# 2 Chapter 2 of Mere Christianity: Objections

Remembering that these were originally radio broadcasts,

Lewis has received some objections to his thesis that God

puts a moral law within the souls of humans.

I OBJECT!

A good apologist knows how to handle objections.

So in chapter 2, Lewis “wants to stop and make his foundation firm”

before continuing.

So he addresses these objections one by one.

In this, Lewis shows us a wise apologist.

He listens so carefully that he can repeat back to his objector

his argument so clearly that the objector knows he has been heard —

and then and only then does he attempt to dismantle the argument.

Listen to just the first two minutes of this video,

and then tell us the first two steps of overcoming objections.

(Though the context is sales, this works for anything!)

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above? 

2. Can you think of a couple of reasons to read good apologists like Lewis? 

3. What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?

4. How well do you do this? Give an illustration of when you did this well or poorly.

Monday: Objection: Morality is just the “herd instinct.” (Paragraphs 1-2)

5. Read the first paragraph of Chapter 2. What does Lewis want to do before he continues and why? 

The first objection is that the “moral law” of which Lewis speaks, is really just the “herd instinct.” We have an animal instinct to do what the majority does.

 With humans, the thought is, if the majority of humans around you are helping others, then the “herd instinct” will make you want to help. If the majority of humans  around you are avoiding cocaine, the “herd instinct” will cause you to avoid cocaine. Some philosophers said, “This is not the law of God in your heart, this is the herd instinct.”

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Read paragraph 2 of chapter 2.

5. Here Lewis lists the objection of herd instinct. How do you see Lewis first both listening and affirming his objector?

Now Lewis begins to dismantle the objection, talking about two conflicting impulses, using the example of a man in danger crying for help. The herd instinct may make you want to help, and the self-preservation instinct may make you want to run away.

6. In this second paragraph Lewis talks about a third impulse. What is it?

 

7. Can you give an example of a “herd instinct” that seems immoral to you? Why do you think it seems immoral to you?

 

Tuesday: The Third Impulse (paragraphs 3-5)

Read the third paragraph beginning with “Another way of seeing…”)

8. Lewis brings up the point that the moral law doesn’t always tell us to suppress the herd instinct, nor does it always tell us to suppress the self-preservation instinct. Sometimes, for example, sexual instinct is good, and sometimes it is bad. What point is Lewis making?

 

Read the fourth paragraph beginning with “Here is a third way of seeing it.”

9. When he opens this paragraph, he uses logic to show why the Moral Law could not be one of our instincts. What is it? Share an illustration he gives.

 

Read the fifth paragraph beginning with “By the way, the point is of great practical consequence.”

10. What does Lewis say is the “most dangerous thing you can do” and why? Can you give an illustration?

Wednesday-Thursday:

Morality is Just Social Convention Put Into Us By Education

Read from the 6th paragraph beginning with: “Other people wrote…” all the way to the end, underlining as you read. This is heavy, but if you can get his main point, that will be wonderful!

11. Lewis differentiates between two kinds of things that are taught – things that may be invented by humans, such as driving on the left side of the road, and things that are not, such as math. To which kind of thing does he believe the moral law belongs?

 

12. What two reasons does he give for the moral law being in the category of things that are not human invention?

 

13. If moral law is due to education, then the most moral civilizations on earth should be the most educated ones. Do you think that is true? Give an illustration, if possible.

 

 

Friday: Ponderings:

Let’s consider a very educated country in the time of Lewis: Germany in World War II. In the historical fiction novel, Lilac Girls, one of the three women was Herta, based on Herta Oberheuser, a Nazi doctor who performed horrendous experiments in Ravensbruck on the Jewish prisoners. Herta was caught between the herd instinct and the self-protective instinct. Though when she first arrived at the camp, she was shocked at how the prisoners were being treated, for her herd instinct (what her family and friends thought was wrong) deemed it immoral. But then she was told if she didn’t cooperate, they would imprison her family and put her to death. She began to justify the surgeries, and performed them.

15. Which instinct won? Can you empathize or not? Explain.

Herta as a young Nazi doctor

I6. Read or skim the following article and explain what happened to Herta after the war. How do you think Lewis would explain this considering that the two instincts opposed one another.

 

What Happened to Herta Oberheuser, the Only Woman Doctor at Ravensbruck, After She Was Released From Prison?

 

Saturday: 

17. What is your take-a-way this week and why?


 

 

 

COMMENTS (101) Post a New Comment ↓
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1. What stands out to you from the above?

 

I respect those who are good apologists, in whom an objection does not strike fear in their hearts! It often does mine, or I begin to feel foolish and lame and then, defeated. I feel I don’t have an answer. According to the above sales video, the man said that objections are not always bad, and the first step is to listen, really listen. He talked about not only listening with your ears, but with your eyes, too; observing body language for clues. Secondly, make sure you understand; namely, what is the question behind the question? (or what is the objection behind the objection) Ask them why they feel the way they do.

 

2. Can you think of a couple of reasons to read good apologists like Lewis?

 

First, I think reading good apologists can help you to solidify and strengthen your own beliefs and convictions, as if you were having a conversation with them, although a like-minded one. It’s when you’re reading and inside you’re feeling a resounding “yes”! Secondly, it can help you to talk to those who don’t believe as you do.

 

3. What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?

 

Listening and understanding. I guess it can’t be over-emphasized that listening is so important. I noted that he said that he didn’t even try to think what he was going to say to answer their objections while the person was speaking but that he was totally focused on what they were verbally and non-verbally saying.

 

4. How well do you do this? Give an illustration of when you did this well or poorly.

 

I often find that I am trying to formulate in my mind what I am going to say while the other person is speaking. It is sure a learning process! The other day, my daughter was telling me that she thinks that when she is “old enough, and not living at home anymore”, she wants to get a tattoo. She’s been giving it a lot of thought. I don’t really like tattoos, although my oldest son who is in the Navy has one, in an area that you wouldn’t see unless he removed his shirt. It is meaningful to him, though, and it is very well-done. It’s an anchor and hidden in the “wood” are the initials of both of his grandpas, because my dad was in the Navy and Marines in WWII, and my father-in-law was a Navy officer in the 60’s. That influenced his decision to join the Navy to go to medical school. He was about 24 when he got it, and told me beforehand that he was going to get it. It really didn’t bother me. So when my daughter began talking, I listened to her explain her thinking on it, why she wanted one, and her idea of what she wants, which has something to do with her two grandmas. I try to remember from Idol Lies the whole thing about control; if she wants a tattoo when she is an adult, I really cannot control her decision, and it won’t change the way I feel about her. If I had immediately shut her down, voiced my own opinions, etc… then she wouldn’t have opened up to me about her creative ideas and what is meaningful to her, and would be less likely in the future to talk to me about things. I think I handled that one well. However, there are many times when I jump in too fast and start to give my advice and opinions instead of listening and asking questions. When children are young, you often have to do the thinking for them, as in, it’s not safe to run into the street, period. But when they get older, it’s better to stop telling them what to think and do and instead, help them process things for themselves and give your advice when they ask for it.

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    Susan,  What great answers you gave and so early in the morning! I’ve had all day to mull over my answers and they aren’t nearly as well thought out and articulate as yours.

