Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Inner Ring

This essay that Lewis wrote was very nice and I enjoyed reading it very much mostly because it applied to me in real life. He starts off by telling his audience that he is going to give advice and issue warnings. He states right in the beginning that he is going to warn us about the world and not the Devil and the Flesh. He uses the example of Boris Dubretskoi, who discovers that there two different systems or hierarchies that exist in the army.

He uses this story to introduce his topic, the Inner Ring. This Inner Ring is found everywhere that you go according to Lewis. Lewis speaks of how we desire to be in the inner ring, and how to be accepted in human society is one of the greatest desires of man. Society is one of these rings, in which we strive to follow what is normal and accepted by man.

These inner rings are defiantly everywhere we go and we must always be aware of where we are and what we are striving to be. These inner rings can be something that we as college students would like to be part of at times but we have to remember that it is something that we should not strive for. I believe that any type of happiness that happens in this inner ring is short lived and is something that we will have no long term enjoyment from. There is only one type of long term happiness and that is within Christ and His church.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Problem of Pain

This chapter in Lewis' book, Problem of Pain was about the physical pains that we have in this life and how we deal with them. He classifies pain into two parts, the first of these is painful sensation in the nerves, the second is unpleasant experience. Lewis focuses on the second part, unpleasant experience. Everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives whether it is physical pain, such as breaking an arm or some other body part, or whether it is mental pain of losing a loved one.

Sometimes it is very difficult for us to understand why God sends us trials in this life, especially the very hard ones. It takes a great deal of time to try to understand that it is for the best and that the event itself has a purpose. We must always remember that God is in control and that this life is a life of suffering. We must look at the bigger picture which has a greater end which is in heaven.

Lewis brings up an example of how he reluctantly attempts to bring himself into the frame that he should be in at all times, and then he reminds himself that his only real treasure in this life is in Jesus Christ. He states "I remind myself that these toys were never intended to possess my heart, that my true good was only in another world, and my only true treasure is Christ."

We talked in class about how it is easy to forget about God when things are going great in our lives, so we only come to Him when we are facing trials. An example of this is 9/11 when all Americans stopped their normal lives and turned to God in prayer, but then months later seemed to forget about God and returned to their normal lives again. Even though this was not the case of everyone we are defiantly guilty of living this type of lifestyle. We must always be consciously focused on our goal which is in heaven.

We have a great story in the scriptures of Job suffering all of his hardships, having everything taken away from him and yet he still remained focused on heaven. As Romans 12:12 says, "Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Plantinga Ch 4

Plantinga writes in this chapter about the redemption of man. He starts off the article with “human misery is nearly as old as the human race, but equally old is the story of God’s grace, that is, God’s mercy to the undeserving.” He is saying that we are undeserving of anything that God gives us that we should have nothing on this earth, but by the grace of God we are supplied with our daily bread.

He then goes on to talk about all of the nice pleasures that we as humans had when God called us into His fellowship before the fall. The redemption that Plantinga is talking about is something that has come out of necessity because of the fall.

Christ went to the cross to pay for the original sin of the fall and because of the resurrection of Christ we are saved from the torments of hell. We deserve hell but because of the death on the cross we are saved.

Man or Rabbit?

I really enjoyed reading this essay. The discussion in class was very nice to go along with the essay itself. This article by Lewis was written based on the question can a man lead a good life without Christianity? He states in the beginning what the materialist’ answer is, all I’m interested in is leading a good life. He then goes through a few positions not necessarily believing them to be true but rather for discussions sake.

Lewis brings up in the first paragraph the difference between a man and an animal. He states that the main difference between man and animals is that “man wants to know things, wants to find what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing.” He calls the essay man or rabbit because what distinguishes man from the other animals is that he seeks knowledge and desires to find answers.

