Monday, January 19, 2009

Learning In-War-Time

This piece of writing is a sermon preached by C.S. Lewis during World War II. Lewis writes that life has never been normal since the fall so learning in wartime should be no different (1). He acknowledges that a Christians might ask himself, “How is it right to spend fraction of the little time allowed them in this world on such comparative trivialities as literature or art, mathematics or biology?” (1). I agree with Lewis and Plantinga (in chapter 5) that it our calling to learn a lot about various subjects during the time He has given us in this earth.

I think that it is very important for a Christian to be well educated. The most important reason to learn in depth is to learn more about God. Just as we grow in friendship with a close friend the more we know about that friend, the more we grow in knowledge of God closer we grow to Him. For this reason, I disagree with Lewis when he says, “If the world were completely Christian, there would be no need to learn” (4). Studying the intricate details and beauty of the human body reveal to us how powerful and wonderful our Creator is.

The other reason why it is essential to be well educated is so that we are at the same level intellectually as the heathen. Lewis writes, “To be ignorant and simple now would be to throw down our weapons…with no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered” (4). We are good examples to our unbelieving neighbors and co-workers if we are able to argue our Christianity logically so that we are able to spread the gospel. It is the calling of a Christian to be educated in many different subjects, including other religions. When we know what other religions and Christian denominations believe, we will be better to tell them why we believe the doctrines that our church teaches.

Although it is very important to pursue knowledge, we must make sure we are doing so humbly and to the glory of God. I like Lewis’ quote, in which he says, “The intellectual life is not the only road to God, nor the safest, but we find it to be a road, and it may be the appointed road for us” (3). The reason why this road is not always the safest is because man can become too much absorbed in this knowledge that we forget about God. Lewis writes, “Every success in the scholar’s life increases this danger” (4). Sometimes we forget why we are really learning and begin studying to get good grades or for fame and riches.

Lewis ends his sermon by warning us not to fear death. A teacher in high school once told us, “If you are not ready to die, you are not ready to live.” If we are enjoying earthly pleasures too much, we are not putting our focus on God. God sends us trials to remind us that this earth is not our home. We are pilgrims and strangers traveling on this earth, who must always be aware of our morality.

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