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revelarts
06-12-2016, 10:16 PM
I've been rereading C.S Lewis's book "mere Christianity" . a classic christian book that gives a brilliant overview of what traditional "Christianity" is and isn't about.
an OUTSTANDING read for Christians and non christians..

as I've read it's reminded me of various conversations here.

I'll post a few excepts.

Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you in this last book. They allsay "the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion." I haverejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means "thescience of God," and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to havethe clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children:why should you be treated like children?
In a way I quite understand why some people are put off by Theology. I remember once whenI had been giving a talk to the RA.F., an old, hard*bitten officer got up and said, "I've no usefor all that stuff. But, mind you, I'm a religious man too. I know there's a God. I've felt Him: outalone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that's just why I don't believe allyour neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who's met the real thing they allseem so petty and pedantic and unreal!"
Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience ofGod in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think hereally was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man hasonce looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic,he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves toa bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper,but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on whathundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way ithas behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach;only, while yours would be a single isolated glimpse, the map fits all those differentexperiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutelynecessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beachif you want to get to America.
Now, Theology is like the map. Merely learning and thinking about the Christian doctrines, ifyou stop there, is less real and less exciting than the sort of thing my friend got in the desert.Doctrines are not God: they are only a kind of map. But that map is based on the experienceof hundreds of people who really were in touch with God*experiences compared with whichany thrills or pious feelings you and I are likely to get on our own are very elementary andvery confused. And secondly, if you want to get any further, you must use the map. You see,what happened to that man in the desert may have been real, and was certainly exciting, butnothing comes of it. It leads nowhere. There is nothing to do about it In fact, that is just why avague religion*all about feeling God in nature, and so on*is so attractive. It is all thrills and nowork; like watching the waves from the beach. But you will not get to Newfoundland bystudying the Atlantic that way, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presenceof God in flowers or music. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going tosea. Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea without a map.
In other words, Theology is practical: especially now. In the old days, when there was lesseducation and discussion, perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideasabout God. But it is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed.Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideasabout God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones*bad, muddled, out*of*date ideas.For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today, are simplythe ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected. To believe in the popularreligion of modern England is retrogression*like believing the earth is fiat....



....
....Theology is, in a sense, an experimental science. It is simple religions that are the made-up ones. When I say it is an experimental science ‘in a sense,’ I mean that it is like the other experimental sciences in some ways, but not in all. If you are a geologist studying rocks, you have to go and find the rocks. They will not come to you, and if you go to them they cannot run away. The initiative lies all on your side. They cannot either help or hinder. But suppose you are a zoologist and want to take photos of wild animals in their native haunts. That is a bit different from studying rocks. The wild animals will not come to you: but they can run away from you. Unless you keep very quiet, they will. There is beginning to be a tiny little trace of initiative on their side.

Now a stage higher; suppose you want to get to know a human person. If he is determined not to let you, you will not get to know him. You have to win his confidence. In this case the initiative is equally divided-it takes two to make a friendship.

When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others - not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.

You can put this another way by saving that while in other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (things like microscopes and telescopes), the instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred - like the Moon .seen through a dirty telescope. That is why horrible nations have horrible religions: they have been looking at God through a dirty lens.

God can show Himself as He really is only to real men. And that means not simply to men who are individually good, but to men who are united together in a body, loving one another, helping one another, showing Him to one another. For that is what God meant humanity to be like: like players in one band, or organs in one body.

Consequently, the one really adequate instrument for learning about God is the whole Christian community, waiting for Him together. Christian brotherhood is, so to speak, the technical equipment for this science - the laboratory outfit. That is why all these people who turn up every few years with some patent simplified religion of their own as a substitute for the Christian tradition are really wasting time. Like a man who has no instrument but an old pair of field glasses setting out to put all the real astronomers right. He may be a clever chap - he may be cleverer than some of the real astronomers, but he is not giving himself a chance. And two years later everyone has forgotten all about him, but the real science is still going on.

If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.

Elessar
06-12-2016, 10:39 PM
Excerpts?

Ummm...hardly.....who is really going to read all of that?

