
People see values as subjective (influenced by feelings) rather than objective (independent of the subject).
So in the 3rd chapter Lewis asks: “what kind of society is this new education inserted?”
What kind of change do we need in our education? I propose some classes in our college core curriculum. The classes I propose are parenting and money management. These two are something that we all need living in this world and the college does a good job neglecting them. Maybe those little changes can bring some change. Hopefully.
For CS Lewis he categorizes love into four elements but I will only talk about eros. Eros is “being in love” and this has nothing to do with the sexual desires. Lewis says that sexuality is an ingredient in the state of being in love so sex is not everything. Lewis calls the sexual desire as Venus.
I observe that in todays world people have venus over the eros. You’ll see this in the media, movies, songs and everywhere that people are driven by their sexual desires. This quick impulse has them make decisions which they regret or even destroy themselves. Another pain in the world for God. People tend to distort things to their own pleasures and excitement over the real purpose of creation. God created sex not for pleasure sake but for a higher purpose, for an intimate love relationship with a significant other. But no, we choose pleasure over anything. We want the temporary satisfaction rather than thinking about it long term.
Honestly, I do not know how to change our culture now. Because in Korea too, they are not taking sex seriously. People think it is ok to have premarital sex.
Human beings created the culture and we are being destroyed by our culture. I believe only God can change us from the inside.