Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mere Christianity (Chpts: 1-4)

I like this text because even though it is titled Mere Christianity it is not only for the Christian to read. This is a book that addresses all of humanity with topics so relevant to our daily lives that we don't stop to think of on a regular basis. Lewis states that he is not writing his book for a specific denomination of peoples. This makes me think about the differences between denominations, and why we, as Christians, even divide ourselves into denominations. So often we focus on the differences between denominations when we should be focusing on the similarities. If we focus on the similarities we can grow together in community regardless of our denomination because after all isn't the most important aspect of Christianity our personal relationship with Christ? The denomination shouldn't matter. That is the meaning of mere christianity.

If you had asked me what the law of human nature is before I read this excerpt I would probably have given you a blank stare. The law of human nature or the 'moral law' is the code by which we all live by inherently so. It is the law that all of us are supposed to know even though it is not taught in schools or discussed in daily conversations. But if you sit back and observe people you can see the law played out in your surroundings. Everyone has their own thoughts as to what is right and wrong and this law of nature pulls all of those thoughts together so as to decipher right from wrong, fair from unfair, etc. However, there is a flaw with this law being that it is not an official law at all. It is not recorded anywhere and each person interprets it differently. The fact of the matter is that the moral law is not like the law of gravity. The outcome is never certain and the consequences may very.

Lewis uses the analogy of the piano to further explain how this law works. He says that "the Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play; our instincts are merely the keys." Being the musical person that I am, this analogy makes perfect sense to me. When reading music the musician sees what notes to play. There are no right or wrong notes in terms of the piano but there are right or wrong notes in terms of a certain piece of music. A note might be right at one point but wrong at a different point. However the musician has creative license to play whatever notes he or she wants. They have the choice of notes just like we have the choice of which instincts to follow. Lewis says that there is no such thing as a good or bad impulse. How we react to that impulse is what makes it good or bad. So there is no bad music, no wrong notes but the way we play the notes can be interpreted as good or bad.

At the end of the fourth chapter Lewis states, "I find that I do not exist on my own, that I am under a law; that somebody or something wants me to behave in a certain way." This statement is almost comical to me because as much as we all try to be individuals we are not. We are just as unique as everyone else. Our friends, family, teachers, co-workers, and peers influence us in our decisions every day. Another thing to remember is that we are not our own. We belong to Christ so we should remember to act the way He wants us to act instead of acting the way "somebody or something" wants us to behave.

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