Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Abolition of Man

In this book, C.S. Lewis is proposing the idea that our educators are slowly decreasing the moral value of students by placing less and less emphasis on the Moral Law, which he refers to as Tao. The main focus of my small group's discussion revolved around whether this Moral Law actually does exist. This will be the focus of my blog today as well.

I began to question this theory of the Moral Law when I realized what Lewis was arguing against in this piece. He argues against teaching a separate and different set of values to children. However, this in and of itself implies that these values must be taught or else they become lost. Isn't the Moral Law "written on our hearts"? How can we lose something such as this? If we must be taught to disobey, are we not also then taught to obey? 

When searching for an answer, I turned to my own life for help. I was taught right and wrong by my parents (or at least that is what I think). They presumably also learned from their parents, teachers, and experiences. Where did this idea of right and wrong come from? In my case, my parents believed the Bible and taught its words as a "moral law." Where did the laws of the Bible come from? They came from God. But what about other cultures? Does this same reasoning apply? Children being taught by parents is certainly the case worldwide. However, the source of those values may take a different form, such as a Muslim using the Koran. Yet in most core beliefs, such as the right of a person to live, all cultures agree. This leaves us with two options. Either God has given us his Law, a Moral Law, in our hearts and therefore also in the hearts of the people writing other "holy" books, or God inspired the "holy" books of other religions as well. Since Christianity calls for One Way, One Truth, and One Life, the second option cannot be correct. 

This leads me to believe in the Moral Law, but there are other unanswered questions that I still must deal with as well. At least for now, I can agree with Lewis when he says that this Moral Law must still be kept in a place of honor.


  1. Dear Sarah,

    Your comment is a very valid one. There is a ‘part’ of the moral law that is related to teaching; i.e. the ‘interpretation’ of this intrinsic moral law, that’s up to each culture’s teachers (what a responsibility for the mothers of each society!). It is this interpretation that creates the discordances, that we live in and the variation of this underlying moral law. In the abolition of man Lewis mentions this when he quotes that he would rather have a poor and simple man that still lives by this law rather than a ‘passionate, creative’, etc educated man. We cannot only live by our volitional instincts, the ‘obedience of impulse’ it is following goodness: God is Goodness.
    However, I will also have to continue my journey towards the full understanding of these issues. I am looking forward for the day that I will be able to listen at my Creator’s feet!
    God bless,
    a & p

  2. You stated that "if we must be taught to disobey, are we not also taught to obey?" Are you really saying that we must be taught to disobey or are you using a hypothetical situation. Personally I do not believe a child has to be taught to disobey. I think disobedience is part of our sinful nature. I cannot remember seeing any parent teaching their child to disobey them. but certainly we must be taught to obey them either through receiving punishment or learning through the consequences of disobedience.
    I know this was not a main point in your blog, but it caught my attention. If this was a hypothetical situation from the reading I am sorry for rambling on.
    I also found it difficult to understand exactly where Lewis believed the moral law originated. If it was an extension of God's law or something else, but I agree it should "be kept in a place of honor."

  3. You are right when you say that we disobey because of our sinful nature. What I was trying to get across is that if a child can be taught a different sort of "moral law," then how can there be a singular Moral Law? I should not have said that in that way. sorry to be confusing!