I get such a kick out of this video. Not everyone will enjoy it and with out doubt somebody will comment “Why can’t feminists be nicer!” but for those who enjoy his sense of humor check out his videos.
I get such a kick out of this video. Not everyone will enjoy it and with out doubt somebody will comment “Why can’t feminists be nicer!” but for those who enjoy his sense of humor check out his videos.
Since I wasn’t able to do any posts on Mere Christianity last weekend, I have four that I ill be doing this weekend. I know I need to catch up with my Bible posts too, but school has been hectic. At this point I’m just hoping to get back into my Bible posts before December, but no promises.
So, without further ado, here is chapter 6, “Christian Marriage,” of book 3:
C.S. Lewis begins by stating “The inventor of the human machine will tell us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined.” This is a statement requiring a great deal of evidence. First, prove that their is an inventor who created humans. Second, prove that every man requires a wife to be complete and every woman needs a husband to be complete. What about people who have not interest in marriage? Must they be viewed as incomplete? What does it even mean to be complete? How do we test this?
Lewis goes on to compare marriage to eating. He claims that “It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.” Note to self: I must not chew gum.
He then states that “It is a great pity that Christians should disagree about such questions; but for an ordinary layman the thing to notice is that the Churches all agree with one another about marriage a great deal more than any of them agrees with the outside world. I mean, they all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation. Some of them think the operation so violent that it cannot be done; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases.” Does anybody actually see marriage as anything other than the last possible option? Who get’s married (other than a very small minority of people who view money as their only reason for marriage) with the plan in mind to get divorced? Do most Christians actually view marriage any differently than mainstream society?
Lewis discusses the idea of love ‘s place in marriage next. He argues that “The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all.” I sort of agree with this. If love is your only reason for getting married, why bother? You don’t need a legal document to tell you who you love. But I’d also advise someone to divorce their spouse if they told me they didn’t love them anymore. Why? Because things get very bad when you find yourself tied to someone you don’t love. Are the fights and the pain really necessary because marriage isn’t about “being in love”? Withteeth and I are planning to get married for one reason: we want kids. If something bad happens to one of us, or to our children, marriage will offer us the necessary legal protection to overcome the situation. Without the legal protection of marriage, we could find ourselves dealing with unnecessary legal battles. Marriage isn’t about love for us, because we don’t need the government to recognize our love, it’s about protecting our future family.
He continues the sentiment by stating “A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling a certain way.” Which is exactly why “till death do us part” is silly. You can’t know if you will love your partner forever. Whether you’ve just began dating, have been together for 10 years, or are about to celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary, feelings can change. You may not always love the person that you love right now. Which is exactly why divorce is necessary.
He goes on to say “But what, it may be asked, is the use of keeping two people together if they are no longer in love? There are several sound, social reasons; to provide a home for children, to protect the woman (who has probably sacrificed or damaged her own career by getting married) from being dropped whenever the man is tired of her.” My parents got divorced when I was 12. They should have got divorced when I was 8. They stayed together for 4 years because they thought it was best for my brother and me. It wasn’t. If they wanted to do what was best for their children, they really should have gotten divorced when I was 8. We never went without a home. As for protecting women, I have a better solution: create a society where a woman is not dependent on her husband. This is still a problem today. Women who get married are seen as a liability by their employers. It is assumed that they will have children, so, even if they don’t, they are held back. This shouldn’t be the case. Women shouldn’t have to stay in bad marriages for financial support, they should be able to support themselves well enough to feel secure in leaving.
Lewis discusses the importance of a “Christian marriage,” then he goes on to discuss his views on enforcing Christian beliefs on non-Christians. He says that “The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question-how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for everyone. I do not think that.” Here I agree with Lewis. I was born in Canada. I deserve the same legal rights as every other citizen. I am not a Christian. Implementing Christian laws infringes on my rights because I have not consented to be forced to follow laws that I not only don’t necessarily agree with, but that may actually go against my own personal beliefs. I shouldn’t be treated as a second class citizen because you feel your beliefs are more important than mine. If you don’t want to get a divorce, you have that option. But you can’t make me stay married because you think divorce is wrong. The same argument goes for abortion.
He goes on to say “My own view is that Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.” While I agree with the sentiment that non-Christians shouldn’t be forced to accept Christian doctrine, surveys would indicate that most British people were Christians when Lewis wrote this, and that, if Christianity actually has lost its standing as the majority belief system (the stats are unclear as to whether this has actually happened), it has only very recently happened.
