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The Four Loves (Harcourt)

Continuare de aici.

Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

5) Charity (agape)

5.1 The insufficiency of the natural loves

As we saw until now, natural loves are not self-sufficient. Something else – which Lewis consider to be the whole Christian life in one particular relation – must „come to help of the mere feeling if the feeling is to be kept sweet”.

He considers that the natural loves are similar to a garden. A garden „will not fence and weed itself, nor prune its own trees, nor roll and cut its own lawns”. It will remain a garden, as distinct from a wilderness, only if someone does these things to it. When God planted the garden of our nature and caused the flowering, fruiting loves to grow there, He set our wills to „dress” them. Compared with the loves, our will is dry and cold. And until God’s grace comes down, like the rain and the sunshine, we shall use this tool (the will) to little purpose. But its laborious- and largely negative – services are indispensable.

Until now we saw that the loves prove that they are unworthy to take the place of God, by the fact that they cannot even remain themselves and do what they promise without God’s help: Affection can be distorted „when it becomes a need-love that demands affection in turn, as a right, and thus producing hatred”; Or when, in „living for others”, makes their lives unbearable. Friendship can be distorted when the shared interest is evil; or produces arrogance and isolation when the group becomes an „inner ring”. Eros is like Love Himself, in a reflected form; and therefore more liable than the other loves to corruption, to becoming a sort of religion; the god Eros dies or becomes a demon unless he obeys God.[1]

The conclusion is that, even for their own sake, the loves must submit to God if they are to remain the things they want to be: Affection needs a real disinterested charity for the other if it wants to avoid becoming obsessive. Friendship needs to have charity also as a guarantee that the shared interest will not become egoist and evil, and that it will not produce arrogance and isolation, hurting and neglecting the others. Eros needs charity if he wants to keep his promises, especially when the selfishness appear, or when one or both partners become, at least in some respects, unattractive or unworthy of love. (mai mult…)

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The Four Loves (Harcourt)

Titlul original: The Four Loves
Autor: C.S. Lewis
Localitate: New York
Editura: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Anul apariţiei: 1991
Nr. de pagini: 156
ISBN: 9780151329168

Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

Introduction

C.S.Lewis starts The Four Loves confessing that when he first tried to write this book, he had a wrong image (or rather a very simplistic image) of the subject.

It seems that the-view he had then is common among Christians; before I read his book I had the same image too: the idea that the only true love is the love that gives, because the love of God is a Giving love (a Gift-love by definition). For that reason – in that perspective – we really love just in so far as our love resembles that Love which is God. In that respect, when we tell to our beloved: „I need you, I cannot live without you”, we do not really love him (or her). The real love is that love which says: I do not need you, I can live without you; in fact, exactly because I can live without you, and I am a complete person, perfectly fulfilled in my relationship with God, I can enter in a love relations hip. The goal in that relationship will be not to find my fulfillment, not to receive something (I am already fulfilled by God), but to give, to make the other happy.

This image is not bad (in fact the final arguments of C.S.Lewis are very close to these ideas), but it is not perfectly good because it is not complete. The reality of love is more complex – says Lewis. It is difficult, in his opinion to affirm that the Need-Love is not a real love, firstly because our love for God is – more than everything – a Need-Love. We come to God utterly aware that our whole being is one vast need, crying out for Him when we need forgiveness or support in our tribulations, or many other things.[1]  On the other side, even in our daily situations, it is difficult, for example, to affirm that a child’s love for his mother, which is more than anything else a Need-love, is not a real love.

Thus, understanding the complexity of the situation, Lewis begins to analyze more deeply five kinds of loves: Loves for Sub-Human, Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity (Agape). In this essay, my interest will be especially focused on the last two kinds of love, Eros and Charity. But I will present also shortly the first three kinds of love, in the measure in which to understand them is absolutely necessary for a better comprehension of the last two loves.

As we will see, Charity (Agape) still remains the most important love; but the other four loves will be also accepted as true loves. In that way God’s Creation (in the area of affections) will be honored and redeemed.

1) Loves for the Sub-Human (mai mult…)

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Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

 1. Lewis’ view of the afterlife, especially in the books The problem of pain and The Great Divorce

 

C.S.Lewis’ book The Great Divorce has a title which reflects very well his view about Heaven and Hell. Between Heaven and Hell there is ‘a great divorce’. ‘If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.’[1] Moreover, from an afterlife point of view, not only Heaven, but even Earth and eventually Purgatory, will be Heaven for those who are saved, and vice-versa, not only Hell, but even Earth will be Hell for those who are lost[2]. What is the rationale for such an extreme separation?

The motive of such a strong ‘divorce’ is the way these two groups chose. The reality of our human freedom and responsibility stays beyond this separation. Our choices on this earth matter more then we imagine. Lewis rejects the idea that there is a second chance for the people who chose on this world wrong. He considers that ‘if a million chances were likely to do good, they would be given. God, in His divine omniscience is like a master who knows, when boys and parents do not, that it is really useless to send a boy in for certain examination again’[3]. The conception of ‘second chance’ is not to be confused for Lewis with that or Purgatory, for there souls are already saved.