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Typical of you, Susan — an excellent post with such good points — and your illustration about your grown children and getting a tattoo was remarkable. I can imagine myself not responding so beautifully.

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3. What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?

The first two steps are listening – really listening to things like tone, body language – and understanding. I have heard it said many times before that we need to see the question behind the question. I almost always get stuck here. I just don’t naturally think that way. What does he even mean by the question behind the question. The man in the video seems to assume that we can quickly figure out what that is and respond to it. I feel sort of lost here.

    Reply

    I know. Sometimes I can, and sometimes I can’t! But I really liked what he said about objections being good — for that shows interest and pondering. I do think repeating what the person said back to them is wonderful — for it does show an earnest desire to listen and understand. I remember doing that with my niece about gay marriage — and I could hear between the lines that she was mainly wanting her friends to be happy — and that went into a deep dialogue. Jesus was a Master at this, but then, He was Jesus! :-)

      Reply

      Dee, yes. He had a good point about objections being good. And your example of your niece mainly just wanting her friends to be happy is a good example of understanding the motivation behind the objection on gay marriage.

        Thanks Diane — see Dawn’s below–  such a good illustration of hearing the question behind the question!

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2. Can you think of a couple of reasons to read good apologists like Lewis?
In reading good apologists like Lewis, one not only learns more in terms of knowledge, but also the art of responding to objections.  
3. What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?
1. Really, really, listen…listen with eyes and ears, fully attend to the speaker, be completely engaged in what s/he is saying.
2. Be aware of the “why” behind the objection.
4. How well do you do this? Give an illustration of when you did this well or poorly.
How well I do this is largely dependent on who I am speaking with.  It goes much better when I am speaking to some than others.  An illustration of it going poorly would be with my youngest daughter.  I often approach our conversations with the intention of wanting her to do something I think would be beneficial for her and/or her daughter.  Sometimes I don’t listen to her fully and find I have greater interest in getting my point across.  Although my heart is in the right place and my motivation is in her best interest, she is an adult person (26 years old) and I need to be more intentional in listening, really  listening…listening with my eyes, ears, and heart, and seeking the whys behind what she is saying.

    Reply

    Love your heart, Nanci.

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Sunday

1.  What stands out to you from the above?  It’s very important to listen to the objection but understanding it is even more important.  I find myself while listening trying to figure out what my come back will be, which distracts me from understanding.  I then loose the “why” behind their objection which I think is the motive.

2.  Can you think of a couple of reasons to read good apologists like Lewis?  To gain understanding and be able to give a defense.

3.  What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?  Listen and understand

4.  How well do you do this?  Give an illustration of when you did this well or poorly.  I am better with some people than others.  I don’t have an illustration that comes to mind but this has definitely given me something to think about.

 

Reply

Listen and understand. The first 2 and probably the hardest for me particularly when the topic is something I have strong opinions about. I am thinking right now of a professors lecture that Dee gave us a link to on intellectual hospitality. She also emphasized these 2-most especially emphasizing that all of us need to feel understood and acknowledged before presented with an objection or a counterargument.

A colleague of mine advises a debate team. She is big about the kids researching the other side’s point of view. Makes for a hearty exchange of thoughts without being obnoxious to each other.

it depends on who I am talking to. It seems like the closer tie I have with somebody, the more trouble I have with the first 2. Maybe because there have been patterns in our conversations that I expected a certain outcome?

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1. What stands out to you from the above?
I love that Lewis read letters that people wrote and responded to their objections.

2. Can you think of a couple of reasons to read good apologists like Lewis?
It gives me knowledge that I might otherwise not have and it lays it out in a way that makes sense.

3. What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?
Listen and understand

4. How well do you do this? Give an illustration of when you did this well or poorly.
I think I am getting better at it. I’m not sure if you meant an illustration of when I discussed a person’s objection to Christianity  or just in general. 
When dealing with my sons and their wives I have gotten much better at asking questions to make sure that I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes. I had one of my sons ask me some details about a holiday and I answered him. After I thought about it a second I asked him, “Are you asking because you want to know my idea or are you asking because with a two year old and a new baby you’re trying to decide if this plan that works for your family? Because  I’m totally flexible. I’d rather have everyone there than stick to my plan.” He said it was the latter and so I changed some things to make it more convenient for them.

 

    Reply

    Dawn — this is such a good illustration of hearing the question behind the question!

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    Dawn–you are such a great model in your answer to #4. Your heart was open to difference and flexible-so good.

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    Dawn, this is excellent! You definitely read between the lines with your son and understood that there was “a question behind his question”. I think we all often ask questions in order to gather information so that we can then make a decision about what we want to do. He could have easily decided that well, maybe we can’t attend because….but you changed your plans to accommodate because you asked!

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1. What stands out to you from the above? 
I don’t really know that I understand why theologians are called “apologists.” I think of apologizing for something. I can’t get that idea out of my head! Why are they called that?

 
2. Can you think of a couple of reasons to read good apologists like Lewis? 
I want to understand the Bible better. He was an intelligent man who could bring different perspectives to my pea brain.

 
3. What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?
Listening and understanding.

 
4. How well do you do this? Give an illustration of when you did this well or poorly.
Not very well, but I have gotten better over time. As I get older I have gotten quieter. I think I’m tired of talking. I find that I half listen to people often. It seems like I live in a whirlwind most of the time. I guess the poor example would be with my older son. He tells me things and I “forget.” Mostly it’s that I didn’t listen in the first place because I am either too busy or just don’t really care. That sounds bad, but he tends to talk a lot about sports and I’m not really into that topic. BTW Susan, I admire your idea of the tattoos, but I abhor them and could never have the conversations you did with your kids! Good for you! There is something about tattoos I really can’t stand and, of course, my older son just had to go and get so many all over his body. If we had stayed in the south when he was a teen I think it wouldn’t have panned out the way it did moving to New England. It seems that trendy things tend to begin up here. I can barely stand to look at him because he just looks dirty to me. And then I go thinking about how I took care of that little body all those years; how could he do that to himself?? Anyway, I can’t think of an example where I listened well and tried to understand. I guess that’s something I need to work on.

    Reply

    Really good question on what apologist means — I did some research — comes from a Greek word (I think apologia) meaning speaking in defense. That makes me think the word apology is off, if it is from that — for that is not what an apology should be, but unfortunately, often is.

    Reply

    Laura, I probably would have had more of a problem if my son had gotten many tattoos that were visible! His is on his torso, kind of on his side. When I see people with the “sleeves” and lots of tattoos, it’s hard to look past them at the person. I often think, why not really look at them and ask questions: why did you get that, what was your idea, why is it significant to you….  My own thoughts are, just like I wouldn’t want to wear the same shirt every day or the same necklace, I think I would get tired of a tattoo, but you can’t take it off (without a lot of expense and pain).

      Reply

      Yes, I agree. In my sons case, I believe it is his addictive personality that makes him do it to himself; that runs in my family. I suppose there are many other (bad) things he could be addicted to in this world, right? I am getting better (not much) at looking at him – not full on though. I wish I weren’t so disapproving of his choices but I just can’t help myself.

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    Laura, as usual, love your honesty & realness…#4

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5. Read the first paragraph of Chapter 2. What does Lewis want to do before he continues and why?

