Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pondering - Pain (Heaven vs. Hell and Poverty)

"We know much more about heaven than hell, for heaven is the home of humanity and therefore contains all that is implied in a glorified human life: but hell was not made ofr men. It is in no sense parallel to heavin: it is the 'darkness outside,' the outer rim where being fades away into nonentity."

- Dr. Edwyn Bevan (quoted in The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis)

I finished reading The Problem of Pain today. What a difficult book to read. I will probably need to re-read this book a few times to really understand everything C.S. Lewis wrote. Some of the stuff I had already come in contact with through my courses at Seattle Pacific University. Reading this book was like chewing on tough meat. You don't really finish it or feel full without taking multiple bites.

There were two things that stood out to me the most in the book. His discussion about Heaven and Hell and secondly, how poverty is related to pain.

"Of poverty - the affliction which actually or potentially includes all other afflictions - I would not dare to speak as from myself; and those who reject Christianity will not be moved by Christ's statement that poverty is blessed. But here a rather remarkable fact comes to my aid. Those who would most scornfully repudiate Christianity as a mere 'opiate of the people' have a contempt for the rich, that is, for all mankind excep tthe poor. They regard the poor as the only people worth preserving from 'liquidation,' and place in them the only hope of the human race. But this is not compatible with a belief that the effects of poverty on those who suffer it are wholly evil; it even implies that they are good. The Marxist thus finds himself in real agreement with the Christian in those two beliefs which Christianity paradoxically demands - that poverty is blessed and yet ought to be removed."

- The Problem of Pain pg. 109

These two things stood out the most to me while I was reading. Perhaps it's because there is so much poverty and suffering due to poverty that Lewis' statement stuck out to me. Perhaps, it's the hope of heaven that makes me think about how wonderful that 'pie in the sky' will truly be. Whatever the case may be, these are the things I am thinking about and contemplating how that affects the actions and choices I make each day.

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