CS Lewis (Was: Favourite books)

Margaret Ball margaret at onr.com
Thu Dec 30 01:02:25 EST 2004


Paul wrote:

>But sometimes I worry about what it actually means. It sounds good to
>say "it isn't what you *say* you are worshipping but whether you
>behave in good ways in the process", but what are "good ways"?
>Consider the Aztec priest, busily cutting a man's beating heart out
>with a big knife because he genuinely believes that that's what God
>wants him to do - is he covered, even though his actions are
>reprehensible from a Christian viewpoint?
>

I've always assumed he was covered, but you raise a good point.

To bring it closer to the modern world: what about the anti-abortionist 
who burns an abortion clinic or shoots a doctor. Is he covered? Is he ok 
if he truly believes abortion is murder, but on the shit list if he has 
a sneaky underlying desire to kill someone and get notoriety and has 
latched onto this "cause" as an excuse?

What about the Moslem who killed a Dutch filmmaker recently because he 
didn't like what his films said about the treatment of women under Islam?

>would Lewis say that I'm working from a false premise, and that no
>man could *really* believe that God actually wants him to do a thing
>like that?
>
Presumably God knows what he *really* believes. We don't have to make 
that judgement.

An associated point that worries me, though, is: at what point are you 
obliged to interfere with another culture's practices? 

Two cases in point.

A lot of Africans eat by dipping their fingers into a mass of fufu or 
rice or posho or whatever the carbohydrate of the region is, pulling out 
a ball of the sticky stuff, swishing it through whatever sauce or soup 
they have managed and then eating it. All this from a communal plate. 
This horrified my father when I came home from Africa and absentmindedly 
started to eat a curry and rice with my fingers this way, even though I 
was being perfectly polite by African standards (didn't use my left 
hand).  Now, we wouldn't send missionaries into Africa preaching the 
gospel of knife and fork. I don't think.

But - a lot of Africans also practice clitoridectomy. Do we stand aside 
there and say, "Oh, that's their culture, I mustn't interfere?" or do we 
yell, "It's wrong to mutilate young girls!"

Is there some kind of absolute moral standard we can all hold to? Like: 
It's not nice to cut out people's hearts, or their clitorises, or to get 
blind drunk and drive a heavy, dangerous machine at high speeds?  And 
who's going to define the absolute moral standard? Probably an 
impossible task.

-- 
Margaret Ball

It's finished! The bead embroidery book is here. Lots of pretty pictures at
http://www.flameweaver.com/embeadery.html


--
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at suberic.net with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at http://suberic.net/dwj/list/



More information about the Dwj mailing list