He wants to make the idea of the law of human nature/not behaving with the law in mind, a firm foundation because people were writing to him apparently not understanding his thoughts.

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5a. What does Lewis want to do before continuing and why?
Lewis wants to firm up the foundation of truth he has established; he wants to make sure that those hearing/reading adequately understand his premise.

5b. Lewis lists the objection of herd instinct–how do you see Lewis first both listening and affirming his objectors?
Lewis shows that he is truly listening by restating the valid points of the herd instinct objection.  Lewis expresses his comprehension of their points and moves on to analyzing the herd instinct objection.

6. In the second paragraph Lewis talks about a third impulse–what is it?
The thing that judges between instincts, motivates us to choose one instinct over another.

7. Give an example of a “herd instinct” that seems immoral to you–why do you think it seems immoral to you?
The Fifty Shades of Grey craze…from all I have heard, fifty shades is trashy, soft porn, yet it has made oodles of money and gained quite a following.  I have heard numerous women raving about the books and movies as if it is common place entertainment, no big deal.  In my opinion, it takes God’s gift of sexuality and makes it into something scandalous and trashy.

    Reply

    Great example, Nanci!  Shades of Grey. Even the title, I think, implies the lure of the forbidden.

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    Nanci, your answer to #7 is excellent.   and one of the most surprising & sad things I’ve read in regard to what you said, is that Christian women are included in that same group of 50 Shades readers!

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Monday

5a.  Read the first paragraph of Chapter 2.  What does Lewis want to do before he continues and why?  He wanted to make sure that the Law of Nature was understood because of letters he’d received from people having difficulty understanding it.

5b.  Here Lewis lists the objections of herd instinct.  How do you see Lewis first both listening and affirming his objectors?  He acknowledges the people that wrote to him and states what their question is.  He then goes on to say that he doesn’t deny the herd instinct but that is not what he means and explains what he does mean.

6.  In this second paragraph Lewis talks about a third impulse.  What is it?  The impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to run away.

7.  Can you give an example of a “herd instinct” that seems immoral to you?  Why do you think it seems immoral to you?   Living together before marriage or not getting married at all.   They are committing sexual immorality in the eyes of the Lord.

    Reply

    Good example — living together.

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5. Here Lewis lists the objection of herd instinct. How do you see Lewis first both listening and affirming his objector?

 

Lewis agrees there is a herd instinct. He also agrees there is a self preservation instinct. But, he then goes on to consider a third instinct; an intrinsic one that judges between the two others.

 

6. In this second paragraph Lewis talks about a third impulse. What is it?

 

It it is an instinct that judges between the two others.

 
7. Can you give an example of a “herd instinct” that seems immoral to you? Why do you think it seems immoral to you?
 

The whole legalizing pot debate. I think some people might need it for their medical issues, but then why don’t they just put it in a pill form? I think it’s just a way for some people to (legally) have it to smoke for recreation. I know people who don’t have medical issues that have gone to a doctor for a prescription and have gotten it. It’s ridiculous and some people are lying. It seems to me we have a generation of people who are already struggling to get a  job and out of their parents’ basements. Why would we want those same folks smoking pot??

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    Laura — you say this is hard, but look how clearly you answered 6 and what a great illustration you gave.

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    Laura, when I worked in oncology, we did give Marinol, a pill form of marijuana. I’m not sure if it’s still prescribed anymore.

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      I’m glad to know this Susan; thanks!

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    Laura-I think this book is right up your ally-and I thought it might be so I was expecting great posts and bam here you are. :) I have been reading your posts and you are getting it. For me if I am at all it is because Dee is going slow. We were going over Moral Law arguments in our Apologetics class and I used this chapter without fully processing the 2 instincts and the 3rd thing- the regulator-moral law..I was able to explain it to everyone last week, but still hadn’t quite nailed that the regulator is the moral law. I just called it judgment that God gave us to emphasize or suppress our two instincts which animals don’t have. Anyway, I am a processor so I have to have time-or my brain has become a bit dull over the years and needs exercise.   :)

      Reply

      I’m sure I am understanding because we are going at a snails pace! Also I tend to read, re-read, and re-read over and over again. Thanks for the encouraging words though!

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1.  What stood out? I am always telling my husband that I want him to really listen to me. That means to rephrase back what I said, and to ask clarification questions. Do I do that? I try to with him, or with good friends. Not so much with others. It is like I don’t trust others to understand me, so I don’t try very hard to understand them.

 

2.  Good apologists get me off dead center and help me want to talk to others about faith in Christ. I in find them encouragement and equipping. I wish I had a personal trainer! Someone who would who watch me and give me positive critique, encouraging me to do/be better.

 

3.  Two points…Really listen, both with the auditory sense, but also with body language. Give it enough time. And…make sure you really understand, especially the ‘why’ of their objection. Why do they feel this way or have this objection ?

 

4.  How well do I do this? On a scale of one to ten, I’d say a two or three. I don’t listen hard enough and for sure don’t ask enough questions to clarify their thoughts. I am much too quick to move on.  I don’t think I have an illustration. With controversial subjects, I am always afraid someone would wrongly think me in their camp if I seemed to really ‘get’ them. I am also afraid to lose control of the conversation, thinking the other would turn things in the wrong direction. How stupid is that? Because a conversation might go nowhere, I camp at nowhere from the start!

    Reply

    So honest, Mary.

    I like your point about listening with body language as well. So good.

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1. What stands out to you from the above? 
Listening so well that you know the other person’s position maybe even better than they do. :)
2. Can you think of a couple of reasons to read good apologists like Lewis? 
Because we will encounter non-believers, pantheists, atheists etc. in our circles whether it be in our families including those under our own roof. Also we need to be thoughtful in how we listen and answer, and reading good apologists helps us learn how to study what they believe to know it well, listen and respond.  I mean just asking questions when someone makes a statement as to how they arrived at that opinion is a huge start.
3. What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?
Objections usually mean they are pondering and interested which is good so objections are helpful more than hurtful, so remembering that will help us to be ready to listen which is the first step and then understanding is the second step.  Understanding is listening so well that you can repeat back what they said and ask better questions to know what they believe and why. It has to be a sincere desire to know why they believe what they believe. Reading apologists or watching how they respond in debates is helpful as well.
4. How well do you do this? Give an illustration of when you did this well or poorly.
1. Poorly: This person who is learned only from high school, some college and you tube videos, was convinced that when someone comes to know the Lord and they change it is totally in the brain-experiential and not really the Holy Spirit. Instead of asking questions as to why he believes that and really asking for evidences of that, I was put on the defensive and gave my personal testimony and then gave the Apostle Paul’s testimony, and then gave other testimonies I know about. He came back unconvinced and said it was all experiential and not real and literally told me that I didn’t truly experience this and it was just in my brain. I became defensive and upset and asked how he can say that. He isn’t me!

2. How I have responded well-kind of- I am still learning and God is still awakening my lazy brain-but it is coming alive. :) Last night I had a conversation on the way home from our community group with one of my sons who wanted to engage saying he overheard us role playing. (We were role playing in our group for we are being taught by a professor who teaches apologetics and he helped us through it. One of us was the Christian and the other the atheist. As scary as it was it was such a good idea it helped us to listen and ask questions. We will find inconsistencies in their belief when we really listen.