Lewis then decides to discuss gender within marriage (which, of course, annoys me greatly). He argues that “The need for some head follows from the idea that marriage is permanent.” So a leader is necessary for anything to be permanent? “Of course, as long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen?…Surely only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote.” Because compromising wasn’t (and isn’t) an option? Because either one party had to win or both had to lose? Marriage is a partnership not a dictatorship. If you can’t agree you compromise. One party does not force their will on the other party.
He goes on to say of who should be the head of the household “Well, firstly is there any very serious with that it should be the woman.” Sexism. And he says that any woman would look down upon a woman who headed her own household: “She is much more likely to say ‘Poor Mr.X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine.'” More sexism. Also, this is why the Ban Bossy movement got started. When a man tells his wife what to do he’s “being a man.” When a woman tells her husband what to do she’s “bossy and appalling.” In modern terms, a man who does what his wife/girlfriend wants is “whipped.” When was the last time you heard a woman described the same way for the same behaviour?
Lewis then argues “There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives and husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it despite the husband whom they rule.” Because these beliefs can’t possibly simply be engrained into our society. If we accept a common behaviour as acceptable, it must be because nature made us that way. Society (nurture) has no influence on us at all.
Lewis finishes the chapter by discussing the husband and wife’s relationship to the outside world. He claims that “The relations of the family to the outer world-what might be called its foreign policy-must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always out to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders.” What? He also says of the husband “He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife.” Seriously, what?
I think I have one explanation that might help.
First, I’m not making any claims that it is the only explanation, or the only issue that rile us feminists up, but it’s a musing I found particularly helpful, so here it goes:
Feminists, myself included, often tend to be very critical of everything to do with biological sex, alternate names for the movement, and casual comments about how feminists should be more “friendly.” I’m tempted to even say excessively, but, to be honest, in general most feminist are not excessively critical. It is more that the average person has little to no ability to pick out sexism and are mostly blind to all but the most blatant cases of it.
I think this difference in awareness accounts for the greatest discrepancies between your average active feminist and the general population, and why feminist are often seen as overreaction.
To give an example for atheists, how a feminist feels when some makes a cliché argument like “why can’t feminists be more friendly” or comments like “there (obviously) are differences between men and women” is much like how an atheist feel when some bring up Pascal’s wager or the kalam argument like it’s the new hot thing.
However, for those who don’t quite get that example, it’s like how some times someone just doesn’t have the points of reference necessarily to understand your position and relate. It isn’t that they are stupid, or can’t understand it. It’s more that they are simply not yet in a position to be ready to comprehend a complex problem like sexism. Just like a student in 9th grade isn’t normally ready to learn about the material taught in grade 12. However, this example fall apart here because sexism is not ignorance. Sexism is propelled and strengthen by ignorance. It does real harm to just about everyone, so to not challenge it when it has arisen is like not correcting someone for using a racial slur.
These outbursts tend to be less anger and more frustration brought about by exasperation. A combination of desire to speak up and make positive change and a defensive mechanism to the onslaught of these question that many active feminists face. I’m aware of it and even then I want to, or actually do, snap out at people who make some of these facile (facile in the sense they don’t capture the true nature of the problem) arguments. Even though I know they probably honestly don’t know any better.
Yep you, yes you reading this. Your probability sexist. Though don’t get angry or indigent. I’m not making a character judgement, I’m not saying your bad people. What I’m saying if that you like me, and just about everyone has to some level been exposed to sexist ideas and thoughts that you’ve incorporated, unconsciously or consciously some sexist ideas. I know I have, I still sometimes struggle to make sure I take what a women’s word at the same level as a mans, it can be very easy to dismiss someones opinion unfairly simplely because they express as a woman. While I’ve improved dramatically over the last few years as I’ve realized all the times and ways women are suppressed in our society (and how I have too often played into it). I still have to look long and hard at some of my actions before I’m sure I’m not letting that particular bias slip in, and some times even though I try sexist biases slip in anyway.
So I’m not saying your a horrible person or hate women, but are you sure you’ve been looking hard at your actions? Are your sure your not playing into the systemic oppression of women (or other groups for that matter)?
We don’t have to be perfect, I know I’m not, but are we taking stock? Are we being introspective, critical of our own actions and thoughts?
I have now read the chapter “Sexual Morality” in Mere Christianity. As I’m sure you can guess, C.S. Lewis spends the chapter talking about sex from a Christian perspective.