I am Christian and believe in God the Creator. How I view Him is up to me.

Lewis was a contemporary with J.R.R. Tolkien, who was a devout Catholic.

Gunny
06-12-2016, 11:19 PM
Excerpts?

Ummm...hardly.....who is really going to read all of that?

I am Christian and believe in God the Creator. How I view Him is up to me.

Lewis was a contemporary with J.R.R. Tolkien, who was a devout Catholic.

I was going to say that. :laugh:

Elessar
06-12-2016, 11:20 PM
I was going to say that. :laugh:

I figgered that! Beat you to it for once.:laugh:

darin
06-13-2016, 01:55 AM
Lewis was as-gifted a writer as I've found. Insightful and eloquent.

revelarts
06-13-2016, 07:20 AM
Excerpts?

Ummm...hardly.....who is really going to read all of that?

I am Christian and believe in God the Creator. How I view Him is up to me.

Lewis was a contemporary with J.R.R. Tolkien, who was a devout Catholic.

I was going to say that. :laugh:

Is this board a twitter feed?
have you guys ever seen those thing called books?
There are many pages of words as writers take time to flesh out ideas and make them clear.

ever read the Bible... all the way through? it's fairly long.


I feel sorry for you folks.

darin
06-13-2016, 07:36 AM
I read the screwtape letters. Was moving to say the least.

What I think bothers me about 'sermons' and all that -

I could probably guarantee people have spoken more about what Christ taught than Christ said about what He taught. To me those well-meaning folks have complicated what boils down to this:

Don't be a dick. Love people. That's about it.

revelarts
06-13-2016, 08:07 AM
I read the screwtape letters. Was moving to say the least.

absolutely.



...To me those well-meaning folks have complicated what boils down to this:

Don't be a dick. Love people. That's about it.

Pretty much, Jesus said similar, paraphrased 'the whole of the law is the 1st 2 commandments.'

But Jesus and those that walked with him also said we need to trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sin. That was the main message they took across the world. There are also many things that Jesus said about Heaven, Hell, and more that they passed on.
And he encouraged people to read and understand the law the prophets and listen to his apostles. So he wasn't just narrowing what we should think about to just what came from his mouth. He called the the old testament "the word of God". the 1st 2 commandments are the foundation but the rest helps clarify how and why with examples and details of who, what and when.

seems to me the best sermons highlight the 2 commandments and as well as aspects of the hows, whys and etc..

darin
06-13-2016, 08:39 AM
absolutely.



Pretty much, Jesus said similar, paraphrased 'the whole of the law is the 1st 2 commandments.'

But Jesus and those that walked with him also said we need to trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sin. That was the main message they took across the world. There are also many things that Jesus said about Heaven, Hell, and more that they passed on.
And he encouraged people to read and understand the law the prophets and listen to his apostles. So he wasn't just narrowing what we should think about to just what came from his mouth. He called the the old testament "the word of God". the 1st 2 commandments are the foundation but the rest helps clarify how and why with examples and details of who, what and when.

seems to me the best sermons highlight the 2 commandments and as well as aspects of the hows, whys and etc..

Righto. Christ warned folks to not get too religious; that his sacrifice was ample coverage for the sins of mankind and how everyone who was ever in hell was released over his three-day period of being dead. If we love people, our love for them covers their sins against us much the same way God's love covers any and every sin from here through eternity. I think folk may wanna stop worrying about how to be better xtians, and start learning to feel love for folks. :) That wasn't saying YOU should or anything - just saying 'in general'.

revelarts
06-13-2016, 08:58 AM
Righto. Christ warned folks to not get too religious; that his sacrifice was ample coverage for the sins of mankind and how everyone who was ever in hell was released over his three-day period of being dead. If we love people, our love for them covers their sins against us much the same way God's love covers any and every sin from here through eternity. I think folk may wanna stop worrying about how to be better xtians, and start learning to feel love for folks. :) That wasn't saying YOU should or anything - just saying 'in general'.

"how to be better xtians, and start learning to feel love for folks."
See in my mind that IS being a better christian.but i have to say i wonder about "feeling" love.