Anyway, my son said he thinks some morality is relative and gave gay marriage as an example so then I listened and started asking questions to dig a little deeper to find out why he believes what he believes. It led to me asking where we get our standard of morality as a culture. Who determines within Moral relativism what is hurtful to an individual and or culture? Where does your sense of right and wrong and justice come from? Then we drilled down and I asked him what is a moral standard and who does he think decides that? That is how we drilled down to why he thinks that way, instead of answering and preaching which is what we used to do. So while I by no means have my sin nature under control in regard to being fearful of engaging or truly listening, it is a start. :)

    Reply

    Rebecca – I loved your description of listening well to your son.

    And this was such a good point that you caught from the above video:

    Objections usually mean they are pondering and interested which is good so objections are helpful more than hurtful, so remembering that will help us to be ready to listen 

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8. Lewis brings up the point that the moral law doesn’t always tell us to suppress the herd instinct, nor does it always tell us to suppress the self-preservation instinct. Sometimes, for example, sexual instinct is good, and sometimes it is bad. What point is Lewis making?  

 

This is is where the circular thinking is starting for me. I’m not sure yet that I agree that there is even a herd instinct yet! I’m usually an independent thinker; I don’t think I have the herd instinct. I can’t stand trendy things for example. The fit bit rage is annoying right now!

I’m not sure of his point. He says the moral law usually “sides” with the weaker instinct; in his example it would be the idea that you want to protect yourself, not save the drowning man. He also says that the moral law can make an instinct stronger over another so a decision to help the drowning man becomes the stronger of the two instincts.

Is he saying we have choices or decisions to make that are important and the “moral law” wins out most often for most people?

 

9. When he opens this paragraph, he uses logic to show why the Moral Law could not be one of our instincts. What is it? Share an illustration he gives.

 

He says the moral law is the directive to our impulses. He says if the moral law was one of our instincts we should always be able to find the good impulse. We don’t.

I’m not sure I agree again. I think the moral law is in each of us instinctively. It’s whether we choose it or not that we use it.

 

Anyway, an example he uses is mother love or patriotism, versus sexual desire and fighting. He says one looks more noble then the other (mother love and patriotism)  but sometimes they are not. It’s vice versa for the sexual desire and fighting…sometimes these are necessary to use, but less so than the former ideas.

 

 

10. What does Lewis say is the “most dangerous thing you can do” and why? Can you give an illustration?

 

He says the most dangerous thing is to set up an impulse that you agree to follow at all costs (a principle). Even the love of humanity will fail if tested.

 

Example? I guess the impulse that my kids would be good upstanding citizens because I raised them “right.” I set myself up for failure. It reminds me of the idea that Radar had about Hawk Eye in the show MASH. He had put Hawk Eye in this pedestal because he was an excellent surgeon. Hawk Eye corrected him telling him that he was just human and could fail at any time. It seems like a good thing but it isn’t reality.

I’m not sure I’m answering these correctly; I feel like I’m reading SOS or Jesus’ parables here…

    Reply

    I love it that you are really thinking — and challenging, Laura. I do see a herd instinct in doing what the world does, and listening to the world. But we are not to be conformed to this world, so that should dull our herd instinct. I find this verse from 1 John interesting:

     

    They (unbelievers) are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world and listen to the world. We are from God. Whoever is from God listens to us, (the disciples) whoever is not from God does not listen to us.

    I think the herd instinct and self protective instinct, can definitely over-rule the moral law. God has given light to every man who comes into the world, John tells us, but Paul tells us that can be dulled as it is ignored.

     

    Reply

    Laura you asked, “I’m not sure of his point. He says the moral law usually “sides” with the weaker instinct; in his example it would be the idea that you want to protect yourself, not save the drowning man. He also says that the moral law can make an instinct stronger over another so a decision to help the drowning man becomes the stronger of the two instincts.

    Is he saying we have choices or decisions to make that are important and the “moral law” wins out most often for most people?” and “I’m not sure I agree again. I think the moral law is in each of us instinctively. It’s whether we choose it or not that we use it.”

    He’s addressing the people who say that there is no moral law, nothing that tells you right from wrong that we act solely on instinct, impulses or what you’ve been taught. To those people he asks, If a man is drowning (or trapped in a burning building at or starving in a famine) you have 2 choices-save the person (go into the burning building, give food from your own families limited rations to a stranger) or don’t save them.  A person going solely on instinct will not risk their lives to save another person, yet unless they suffer from a mental disorder such as being a sociopath, they know that they SHOULD try to save the person. Saving them would be the weaker instinct (the one that risks their safety) and no not all people will go with the weaker instinct, but the fact that it crossed their mind that maybe they SHOULD is what he is stating is the moral law that we as humans have. And it exists outside of instinct and impulses.

    The stronger your belief that moral law exists or the stronger the moral law within you is the more you will choose the weaker instinct.

    Herd instinct (or herd mentality) would be the people that would say that a person is right not to risk their own life (what good would it be if you both end up dead?) or the people who stand by and watch something happen, but do nothing about it because no one else is either. Or worse yet, video the whole thing instead of doing anything to help.

    And of course if it was your child drowning you would most likely charge into the water to save them without thinking anything, if you have even a modicum of the mother’s love instinct.

    We’ve all seen or heard of horrible things that have happened to people at the hands of someone else and we wonder why didn’t anyone DO anything to help? It’s moral law that makes us ask that question.

     

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5.  What does Lewis want to do before moving on and why. Lewis wants to have listeners understand him clearly. He wants this foundation thought that there is a moral law or conscience to be agreed upon. He doesn’t want leave people behind, particularly those who were interested enough to write in.

When I think of herd instinct, I think of fashion or something like that. Who wants to wear something from 80 years ago, or really different from what others are wearing. I say that as someone who does wear things from forty years ago, and doesn’t much care. The very fact that most of us shower daily is herd instinct. You don’t want to offend or stand out negatively.

I agree that herd mentality or instinct can play a part in morality. But I am not so sure that it can be original. I think it needs an original moral to either emphasize or react against. In most cultures throughout history, sex outside of marriage has been frowned on , sometimes severely so. The same with homosexuality. We have yet to see a culture survive for long while embracing the later.

 

second 5.  Lewis right away defines herd instinct, and then goes on to say that what he has in mind is different. He then gives examples.

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    Love your analogies here Mary; fashion, showering, sex outside of marriage, and homosexuality.

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8. Lewis brings up the point that the moral law doesn’t always tell us to suppress the herd or self-preservation instincts, sometimes it [instinct] is good and sometimes it is bad.  What point is Lewis making?
Lewis is making the point that what causes one to favor an instinct that is good over an instinct that is bad cannot in itself be an instinct.

9. When Lewis opens this paragraph, he uses logic to show why the moral law could not be one of our instincts. What is it? Share an illustration given.
An instinct is never always good or always bad; instincts are good and bad in different contexts.  What directs one towards appropriate impulses is the moral law.

An illustration Lewis uses is the piano…there are no piano keys that are always right or wrong; right and wrong keys depend on the musical score.  The musical score would be analogous in directing music as the moral law is to directing human impulses.

10. What does Lewis say is “the most dangerous thing you can do” and why?  
Lewis says that the most dangerous thing one can do is to set up an impulse as an absolute guide, something that is to be followed in all circumstances.  There is no impulse that is always right or wrong; the appropriateness of an impulse is dependent upon the circumstances, the context.

