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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2004 7:31 am 
Okay, this might not be enough to revive the forum, but what the hey...
This summer, I got to read C.S.Lewis's "Mere Christianity". Now, I love Lewis's writing, and I think he's skilled at analysis and at explaining stuff...And it was a good read...But some parts I just didn't agree with. I won't go over all of them here (we'll keep that around for another time), but there was this thing that puzzled me...And "Mere Christianity" wasn't the only place where I encountered it.

Basically, the idea goes like this: If you do something bad, it's your responsibility. But, if you do something good, you're letting God act through you or something like that...Not sure I really got the point, but basically, God gets the credit.
Lewis used the following analogy: Imagine a father gives his kid some money. The kid can use it on something he wants...Or he might decide to buy his dad a gift. Now, Lewis argues, this might please the father...But it would be silly to claim that he owes his kid, since it was bought with his money. Conversely, Lewis argues, people can't expect to get on God's good side through good behavior, because such goodness comes from God himself.

Okay. Now, I just don't think that really makes sense. Is there any reason to believe that everything that's rotten in people comes from them, and everything that's good flows from an outside source? If there is one, then I don't see it. So my question is...Is there an actual reasoning behind this belief? Or is it just a variation of "Heads I win, tails you lose"?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 9:46 pm 
I can't say too much without reading the book, but it doesn't sound all that unreasonable to me. If one accepts that God is responsible for one's existance, than it should probably follow that God is to some degree responsible for one's actions as well. Actually, I think it ties into the whole "you're supposed to do good stuff" theme rather neatly. You shouldn't expect God to intercede for you because you do good stuff. Quite the contrary, you're SUPPOSED to do good stuff; that's what's expected of you. You do good stuff and God is like: "Yeah, so what?" Now, if you go and do BAD stuff, that gets noticed! :roll:

I guess it does sound a little rough when you put it that way.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:13 am 
Regardless of who's responsible, it makes a lot of sense to suck up to God.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:33 am 
Madcat wrote:
I can't say too much without reading the book, but it doesn't sound all that unreasonable to me. If one accepts that God is responsible for one's existance, than it should probably follow that God is to some degree responsible for one's actions as well.

By that logic, he's also to some degree responsible for our bad actions. But that doesn't make us a bit less responsible for either the good or the bad.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:29 am 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
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sun tzu wrote:
By that logic, he's also to some degree responsible for our bad actions. But that doesn't make us a bit less responsible for either the good or the bad.


Isaiah 45:7, KJV wrote:
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:32 pm 
jeremiahsmith wrote:
sun tzu wrote:
By that logic, he's also to some degree responsible for our bad actions. But that doesn't make us a bit less responsible for either the good or the bad.


Isaiah 45:7, KJV wrote:
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.


Okay, so that would give him responsibility for evil. I think the evil people he creates can still be considered responsible too (one doesn't prevent the other).


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:38 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
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sun tzu wrote:
Conversely, Jeremiah argues, people can't expect to get on God's bad side through bad behavior, because such badness comes from God himself.


Do you see my point now?

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:53 pm 
Heh. Well, in my opinion, just because someone is created good or evil it doesn't make them less responsible for their actions...My whole point was that Lewis was using a double-standard. Either we get both the blame and credit, or neither - to give us one wihout the other seems like a blattant fallacy to me (it works the other way too - if someone said "I deserve credit for the good stuff I've done, but don't blame me for my misbehaviour - I was born/created that way" wouldn't have much credibility).


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:17 pm 
I also haven't read the book, so I can only offer my point of view, not analyze C.S. Lewis'

OK, analogies are always dangerous, but I'm going to try one here.

Taking one single choice you've got three participants (there may be more, but we're going to limit it to three for now) : You, God, and Satan. God has created you and given you all you need to make this choice and make it 'right'.

God is on one side giving advice on how to choose. Satan is on the other side giving conflicting advice.

If you choose to follow God, the 'right' choice, then God get's the credit for giving you the choice, the means to carry it out, and the direction on what to do. If you choose the other option then you take the blame for misusing the choice, the means, and listening to the wrong advice.


Now, possible problems with this analogy:
1) You may believe in God, but not the Devil. Well, so instead of listening to the wrong advice you just didn't listen to the correct advice. Still your fault.
2) You may not belive in God. Well, for the sake of this question we're just going to have to make the assumption that He exists, okay.
3) You may not believe that God advises on how to choose. Similar to the first problem, it was your choice and God gave you everything you needed to carry it out. Of course, I don't know anyone that belives in God that doesn't belive that He has given some type of direction on how to live. (They may be out there, I just don't know any.)

I guess the point is that God get's credit because He gave you everything and so anything you do good with it can be traced back to Him. Whereas anything bad is done by rejecting Him.

I think what Lewis is trying to do is get people to realize their dependance on God and how he has given us everything from life to daily breath. I don't think he's trying to say that God doesn't give you credit for the good things you do and the good choices you make.


King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon also explained it this way:

Mosiah Chapter 2:20-26
Quote:
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—

21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.

24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.

26 And I, even I, whom ye call your king, am no better than ye yourselves are; for I am also of the dust. And ye behold that I am old, and am about to yield up this mortal frame to its mother earth.


I hope that helps answer the question. I think Benjamin explains it better than I do, personally.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 5:31 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
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Kit the Odd wrote:
Taking one single choice you've got three participants (there may be more, but we're going to limit it to three for now) : You, God, and Satan. God has created you and given you all you need to make this choice and make it 'right'.


If you insist. I don't recall God making his stance on, say, cloning or stem cells known. Was that in the appendix, or has God not actually given us all we need to make choices?

