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CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce presents a very unique tale about the afterlife. It is one that is told in a refreshingly new way, dispelling the preconceptions that 21st Century humanity often bring to the table. Harps, clouds, flames, and pitchforks aside, Lewis brings something different to the theological subject. He highlights and personifies the things that so often hinder people from capturing the purpose of human existence. The plight of humanity can be addressed and remedied, and Lewis offers this hope within his writings. The personifications within this book can hopefully free you and I from the pitfalls of life (and I hope you read this short, hard-hitting story). Wherever you find yourself on the journey of life, know that there is hope for better days.

Lewis has an especially interesting character that speaks to me. As someone who enjoys philosophy and ideological debates, I can say with certainty that arguing can be fun. Debating ideas and jousting ideologies can be very stimulating, but ideas are also very dangerous. Ideas change the world and can inspire good or evil. The character in chapter five of The Great Divorce is a man who falls into this philosophical category. A solid person (read: a citizen of the bright, solid world) meets a friend from his former life who is nothing but a shadowy ghost (read: a citizen of the gray lands). The ghost came to this idyllic Eden on a trip and meets his friend and begins to converse. Towards the end of the conversation came an interesting exchange:

‘Listen!’ said the White Spirit (The solid person). ‘Once you were a child. Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them. Become that child again: even now.’

‘Ah, but when I became a man I put away childish things.’ (replied the ghost)

‘You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call the free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage.’

Inquiry was made for truth. What a stunning statement to be made in a rootless, postmodern world! There is truth in the world and there is a necessity to find that truth. Not truths or a devout, honest opinion that this ghost would propose in The Great Divorce. Philosophy and theology has an ultimate goal. Philosophizing for the sake of philosophizing should not occur. Philosophizing for the pursuit of truth and clarity, that is the proper vehicle. (The ghost, funny enough, was an Episcopalian minister. He boldly denied the Resurrection and even organized a theological paper presentation!) Philosophy is a great subject and vehicle of pursuit. But that search must always be towards truth and clarity. And yes, that is my devout, honest opinion.

I stumbled upon this question on a website and was stunned by the findings:

Q. What is the ultimate origin of moral value?

Final Results
200 user(s) polled.

1. God 17.5%

2. Nature 23%

3. Culture 38%

4. Other 21.5%

The reason that I found this astounding is because the implications of this are so profound. The ultimate origin of moral value was seen by 38% of those polled to be culture. All cultures, regardless of their values, are equal. The cultures promoting peace are the same as those promoting imperialism. Slavery and abolition are theoretically of the same basic essence, since after all, moral value (albeit separate moral values and separate ends) were derived from their culture. Who am I to say that one is right and one is wrong? Who am I to say that a totalitarian form of government is inferior to a republican form of government? Both derived their own moral value from their respective cultures.

Secondly, all moral value could come from nature. That means the natural order of things (read, Darwinian evolutionary theory) comes from "progress" and domination. I look around and nature says that the strongest survive. Social Darwinism and Eugenics surely follow closely behind on the heels of this theory.

Thirdly, other is the origin of all moral value. What could ‘other’ mean? Perhaps it means from extraterrestrials? It could mean it is derived from the automobile? Seriously though, what other possibilities could there be? Other is just an out for people who are too timid to say what’s on their mind.

Finally, the ultimate origin of moral value could come from God. One of the reasons from my Top 10 list "Why I believe in God" would have to be that if there is no God, then there are no rights. Where would our rights to liberty come from? If they came from culture, then culture can change those original assumptions. As a theist, I firmly fall in this camp. There are absolutes in this world (besides, to say that there is no absolute laws in the world is itself absolute…). There is Truth in this world. There is a reason for living in this world. This came in the form of the Word becoming incarnate. Quite honestly, I don’t know how else moral values can come into this world except through that pathway.

I am still in complete shock by the winner of the poll. We are talking about the ultimate origin of all moral value coming from cultures, regardless of their stance.  Even though it is humanity that creates culture, so in all reality moral value is of our own creation. 

Yet, why should this outcome surprise me?  I would rather make up my own rules than play by someone else’s rules. 

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