Can you give an illustration?
The illustration I’m thinking of is the helpful parent.  Children need to know that their parents are their “soft place to fall”, people they can turn to for support and encouragement…this helps a child to feel secure and gives them courage to take risks, meet challenges head on, etc.  If a parent is too helpful, the help can restrict the child’s growth and ability in being independent.  It may enable irresponsibility and not allow the child to make mistakes that will provide valuable life lessons.

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    Nanci — I didn’t understand his piano key illustration until you explained it!

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6.  Lewis talks about a third impulse, which gives a judgement on the instinct. Your conscience, or moral law, tells you that one action is wrong, giving you a red light. It will also tell you when an instinct is right, a green light. I was intrigued by his illustration of the piano, and you helped me understand it, Nanci. Thank you.

 

7.  Herd instinct being immoral? I would say our society’s consensus on both abortion and gay marriage. People go along because they keep hearing that it is OK, normal, no big deal, until they believe it. It was the push of opinion that got them there. Like Herta in Lilac Girls, getting desensitized to all the killing. She heard often enough that the prisoners were not really people.

 

8.  Lewis makes the point that conscience is separate from instinct. It will try to strengthen the right instinct, and encourage us to do the better thing in God’s eyes.

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Tuesday

8.  Lewis brings up the point that the moral law doesn’t always tell us to suppress the herd instinct, nor does it always tell us to suppress the self-preservation instinct.  Sometimes, for example sexual instincts is good, and sometimes it is bad.  What point is Lewis making? 🤔  Every time I think I understand what the answer may be I get caught up on the word instinct.  The noun instinct means “a way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is not learned; a natural desire or tendency that makes you want to act in a particular way.”   The moral law kicks in to help us decide the right thing to do when dealing with the herd or self-preservation instinct.  I don’t know if I’ve totally missed the boat with understanding all this…I have a simple mind!

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    I think of instinct has something animals have as well — both to run with the herd and the instinct to protect themselves. But they don’t have the 3rd, the moral law, telling them which one they should choose. That helps me understand — does it you?

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      Yes Dee, it really does and Susan’s illustration of the story of  Kitty Genovese helped too!  Thank you, I was really feeling bogged down by all this and it wasn’t as difficult as I was trying to make it!

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      Really helpful to me also Dee, thanx.

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Getting back to the blog tonight. Had about 40 people for a family reunion at our house on Sunday so I’m a slow starter this week. 😊
Sunday:
1. What stands out to you from the above? 

The comment “So in chapter 2 Lewis “wants to stop and make his foundation firm” before continuing.   He doesn’t dismiss the objections made to him but seeks to lay solid groundwork for his argument. 

2. Can you think of a couple of reasons to read good apologists like Lewis? 

To help us learn from their ways of reasoning and addressing arguments and objections to points made regarding truth. 

3. What are the first two steps in overcoming objections according to the above lecture?

(1.) Really listen with ears and eyes to what the objector is communicating. 
(2.) Make sure you understand the question behind the question or objection behind the objection. 

4. How well do you do this? Give an illustration of when you did this well or poorly.

I struggle greatly with being a good listener.  My habits are bad in this regard.  It has been a source of frustration in our marriage and I have to work hard at it.  My failures far exceed my doing it well.   In my older age I try hard to listen to my grandchildren to make them feel important and valued to me.  And when I am in a mentoring situation I work at doing the same with younger women. Recognizing they have the need to “feel” heard. 
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Monday: 
5. Read the first paragraph of Chapter 2. What does Lewis want to do before he continues and why? 

To make his foundation firm before he goes on with his arguments and have clear thinking about his premise. 

5. Here Lewis lists the objection of herd instinct. How do you see Lewis first both listening and affirming his objector?

He acknowledges their point and enlarges on the meaning of herd instinct giving it validity but then describes how that is different from what he means. 

6. In this second paragraph Lewis talks about a third impulse. What is it?

He calls it the thing that judges between two instincts that decides which one should be encouraged. In other words the Moral Law. 

 
7. Can you give an example of a “herd instinct” that seems immoral to you? Why do you think it seems immoral to you?

It seems to me in the whole realm of sexuality that immortality is rampant within our culture.  Many today base their sexuality and their actions regarding it on the prevalent thinking of our culture which is herd instinct.  Why does it seem immoral to me? Because the affects are devastating in so many lives. Moral standards regarding sexuality offer great protection to marriage, parenting and personal health (emotional and physical).  But the bottom line for me is that I believe something to be immoral when it goes against God’s standards as outlined in His Word. 

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5. Read the first paragraph of chapter 2. What does Lewis want to do before he continues and why?

 

Lewis had just asserted that the foundation for everything is: there is a law of human nature and everyone breaks it. So beginning in chapter 2, he says that he must make this foundation firm before continuing. There have been objections raised, and if he can’t answer them, there’s no use in continuing. If we were building a new house, and the builder couldn’t convince us that our foundation was solid, firm, without defect, we wouldn’t allow the rest of the home to be built on top of it. If Lewis can’t prove his foundation is right and firm, anything else he asserts will eventually collapse.

 

5. Here Lewis lists the objection of herd instinct. How do you see Lewis first both listening and affirming his objector?

 

Lewis models listening and affirming because he doesn’t just dismiss this objection right away, or call it silly or untrue. In fact, he begins by saying that he doesn’t deny that we do indeed have some instincts, like an instinct to eat.

 

6. In this second paragraph, Lewis talks about a third impulse. What is it?

 

In the example between trying to decide whether to help the man in danger or to run away and preserve your own life, Lewis says there is a third thing that tells you that you ought to follow the instinct to help the man and suppress the desire to run away. This thing is separate and different from the two impulses or instincts, because it acts as a judge between the two.

 

7. Can you give an example of a “herd instinct” that seems immoral to you? Why do you think it seems immoral to you?

 

As I was answering the last question, the case of the murder of Kitty Genovese, in New York, I believe, came to mind. I think this happened years and years ago, but the story is that a young woman was returning at night to her apartment and a man attacked her. She was screaming  for help, and some of the neighbors in the building opened their windows and yelled and so the man ran away. However, he had, I think, already stabbed her, and when no one actually came out of the building to help, or even yelled that they were calling the police, he returned and finished killing her. How horrible for Kitty, that no one came to her rescue! I thought about this because I thought: where was that “third thing” that would override these people’s instinct to protect themselves and let this woman die before their eyes? I think people closed their windows. It was reported that no one called the police. So this “herd instinct” was all these people sticking together to be cowardly and not help this woman. It seems immoral to me. The residents outnumbered the one man; surely if many had yelled that they were coming out, and “you’d better get away from her”, the man would have fled. He did run away at first when he thought they were going to help, but came back when he realized they were not. Was it disinterest, desensitization to human life-had they witnessed other crimes in the past, a plain old lack of caring, or self-preservation/we don’t want to get involved? I would have felt a terrible guilt for not helping. I think they could have saved her but they chose not to.

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    Great illustration, Susan.