Quote:
God is on one side giving advice on how to choose. Satan is on the other side giving conflicting advice.


Oh, like the shoulders thing.

Quote:
If you choose to follow God, the 'right' choice, then God gets the credit for giving you the choice, the means to carry it out, and the direction on what to do.


If you choose to follow Satan, the "wrong" choice, then why doesn't Satan get the blame for giving you the choice, the means to carry it out, and the direction on what to do?

Quote:
If you choose the other option then you take the blame for misusing the choice, the means, and listening to the wrong advice.


If you choose God, why don't you get the credit for making the right choice?

Is there any rhyme or reason to this? Or is it just another way to tell people that they're worthless: that any bad they do is all their horrible little sinful faults, while all the good they do doesn't count?

Quote:
I guess the point is that God get's credit because He gave you everything and so anything you do good with it can be traced back to Him.


And everything you do bad can be traced back to him too. He created everything, he created free will, he created human nature, he created any impulses to do evil, he created evil itself, he created Satan, he lets Satan tempt people. He created every parameter of existence, and (being omniscient and all), he would know damn well what sort of shenanigans his creation would get up to. And he pronounced it good. Evil is God's fault, not ours.

Quote:
Whereas anything bad is done by rejecting Him.


Curiously, I reject God and still manage to be a generally decent person, although I do read Harry Potter, which as I understand does not help me get on the Big G's good side.

Whereas there are people who accept God, and get up to all sorts of evil believing that they're doing it in God's name, from the Inquisition to schizophrenics who think God told them to drown their kids.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:29 pm 
Quote:
Then why doesn't Satan get the blame for giving you the choice, the means to carry it out, and the direction on what to do?


Well in theory Satan does get the blame for that, seeing as he apparently gets thrown into the lake of fire and all that fun stuff. You of course, still get the blame too, because you still made the choice regardless of who gave it to you.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 11:10 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
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Madcat wrote:
Well in theory Satan does get the blame for that, seeing as he apparently gets thrown into the lake of fire and all that fun stuff. You of course, still get the blame too, because you still made the choice regardless of who gave it to you.


And this would not be so much of a problem, except that CS Lewis is saying that this only applies to Satan: when you do wrong, you and Satan get the blame, but when you do good, it's all just God's glory.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:39 am 
jeremiahsmith wrote:

Quote:
If you choose to follow God, the 'right' choice, then God gets the credit for giving you the choice, the means to carry it out, and the direction on what to do.


If you choose to follow Satan, the "wrong" choice, then why doesn't Satan get the blame for giving you the choice, the means to carry it out, and the direction on what to do?

Quote:
If you choose the other option then you take the blame for misusing the choice, the means, and listening to the wrong advice.


If you choose God, why don't you get the credit for making the right choice?



1) Satan didn't give anything but direction. That's the point. God gave the choice and the ability to choose. All Satan gives is bad advice.

2) I think you do get credit for making a good choice. C.S. Lewis may or may not, I'm not going to speak for him. But I believe that you most certainly do get credit for the good choices you make. God just gets credit for making your good choice possible, and sometimes making your good choice work when it wouldn't have if you were left to your own strength.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 12:09 pm 
Well, looking at the theology surrounding Lewis, an argument should be made that you shouldn't be wanting to take credit for good things. That's pride, which is a venial sin and to be avoided. And of course, accepting blame for doing bad things fosters guilt, which is one of the favorite tools of organized religion just about everywhere.

Personally, I think this method of avoiding venial pride bears a lot of resemblance to hiding from a bear by closing your eyes and insisting it's not there. But that's just the opinion of one incorrigable Socinian heretic. =)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:44 pm 
The problem with sin is too many are willing to say any lust, pride, anger, envy, sloth, gluttony or greed is wrong. When the truth is, none become a sin till it competes with faith. Pride is nessasary until one puts themself on the same plane as God. Enjoying food is not a problem till one eats for the sake of eating and doesn't stop even when full. Lust becomes wrong when one is having sex for the sake of sex with no regards for anything else. Get the idea. I think Chrisianity is getting too deeply involed in its dogma to remember what faith really is.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:20 pm 
Mrs. Keradon wrote:
Enjoying food is not a problem till one eats for the sake of eating and doesn't stop even when full.

Some people live very happy lives this way, and are willing to take the consequences for it. No problem. :)

Quote:
Lust becomes wrong when one is having sex for the sake of sex with no regards for anything else.

Ditto for this one. "Wrong" is an interesting term... and an incorrect one, I think.

No point to make here, just making you think more about what wrong really means. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 9:14 pm 
Raif wrote:
Mrs. Keradon wrote:
Enjoying food is not a problem till one eats for the sake of eating and doesn't stop even when full.

Some people live very happy lives this way, and are willing to take the consequences for it. No problem. :)

Quote:
Lust becomes wrong when one is having sex for the sake of sex with no regards for anything else.

Ditto for this one. "Wrong" is an interesting term... and an incorrect one, I think.

No point to make here, just making you think more about what wrong really means. :)


How about editing wrong and problem to be sinful in the christian meaning of the word. Tried to phrase my post so as not to come out as a flaming pagan and probably didn't come across as clear as I would have liked to.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 7:47 pm 
Mrs. Keradon wrote:
Lust becomes wrong when one is having sex for the sake of sex with no regards for anything else.


I'd like to see some further elaboration on this idea. I'm not sure what you mean by 'for it's own sake'.

If thats a code phrase for 'sex for any reason other than procreation' then I disagree with you.


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