Friday, 18 May 2018

Men Without Chests

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This title is borrowed from C.S Lewis book, The Abolition of Man. 1. He argued that there must be a connect between our emotions and the intellect; a connect between what we teach people and what we expect from them. Our emotions need to be so trained and prepared that they become the foundation upon which healthy reason and logic grow. You cannot feel differently and think differently. “Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism” (p.9). The physical manifestation of ethical behavior in a man for example does not come because of knowledge of ethics, but because appropriate responses have been trained in the man. That is why we are different from animals. Emotions are trained with objective truth which guides the man in the knowing of right and wrong, hence he is expected to produce virtue. But when this training is lacking or deemed unimportant, we will not be surprised with the kind of people we produce with warped knowledge of right and wrong. In fact, Lewis said “I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite sceptical about ethics but bred to believe that 'a gentleman does not cheat', than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers.” (p.9). I agree. This is because, a man whose emotions have not been trained with objective values can be duping you and still be speaking in tongues.

When we look at issues, what do we think? What do we perceive? How do we feel? To think correctly about an issue, we must feel correctly about it.2. We will respond based on how our emotions have been trained. We have to teach our children that it is ok to cry when we hurt and are in pains. It is ok to rejoice when good things happen to those around us. It is ok to stretch a hand of help to those who are in trouble. It is ok to look at nature and see the handiwork of God and with a heart of worship appreciate Him. It is ok to look at sin and revolt against it. It is ok to hold to virtue no matter what we may lose or gain. It is ok to behave or live differently based on our convictions without being afraid of any intimidation or persecutions. 

At the end, our perception, our responses, and what we become depends on how our emotions have been trained. But we must ensure that the instrument used for this training is objective value and truth and not any other thing outside of it. If it is human philosophy, tradition and rudiments of this world, the emotion so produced is bound to fail the test. We have been seduced with a lot of strange gospels and human philosophies. We have used these to build the lives of men, hence we see the perversions, pursuit of vanity and hero-worship rampant among us. Strange doctrines will produce strange thinking and feelings. 

We cannot define pride and greed anymore because it depends on how you are seeing it. We do not understand who a thief is anymore because nobody cares to ask anybody the source of his income. Everybody shirks from accountability. A leader presents financial report for example, and does not expect or want anybody to ask probing questions. If you do, you will be marked and punished. Many people are not able to make a distinction between the holy and the profane. Sin does not produce a revolt in our spirit because we are at home with it. We raise money in the name of missions and our leaders will use it to travel while the missionaries on ground are owed their allowances. The world around complains about our behavior but we do not find anything wrong with our behavior as long as our earthly happiness is guaranteed. We hear that churches are burnt down, people are in pains and innocent Christian girls are kidnapped, we only follow the motions the next Sunday without a mention or serious prayer. It does not touch us and we seem not to know what to do. Everything is ok and we seem to be in a new normal. We can go on and on to illustrate what will look like the status report of our situation because of our false assumptions.

How did we come to this point where nothing moves us? We see things and are not stirred up to action? We share pictures of violence in the social media carelessly without regard to sanctity of life. Every death is part of the statistics as long as it does not affect us. Is our current feeling or emotion not a product of our strange hedonistic gospels? Have we not become, as it were, men without chests?
C.S Lewis concludes his discuss this way: “we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” (p. 9). Again, has our earth-bound and self-satisfying gospel not produced men without chests?

May God deliver us from the seductions of this world. Amen.


References
1.      Lewis C.S, The Abolition of Man, The Augustine Club at Columbia University. March 2002. Online: http://www.basicincome.com/bp/files/The_Abolition_of_Man-C_S_Lewis.pdf. Accessed 18/05/18.
Lewis C.S, STUDY GUIDE to The Abolition of Man. C.S. Lewis Foundation, 2001 Online: http://www.cslewis.org/resources/studyguides/Study%20Guide%20-%20The%20Abolition%20of%20Man.pdf. Accessed 18/05/18.
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