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8. Lewis brings up the point that the moral law doesn’t always tell us to suppress the herd instinct, nor does it always tell us to suppress the self-preservation instinct. Sometimes, for example, sexual instinct is good, and sometimes it is bad. What point is Lewis making?
The moral law inside us tells us either to suppress or encourage our instincts. So for example with sex there are times our instinct needs to be encouraged or suppressed. For a single man or woman it will need to be suppressed until they get married, and it will need to be encouraged during seasons when their desire for sex might be low.

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    Great example with sex, Rebecca.

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9.  Lewis says that instinct isn’t open and shut. An action could be good in one circumstance but not in another. Conscience looks deeper and directs the individual toward making a tune we call goodness. When we have conflicting thoughts on an issue, without conscience you’d just go with the stronger instinct, but we often go with the lesser one because of the force of conscience on it. He gives the example of following written music. You play a particular note at one time, but not at another.

 

10.  The most dangerous thing you can do is to take one particular impulse and follow it always and at all costs. That leads to cruelty and treachery. I think of the Civil War. The south came under the banner of states rights and were blind to the other arguments.

 

11.  We learn some laws that are man made, like what side of the road to drive on. Some are not man made, like math. Lewis points out that the moral law, or conscience, is not man made.

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    I really like your answer to question 9…especially, “conscience looks deeper and directs the individual toward making a tune we call goodness.”

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Tuesday

9.  When he opens this paragraph, he uses logic to show why the Moral Law could not be one of our instincts.  What is it?  Share an illustration he gives.  If the Moral Law was one of our instincts, we ought to be able to point to some one impulse inside us which was always what we call ‘good’, always in agreement with the rule of right behavior.  It is a mistake to think that some of our impulses – say mother love – is good, and others like sex are bad.

10.  What does Lewis say is the “most dangerous thing you can do” and why?  Can you give an illustration?  The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs.  There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide.  I think of Jack the Ripper, Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy and many other monsters that this points to.

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11. Lewis differentiates between two kinds of things that are taught – things that may be invented by humans, such as driving on the left side of the road, and things that are not, such as math. To which kind of thing does he believe the moral law belongs?

I think he believes it belongs to more factual things like math. I posed this question to my agnostic friend today, asking her to think about what she thought about the moral “code.” I wanted her to think on it awhile and get back to me. She initially said she used to think that people were taught right from wrong by their parents but as she gets older she doesn’t think that way anymore. I am not sure I understand this but the way I read his point is that things like driving on one side versus the other means you can choose; it doesn’t really matter. However, math is math; there is no choice. I think he thinks the moral law is what it is.

 

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    Yes — not a matter of personal preference — like gravity.

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12.  Because the moral law tends to run closely through different cultures and times, we can see that it is not man made. And when we look at different cultures, making judgements about which is better, the implication is that there is a standard independent of either culture.

 

13.  If moral law equaled education, then cultures with little education should be the least moral, and the most educated should be the most upright. Nazi Germany was extremely educated. They had good universities, tremendous minds, music, a cry cultured people. Yet they followed Hitler and didn’t follow the moral law.

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10. What does Lewis say is the “most dangerous thing you can do” and why? Can you give an illustration?

Our impulses aren’t good or bad so, as he gave with the illustration of the piano, when we restrain and encourage them daily as we walk along the way it creates this beautiful tune-all together. But if we emphasize one impulse over all the others at all costs not considering the situation we are in then we can become treacherous. His example of Human love at all costs is a great one for it sounds good to emphasize it but then you leave out justice and I think it will lead to sin – breaking laws, leaving out evidence in trial, hurting the victims.

My illustration: Keeping the peace in every situation I am in-I bend toward that and at times at all costs even when my judgment -the regulator between my two instincts encourages me to suppress it. It is a good impulse but emphasizing it can turn into ignoring things that need to be addressed for the good of everyone involved. So if I ignore a criticism or argument then it actually causes the problem to increase and no one grows and learns. It can also train me to lose my capacity to problem solve and think through issues. It can even cause me to not do the hard work of defending myself and worse yet not want to defend the truth like what we are learning here! :)

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    I hope I didn’t confuse in my illustration. My regulator is the moral law inside that helps me suppress or encourage my instincts. :)

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      I thought it was good!

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11. To which does Lewis believe the moral law belongs?
That which is not invented; that which is consistent regardless of circumstances (e.g., place, time).

12. What two reasons does Lewis give for moral law being in the category of things not of human invention?
1. consistency over time and place, and
2. there is a measure for comparison, a standard for measuring against.

13. If moral law is due to education, then the most moral would be the most educated–do you think this true? Give an illustration.
No, I don’t believe it is true…I believe that moral law can be taught and modeled in a way that impacts other to an extent, but there is still human choice, free will.  An illustration is bullying…America would be considered one of the most educated countries, and America’s children are taught that bullying is wrong, yet bullying continues among children and adults.

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    Bullying is a great illustration, Nanci.

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Dee, I am so glad that you recommended Lilac Girls…I picked the book up last weekend.

15. Which instinct won?
self-preservation

Can you empathize or not?
oh dear, what a horrendous decision…Herda knew that the Nazis weren’t bluffing and would kill her and persecute her family if she did not comply, yet to be a part of the in-human treatment, torment and cruelty towards innocent people…if she didn’t comply, the Nazis would have found another means, but to be involved in such evil…yes, I can empathize, no easy decision.

16. Explain what happened to Herta.
After the Nazi collapse, Herta was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her war crimes, of which she served five and was released.  After her release, she returned to a private medical practice where she was recognized as a Nazi doctor/surgeon who had conducted unethical experiments on prisoners.  Legal steps were taken to revoke Herta’s medical license.  Herta fought through the judicial system to keep her medical license while continuing a medical practice.  She ended up having her medical license revoked, no longer being allowed to practice medicine.

How do you think Lewis would explain this considering that the two instincts opposed each other?
I think Lewis would explain that Herta justified her involvement with a self-preservation argument, i.e., being forced to participate in the experiments or the consequence being her murder and her family’s persecution.  Herta knew that what she was doing was wrong, otherwise there would be no need for her to be forced to participate.

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    Good point — otherwise there would be no need to force her to participate!

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Please explain to me how an impulse can be neither good or bad…impulse is different from instinct and I feel the two being used interchangeably!  Totally confused 🙆‍♀️…help!!

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    I think “impulse” is prompted by instinct. Lewis kind of explains it at the beginning of the chapter…

    “We all know what it feels like to be prompted by instinct … It means that you feel a strong want or desire to act in a certain way.”

    He explains…

    “Supposing you hear a cry for help … You will probably feel two desires [impulse]–one a desire to give help (due to your herd instinct), the other a desire to keep out of danger (due to the instinct for self-preservation).”

    This is how I am understand the difference. Hope it helps…😊

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    Sharon — I think Nanci did a good job.

    And there are times herd instinct goes along with the moral law, as in a desire to help, and there times when it does not, as in the desire to be sexual active like your peers. There are times when self-protection is good, as when you are eating right, and there times it is bad, as in the case of Herta or the terrible cover-ups we’ve had in Government.

     

    Let us know if this is clear now!

