A Response to Criticism on ‘Mere Depression’ (Thus Far My Most Popular Blog Post)
I like criticism, for the most part. If it comes from a sincere understanding of the text and translates to a concern for the truth of the text and clarification, what is there not to like?
Sometimes when I write a blog post I in advance understand that there will be a misunderstanding of the issue that I presented. That’s either because I did not have the energy to clarify the point at the time, or I didn’t have the space to do that, or I just wanted to keep things very simple.
Such was the case in one of my most popular blog posts: Mere Depression: Lewis the Agnostic. In it I reviewed C. S. Lewis’ book, A Grief Observed. If you haven’t read the article thus yet I would incredibly appreciate if you had the chance to. It is one of my more prized works and I am very proud of it.
I didn’t however get the chance to clarify on some of the points I only briefly touched on in that piece. I hope this to be a further editing of that article. A 2nd edition. Now let me proceed with the comment to the article
THE COMMENT (Individual to remain anonymous):
The striking truth is that the most honorable Christians live the most pitiful lives. Why regular “Sunday” Christians often find consolation in God is worth to think about.
Though, opposed to Lewis (or maybe you, Jakub) there were some devout people that found God’s love and blessing in their lowest moments (Job).
It is worth noting that God shows us his love not by making us feel good, but by sacrificing his Son so we could live forever. There are more explanations to pain than God’s carelessness.
I really didn’t like the part explaining God’s character. I might agree that God can be vindictive and cruel, though. These two can have a good side (justice and teaching/growth).
But conclusion “if he is cruel, he might also be a liar” is just wrong. Also if you don’t see the reason behind someone’s actions, it doesn’t mean he has to be unreasonable. It is very possible that you just don’t see the reason. I believe that the latter is true with God. I believe that a man needs humility to understand God’s goodness. You need to be humble to see what you were given even when it was later taken away.
It’s hard to comment on what you state as sinful but not bad cos it’s so ridiculous. But I’ll try:
Swearing: you probably stated it as sin cos you dind’t fully understand the meaning of Eph. 4:29
Tatoos: i would really need a reference for this. Piercing was pretty normal all the time, Song of Solomon 8:6 says about seal upon your arm. Only reason I see might be the health issue.
Addictive activities: seriously, are you trolling now? It is sin and it is bad when it overcomes you and damages your mental/physical health.
Sex inside marriage: better for community and mental health. Also less unborn children are murdered when the couple is married. Quite a strong case i think. You might say sex ed is the solution to the problem. But without sex outside marriage, there wouldn’t even be a problem to solve.
It is interesting in a sad way to see how your understanding of Bible became so shallow after you denied God.
Although I might have sounded too critical, the main thought for a christian to take from this article is to search for truth about God and then to accept the outcome, if you like it or not. I am afraid that a striking number of christians would not be able to do that.
Looking forward to the next review!
Thank you for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to write this.
My response is simple. The main point of this article was not that one sentence that half of your response was about.
The one sentence in the six pages of content could have gone without mentioning since it was not the main point of the review. The main point of the review is three-fold: with great happiness there must come immense pain, my attempt to see if Lewis doubted God’s existence, and lastly, arguing why God is ultimately not a moral creature.
Now you touched on the last topic for a second there and I was excited about that because you are an intelligent individual. The statement: “if he is cruel, he might also be a liar” is in the context that God says that he is just and loving and gracious, etc. That is what Lewis is referencing in that sentence. He is a liar if he says that he isn’t cruel and is fair. The question is, is he fair?
Okay and the last thing I’ll respond to is your statement: “You need to be humble to see what you were given even when it was later taken away.”
Think of this from this perspective. You can say the same thing from a state of ignorance and unfortunately people have often done just that. Think of sects and cults.
To proceed, you touched on my mentioning of sins in the article and why I view them to not be very sinful. Swearing was not a misunderstanding Ephesians 4:28. If anything it would be misunderstanding the concept of swearing. And that’s a debate in and of itself.
Tattoos: still classified as a sin in the OT. It was to set apart God’s people, not for health reasons. God clearly does not care about people’s health.
Sex inside marriage: marriage does not have to be the thing that keeps people together. it does not have to be marriage it can be something else. A long-term relationship that is outside marriage is not bad for the community if it stays together and is actively looking for social and mental improvement in culture.
Addictive activities: masturbating is not bad for you, coffee is not bad for you, running is not bad for you, your family (because you can be addicted to your family) is ultimately not bad for you. These are just a tip of examples of addictive activities that are not detrimental to health.
My point with that sentence was that these things are grey issues and not ULTIMATELY sinful, they are not black and white. Swearing is not always sinful, masturbating is not always bad, being addicted to society’s approval is not always harmful to your personality.
Within Christianity these activities are always sinful and bad and unacceptable. The Christian box is not grey, it’s black and white. And that is clear all over the Bible.
The cruelty of God is obvious. This is the reason Lewis doubted his claims and called him a liar. This by a world-renown apologist. Kierkegaard, world-renown Christian philosopher and pastor comes to the same conclusion. Chestov the same, Job (since you mentioned him) the same, Jeremiah the same (goes so far as saying that God tricked him), etc. etc. On and on I can go giving you examples of people that feel betrayed by God.
There is no hidden reason for these feelings apart from God’s
absence from their lives, from the universe. You would understand this if you were looking at this from my perspective. That is what could be defined as being rational.
I hope that gives you a decent response.
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Until next time, keep reflecting.