I very much agree with Lewis when he says that God will punish the wicked whether or not God has been revealed to them. Sometimes it does not seem very fare for them to be judged even though they were not aware when really all along they were. On this earth God's creation is a witness to everyone. It is very obvious to see that there must have been a creator in order for this universe to even exist. It speaks in the bible that God will not tolerate anyone who rejects the gospel.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Abolition of Man

The theme of Abolition of Man is the natural law tradition and stands for the tradition of the giants of Western civilization such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. Natural law is the sense of right and wrong that we have in our hearts. Any type of society would not exist if these moral laws did not exist. This book is only three chapters long but is still one of the best defenses of the 20th century. We focused on the third chapter, "The Abolition of Man."

Lewis brings up some very interesting points in this article, one of which is when he stated that the newer generation is weaker than the previous. This is referring to the technologies that were invented that the later generations will not be able to live without. It is something that we tend to rely upon as we grow older and cannot live without. We will usually take the technologies we have today for granted and we will eventually forget how to do the things in the past.

We must always remember that we cannot take these technologies for granted and that they will always be there in time. The technologies also must not be used for an improper cause. We all know that the technologies that we have can be used for bad, but we must remember also how they can be used for the good of man. We can use such things as the internet to proclaim the gospels good news all around the world.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Four Loves

The book “The Four Loves” is divided into Storge Philia Eros Agaphe. Eros, the chapter that we read, is about “the kind of love which lovers are.” Eros is more of the romantic side of a relationship and Venus is more of the carnal side of the relationship. In a relationship Eros should come before Venus because of Eros being more of the romantic and closer side in a relationship. Eros carries the aspect of a man loving a woman for who she is rather than Venus for the physical attraction.

Eros makes it so that a man wants a woman for the person that she is and not for the sexual drive which is presented so many times in this life. This is referred to as a Venus type of love which is more of a self centered type of love usually focused more on the outside appearance of things. Lewis writes that “Eros wants the beloved” meaning that Eros is focused on the feelings. Along with Eros will eventually come the drive of Venus. It is a “by product” of Eros that will follow the romantic side.

In this life it is very easy to be caught up in the Venus type of love and forget about the Eros side. The world pictures love in this way and it can creep into our lives. It is a desire that must only exist in the marriage bond.

In Ephesians 5:25 it states “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” This verse is telling us to use a Christ like reverence in our love that we have for one another, whether it is towards our family, wives, or friends in the church. We must always strive to live towards Christ and His church.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Plantinga Ch 5

In this chapter Plantinga talks about our longing for the kingdom of God and how we are to use the talents that God has given us to the best of our ability. He calls us to serve the kingdom of God by using these talents to the best of our ability and to the honor and glory of him alone. This chapter fit in very well with Learning in War-Time because of CS Lewis telling us to always strive for more knowledge.

Plantinga begins by saying that sometimes we are eager for the coming of the kingdom of God and sometimes not so much. When we are having fun and enjoying the finer things in life we seem to forget to pray about the coming of the kingdom. I agree with Plantinga when he says this. It can be very easy to forget to pray for the second coming of Christ let alone for the coming to be soon. We must always remember why we are on this earth and that the life we are living is only temporary.

Plantinga goes on to talk about the importance of a Christian education. It is very easy to forget about why we are at a Christian school. We are here because the professors will always attempt to integrate God into our studies and will always strive to bring attention to Him. This is something that can be taken for granted. In the end Plantinga writes that we are to use the three skills of knowledge, skill, and virtue to better serve the kingdom of God and to bring glory to His great name.

Learning in War-Time

This article of CS Lewis was a sermon preached in 1939 at the University of Oxford. It was a sermon about the learning and studying during wartime. The point of our learning in this life is to glorify God in all our actions that we perform. One of these actions, and one of the more important, is learning more about God and His creation.

This sermon took place at the beginning of World War II, one of the most deadly wars in the history of the world, which would make for a bad learning environment. But Lewis even in these kinds of situations is telling us that we should learn just as if there was no war going on. He gives a quote that states “would be to admit that our ears are closed to the voice of reason and very wide open to the voice of our nerves and our mass emotions.” This is saying that so much in this life we are concerned with what we feel would be best for us at the time rather than thinking about what would benefit us and what would bring glory to the name of God.