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    Thank you Nancy… what you said that “impulse is prompted by instinct” makes sense to me.  I think of the illustration Susan gave below to bullying being a herd instinct/impulse as being bad…I guess where it’s confusing to me is when Lewis says in the 3rd paragraph “Strictly speaking, there are no such things as good and bad impulses.”  I think what he’s saying is how we act upon those impulses is what’s good or bad.   Is this what you’re saying Dee?  I really don’t mean to be difficult, just trying to wrap my mind around it all!!  😊

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      Yes — the illustration he uses of piano keys is helpful. It isn’t that they are good or bad, but how they are used can bring discord or harmony.

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It’s already Thursday & I’m just getting started with this week’s study, sigh… another crazy week (prayers for my husband would be appreciated & thank you so much)   I read chapter 2 and felt like pulling my hair the entire time, even more so than chapter 1!  Several times I caught myself thinking, “Why can’t he just say it in a way I can understand what he’s saying!”  Is my brain just not capable of comprehending his deep intellect?  Thank goodness for all of the good answers here.

3&4)  re listening & understanding:  When you think about this, don’t you have to stop & wonder how much this effects every single thing in life, the things we do & say, our ability to really listen & understand each other… all the way from the beginning of time, from Adam & Eve, to world leaders today, to how we relate to those within our own families, and the outcome in that regard for good or bad!

I think I am possibly getting a little better at really listening & understanding, maybe b/c over the past several years I’ve had so many unwanted opportunities with certain family members to ‘get it right’?  I have become more aware–out of necessity–to ask questions, hard questions, & try to really understand what’s being said.

One of my problems with listening in conversations is that I find my thoughts always jumping ahead while the other person is talking.  And when I do that, I miss what they’re saying, b/c I’m already thinking about my own response.  I remember a few times when my husband said, “Didn’t you hear what they said?”  I guess not.  Too busy thinking my own thoughts.  So I’ve tried harder to try to discipline myself to just stay in the moment, really listen, instead of going from a to z all at the same time.

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    Wendy, I feel your pain! He talks in circle and the only reason I hang on is because I know it’s so important!

     

    I  definitely think that these are weeks that we should read as much of the other people’s responses as we possibly can to really injest the material. I’m going to finish my questions today and go back tomorrow and re-read the blog; I think that will help.

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      Good advice all around, Laura!

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      Yes, I want to do that too (go back & re-read comments).   That’s what will help me understand & get through this book more than anything.  Some of these answers to questions are most helpful.

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    Wendy — I first found the 2nd chapter harder, so I understand. But the penny is dropping. I’m hoping some of the illustrations and comments here will help. I think you see Sharon pulling hair out above — but Nanci was so helpful. We’ll do this together!

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8. Lewis brings up the point that the moral law doesn’t always tell us to suppress the herd instinct, nor does it always tell us to suppress the self preservation instinct. Sometimes, for example, sexual instinct is good, and sometimes it is bad. What point is Lewis making?

 

I too am finding all of this reference to “herd instinct” a bit confusing! I went back to the original objection of some who wrote Lewis letters, who equate the Moral Law with “herd instinct”, and Lewis says no, the Moral Law is something all-together different. It embodies something that allows us to process information and decide between two instincts or choices in behavior. It can help or stimulate us to make the better choice, even when it costs us. I think what I’m finding confusing is the use of the language of instincts all-together, because humans are so very complex and our brains, emotions, personalities, decision-making processes are very complex….perhaps a true “instinct” is the “fight-or-flight” response to danger, in which chemicals are released in our body, like adrenaline, to help us in that moment, and we don’t have to say to our body, “Release the adrenaline, now!”….it just happens, it’s how we’re designed. So maybe that even isn’t an instinct, it is how our Creator made our bodies to function.

 

Lewis’ example of the drowning man: to save, or not to save him. Instincts? We are made in the image of God, made to mirror and reflect His love and His character. He is a Rescuer, and so we are like Him. He is a Giver of good gifts; we also love to give gifts to those we love. Yet, we are marred by sin, and it is our sinful nature that battles against the original goodness that was implanted in our very souls. Yet, we also have been given a measure of good sense and wisdom. My daughter just got certified as a lifeguard and they are taught, trained, to never, ever, let the drowning person grab ahold of you because they will drown you along with them. The guard has her big red board that she keeps between herself and the person; they can grab on to it. She has been trained how to get behind a person and grab them under their arms. I don’t know. We are all constantly making decisions about how to behave, how to act, what to do in a given situation. I don’t know if you can reduce these all down to instincts or impulses.

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9. When he opens this paragraph, he uses logic to show why the Moral Law could not be one of our instincts. What is it? Share an illustration he gives.

 

If the Moral Law was one of our instincts or impulses, then we ought always to be able to point to some one impulse/instinct inside of us that we could say is always good. For example, sexual desire, we could say, is always good. But, we know it is not. In the proper context between a married couple, used not to control or manipulate the other, we could say it is good, but outside of marriage, used to “use” the other person or to do degrading things to your body, it is not good.

 

10. What does Lewis say is “the most dangerous thing you can do” and why? Can you give an illustration?

 

Lewis says that the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. Illustration….I think we’ve all heard the phrase, “Follow your heart….” but that can lead to some pretty foolish decisions. Sometimes people divorce because they are following their heart, what they think will make them happy, even though it hurts their family. I have a strong desire to protect those I love, but I can think of one instance where trying to protect my parents led me to not come forward with some information I knew about, and looking back, I sure wish I had told them something. It’s a guilt I will have to carry for the rest of my life.

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    Susan — the “follow your heart” is a great illustration of faulty thinking. That’s what Hitler did!

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I just did an internet search on the definition of herd instinct: an inherent tendency to congregate or to react in unison (example: wild horses stampeding); a theoretical human instinct toward gregariousness and conformity; the urge to be one of a group and to conform to its standards of conduct and opinion. One example that comes to mind is when a group of school-age kids gang up on one child who is different, to tease or bully him or her. There might be one or two in the group who really don’t feel comfortable doing it, but they go along with it because they want to belong, they want to have friends, they certainly don’t want to be on the other side of it. So in this case, the herd instinct would be a bad thing.

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    Good example Susan!

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    Another great clarification from Susan — hope everyone reads it!

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    This is a good example…I also think when the other kids going along with it is the instinct of self preservation.

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    Thank you for alerting us to this example! GREAT examples. Susan is helping me get a clearer picture and now is making me ponder more about idolatry being part of the root issue.

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15.  For Herta, the Nazi herd she was with said that it was OK. These weren’t really people, and they were going to die anyway. They also threatened her existence and the existence of her family by saying they would kill if she didn’t, so she went along with what she knew was wrong. It was also following a survival instinct. Seeing as it was two, it was really strong.

Can I empathize? They say that if you put a frog in a container of lukewarm water and slowly heat it, the frog will boil to death instead of jumping out and saving itself. The human heart is desperately wicked beyond all things. Given the right set of circumstances and pressures, I could be Herta. John Donne said it well in his No Man is an Island poem. Don’t ask to know who the bell tolls for, it tolls for you. And me. When I was a new mom with a colicky baby, I discovered I had impulses to throw my child against the wall. Scared me to death. To this day, nearly forty years later, I understand parents who have snapped and abused their children. ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I’ is not a cliché for me. It is the truth. The longer I live, the more I find I have nothing to be proud of in my life, but the more I am grateful to Jesus and want to tell others who He is.

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    Indeed…there but for the grace…

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    Oh Mary! What you say here is SO true. Thank you for reminding me to be humble.

