Excerpt From “The Great Divorce”- The Ghost, The Lizard, and The Spirit

 In The Great Divorce, pp. 98-103, C.S. Lewis wrote:

“I saw coming towards us a Ghost who carried something on his shoulder. Like all the Ghosts, he was unsubstantial, but they differed from one another as smokes differ. Some had been whitish; this one was dark and oily. What sat on his shoulder was a little red lizard, and it was twitching its tail like a whip and whispering things in his ear. As we caught sight of him he turned his head to the reptile with a snarl of impatience. “Shut up, I tell you!” he said. It wagged its tail and continued to whisper to him. He ceased snarling, and presently began to smile. Then be turned and started to limp westward, away from the mountains.

“Off so soon?” said a voice.

The speaker was more or less human in shape but larger than a man, and so bright that I could hardly look at him. His presence smote on my eyes and on my body too (for there was heat coming from him as well as light) like the morning sun at the beginning of a tyrannous summer Tongues-of-Fireday.

“Yes. I’m off,” said the Ghost. “Thanks for all your hospitality. But it’s no good, you see. I told this little chap,” (here he indicated the lizard), “that he’d have to be quiet if he came -which he insisted on doing. Of course his stuff won’t do here: I realise that. But he won’t stop. I shall just have to go home.”

‘Would you like me to make him quiet?” said the flaming Spirit-an angel, as I now understood.

“Of course I would,” said the Ghost.

“Then I will kill him,” said the Angel, taking a step forward.

“Oh-ah-look out! You’re burning me. Keep away,” said the Ghost, retreating.

“Don’t you want him killed?”

“You didn’t say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with anything so drastic as that.”

“It’s the only way,” said the Angel, whose burning hands were now very close to the lizard. “Shall I kill it?”

“Well, that’s a further question. I’m quite open to consider it, but it’s a new point, isn’t it? I mean, for the moment I was only thinking about silencing it because up here-well, it’s so damned embarrassing.”

“May I kill it?”

“Well, there’s time to discuss that later.”

“There is no time. May I kill it?”

“Please, I never meant to be such a nuisance. Please-really-don’t bother. Look! It’s gone to sleep of its own accord. I’m sure it’ll be all right now. Thanks ever so much.”

“May I kill it?”

“Honestly, I don’t think there’s the slightest necessity for that. I’m sure I shall be able to keep it in order now. I think the gradual process would be far better than killing it.”

“The gradual process is of no use at all.”

“Don’t you think so? Well, I’ll think over what you’ve said very carefully. I honestly will. In fact I’d let you kill it now, but as a matter of fact I’m not feeling frightfully well to-day. It would be silly to do it now. I’d need to be in good health for the operation. Some other day, perhaps.”

“There is no other day. All days are present now.”

“Get back! You’re burning me. How can I tell you to kill it? You’d kill me if you did.”

“It is not so.”

“Why, you’re hurting me now.”

“I never said it wouldn’t hurt you. I said it wouldn’t kill you.”

“Oh, I know. You think I’m a coward. But it isn’t that. Really it isn’t. I say! Let me run back by tonight’s bus and get an opinion from my own doctor. I’ll come again the first moment I can.”

“This moment contains all moments.”

“Why are you torturing me? You are jeering at me. How can I let you tear me to pieces? If you wanted to help me, why
didn’t you kill the damned thing without asking me–before I knew? It would be all over by now if you had.”

“I cannot kill it against your will. It is impossible. Have I your permission?”

The Angel’s hands were almost closed on the Lizard, but not quite. Then the Lizard began chattering to the Ghost so loud that even I could hear what it was saying.

“Be careful,” it said. “He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you and he will! Then you’ll be without me for ever and ever. It’s not natural. How could you live? You’d be only a sort of ghost, not a real man as you are now. He doesn’t understand. He’s only a cold, bloodless abstract thing. It may be natural for him, but it isn’t for us. Yes, yes. I know there are no real pleasures now, only dreams. But aren’t they better than nothing? And I’ll be so good. I admit I’ve sometimes gone too far in the past, but I promise I won’t do it again. I’ll give you nothing but really nice dreams–all sweet and fresh and almost innocent. You might say, quite innocent …. ”

“Have I your permission?” said the Angel to the Ghost.

“I know it will kill me.”seraphim5

“It won’t. But supposing it did?”

“You’re right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature.”

“Then I may?”

“d*mn and blast you! Go on can’t you? Get it over. Do what you like,” bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, “God help me. God help me.”

Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard on Earth. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile: twisted it, while it bit and writhed, and then flung it, broken backed, on the turf.

“Ow! That’s done for me,” gasped the Ghost, reeling backwards.