One other quote that I like is that “happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment as to the Lord.” This quote is saying that sometimes we just need to calm down and not constantly be thinking about what our future has in store for us but rather take life as one step at a time. Sometimes in life things can get out of hand and make it so that we feel a little too involved in our homework, so Lewis is saying that we are to enjoy life and take it in small steps so as to not get overwhelmed.

This sermon of CS Lewis had many things that we can take and put into our everyday lives. I think that learning is very important to the everyday life of a Christian and should not be a calling that is taken lightly. We must strive to learn more about God and His creation. In the book of Proverbs we are commanded to constantly be striving to get more wisdom, so we must take this call seriously, and always look for new ways to learn more about the creation.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Plantinga Ch 3

The third chapter in this book is about the fall of man. Plantinga talks about many things involving predestination. The quote "sin has become a habit in man," seems to make it sound as if sin has been progressively getting worse over time, when really it has been just as bad all along. He states that sin interferes with the way that God wants things to be, almost as if sin was not expected by God? I believe in predestination and that God has all things in His plan even as they are today.

Everything that is going on today is in accordance with God's plan and there is nothing that surprises or happens out of plan. Plantinga also seems to deny the total depravity of man. Adam and Eve are our first parents and because of them being our great grandparents we are then responsible for the fall and are then totally depraved. "And the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." (Gen 8:21)

The Point of Subjectivism

This article of CS Lewis was very difficult for me to understand mostly because of how deep he got into it and because of the length of the story. It seemed a little difficult to stay focused for the entire reading.

Subjectivism is the belief that individual persons or subjects are the source of knowledge and moral values. In this lecture that Lewis talks about how the subjectivist uses "practical reasoning" on everything in life. This practical reasoning is every action that we take in life whether it is a moral action or a physical action. This is what type of action we are going to take in each and every situation in life.

Lewis states that value judgments are not really judgments at all. They are sentiments, complexes, or attitudes produced in a community by the pressure of its environment and its traditions. The subject of subjectivism can be dangerous because it is bad for the human mind to invent new values. This is bad because you dont know how extreme the mind can take things. The moral values that we have come solely based on scripture.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity is a book written by CS Lewis attempting to bring different denominations together through logic and reasoning rather than the differences in doctrine that may have separated them at some point or another. He brings out basic and everyday common knowledge about Christianity. He is attempting to bring anyone to Christianity that reads the book.

Lewis starts off by talking about how when one is searching for a religion it is like looking through many doors trying to decide which religion it is that fits him or her the best.

I do not agree with what Lewis when he is talking about good or bad impulses. There are many examples of bad impulses such as murder or any other bad intention that we have that may lead us to sin.

I agree with most of what CS Lewis states in this article except for the good and bad impulses. I agreed when Lewis when he stated that today we have lessened the word Christian to be something such as just being a good person. We must be very careful when throwing the term around.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Screwtape Letters

The screwtape letters was a very interesting book that Lewis wrote. It had a very interesting point of view the entire time. We read the XII letter of the book in which Screwtape, who is the devil, gives advice to his nephew wormwood, who is a demon. The piece itself was written from the perspective of Satan which is something that I have never come across before.

Screwtape starts off his letter by talking about the good progress that Wormwood is making in leading his "patient" away from the church. After congratulating him on his good progress, he warns him of moving too fast and ruining all of his progress that he has made this far. This is a very interesting way of going about it, but is also very true in the way that the devil is working in us.

In this letter Screwtape constantly refers to God as the "enemy." This is the exact opposite way of what I am used to thinking. I thought that the quote "the safest road to hell is the gradual one, the gentle slope, the soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without signposts." This is very true and can happen to any of us.

I thought this letter was very interesting and kept me gripped the entire time. It was written from a perspective that made you rethink things and different situations that we are put in. We must always be conscious that the devil is working inside all of us at any point and time is our lives and can lead us on the gradual slope to hell. We must constantly pray for the strength to fight the devil and all the temptations that we are lead into.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Plantinga Ch 2

This chapter was very interesting. Many great points were brought up, some that I agreed with, others that I did not. One of the first paragraphs in the book states "Creation is neither a necessity or an accident." This statement jumped out at me because this creation was not an accident neither did God create everything because he was bored, but rather to bring glory to His name. This is our calling everyday of our lives, to bring glory to God's name. Any work must be done out of the glory of His name and to nothing else.

