Saturday, November 12, 2005

Mere Christianity

The following is an excerpt from the C.S. Lewis book Mere Christianity. Here, Lewis considers something I've been thinking about lately. (Before reading the quote, you need to know the Law of Nature he speaks of is morals or generally accepted standards of Right and Wrong. He is not speaking about the laws of physics.)

“I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities.

“But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. [F]or our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to -- whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or every one. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.”

I've been thinking about the way intelligent people are sucked into a perspective of looking at things in which they believe themselves capable of making an observation about what they think God should or should not do as if their view could not possibly be obstructed by the fact that they are not an unbiased, passive observer in this world. They are like blind cave fish which have lived their entire lives deep underground trying to explain the sun to each other. They are too proud, or too afraid to consider the fact that there may be more to the universe than what they have experienced or have seen with their own eyes.

I want to go back and re-read Mere Christianity and The Great Divorce. These two books helped shape my fundamental perception of God and the Bible.


Kevin L. Rhea said...

Tony, very good observaton. I think we all are biased to some extent. My views have run the gamut in my lifetime. I have a tendacy to still be overly passionate about my views now, I am sure they still need maturing by God's grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.