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12.  The two reasons are as such:

 

Between countries, our reasons for having the Moral Code that we do are not so great between each other; not as we think they are.

Secondly,  the actual differences between countries might be real in that some of us have a code that is less savage than others.  He uses the idea of progress in society to develop this concept. He says that to have positive progress you must be willing to change the moral code somewhat.  He noted societies overtime that have progressed in a positive manner.  He claims that if this didn’t happen, then what would be a preference of one civilization over another? He uses Christianity versus the Nazis as examples.  This is where he gets into what he calls the “real” moral code, which sets the standard for all other ideas.

 

I haven’t been really able to listen to much news in the past few months because school has been so busy, and so has my life! But I did read this week briefly a few reports. One of those was about how the Obama administration thinks they were before their time; that maybe in 10 or 20 years they could have made the changes that they wanted to in our country because our country’s mindset would have been changed by then. I ask, “To what?’”  I happen to like my mindset as it is right now…. By the administration making that claim (I think he wrote a book recently), that is a scary thing to me. It seems like brainwashing;  leading people to what you believe is right to do for a country.  Our country isn’t like that. It’s always been about the people leading, not the government.  What they may think as being right isn’t necessarily what I think would be the right moral code. For example we have more people on welfare these days then we have in the past. I don’t believe that that’s a good thing. I think we should help people to lift themselves up… The old adage if you give a man a fish versus if you teach him how to fish. I’m of the teach him how to fish group.

 
13. If moral law is due to education, then the most moral civilizations on earth should be the most educated ones. Do you think that is true? Give an illustration, if possible.
 

Well, the Germans were well educated but still annihilated people.

 

The Aztecs were an intelligent civilization but they also exterminated people.

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16.  Herta, after the war, spent only five years in prison. Then she went into private practice until she was again ‘caught ‘ for her war crimes. This time she lost her medical license. She was never repentant. Her self preservation and pride won out over the truth. She shut down the truth she knew deep inside, refusing to look at it or acknowledge it. It would have been extremely painful for her to really see it.

Not a war crime, but I personally know someone who ‘repented’ and apologized, but the apology came with defensiveness, blaming others, and pulling up circumstances. This is in a church setting with church discipline, and when it has been pointed out that we would like to continue to work toward real repentance, the individual left the church instead. It is a sorrow to my heart. And a negative example of what not to do.

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Wednesday-Thursday

11.  To which kind of thing does he believe the moral law belongs?  To the same class as mathematics.

12.  What two reasons does he give for the moral law being in the category of things that are not human invention?  1). Though there are differences between the moral ideas of one time or country, they are not that great and you can still recognize the same law running through them all.  Whereas human inventions like the rule of the road or the kind of clothes people wear, may differ.  2).  If someone thinks their morals can be truer , and someone else’s less true, there must be some real morality for them to be true about.

13.  If moral law is due to education, then the most moral civilization on earth should be the most educated ones.  Do you think that is true? No  Give an illustration if possible.  Where my parents were Missionaries in the Congo was in a very remote area.  The people who lived in the village down the hill from our house had no education and they definitely had morals.  Maybe even more so than some other places I’ve lived where people were educated.

 

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    Your first hand experience with moral un-educated people is priceless, Sharon.

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Friday

15.  Which instinct won?  Self-preservation   Can you empathize of not?  Explain.  Yes, I can empathize.  I can’t imagine having to make the choice she did.  When she first started it must of torn her apart…being a doctor it was her duty to save lives not hinder.  But she did what she had to do…survive!

16. Read or skim the following article and explain what happened to Herta after the war.  After being found guilty of horrific war crimes she was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but after 5 years was quietly released, with the permission from the United States.  Returned to practicing medicine in Germany until a survivor recognized her and eventually her medical license was revoked.  How do you think Lewis would explain this considering that the two intincts oppose one another?  That she chose the weaker instinct which was self-preservation because she wanted to live and keep her family safe.

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15. Which instinct won? Can you empathize or not? Explain.

 

The self protection won out here. Yes, I can empathize; she wanted to protect her family. Very sad….If I were in her shoes I might let the chips fall as they may and pray that God take care of us. But, if I were a younger woman, with a not so knowledgeable/wise faith as I have now, I might have done the same thing.

 

I6. Read or skim the following article and explain what happened to Herta after the war. How do you think Lewis would explain this considering that the two instincts opposed one another?

 

Herta was sentenced to twenty years but only served 5. She was released and began a practice in Northern Germany that was fairly successful. A patient recognized her and reported that she was practicing medicine. A group solicited that her license be revoked and it finally was.

 

I’m thinking he would say she was still in self preservation mode because she needed to work and that was what she knew best. Herd instinct might have made her recognize her bad behavior and she might have never been able to even think of medicine again if she were upset about her actions.

 

I read some of the comments on this authors blog and wish I could read the book. I have never been a person who likes to study the Holocsust; in fact I purposely avoid anything about it. I don’t think going to museums and reading about it helps me in any way except being more sad than the thought of the Holocaust does any way. I know it was awful. I certainly don’t want to be reminded of such awful pain.

 

 

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11. Lewis differentiates between two kinds of things that are taught – things that may be invented by humans, such as driving on the left side of the road, and things that are not, such as math. To which kind of thing does he believe the moral law belongs?

Math.
12. What two reasons does he give for the moral law being in the category of things that are not human invention?
(I am using his words but shortened some of what he wrote so it would make more sense to me.) 

First reason: The differences between moral ideas of one time and place or one country or another aren’t that great, but you can recognize the same law running through them all; Whereas the rule of the road or the kind of clothes people wear may differ.

Second reason: When you think about the differences between the morality of one people and another do you think the morality of one people is better or worse than the other? Have any of the changes been improvements? If not, then there could never be any moral progress. Progress means not just changing but changing for the better. If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilized morality to savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality.

 13. If moral law is due to education, then the most moral civilizations on earth should be the most educated ones. Do you think that is true? Give an illustration, if possible.
I think our country is the most educated perhaps as well as Europe and we aren’t the most moral civilization-that is for sure.

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15. Which instinct won? Can you empathize or not? Explain.

Self preservation instinct pushed back her moral law inside that was most likely encouraging her self sacrifice instinct. YES. I can so empathize. Our self preservation instinct is strong for God put that in us for our protection against things that can hurt us, but in situations like this oh my-I can’t say for sure I would have chosen self sacrifice. I would hope so, but I don’t know!

 

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What do you guys think about underlying idolatry that can play a part in us suppressing our self sacrifice instinct and bending toward self preservation?

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    Great question from Rebecca! Hope you weigh in.

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    We love having you, Sharon. Your contributions are great!

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    Anything that moves us away from God pushes us closer to self. Whether that is self preservation, or just selfishness.  I think about lying even. We don’t need to lie, but the further we are from God and His word, the more useful and easy it becomes.

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17.  What is your take away this week and why?  My take away is having a break through in understanding this chapter better thanks to Dee, Nancy and all of your comments…y’all are so smart😊. I have to confess I was ready to hang up the towel and walk away, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  The questions were quite challenging and some of them made me realize some points I’d missed in reading this chapter.  Thank you Dee for all the time you invest in us and putting this study together😍!!!

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    We love having you, Sharon. Your contributions are great!

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