A few things that I liked in this chapter was how Plantinga pointed out just how marvelous this creation was. He pointed out how God marveled at His creation and how he looked at it and behold it was good. He points out that everything in creation is there bringing praises to His most holy name.

A quote in Plantinga's chapter that I disagreed with was when he stated that everything in creation is potentially redeemable and has some form of goodness that can be brought out within itself, and that it is just a matter of them reaching out and accepting. This is the doctrine of common grace. I believe that man is incapable of doing good and is therefore totally depraved by nature. The Reformed doctrine of total depravity is that men who are not born again are dead in sin, unable to do any good, and inclined to all evil. Thus they are spiritually dead. The cause of this spiritual death is the fall of our first parents in Paradise and their subsequent punishment by God with death: physical and spiritual. Natural man is unable to do any good.

There is biblical proof all over the bible for this. In Genesis 2:16-17 it states, "The day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Not only is man dead, he is actively evil. "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." (Romans 8:6-8) Also more proof for total depravity is found in Romans 3 when it states "...there is none that doeth good, no not one."

The Weight of Glory

The weight of glory is a sermon by CS Lewis in 1942 and is about the glory that we are looking forward to in heaven. I enjoyed reading this essay because it made me look forward to the coming glory's of heaven. The essay really made me think about how every pleasure that happens here on earth is merely temporary, and cannot last. If we were to look and see that what we have in eternity, then we would see that the pleasures here on earth are nothing in comparison but are rather short lived. Lewis brings out a nice quote on the first page when he states; "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 sea. We are far too easily pleased."

Lewis goes on to describe glory as us shining with brightness. We will be made creatures that will be in heaven perfect and without sin. We will be constantly singing the praises of God for eternity. We will be made new and therefore will sit at the right hand of God in righteousness and holiness.

Later on Lewis states that the promises of Scripture may very roughly be reduced to five heads, but then later asks the question "Why any of them except the first?" The first of course is that we shall be with Christ. Can anything be added to the conception of being with Christ? To which I would agree that nothing can be better than being with God and being on His side.

I liked how Lewis stated that there are many things in this life that may not seem as though they have anything to do with our eternal glory but he replies by saying that in some way or another they will lead us onto the final path which is heaven.

He talks about the divine accolade in which he quotes "Well done thou good and faithful servant." He follows up by saying that no one can enter heaven without a childlike reverence. We must have that childlike pleasure in being praised. He even goes as far as to say that not only like a child, but like a dog or a horse.

This was a great sermon by CS Lewis in which it allowed me to reflect on certain topics that do not usually come into my everyday thinking and forced me to think about different subjects involving anything from eternity to a childlike reverence for everything in the creation.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Our English Syllabus

In this article of CS Lewis, he attempts to explain the difference between education, learning, and training. He states that if we are to ever learn, then we must have that desire to obtain knowledge. The knowledge should not be necessarily focused on just one certain subject, but must rather be a broad range of topics so that we can all be well rounded human beings. Also we must have that desire to learn, if we are ever to receive an education that is beneficial to us. Learning is not just sitting in a classroom and memorizing different subjects, but it is the desire and the will to obtain more knowledge so that we can come out better because of the knowledge that we were seeking. Lewis writes that we know we have received a good education if we have come out a better person.

Today it seems as though we go to college to get good grades so that we can graduate with honors and get a better job for all our hard work that took place throughout college. Others will go so that they can get into med school. Others will go for another different variety of reasons. Lewis says that we should go because we want to become a better and more rounded human being, he states that college is a place where we must pursue knowledge. We musnt be satisfied with memorizing certain things, writing them down for the tests and exams, then forgetting them. But rather we must try to analyze everything that we learn and apply it to our lives.

