A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Quotable C.S. Lewis #24: The Problem with Full Hands

"If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We 'have all we want' is a terrible saying when 'all' does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says somewhere, 'God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full-- there's nowhere for Him to put it.' Or as a friend of mine said, 'We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hope he'll never have to use it.' Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in him as long as he leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call 'our own life' remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make 'our own life' less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness."

--The Problem of Pain


Angie Van De Merwe said...

People who believe this are a danger to others, because their belief becomes a justification to do "evil" for another's good. ("Evil" being control of another's life).

I do not believe that suffering turns one to God, unless that is a predisposition in the first place. Christians should not be in the business of "control" or "making judgments" about another's life. .

No one can understand another's situation or life completely. We should seek to be responsible for our own life in the way we think is best. And whether that included God or not. The Taliban should not be a "moral example" for Christians.

Unknown said...

I would in this short bit like to point out a personal opinion to Angie Van De Merwe: It would sound to someone who doesn't know you that you hold a particular grudge against feeling "controlled". On that point I whole-heartedly agree.

However, it would appear (again to a complete stranger) that your grudge has defined the lens with which you chose to read Mr. Lewis' writing. See I don't believe that he is trying to justify poor behavior from one person towards another, but rather pointing out that for those who claim to believe in God, they ought not to regard Him lightly. Or to say it another way, I believe that Mr. Lewis' point is to say that on some occasions, pain in one's life serves to bring an awareness of a need and that like any need, we ought to provide for that need regularly rather than wait until need becomes desperate.