He begins by stating “I do not think that a very strict or fussy standard of propriety is any proof of chastity or any help to it, and I therefore regard the great relaxation and simplifying of the rule which has taken place in my own lifetime as a good thing.” I can agree with him here. People often assume the worst of people who they view to be dressed inappropriately, but what do you actually know about a person based on their clothes? Is that person wearing a baggy sweater and sweatpants actually homeless, or are they maybe sick, or upset, or maybe their reasons are even deeper? Likewise, that teenage girl wearing a short skirt and spaghetti-strap may be a virgin. She may not even have any sexual-related reason for wearing her clothes. Maybe she doesn’t even view them as sexual. So why judge? Unless you’re a mind reader, who are you to say what a person’s reasons are for the clothes they wear? I’m glad we are becoming more aware of the problems associated with judging a person solely on their wardrobe and I hope we get better at disassociating sex from dress.
Lewis goes on to argue that “the Christian rule is, ‘Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.'” But where did this rule come from? This idea wasn’t common in the ancient Middle East, at least not among men, nor was it common throughout the Middle Ages. In fact, it was expected that men would be experienced before marriage. The idea of a monogamous marriage really didn’t come into play until the Victorian Era, and even then it was only upheld by certain social groups, ie. the Middle Class. This may be a Christian rule now, but how closely is it actually tied to Christian doctrine?
He continues on by saying of Christian views of sex “Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong.” Why does it have to be one or the other? Can no single part of Christianity be wrong without the whole thing falling apart? If that is the case, it makes Christianity incredibly easy to debunk, but does anybody actually think this is the case? Though, if it has to be one or the other, I’d say that it is far more likely that the man-made religion is wrong than it is that every human’s sexual desire has somehow gotten messed up.
Lewis then tries to compare sexual desire to food cravings to show how sexual desire is messed up. He argues that “In the same way, before accepting sexual starvation as the cause of the strip-tease, we should have to look for evidence that there is in fact more sexual abstinence in our age than in those ages when things like the strip-tease were unknown. But surely there is no such evidence.” Surely there is no such evidence? Is that how we find the truth now? We assert our own opinion without ever doing any research to make sure that our opinion is correct? Try opening a history book, Lewis. Historians have in fact found evidence that the obsession with sex arose in the Victorian Era, which caused both the repression of sexuality and the upraise of sexual entertainment. I have a problem with a lot of sexual entertainment, which can be very violent and teaches people to have unrealistic standards where sex is concerned, but I don’t think strip-teases are inherently wrong. Why do they suggest a level of obsession? Then again, Lewis wasn’t really looking for answers, he was simply looking for an example to support his belief. He made it clear that he didn’t really care to do research to make sure that his assumptions were correct.
Lewis goes on to argue “public opinion is less hostile to illicit unions and even to perversion than it has been since Pagan times.” Evidence? Unless Christianity only arose in the Victorian Era, this is not at all true. It can be claimed that women had only gained sexual freedom, since, throughout history, female sexuality has been oppressed, but men were still less free to express their sexuality in the 40’s than they were in the Middle Ages. In many ways, they still are, since, in the Middle Ages, men were expected to have sex with women other than their wives and many people today still believe that sex only belongs in a marriage.
He goes on to say “They tell you sex has become a mess because it was hushed up. But for the last twenty years it has not been. It has been chatted about all day long. Yet it is still a mess. If hushing up had been the cause of the trouble, ventilation would have set it right. But it has not. I think it is the other way around. I think the human race originally hushed it up because it had become such a mess.” Really? The people of the 40’s and 50’s were sexually liberated? Compared to the Victorian era, absolutely. But in reality? Not really. The 50’s was a time when people did there best to return to how things were in the Victorian Era. The people were not chatting about sex all day long. It may have seemed that way to a sexually repressed man, but we don’t even talk about sex all that often today. No, there hadn’t been time for the issues related to sexuality to be sorted out. It many ways, we are only beginning to straighten out these issues today. But we still view sex as a source of shame and something to be hidden and ignored.
Lewis had a bit more to say on the subject, but I feel my above comments adequately explain why Lewis is wrong where sexuality is concerned.
We decided to go see Left Behind today. Earlier I had seen an ad for it that read “don’t bring a non-believer to this movie” in an obvious “they will be converted” tone. So we decided to answer that challenge. And now I’m going to tell you why I’m still an atheist.
First, the movie really isn’t all that good. The music sounded like it was from the 90’s, and it didn’t match the scenes. The lines were terrible and sounded false. And the people didn’t behave in a manner that you would expect them to. If you were hugging your brother and he suddenly disappeared with his clothes still in your arms, would you run to the nearest hospital looking for him? I’d be trying to find out why he disappeared, not assume that he somehow stripped and ran off in the blink of an eye. Would your response to people disappearing right in front of you be to start looting? In a mall still full of people? With cops and security guards still around? It was badly written and badly produced.
