Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mere Christianity Book III Chapter 4

Mere Christianity
Book III Chapter 4
Morality and Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is the psychological technique invented by Sigmund Freud
When Freud talks about how to cure neurotics he is talking as a pro
When he speaks as a philosopher he is an amateur
Two things involved in a choice
One of them is the act of choosing
The other is the psychological raw material that affects the choice.
The psychological raw material can be either normal or abnormal.
Psychoanalysis seeks to remove the abnormal feelings, to give people better raw material to help make choices
Someone may go to war with abnormal feelings and fears. If they are cured of their fears they may choose to be brave, or may choose to be cowardly
“When a neurotic who has a pathological fear of cats picks up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God’s eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have in winning the V. C.”
Nice people may have done so little with their good upbringing that they are really worse than fiends. What would we have done if we had had the psychological makeup of, say, Himmler?
That is why we are told not to judge. God does not judge the raw material, God judges the choices made. And when he does so there may be surprises.
Every person is either slowly turning themselves into a heavenly thing or a hellish thing.
Christian writers seem very loose at one point (everything is forgivable) and at other times very strict (very severe even about thoughts). But the important thing is not the actions but the choices of the inner self. Some people just look funny when they give in to anger, others can get hundreds of people killed when they are angry. But every temptation given in to, regardless of its effects, will result in a person finding it harder to repent of the evil the next time and perform the right action.

7 comments:

Steven Carr said...

' Some people just look funny when they give in to anger, others can get hundreds of people killed when they are angry. But every temptation given in to, regardless of its effects, will result in a person finding it harder to repent of the evil the next time and perform the right action.'

So what counts is not whether you get angry or not, but whether you make a free will choice to act on that anger?

Don Jr. said...

How in the world did you get that from the quote you cited? And that's not a facetious question; I'd really like to know.

Steven Carr said...

Well, I was only trying to work out what Lewis was saying.

Not easy when you have sentences like ' But the important thing is not the actions but the choices of the inner self.'


Apparently, the actions are not correlated with the choices of the inner self.

Steven Carr said...

'When a neurotic who has a pathological fear of cats picks up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God’s eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have in winning the V. C.”'

How does Lewis know God values courage? Projection?

Don Jr. said...

Steven, "How in the world did you get that from the quote you cited?" is what I asked. I'd still like to know. (And the additional quote you referenced doesn't explain your statements either.)

Edward T. Babinski said...

"Every person is either slowly turning themselves into a heavenly thing or a hellish thing." Lewis

Such a statement is far too simplistic.

Moreover, regardless of people turning toward heaven or hell, isn't God the ultimate infinite teacher? Satan and the cosmos are finite in their intelligence and abilities to tempt. Therefore, an infinitely wise God, the creator of all things and with all power to teach at his disposal should have little difficulty teaching everyone of the truth of infinite beauty and the beauty of infinite truth since all the rest is mere finite illusion and finite falsity.

Anonymous said...

Ed,

we know nothing of the difficulties even an omnipotent God may have, when he chooses to limit his omnipotence to make room for created beings with (at least a certain degree of) free will. Your scenario makes me think of "The world of Mr. Rogers" - however appealing it may be to some, it does not seem to be what God was aiming at.

Rasmus Møller (lost password)
Of course, the very idea of free will has its own difficulties, if seen from the viewpoint of philosophical naturalism.