Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tale of Three Kingdoms

There was a man who grew up in the kingdom of Epicuria. In school he was taught that he was the product of a universe run by blind chance. Therefore he was told he should do whatever gave him the greatest amount of pleasure. This seemed an attractive option, and he proceeded to live that way. At first he reveled in it. But in time, the things that had originally pleased him became monotonous. Also, some of his pleasures were habit forming, and he was not sure if he controlled them or they controlled him. Further, other people objected to doing the things that brought him the maximum amount of pleasure. He felt there should be some greater meaning to life. His pleasures made him feel guilty, even though he had been assured this belonged to the defunct world of primitive taboos. And if these ideas were remnants of primitive superstition, why could he not eliminate them entirely from his thinking?

So becoming more and more uncomfortable, he left home to seek his fortune. He ended up in the kingdom of Moralia. There he learned that pleasure was not the ultimate goal of life. There were basic moral rules, which involved forgoing certain pleasures to do what was right. This fit with the man's inability to totally deny the idea of right and wrong. Many of the inhabitants of Moralia held they were not the product of random chance, but the creation of some form of God. This meant that life had meaning and the rules had meaning, for they were the product of something beyond human beings. But the man had a problem. He could not keep the rules. He would try hard and convince himself it was working for a while. Then something would happen, and he would fall flat on his face. Also, other people had the same problem, pretending they were doing a better job then they were or watering down the rules so they could keep them. They were rigid and unwilling to allow others to see their true selves. They would often put down others just to reassure themselves they were doing well. When he reached the point he could not take it any more, he left.

In his travels he came to the kingdom of Gratia. The people there asked him why he was so depressed. He said that he believed in a moral law, but was unable to keep it. They told him how their King had taken the punishment of the moral law upon Himself and that He offered pardon to all who would accept it. They still believed  the law was good and should be obeyed. But forgiveness set them free to obey it out of love for the King, honestly facing their failures and the failures of others, while the King assisted them in growing in obedience. The man left the main road and headed into the kingdom of Gratia. He had found a home.


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