The Hell, in C.S. Lewis’ description is a place inhabited by the people who loved themselves more than anything else. These are the people to whom God told in the end: ‘Thy will be done’. What is very interesting and new for me in Lewis’ description of Hell is the fact that ‘in a sense, the doors of Hell are locked on inside, and the people there enjoy forever the horrible freedom they demanded, and therefore are self-enslaved’[4] That seems to me puzzling at first sight, because in the New Testament, in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, the damned there wish to come out of Hell. However, Lewis agrees with this biblical image. Probably in a sense, in his view, all the damned ghosts want to come out from that place, to be happy, but they certainly do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good: ‘better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven’[5].

This attitude of self- centeredness is common to almost all the damned personages from The Great Divorce. Whenever they have to choose between loving themselves and loving the others, they prefer themselves, even if that means their returning to Hell. Because they are so selfish, they hate the others , and for that reason the Hell is a place where people live separately: they cannot support each other. In that sense, Sartre’s well-known statement „L’Enfer c’est !’autre”, is very real here. The only torture of the people in Hell is their selfishness manifested in each one’s specific sins. In the sense, the wrong use of freedom , the sin, devours the people who submit to it. In the end they are not even persons; rather they become finally un-persons, un-men (as the grumbler lady becomes in the end only a grumble).

On the other side, Heaven is the opposite of Hell. If the people in Hell tend to become non-persons, tend to be less and less themselves, on the contrary, in Heaven people become more and more themselves. The blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through eternity, more and more free. Their choice was to tell God: ‘Thy will be done’. They loved God more than they loved themselves. Somehow the law of heaven is the law of abandon: he that loses his soul will save it. Hence it is truly said of Heaven that ‘in heaven there is no ownership’. To its fellow-creatures, each soul, we suppose, will be eternally engaged in giving away to all the rest that which it receives. There will be in the end a kind of eternal holy game, in which every player must by all means touch the ball and then immediately pass it[6].

There will be, as in the end of the novel Perelandra, an Eternal Dance, an eternal and happy and perfect union between distincts, on the model of Holy Trinity (and together with the Holy Trinity). In opposition with Hell, which is a place of shadows, more unreal than Earth, the Heaven will be the place of the full reality. We will be there more real than we ever dreamed, in the presence of the Triune God, the perfect Reality. It will be there the beginning of the Great Story, the Morning, the end of our dream here on Earth[7].

I totally agree with C.S. Lewis vision of the afterlife. I find that it helped me to solve some of my previous difficulties very well. My only reserve regards his belief in Purgatory. I doubt that there will be such a place, because I consider that if a person really believes in Christ, then that should be demonstrated in his daily life. I doubt that in Heaven will be ‘believers’ who lived on earth in ‘joyful’ sinning. If they lived on earth in sin and were believers, then probably they suffered a lot because of that (not necessary more than the more ‘holy’ believers, but enough as to not consider that their life on earth was happy and to crave for Heaven). And maybe the fact that probably even in Heaven will be grades of reward can be helpful when we think at this problem. (mai mult…)

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Articol de Maria Iștoc

Creștinismul, capodopera religiilor, a creat o civilizație care este capodopera civilizațiilor, scrie Paul Veyne, profesor la prestigioasa universitate College de France. Regretabil ca civilizația  pe care a creat-o vrea  să-i nege meritele.

Cu ani în urmă,  la Baile Felix am făcut cunoștință, cu un domn în vârsta, față de mine la vremea aceea, pensioner.  Mi-a spus ca a fost profesor.  L-am întrebat ce a  predat, mi-a raspuns: „minciuni”. L-am privit surprinsă și l-am intrebat din nou: „Și cum se numeau minciunile pe care le-ați predat?”  Răspunsul a fost „istorie”. Da, istoria este une science molle, cum spun francezii, adică o știinta supusă subiectivității. Subiectivitate în scriere și subiectivitate în interpretare. De aceea este necesar să consultam mai multe surse și uneori surse contradictorii pentru a observa ceea ce nu e coherent, ceea ce este tendențios, să vedem care sunt tendințele și, în consecință, sa discernem adevărul sau faptele reale de minciună.

Minciuni despre Cruciade

„Cruciadele au fost acte intolerabile de agresivitate religioasă comise de către creștini împotriva musulmanilor “ (Maria Monacal, citată de Guy Rachetr în Les raciness de notre Europe sont elles chrétiennes et musulmanes?) Dar cine pe cine a cotropit? Cine au invadatorii, agresorii și care a fost comportamentul lor? Revista „Historia”, nr 751 din iulie 2009, citează un cronicar musulman al epocii, care vorbește de faptul ca prizonierii creștini erau decapitati și măcelariti fără ezitare, bisericile distruse iar casele prădate, cele care nu reușeau să le prade erau incendiate. Invadatorii lăsau în urma lor cenușă.

Cruciații au masacrat musulmanii. Dar de ce se păstrează tăcerea cu privire la cruzimea cu care musulmanii, turcii, au atacat Ierusalimul și masacrele comise pentru a-l ocupa precum și faptul ca i-au schimbat pâna și numele în al-Qods.  Se trece sub tăcere islamizarea forțată a popoarelor din Orientul Apropiat.  Otomanii: „violau, furau, ucideau, femei, copii, batrâni. Îi vindeau pe cei care puteau încă fi de folos la munci forțate transformându-i în sclavi.”  Jacques Heers, Les croisades(mai mult…)

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