Another Except from Lewis from Mere Christianity.

...
I pointed out in the chapter on Forgiveness that our love for ourselves does not mean that we like ourselves. It means that we wish our own good. In the same way Christian Love (or Charity) for our neighbours is quite a different thing from liking or affection. We ‘like’ or are ‘fond of some people, and not of others. It is important to understand that this natural ‘liking’ is neither a sin nor a virtue, any more than your likes and dislikes in food are a sin or a virtue. It is just a fact. But, of course, what we do about it is either sinful or virtuous.

Natural liking or affection for people makes it easier to be ‘charitable’ towards them. It is, therefore, normally a duty to encourage our affections - to ‘like’ people as much as-we can (just as it is often our duty to encourage our liking for exercise or wholesome food) - not because this liking is itself the virtue of charity, but because it is a help to it. On the other hand, it is also necessary to keep a very sharp lookout for fear our liking for some one person makes us uncharitable, or even unfair, to someone else. There are even cases where our liking conflicts with our charity towards the person we like. For example, a doting mother may -be tempted by natural affection to ’spoil’ her child; that is, to gratify her own affectionate impulses at the expense of the child’s real happiness later on.

But though natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings. Some people are ‘cold’ by temperament; that may be a misfortune for them, but it is no more a sin than having a bad digestion is a sin; and it does not cut them out from the chance, or excuse them from the duty, of learning charity. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude,’ you will probably, be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like. showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

Consequently, though Christian charity sounds a very cold thing to people whose heads are full of sentimentality, and though it is quite distinct from affection, yet it leads to affection. The difference between a Christian and a worldly man is not that the worldly man has only affections or ‘likings’ and the Christian has only `charity’. The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he ‘likes’ them: the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on — including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning.

This same spiritual law works terribly in the opposite direction. The Germans, perhaps, at first ill-treated the Jews because they hated them: afterwards they hated them much more because they had ill-treated them. The more cruel you are, the more you will hate; and the more you hate, the more cruel you will become-and so on in a vicious circle for ever.

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act to-day is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or, anger to-day is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible....





I can't put my finger on on the quote but he gives an example elsewhere of "loving" the the unlovable, for example nazis. not by working up affection but. the same way we love ourselves in that we love ourselves IN SPITE of all of the flaws and dirt we know know about ourselves. In that we wish we weren't the kind of person we that we are at times. and we wish the best for ourselves.
SaveSave

darin
06-13-2016, 09:02 AM
I guess feeling love has it backwards.


When folks organically show the symptoms of love - that's the place to be. It's not "Because I love I will..." it's "I do this because I can't help but do it".

make sense?

revelarts
06-13-2016, 09:04 AM
I guess feeling love has it backwards.


When folks organically show the symptoms of love - that's the place to be. It's not "Because I love I will..." it's "I do this because I can't help but do it".

make sense?

how does one do that toward a pedophile?
is that "organic'?

darin
06-13-2016, 09:09 AM
how does one do that toward a pedophile?
is that "organic'?

how does one show love to a pedophile? I dunno man. I dont know any.

revelarts
06-13-2016, 10:38 AM
how does one show love to a pedophile? I dunno man. I dont know any.
are you sure?

But my point is I think Lewis touches on the issue in what he writes concerning our thought/acts of good and good-will breeding more "affection" for the unlovable and for a larger circle than our natural inclinations.
Also that our own love for ourselves, even as we know and are disgusted by own faults , but we still "love" and hope the best for ourselves.

Essentially the Golden Rule applied to all, even for pedophiles, nazis, terrorist and the arse that cheats your mom out of her pension.

While not justifying or ignoring the wrong.

In a sermon i heard some time ago a pastor commented on the the "love chapter" 1 corinthians 13.
"13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends...."


...

He said something like" ....'love bears all things, and believes all things',...
and when because of the facts we can no longer believe all things Love still 'HOPES all things' ".

to me this puts a real handle on "loving everyone" . at least the natural side of how we're to make that happen. In my experience getting to get close to God's level is something we have to open ourselves too and let him put in, rather than work up "organically".