Thursday, September 9, 2010

Identity by Peter Kreeft

The Article is available online at this link.
"Triangles can never be non-triangular, and rocks are always guaranteed to be rocky...but humans can be inhuman."

1. Why do you think we have the ability to be inhuman? Can you theorize any benefits from us having the capicity to be inhuman? Explain what the world would be like if we were as bound to our "humanness" as a triagle is to triangularity.

"Whatever is must be good." - Boethius
2. What is Boethius saying here? Does that mean nothing that exists is evil? How do you explain the presence of evil in the world if whatever is must be good?

"That's what happened in Eden. Once we laid hands on the fruit we desired, the horrible effect took place immediately: it laid its hands on us."

3. How are we possessed by that which we possess? Why is that, at least in Kreeft's estimation, a bad thing? Give some examples of being owned by what you own.

"Frodo and Sam...attain themselves and save their selves only because they give themselves away – for others, for the Shire, for the world;"

4. This statement defies logic: how can you attain something by losing it or giving it away? Explain how it is more noble, more dignified, to attain one's self by giving ones' self away?
" Gollum is obsessed with his cause, with his possession of the Ring. He almost has no self left, he's so selfish. He talks to himself more than to others. He makes no distinction between himself and his "Precious". He's confused about who he is."

5. Many of the "gurus" or experts in our culture say that the first step toward solving our individual (or social) problems is to "find ourselves." According to the line of thinking in the quote above, why might we never be able to truly find ourselves?

"Sauron is uncomfortably familiar. He's only an exaggeration or an enlargement of us, or at least, of one possibility for us."

6. What can be done to avoid the "monster we might become"? Sauron seems to have become a monster because he put so much of himself into something beyond himself. Aren't we encouraged to do this all the time with sports, hobbies, even school work? How do we keep from becoming defined by the things we put ourselves into?

"Countless people who are caught off guard, children especially, fall in love with Aslan...Aslan is Jesus. ... You feel towards Aslan, spontaneously, the way Jesus' contemporaries felt towards Him."

7. Are you familiar with the Narnia Chronicles? In what way is Aslan like Jesus? If you are not familiar: what is another example of a character from a story you know that is Christ-like? What makes the character like Jesus? Is it obvious from the start? Is it more effective if it is not obvious?

C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, which I know you ALL read this summer: " "Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you... into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into either a heavenly creature or a hellish creature...Each of us at each moment is progressing towards the one state or the other."


9. What is Kreeft's solution for avoiding becoming a lowly worm, a proud pharisee, or a wishy-washy Charlie Brown?

"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own self?" People hear that and resist it because it's direct and challenging because it's familiar. They read Tolkien's story and see it, and they can't resist it.

No comments: