C. S. Lewis and Sexuality

Lewis continues foundational arguments on Christian behavior, and then begins with specific categories, the first being sexuality.

It is remarkable how contemporary he is, and yet that should only give us confidence in the principles he has found in God’s Word. Jesus, who is the Word, is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Man nor culture can change God’s standard for sexuality. Because God’s plan for sexuality is true, only harm, monstrous harm, can come from flaunting His boundaries.

Remembering that these were radio addresses originally, Lewis does repeat himself, for the benefit of listeners who have just tuned in, and because, as he says: “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.”

He reminds us that morality, including sexual morality, is not a matter of personal preference, but a design of our Creator. Yet man wants to be sovereign over his life. Still, I suspect Lewis would be shocked to see how sexuality is viewed today. Many feel allowing a baby in the womb to live is a matter of personal preference, and many, in just the last decade, have decided gender is also a matter of personal preference. A snowball rolling down a hill begins slowly, but as it gains girth, it gains momentum. Now, how fast this all seems to be happening!

To exemplify this, in June, the Supreme Court in Canada ruled against a Christian Law University. They refused to accredit them because they asked students to sign a covenant not to steal, cheat, swear, or have sex outside of a biblical marriage. The court agreed with the first three, but not the fourth. That sexuality was a private matter of personal preference was the ruling of 7 of the 9 justices. One of the justices said, “One of the things is not like the other,” implying that the first three were not a matter of personal preference but the last was. I can almost hear Lewis saying, “On what basis do you feel any of these are right or wrong?” This virtually means the end of this university, so there will be no Christian law university in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this case here is one write-up:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/ju

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

On Monday and Tuesday we will be reading or listening to (and many prefer that as they were originally radio addresses) chapters 3 and 4 of Book Three. If you want to get started on listening, here they are:

Monday: Book 3, Chapter 3: Social Morality

 

I think the heart of this chapter, or perhaps the most convicting and intriguing to me, begins with Lewis’ description of what a true Christian society would look like: with the economic structure socialistic and the “manners” (meaning the way people behave toward others, more comprehensive than how we think of “manners today) being old-fashioned and aristocratic. I think he’s right — and when I read how in the early church “there were no poor among them” I do feel convicted, for I am blessed with a beautiful home. I have to ask myself — am I one who Lewis describes who deceives himself and has made Scripture say what I want it to say?

3. Read or listen to Chapter 3 and then share your comments here.

4. What “bits and pieces” of God’s laws do you struggle with and might have a tendency to ignore?

 

Tuesday: Book 3, Chapter 4: Morality and Psychoanalysis

I see how clearly this chapter leads into specific subjects, such as sexuality and marriage. It is easy to be judgmental when circumstances for you are easy. Right now I have four families at my home for several weeks — and I love each one. Three are my children’s families, and also a pastor and his family. But I find i lose my temper with so many little children — I overeat with so many temptations surrounding me. I make side-ways comments. And though I have been previously patting myself on the back a bit for doing so well, these weeks show me I am not so strong, just blessed with easier circumstances most of the time! 

5. Read or listen to Chapter 4 and then share your comments here.

6. Why does Lewis say we should leave the judging of others to God?

 

Wednesday: Book 3, Chapter 5: Sexuality

7. Read or listen to Chapter 5: Sexuality and comment here on what stands out to you and why.

Thursday-Friday: Reflections on Sexuality Chapter

 

8. Lewis says chastity is always the same for all Christians in all cultures, but propriety varies. Can you give an example?

9. What is the Christian rule of chastity?

 

10. Do you agree it is the most unpopular virtue? Why or why not.

11. What evidence or illustrations does Lewis give to support his thesis that it it not the thing (the rule of chastity) that has gone wrong, but the instinct? Comments?

 

12. Lewis says appetites grow through indulgence. Can you give an example?

 

I just finished Christopher Yuan’s Out of a Far Country — he illustrates so clearly how indulgence in lust inflames the desire for more.

13. Lewis says that if man had not fallen, sexual pleasure would be greater. Comment.

 

14. He also says restraint leads to happiness. How have you experienced this?

 

15. Why does Hollywood and the world prey on those who are obsessed with sex?

 

16. What point does Lewis make about how God views those who try and fail versus those who don’t try?

 

17. What sins does Lewis believe are worse than sins of the flesh and why, do you think? Do you agree?

 

Saturday:

18. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

COMMENTS (79) Post a New Comment ↓
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What stood out for me: Man wants to be sovereign over his life. It boils down to idolatry and I know God is a jealous God. He does not want anything or anyone in the throne of my heart. And rightly so because He is the only one and true God. I find that whenever I have “issues” with myself or with somebody else,  the main problem is an idol issue. I want to be my own sovereign and it doesn’t matter what area of morality it is.

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    So true, Bing!

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Sunday

1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?

”Man nor culture can change God’s standard for sexuality.  Because God’s plan for sexuality  is true, only harm, monstrous harm, can come from flaunting His boundaries.”

This stood out to me because what I see in the younger Christian generation (25-35) is an indifference to homosexuality.  The reason why, is because they want to love these people (which we should) but in order to do that they are accepting the sin.  In conversations I’ve had they say “same sex marriage is legal…get over it”.  They think that in condemning the sin, it’s condemning the person.  I always take the conversation back to what the Word of God says, but that is interpreted as being intolerant and unloving!   As Dee pointed out in a response to me last week, it’s very important that I choose to walk in the light (my prayer for these young people), because that’s where I grow.   But if I choose to walk in darkness, it will get a grip on me. Darkness has gotten a grip on this world…”But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

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    Sharon, I have seen what you have seen among the younger generation. And also so many live in relationships. As young as some of my students (17-18). Easy-peasy-it so cheapen the sanctity of marriage. Easy comes, easy goes. It hurts even as I type.

    I pray that light will overcome the darkness of this world. What grief the Trinity must have in looking at the state of our world. This is a secular song and I do not remember who sang it-“Looking for love in all the wrong places”. So true, we all long to love and be loved and we can only find the truest of all love in Jesus.

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    Sharon — it is true with this generation — Satan has blinded them. So we must be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

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1. What stands out?

The Canadian Christian law university ruling saddens me deeply. Yet it is a sign of our times here in Canada, as it is in Europe. In an excellent article from Gospel Coalition, John Stevens the British director at FIEC, (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches) says:

“Evangelical Christianity is perceived by many to be obscurantist and intolerant, especially toward woman and the homosexual community. Many mainstream churches are deeply divided on these issues, with “traditionalists” largely lampooned for holding to historic biblical morality. Aggressive secularists want to see religion excluded from the public square and many, in light of Islamic terrorist atrocities at home and abroad, have concluded that religion is dangerous to the cohesion and safety of society. Evangelicalism has now become associated in the public mind with America’s Trump-supporting religious right, which is viewed almost entirely negatively this side of the Atlantic[in Europe].”

This article is attached to an excellent speech by Tim Keller who spoke at the Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in the Houses of Parliament in London, England recently. To quote Stevens again, “His address—“What Can Christianity Offer Our Society in the 21st Century?”—ought to be watched by pastors, lobbyists, and church members alike, as it will equip them with fresh arguments and models how to speak well of Christ.” Here is the link. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT! EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN!

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/tim-keller-parliamentary-prayer-breakfast/

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    Thanks, Diane! I will listen to this. Today, our pastor talked about the sufficiency of God’s Word. Despite the moral decline of today, God’s Word is sufficient to offer me hope for our tomorrows.

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    Amen Ernema!  I too will listen to this…thanks Diane!

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    Oh Diane — you are a wonderful resource for this. I look forward to listening to Keller when my cabin calms down from its many guests!

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    I LOVE that Keller did this! I have listened to some of it and will listen to more this week. I can tell he is challenging me with this one! Sad that only 3% of the 35 million Brits claim to be evangelical also.

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      That should be 65 million.

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1.  Where we are at in the western world regarding sexuality is so sad. It is as Paul says, he who sins sexually sins against his own body. We look first to co habitation and homosexuality, but as in all sin, it goes so much deeper and wider. Like skin cancer or an iceberg, what you see on the surface is only a small part. We have such a reliance on fantasy, using romance books or pornography. It is as Paul says in Timothy, desperate days in the last times. What is good is called bad and what is evil is called good. There’s a part of me resigned to it, for how does one introvert take on the culture? The rest of me grieves deeply for all the harm being done. Especially to children, warping and damaging them for the rest of their lives.

 

Diane, thank you for the link. As always, Keller is both a joy and a challenge to listen to. It encourages me, that while I am not equipped to take on the culture, I am equipped to be salt and light in it.

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Notes on chapter three. There really isn’t any ‘new’ morality. Underneath we all know that to be kind and to treat others well is moral. It is in our secular place in society that we have the option as Christians to shine. We can’t wait for someone else to lead the way. Society that is purely Christian would look socialist economically, in that we would take care of the weak and there would be no superiorily rich among us. But it would also be very old fashioned as far as courtesy, honor, and submission went. Most of us want to pick and choose the parts of the Bible we want and leave the rest. We each want to say that our version make up the original plan for man. Charity is meant to be done to the point of our own detriment. It should pinch and restrict us. We approach this kind of talk not to find out truth, but looking for confirmation of our own choices. What we are really offered is a Master or Judge. A Christian society is unlikely until most of us really want it. And that means 100% obedience to God and His standards.

I am challenged that I can very subtlety ignore the parts that make me uncomfortable, to the point of being blind to them.

 

4. What am I blind to? Giving beyond my means. Living without resentment. Considering others as better than myself. Dying to self. Considering God’s glory my highest joy, even when it causes or comes through my pain.. Comparing myself with others either to justify self it point negatively at others. And probably more.

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    Mary — I love your vulnerable list.

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    Mary your examples of blindness are true for me also.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

Sad about the Canadian University. Also, the line about a baby in the womb being a personal preference. Ugh. We are a horrible human race.

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3. Read or listen to Chapter 3 and then share your comments here.

 

I don’t agree with the Socialist economy idea, and Lewis even says if people can work they should. Even Jesus would want us to be productive, not lazy, right? I think it works in theory, but put into practice with a lot of people, it fails. It has to, because humans are, well, human. Someone has to pay and there’s just not enough tax payers footing the bill as many won’t or can’t work. As my parents used to say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” If everyone was honest and actually did their fair share it might be different. I don’t see that happening and I am experiencing it in my very own home. Once people get a taste of the system they find it difficult to come back to reality.

 

I do think we should help others though, but it should come from our hearts, not from a mandate of government or church. It’s not authentic if it isn’t in your heart to give. God knows.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

The thing about the Canadian Supreme Court ruling. That is just the reason why universities should not rely on Federal funds as their primary source of funding. Ultimately the one with the money makes the decisions.
It would place the burden of the cost on the student, though. There should be more people and corporations willing to support these private colleges so that they give quality education while maintaining their morals and being affordable.

 

4. What “bits and pieces” of God’s laws do you struggle with and might have a tendency to ignore? 

Giving more than I can spare. After reading George Mueller’s autobiography I am convinced that I am going about this wrong. That the “reasonable” and “rational” part of me that wants to save money for my future, my retirement and even my children is based on the false idea that I can secure anything in life for myself and that I am providing for myself. I am not trusting my future on God and His provision, but rather on whether I am “smart enough” and frugal enough to save for myself.

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4. What “bits and pieces” of God’s laws do you struggle with and might have a tendency to ignore?

I struggle with giving prior to my own comforts being met. Gluttony, anger, and jealousy are all up there as well.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

Lewis used some really strong language when he said, “The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage….” If something is monstrous, it means it is “freakish”, deviating from the norm, an excessively bad or shocking example. But it is so widely accepted and embraced in our culture today that no one even blushes at it. I never thought of it as trying to isolate just one aspect of union from all the other kinds of union that were meant to go along with it.

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    Monstrous — freakish. Yes. Indeed.

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Monday

3.  Read or listen to Chapter 3 and then share your comments here.

Ouch!  Lewis stepped on my toes in this chapter!  I feel Lewis is saying, that in order to benefit society as Christians (treating others with respect) instead of imposing our political views on others, we need to be concerned about our spiritual walk with the Lord.  In carrying out “Do as you would be done to” starts with loving God by learning to obey Him.  Then and only then can we love our neighbor.

4.  What “bits and pieces” of God’s laws do you struggle with and have a tendency to ignore.

Being stingy with money rather than trusting the Lord…justifying it in very selfish and cynical ways. But I also think it’s not only money but actually helping people…laziness.

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3. Read or listen to chapter 3 and then share your comments here.

 

Lewis says that Jesus did not come to preach a new kind of morality, between man and man. Only “quacks and cranks” introduce new moralities. “The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see.” This seems to tie-in with the 1st chapter, that there exists a law of human nature which we all really know about but don’t keep.

 

4. What “bits and pieces” of God’s laws do you struggle with and might have a tendency to ignore?

 

I do like to give, of my time and money, but I can’t say, as Lewis writes, that “if our (my) charities do not at all pinch or hamper us (me), I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them.” I am not very good at self-denial, and I like my comfort. I also struggle with God’s word to wives to respect their own husbands. I am often critical and can speak disrespectfully to my husband, which I justify because of his bad behavior, ignoring that God is just as displeased with me and my attitude and words. I don’t take His words about gossip seriously enough. I can also justify the “little white lie” if it keeps me out of trouble.

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Instead of signing on to FB, I am posting this here: my dad is having three teeth pulled tomorrow afternoon and about a month ago, he had two teeth pulled and had a really terrible time with pain, swelling, and weakness afterwards. If you think of it, please pray for tomorrow’s procedure to go well.

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    I will pray Susan.

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    Prayed!

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    I’m praying for your dad, Susan

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    Praying that your dad will have an easier time with his teeth than a month ago, Susan.

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    How was the procedure?

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      It went much better than the last one, Laura! Not pleasant, of course, but much less bleeding, swelling, and overall he just did better this time.

        Good news, Susan!

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Dee’s comment…I am not so strong, just blessed with ease..most of the time.

ahh, yes!

 

5.  Lewis says psychology is not contradictory to Christianity, but it cannot speak to everything. It can work on removing false or abnormal feelings, but cannot then make a man choose the right or moral way. Free choice still exists, and that is what morality is concerned with. We judge each other by external actions, but God judges by our choices. That is why we are told not to judge at all. When we die, all the psych stuff falls off, and the real man who made the choices will remain. All of our life, as we make choices, we are either turning into a heavenly creature or a hellish one. We are making marks on ourselves that we will either enjoy or have to endure forever. If we are getting better, we see more clearly the evil in us.

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I’d like to join even tho it’s late, if that’s okay?

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    Absolutely!

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6.  Lewis says we need to leave judgement to God because we don’t know or understand the inside of others, their raw material and prior pressures on it, but He does. And it is what we have done with what we’ve been given, not the outward act, that is most important.

 

7.  Chastity. It is interesting to me that Lewis says this is a Christian virtue, distinct from the first four general virtues. He says the Christian rule is so difficult and contrary to human nature that either Christianity is wrong, or something has gone wrong with our instincts. You couldn’t get people to watch a plate full of food being uncovered, but people will pay and line up to watch a stripper. Sex is different since it grows by indulgence. In truth, humans hushed up sex because we had made a mess of it, not that it got messed up because we hushed about it. He says sexual pleasure would have been greater without the fall.

Christianity celebrates sex more than any other religion. Are we willing to be cured of our perversions? For any happiness, quite a lot of restraint is needed. ‘Nature’ has to be controlled or it will ruin your whole life. Christians have help in restraint, where others do not. God often helps us in our trying again, and that cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. Virtues, even when only attempted brings light, whereas indulgence brings fog.

 

8.  Clothing in different cultures. We consider a naked breast to be seductive, but in Papua New Guinea they think nothing of bared breasts. Instead, they think of the upper thigh as the area that needs to be covered. So the proper attire for a woman is either a skirt, or pants with a tunic that comes mid thigh or lower.

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    Mary — I too thought this is such a good point:

     Chastity. It is interesting to me that Lewis says this is a Christian virtue, distinct from the first four general virtues. He says the Christian rule is so difficult and contrary to human nature that either Christianity is wrong, or something has gone wrong with our instincts.

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5. Read or listen to Chapter 4 and then share your comments here.

 

So interesting to read his ideas of how we will be seen by God. He says our body will fall off and the true “us” will show. Weird to think of it that way! The other point I thought was good was how we are making ourselves into a heavenly or a hellish creature.

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    One of his most memorable points — becoming heavenly or hellish…

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3. Chapter 3 comments.
As I get closer to retirement, I find myself thinking about my husband and my financial security…have we done enough retirement saving?, will we be able to afford health insurance?, etc.  When I read, “For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear–fear of insecurity,” it hit “home.”

Regarding socialism…in theory it is ideal, one for all and all for one.  Unfortunately, people have a number of problematic tendencies that squelch the reality of a righteous socialism, e.g., judgment and comparison…are they pulling their fair share?, loss of incentive to contribute…they will take care of me, I can kick back and relax, self-interest…want more.

4. What “bits and pieces” of God’s laws do you struggle with and might have a tendency to ignore?
judging, trusting (wholeheartedly) in the Lord’s provision, forgiveness, over indulging (food)

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    Nanci – I know I became more compassionate toward people I had thought were motivated by greed when I realized it might be fear.

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6. Why does Lewis say we should leave the judging of others to God?

 

Lewis says humans can only see the outside actions whereas God sees the internal make up of a person. I’m not sure I get this phrase:

 

“…he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.”

 

He is equating a nice, kind act, of someone who has learned cruelty, to that of someone who gives up his life for another person. He says it is perhaps, harder for the person to be kind than the one who gives his life. What?! I thought sin is sin and even if there is a difference, it’s the other way around (I would think…giving a life would be a better deed than being kind to someone.).

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You are always thought-provoking, Laura.

The penalty for all sin is the same — death, but not all sins are the same in God’s eyes — as when Jesus told Pilate “the one who handed me over to you is guilty of the greater sin.” I think what Lewis was getting at was the heart —

and the goods one has. Someone born of great advantage and strength might have an easier time doing a good act than one already carrying many burdens. Thoughts?

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    What Lewis is saying is similar to the widow’s offering…(Mark 12-41-44) “this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”

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9.  Christian chastity is marriage with complete faithfulness or total abstinence.

 

10.  I don’t know if it is the most unpopular or not, but it is certainly the most conspicuously flaunted.

 

11.  Lewis compares sex to food, and says that if people did a strip tease with food, we’d think something had gone wrong with the appetite for food. In a similar way, something has gone wrong with the appetite for sex. Either God’s rules are wrong and impossible, or our sexual appetite is sick. I agree. And it leads right into the next question.

 

12.  Appetites grow through indulgence. Drugs are like that, where it takes more and more to get the same effect. There was an interview done with Ted Bundy before his execution where he said he got deeper and deeper into the perversions because it took more and more to satisfy him, and each ‘satisfaction’ lasted a shorter amount of time

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5. Read or listen to Chapter 4 and share your comments here.

 

I found this chapter more difficult to follow and understand! I saw Laura’s question above on this: “When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.”

I had to think about that for a while. Of course, giving up your life for another is the greatest sacrifice one can make. It is enormous, huge, compared to doing “some tiny little kindness or refraining from some cruelty”. I think what Lewis is saying, maybe, is that, for the person who grew up perverted and taught the way of cruelty, for him to take one tiny step in the right direction by making a good choice, for that person, that action is (for him) as huge and enormous a step as one who gives his life for another. However, I think we have to keep in mind that when Lewis says, “….he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend” this is Lewis making a person opinion here and not to be taken as if this is, indeed, how God would feel about this example.

 

Here is another example: Lewis says, “One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both.” I get the point he is trying to make, yet anger that leads to the death of thousands, I would think, carries a much bigger weight. I understand that Lewis is saying that the man who is only laughed at may be seething internally, filled with resentment and hatred as his anger (which may be well-founded) is impotent. Anger is anger and it damages us on the inside. So, I find his examples of the consequences a little confusing to follow. I get Dee’s reply to Laura that sin is sin….this man here who is only laughed at, if he does not repent of his anger, is in as much danger as the one whose anger caused the death of thousands.

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6. Why does Lewis say we should leave the judging of others to God?

 

We see only the outward results of a man’s choices out of his raw material (heredity, upbringing, position), but God does not judge him on the raw material but on what he does with it.

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    I think Susan summed up the essence of that chapter with:

    We see only the outward results of a man’s choices out of his raw material (heredity, upbringing, position), but God does not judge him on the raw material but on what he does with it.

     

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7. Read or listen to Chapter 5: Sexuality and comment here on what stands out to you and why.

 

First, of all, I agree with Susan, chapter 4 was tough to follow. And now I wonder how Lewis got to sex in chapter 5? I don’t see the correlation myself.

 

In thus chapter, Lewis discusses Christian chastity and the world’s view of sex.

I found this this statement interesting:

“Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body—which believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in Heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, or beauty and our energy.”

I have never approved of the body God gave me; I’ve always taken issue with something or another (my hair is too thin and flat, my breasts are too big, my bottom is too wide, etc.).

 

The other statement I found interesting was this:

“The lie consists in the suggestion that any sexual act to which you are tempted at the moment is also healthy and normal.”

 

I wonder how we have gotten to where we have in this society with the idea that being a girl who thinks she really is a boy is okay? Is “normal?” The fact that we even entertain the idea is odd to me! But, I seem to be the odd man out. Just the other day I saw an old acquaintance and she was describing how she was going on a tour with her “priest and his partner!” She said it so laze-fair that I stopped in my own thoughts to acknowledge to myself what she was saying! What she said was an oxymoron to me. How can someone believe that that is a “normal” thing for a priest?? How can the congregation believe in their churches doctrine if the doctrine is perverted to fit the lifestyle someone wants to live? I don’t understand how churches defend this lifestyle with scripture. They definitely aren’t reading the NT or OT and trying to live it out as far as I can see.

 

It’s like my daughter and her boyfriend. I think they live in a crazy world of drama, and sometimes before I know it, they are drawing me into their crazy world and I need someone to say “STOP! You aren’t crazy! You know sane behavior so remember that their behavior is not sane!” That’s how I feel about the priest and his partner thing. Someone needs to wake these people up and remind them what they are representing. ITS sort of mocking the Bible to me. I guess I would have to leave that church because I don’t understand how they defend their actions with doctrine. If you stay you either decide that the authority of the church is now promoting this sort of thing and you need to promote it too (you get sucked in; a sort of brainwashing in my opinion), or you remember that the Bible doesn’t agree and you leave.

 

I still dont don’t know how Lewis decided to discuss sex here though…

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    One application I have, Laura, from tying the two chapters together, is that God knows the internal struggles those with same sex attraction have and therefore may be very pleased with one who lives celibate, laying down his life — Wesley Hill said that Lewis really helped him realize this was an offering pleasing to God. Our pastor said he is more upset with heterosexual Christians who lives outside of God’s plan. Interesting to ponder.

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    Laura as usual I relate to everything you said!  Esp. the part about kids sucking you into their drama before you come to your senses!  And what you wrote about the priest & his partner–with all that is wrong with this world, our society, it’s another huge strike against us, that anyone could look upon that as acceptable in ANY way, shape or form.  And that the people in that church are so blind that they would continue to “worship” there, let alone allow him to keep his position.  What a sad state of affairs, to put it mildly.

    Oh I am so far behind—I just looked at my book & my marker is tucked into book 2, chapter 3!  I have a lot of catching up to do, too much company & too many summer projects getting in the way.  I am hoping to get caught up this weekend.  But it’s really helpful to read answers & comments to the questions.  Esp. yours Susan, you have such great insight.  thanx!

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      Since these were radio addresses that could stand alone, Wendy, if you want to hop into where we are it’s fine! Or, catch up! :-)

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      Wendy, at least the chapters are short!

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We’re on vacation this week. I am keeping up with the reading of the book and your responses.  Susan, I too struggled with chapter 4 as it seemed to go against what I was taught, but you definitely brought clarity and helped me understand. I thought of what God said about David..Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart.  Thank you!

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13.  Lewis quotes that without the fall, sexual pleasure would have been greater, because it wouldn’t be tainted by selfishness, past mistakes or sin, or images in our minds we can’t undo.

 

14.  Restraint leads to happiness. Last weekend I got off track with food, and I am not nearly as happy as I’d been the two weeks previous when I was letting my Father direct my intake. Surely it is similar with sex. When we let God direct, even though we have to show restraint, we end up happier.

 

15.  The media and the sex industry prey on people because they know that sex sells, and there is big money at stake. It is a sad commentary on our fallen nature that the market is never saturated.

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5. Read or listen to Chapter 4 and then share your comments here.
I found Chapter 4 really interesting…it reminded me of the “walk a mile in my shoes.”  It doesn’t excuse bad actions, but looks at those actions from a different perspective. Only God knows our heart, we can be pretentious rather than genuine and be able to fool our fellow man, but never the Lord…He knows our motivations, fears, past experiences, etc.   
*”Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler?”
*”every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you… with all your innumerable choices, all your life ong you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature”
*”when a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understand his own badness less and less.”
6. Why does Lewis say we should leave the judging of others to God?
God sees the heart; He knows all that goes into each decision made, each action taken, whereas humanity has no idea; sh/e sees only the exterior, i.e., actions.

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    I’m so glad Nanci — it was one that stuck with me despite reading it 50 years ago!

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8. Lewis says chastity is always the same for all Christians in all cultures, but propriety varies. Can you give an example?
In days gone by (e.g., 1950’s) it would be unheard of for a couple to live together without being married, today it is a regular occurrence and viewed as “normal.”
  
9. What is the Christian rule of chastity?
If unmarried, abstinence; if married, faithfulness

10. Do you agree it is the most unpopular virtue? Why or why not.
I agree that it is an unpopular virtue…in today’s culture rather than being ashamed that one is not a virgin, it is seen as a shortcoming if one is a virgin; virginity (sexual inexperience) in our culture is largely seen as something to be ashamed of.  

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16.  Lewis says those try to please the Lord but fail are more pleasing to Him than those who don’t try. God knows that we are dust and prone to sin and to wander. But when we reach out to Him and try, His heart moves toward us as a father to a child who tries, even if they can’t achieve the thing.

 

17.  What sins are worse than sins of the flesh and why? Those of the diabolical self, the person who gets pleasure from wronging people, of hating, of pride and power. They can be hidden inside a regular church goer and destroy another’s faint desire to get closer to God. I’ve always been taught that sin is sin, and none are worse than another, so I am struggling with both Lewis and responses I’ve read. M.Scott Peck, who is not a Christian, wrote in his book, People of the Lie, says the most purely evil people are those who hide behind religion and ‘righteousness’ and do hateful things instead of spreading love. Seems like he and Lewis would agree.

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Interesting from Scott Peck, Mary.

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8. Lewis says chastity is always the same for all Christians in all cultures, but propriety varies. Can you give an example?

Propriety depends on the rules of the day and the culture. Semi nude women in some countries are just as chaste as fully covered women in others. What is acceptable as far as propriety depends on your culture. Adam and Eve just wore fig leaves and that was acceptable. If we did today in America, we’d be arrested.

9. What is the Christian rule of chastity?

Sex only between one husband and one wife or abstinence.

 

10. Do you agree it is the most unpopular virtue? Why or why not.

At this point in our country, yes it is. There are a lot of people saying that sex outside of marriage is no big deal and virginity is laughed at.

11. What evidence or illustrations does Lewis give to support his thesis that it it not the thing (the rule of chastity) that has gone wrong, but the instinct? Comments?

People have a natural instinct for things such as eating or sex, but even if  a person overindulges themselves eating they will not and cannot eat enough for ten people and won’t use food in abnormal ways. People who overindulge themselves in sex can and do have sex multiple times outside of what is “normal” and in more perverse ways.

I was surprised to see his comments about sex being chatted about freely and all day long in the 40’s. I wonder what his shock would be if he were alive today.

 

12. Lewis says appetites grow through indulgence. Can you give an example?

Almost everything that I can think of can be taken to an extreme in the search for what you felt when you “first” got a taste for it, whether it is food, alcohol, sex, vacations, being “in love” or even outbursts of anger, lying and swearing. The first time you drop an f-bomb people are shocked and you really get your point across, but if you use it frequently it becomes “old hat” and no one seems surprised, it doesn’t get what you are trying to express across any better and it becomes annoying. (By the way, I don’t use f-bombs, but the people that I work with do, and it kind of loses the intended affect. People don’t seem to have the self respect of the old days, but after listening to Lewis maybe they never did)

 

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    Good post, Dawn!

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7. Read or listen to Chapter 5: Sexuality and comment here on what stands out to you and why.

 

I guess I always assumed that when Lewis was giving his broadcasts in the 1940’s, the WWII era, that the culture was more “wholesome”, yet as a whole, what he writes about in this chapter suggests that it may not have been. He writes, “Poster after poster, film after film, novel after novel, associate the idea of sexual indulgence with the idea of health, normality, youth, frankness, and good humour. Now this association is a lie. Like all powerful lies, it is based on a truth – the truth, acknowledged above, that sex in itself (apart from the excesses and obsessions that have grown round it) is ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’, and all the rest of it. The lie consists in the suggestion that any sexual act to which you are tempted at the moment is also healthy and normal.”

 

I know that I enjoy watching old movies, the black and white ones, and as a whole, they are much more wholesome than the movies today. Yet the lies must have been circulating back then, but it still maybe wasn’t socially acceptable to put it all out there like it is today. I remember the Dick Van Dyke show, and his TV wife, Mary Tyler Moore, in their bedroom there were two twin beds! But the lie that Lewis writes about is still around today. I remember as a college-age young woman reading Cosmopolitan magazine (which, by the way, if you glance at its cover in the grocery check-out, is still selling the same old message) and it promoting the idea (the lie) that sex was healthy, normal, youthful, and that sex with your boyfriend or whoever was a natural, normal part of life.

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8. Lewis says chastity is always the same for all Christians in all cultures, but propriety varies. Can you give an example?

 

Lewis clarifies that we must not confuse chastity with propriety, or modesty. Chastity is a Christian rule; propriety a social rule. Propriety rules state how much of our bodies it is acceptable to display, what subjects you can talk about in social settings. So while the rules of propriety can vary and change, chastity does not. I had an example of this while we were on vacation. In  my neighborhood in Ohio, it would not be proper for my husband to walk around wearing (what I learned in Florida this thing was) a “banana boat”….he would be mostly naked. However, we saw a man taking out his trash (not even on the beach!) wearing one.  I also observed that many men who are European wear Speedos while swimming, while the majority of American men wear swim trunks. When my son traveled to Dubai, the non-Muslim women must still be careful about what they wear, and you can be arrested for swearing in public.

 

9. What is the Christian rule of chastity?

 

Chastity is the Christian rule which states that you must be married to enjoy sex, and that with complete faithfulness to your spouse, and if not married, then complete abstinence.

 

10. Do you agree it is the most unpopular virtue? Why or why not.

 

I’m not even sure many in our culture recognize it as a virtue, outdated or not. What I mean is, I don’t think people spend a lot of time thinking about it, consciously, that is. But this is interesting….my daughter has always loved reading those Amish novels (think Beverly Lewis) and she brought a few from the library on vacation, along with a couple of other books. One day she said how she didn’t like one of the books she brought along to read as it was “weird”. Then she said how she liked the Amish book because, in her words, “they’re wholesome”. In the back of the book she read to me some of the discussion questions, which had Scripture references! I think perhaps when deep down inside we feel embarrassed or uncomfortable by some of the things we see in movies, TV, or on the beach (!) it’s that “Law of Human Nature” telling us something.

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    I love hearing that about your daughter, Susan!

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Two weeks ago our pastor was preaching on Genesis 19 which includes several kinds of sexual immorality. This is where Lot offered his daughters to the men wanting to have sex with his visitors. We all pondered then the verse in 1 Peter where Lot was considered righteous for he was tormented by the culture — but couldn’t understand how God could say that when he offered his daughters. I’m still puzzled over that! Thoughts?

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    From https://www.gotquestions.org/Lots-daughters.html

    “We may sit in judgment of the culture of that day, but protecting one’s guests required great sacrifice. Was Lot right to offer his own daughters in place of the men the Sodomites wanted? No. We can see in the story that the Lord’s messengers protected Lot and his daughters in spite of Lot’s lack of character and worldly viewpoint. Lot meant to appease the men of Sodom so that the hospitality of his house would not be damaged, but he makes the wrong choice in offering his own daughters, and God’s messengers overruled him….Lot did the things he did because he chose to live in his old sin nature and do what was easy, and he made choices to flirt with evil instead of living to honor God. As a result, there was suffering for Lot, his wife and daughters, and, by association, the nation of Israel for years to come. The lesson for us is that we need to make choices that do not conform to the world and to submit to the Word of God, which will guide us into living lives that are pleasing to God.”

    He did suffer the consequences of his choices, yet he never turned from God and that’s why 2 Peter 2:7-8  calls him righteous (not one of us is perfect, but our righteousness is not based on our perfection).

    <biblia:bibleverse theme=”header”
    resource=”esv” width=”500″ reference=”2 Peter
    2:7–8″></biblia:bibleverse>

    <script
    src=https://assets.bibliacdn.com/api/logos.biblia.js></script><script>logos.biblia.init();</script>

    7 and cif he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, dhe was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);
    Lot caved in to sin just as King David did, just as we all do.

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      Very good, Dawn. Thanks!

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    Lot chose to live in a very sinful and Godless culture. It challenged him daily and sometimes he failed. He tried to sacrifice his daughters to appease the people around him (sacrificing his daughters rather than his visitors and continue to not offend his neighbors), but the angels thwarted his intentions.  He wasn’t perfect, neither was David, Joseph, Job, John the Baptist or any of us, except Jesus. But, our perfection does not determine our righteousness that is why 2 Peter 2:7  says: “New Living Translation
    “But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him.”

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    Dee, every time I’ve read that in Genesis, it really bothers me, too. I would never offer to give my daughter over to a bunch of strange men like that! It just bothers me the way he says it….”Don’t do such a wicked thing (to the visitors)….here, I’ll give you my two daughters and you can do whatever you want to them!” What??

    I am slowly reading through the OT and in Judges 19, there is a story where wicked men surround a man’s house, wanting the men, and the owner of the home gives them his concubine instead, who they rape and abuse to the point where she dies. Why was this poor woman handed over? Was it considered a greater sin for the wicked men to want to have sexual relations with the male visitor….what about the value of this woman’s life?

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      Susan — that is so terrible. I do think that act is representative of the downward cycle we do what “is right in our own eyes” — for it closes the book of Judges. Dawn has a good response to Lot’s act — though still, I struggle with it. Peter says he was grieved and it is true we are righteous because of Christ. Still — so hard!

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Laura-dancer you wrote:  “He is equating a nice, kind act, of someone who has learned cruelty, to that of someone who gives up his life for another person. He says it is perhaps, harder for the person to be kind than the one who gives his life. What?! I thought sin is sin and even if there is a difference, it’s the other way around (I would think…giving a life would be a better deed than being kind to someone.).”

Maybe he took it to an extreme that is hard to understand. If you were standing back watching a roller coaster ride, you’d see people running up the ramp jumping on and riding with a smile,  people who are nervously going up the ramp getting on then screaming in terror the whole time maybe even crying, and people who refuse to get on at all perhaps won’t even look at the ride. From just observing their behavior you can say that the first group are braver than the second and that the 3rd are cowards, but if you knew which ones were afraid of heights, autistic, survived a fall from a roller coaster, and those who don’t have these issues or experiences, you’d know which ones were truly the most brave and understand why some can’t bring themselves to even look at it.

If bravery was a righteous act in this scenario then just by observing a person’s behavior you would not be able to discern who were truly the brave (righteous) ones are.  Maybe the bravest of all was the person who stood at the entrance and never got on.

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    This comment was written before I read everyone else’s comments. I think Susan summed it up best.

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    I like your rollercoaster example, Dawn!

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Dee, I like how you encourage everyone of us and reminding Wendy (and us) that each chapter was a stand alone radio address, not everyone could listen every week. He does repeat himself when necessary to make his point.

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    Thanks, Dawn!

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I have been silently following this week as we have had a hard week in ministry. Blessed by what I am reading here in terms of not judging people (so hard!) and the definition of chastity. I am not surprised to read of C.S. Lewis thoughts on sex outside of marriage-it seems like since from OT times (doing the life of David in our Sunday school class) to today, the heart issues are still the same. We want to be our own sovereign-exerting our own personal preferences and choices rather than seeking God and His truth in any matter of life. I am guilty of giving into my natural desires rather than seeking God first. Praises to Jesus for His once and for all sacrifice for my sins.

 

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11. What evidence or illustrations does Lewis give to support his thesis that it is not the thing (the rule of chastity) that has gone wrong, but the instinct?

 

Lewis says that either Christianity (and its rule of chastity) is wrong or our sexual instinct has gone wrong. He believes it is our instinct which has gone wrong. He used the illustration of comparing a strip-tease act to watch a girl undress with a similar act done with food; bringing out a covered plate and slowly lifting the cover to reveal a mutton chop. One might guess that these acts are a result of sexual or (food) starvation, but Lewis said there is no evidence for “sexual starvation”.

 

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8. Lewis says chastity is always the same for all Christians in all cultures, but propriety varies. Can you give an example?

Lewis uses the island girl versus the Victorian woman to help us understand propriety (ownership) and chastity.  The islander wears next to nothing but may be just as chaste as the Victorian woman who wears clothes to her neck.

I suppose the one type of dress I regard as inappropriate to wear to school is the black yoga pant. I can see if you wear it with a long enough shirt, but that usually doesn’t happen. Oftentimes the girls don’t realize some of the pants are too thin and you can actually see through them. It makes me embarrassed for them. I don’t think all the girls are trying to show off their bodies, I think it is a fashion (bad) style that (hopefully) will go away.

 
9. What is the Christian rule of chastity? 
Wait until you are married to have sex, otherwise m, abstinence.

 
10. Do you agree it is the most unpopular virtue? Why or why not.
 

Probably, because it is so hard to avoid.

 
11. What evidence or illustrations does Lewis give to support his thesis that it it not the thing (the rule of chastity) that has gone wrong, but the instinct? Comments?
 

We have contraceptives to keep  pregnancies down and our view of sex outside of marriage has changed. I would have to agree with him on this. It makes it easier for us to ignore the Christian way.

 

12. Lewis says appetites grow through indulgence. Can you give an example?
Oh yes! I agree here too. One chip is okay, but then you want another and another and soon the bag is gone!!

 

 

 

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13. Lewis says that if man had not fallen, sexual pleasure would be greater. Comment. 
 I suppose we wouldn’t be so inhibited, just like when Adam and Eve weren’t concerned that they were nude. He says Christianity is the one religion that promotes love and the body. God came to earth as a man and we will have some sort of body given to us in heaven. He says Christianity glorifies marriage.
 
14. He also says restraint leads to happiness. How have you experienced this? 
 I remember missing many “fun” times while earning my two degrees. In the end I felt good about completing them.
 
15. Why does Hollywood and the world prey on those who are obsessed with sex? 

I suppose because it is abnormal?

 
16. What point does Lewis make about how God views those who try and fail versus those who don’t try? 

At least they tried; every time they fail they pick themselves back up, ask forgiveness, and realize they can’t do it alone. They need God.

 
17. What sins does Lewis believe are worse than sins of the flesh and why, do you think? Do you agree?
He says self-righteous behavior, back biting, power, bossing, and hatred are worse.

Maybe it’s because in one case (sins of the flesh) you are harming (potentially) yourself (also others perhaps, but not because of power or anything like that) in the second one you are holding yourself above another person and purposefully harming someone else?

 

I’m not sure how I feel here; whether I agree with Lewis or not. I think either way you are not pleasing God. You are not behaving as He would want you to behave.

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