When choosing careers for college it is easy to think, what will earn me the most money? Or how will this help me down the road? When what we really should be thinking is do we like what we are studying? Or are we going to learn not only for our career but also for obtaining more knowledge? It is very easy to get sidetracked in any decision that we make. It seems as though Lewis is one to follow his dreams and obtain knowledge with all his power. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:5 to "Get wisdom, get understanding, forget it not, neither decline from the words of my mouth." It seems the Bible is commanding us to obtain knowledge as much as possible in this life and to not be lazy or one sided but rather a well rounded human being.

When we were young kids we would learn something new everyday, and it wasnt just about the same things, it was a variety of subjects. We would explore all areas of life just for the sake of learning something new. In high school it seemed as though we were out just for the good grade in order to benefit us in college. But these are not what Lewis would like us to do.

The main message that Lewis is attempting to get accross to his readers is that we are not to be one sided flat brained people but rather well studied with a vast knowledge of all God's creation. We must always strive for that desire to get knowledge in all aspects of our lives.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Plantinga Ch 1

In this chapter of Engaging God's World, Plantinga states that every human has a longing or a yearning for God, it does not matter whether or not the human is Christian or not. It is a desire for something that earthly possessions cannot fill, it is a desire for something more in this life.

This desire can only be filled through Christ. The wicked do not have this desire because God has hardened their hearts so that they do not want him. Plantinga goes on to state that we are made for God. This is true, our only purpose on this earth is to bring honor and glory to the name of God, and to do everything in this life to His glory.

We Have No Right To Happiness

This article starts off by going through a scenario with Mr A and Mrs A and Mr A is getting a divorce from her in order to achieve "happiness." He will achieve this happiness by marrying Mrs B because he has the right to do so. He did this same act before to another Mrs A, but she tragically comitted suicide because of the divorce.

Lewis continues on to talk about the laws of nature, and the laws of the nation. That is, to pursue happiness by all lawful means. That we may do as much as we want as long as it is within the laws that our forefathers have set before us. The laws of nature are whatever we feel is morally right, or morally wrong.

Lewis writes this article on the basis of natural law, and makes it clear that Mr A was only out to get what it was the he wanted. I feel as though these people should have followed what was right according to the law of God. We do not deserve anything, let along happiness, and yet God still provides for His people.


This specific writing of CS Lewis, "Bulverism," was very complicated and hard to understand, on the first read. It takes a couple of times to read in order to understand and just scratch the surface of what it is that Lewis is attempting to get at.

Bulverism is a term that is coined by Lewis himself meaning rather than proving that an argument is wrong, a person instead assumes that it is wrong, and then goes on to explain why the other person held that argument. He starts to explain about how everyone's thoughts are "ideologically tainted" at the source, meaning that we think we are right just because of our experiances that we have picked up on in the past, and of all the knowledge that we have obtained in the past. Then later on in the article he continues on by trying to figure out whether or not all of our thoughts are tainted, or just a few.

So he brings up an example of him having a large sum of money in the bank, and that no one can prove that he doesnt just through phsychological examination, they would have to go through all of his posessions that he has in his house and perform the math to prove that he doesnt have that large sum of money in the bank. So he continues on by stating that "you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong."

This essay makes us really think hard about how we are to think and reason, not only with ourselves but with others, and in order to have a healthy relationship we must logically reason with one another in order to find a better answer.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Meditiation in a Toolshed

Lewis is a very deep intellectual thinker who understands life and tries to meditate on different aspects in life. This specific example takes place in a tool shed where he is looking at a light beam and all the dust particles that are floating around, and then walks into the light beam and stares directly up into the sun. He then contrasts this event and takes it into many points of view in life.

He gives an example of a man in love, and now that he is in love, he see's the world from an entirely different angle just as he was while looking up at the beam of light. With the girl, the man is a totally different person and see's life very differently. Later in the story Lewis brings up an example of pain. He states that one cannot know what pain is unless he has suffered through pain at some point in his or her life. So he concludes that one must experience pain both through seeing it and by having pain.

Religion can be fit in by both seeing and believing. When one see's a person filled with the spirit, they must recognize what it is and then believe. It is about looking at religion from different angles, as is the point of the entire essay.