Second, it seemed to try and show the horror of being “left behind” while trying to make sure that you don’t see the true horror of it. The movie suggested that if the end times were to come all the children would be raptured. But the Christians who believe in the rapture claim that children are born in sin and you have to be saved to be raptured. So why would all children be raptured? Why would the non-Christian children be raptured? How could the new born babies be raptured? Thy are born, which means they are somehow guilty of sin. And they can’t be saved because none of them could possibly accept Jesus. They couldn’t even have been baptized yet, provided they were born to parents who believe in infant baptism. Those infants wouldn’t be raptured, they would be stuck on Earth with everyone else who was left behind.
Third, a preacher said that deeds weren’t enough, you had to believe to get into heaven. None of the people left behind were particularly bad people, they simply didn’t believe. That means, to accept the story, I’d have to be okay with the idea of bad people going to heaven because they genuinely believe and good people being left behind because they genuinely don’t. What good person deserves to be subjected to 7 years of torment followed by an eternity of hell? And who in their right mind would see what God was allowing to happen and then decide that he was worthy of being worshiped?
Fourth, I’d have to accept a contradiction. Is the rapture the only way that God can accomplish whatever he’s trying to accomplish with it? Then he’s not omnipotent. Is God omnipotent? Then what is the point in the rapture?
After discussing our own reaction to such events if they were to occur, we have decided that, in the event of the rapture, we would have to conclude that Yahweh existed, but we would also have to assume that the other gods could exist as well. We wouldn’t, however, decide to “be saved” and worship Yahweh. Rather we would try and destroy his plan. First we would try and kill the anti-Christ. If we succeeded there, we would try to kill Lucifer and God. After all, they are a threat to us. They are trying to kill us. We would not submit to either side. We believe that that would be the most logical course of action in that situation.
I am now in Chapter 4, “Morality and Psychoanalysis,” in C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. Because this chapter is built around the necessity to accept two premises that I don’t accept: that morality is objective and God driven and that psychoanalysis is accurate, I don’t have much to say about it.
The first thing that I want to discuss is Lewis’s claim that “Either it may be what we call normal: it may consist of the sort of feelings common to all men. Or else it may consist of quite unnatural feelings due to things that have gone wrong in his subconscious…The desire of a man for a woman would be of the first kind: the perverted desire of a man for a man would be of the second.” Since not all men like women, that first definition would suggest that heterosexuality isn’t actually normal. Lewis is assuming that if most men like something, then it must be natural that all men like it. This is a flaw in reasoning.
The next thing I want to discuss is his argument “Imagine three men who go to war. One has the ordinary natural fear of danger that any man has and he subdues it by moral effort and becomes a brave man. Let us suppose that the other two have, as a result of things in their subconscious, exaggerated, irrational fears, which no amount of moral effort can do anything about. Now suppose that a psychoanalyst comes along and cures these two: that is, he puts them both back in the position of the first man.” I have two things to say about this bit. The first is that I don’t call subduing fear a moral action. I call it a required action in certain circumstances, and it may allow moral actions, like saving a child’s life, possible, but it isn’t in itself a moral action. The second is that the mental illnesses that he is talking about aren’t curable. They can be controlled with the help of therapy and, in some cases, drugs, but they can’t be cured. We understand mental illness a lot better today than we did in the 40’s and 50’s, but I think a lot of people are under the impression that issues like depression and anxiety disorders can be made to just go away. This isn’t the case. I will have generalized anxiety disorder for the rest of my life. The best I can hope for is that I will be able to keep it under control and lead a relatively normal life regardless of it.
I think the next chapter will be reviewed in much the same manner, since it is about sexual morality. I doubt I’ll agree with Lewis on sexual morality.
I again have very little to say about this book. I doubt I’ll have much to say about the next one either. Both 1st and 2nd Chronicles are really just repeats of what I’ve already discussed.
The 2nd part of 1 Chronicles talked about David. Since I’ve already asked a ton of questions about David, I don’t have much to add to the list.
The one thing I do have to say is this: 1 Chronicles says that Satan rose up against David. I don’t remember that being said before. Satan hasn’t really been brought up very often at all. So why is this claim being made now? Is it a result of certain changes experienced by the authors? Is it a different tactic used to get people to follow Yahweh and give up the worship of other gods? Or did the earlier authors simply view Satan’s role as unimportant or obvious? There has to be a reason why this (and other) new details were added when they weren’t there before.