For a moment I could make out nothing distinctly. Then I saw, between me and the nearest bush, unmistakably solid but growing every moment solider, the upper arm and the shoulder of a man. Then, brighter still and stronger, the legs and hands. The neck and golden head materialised while I watched, and if my attention had not wavered I should have seen the actual completing of a man–an immense man, naked, not much smaller than the Angel. What distracted me was the fact that at the same moment something seemed to be happening to the Lizard. At first I thought the operation had failed. So far from dying, the creature was still struggling and even growing bigger as it struggled. And as it grew it changed. Its hinder parts grew rounder. The tail, still flickering, became a tail of hair that flickered between huge and glossy buttocks. Suddenly I started back, rubbing my eyes. What stood before me was the greatest stallion I have ever seen, silvery white but with mane and tail of gold. It was smooth and shining, rippled with swells of flesh and muscle, whinneying and stamping with its hoofs. At each stamp the land shook and the trees dindled.

The new-made man turned and clapped the new horse’s neck. It nosed his bright body. Horse and master breathed each into the other’s nostrils. The man turned from it, flung himself at the feet of the Burning One, and embraced them. When he rose I thought his face shone with tears, but it may have been only the liquid love and brightness (one cannot distinguish them in that country) which flowed from him. I had not long to think about it. In joyous haste the young man leaped upon the horse’s back. Turning in his seat he waved a farewell, then nudged the stallion with his heels. They were off before I well knew what was happening. There was riding if you like! I came out as quickly as I could from among the bushes to follow them with my eyes; but already they were only like a shooting star far off on the green plain, and soon among the foothills of the mountains. Then, still like a star, I saw them winding up, scaling what seemed impossible steeps, and quicker every moment, till near the dim brow of the landscape, so high that I must strain my neck to see them, they vanished, bright themselves, into the rose-brightness of that everlasting morning.”

Good Filters Do Not Block Legit Browsing

CaptureI have heard many times the excuse of “I don’t want to put filters on my computer because it will block stuff that it shouldn’t”. On one hand I understand where the concern is. For some, computers are a foreign language and on top of learning how to fix regular issues that come up, you are being asked to add a new complexity to it!?!

From personal experience I know that web filter companies have figured out how to simplify the interface so the average Joe (mom, dad, or any person) can use these tools to their advantage without all of the hassle. What I want to do is show the average user that it is possible to set a filter to exactly how strong/strict you need it to be.

One Example is a free PC/Apple Web-Filter called K-9 Web Protection. You can find the link on the resource page. I have used the program through and through. In a way, it has helped getting out of the slavery of pornography addiction much easier. It blocked what it needed to block and it was flexible to change when it needed some tweaking. The good news is, it has multiple levels of security as shown in the picture below from high, moderate, minimal, and custom. These settings allow you to make it very generic or very specific. Did I mention it is free?

Levels of Security

Custom Categories

For the parents of little ones:

You should start at a young age, as soon as they can hold a tablet in hand ;), by speaking to your children about what they should do when they see inappropriate content online by accident. Go tell mom and dad right away! Next, put a parental filter on any and everything electronic (including websites). This will help create an atmosphere of safe browsing, and set a standard to show your children by way of experience what they can and cannot look at. This could include social networking if you would like, or even all image/video searches…but you can choose which category to filter on.

You may be thinking this will never happen to my little one I don’t need this, but remember the average first viewing age of pornography is 11 years old. This of course can happen by accident, but it can also happen when the neighborhood friend comes over and decides to show your son what his brother was looking at online. It could only take that one time to ruin a kids life, especially if they aren’t told beforehand how to deal with something like this.

For the parents of teens:

Sadly, by this time your kids may already have some secrets. According to the statistics on my previous post “here” :

– More than half of boys and nearly a third of girls see their first pornographic images before they turn 13.

– More than 7 out of 10 teens hide their online behavior from their parents in some way.

While I was a youth leader at my local church I spoke to parents about what issues their kids will be dealing with during their teenage years. Most of them were oblivious to what their teens were doing outside of the house let alone what they were doing online. One way to help make sure your teens/young adults are doing what they are supposed to online and on smartphones/tablets is to use the same filters and to check their online activity on a regular basis. K-9 also allows you to put certain times that it does not allow internet activity like say… 11pm -6am Mon-Fri.  Why in the world would a teen need to be online that late when no one else is awake?

For those who struggle with a true addiction to pornography, these filters/blocks are a mandatory action. Some of you may need to ask someone else to keep the password for you while you have the filter on the strictest settings. “Because if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell”. -Mathew 5:30

Even then, this alone will not get you out of the slavery of addiction, there is usually a deeper issue than just having access to illicit materials. I will be writing a separate post on this soon.

*I promise, I am not getting paid to endorse any of these products. I just have a passion to serve Christ by pointing out awesome resources which are already available on the internet.

Web Filters Are for Kids and Adults!

There are no boundaries to the demographics. The disease of sin and sexual temptation (heterosexual and homosexual) is far reaching to every country, age group, and walks of life.

-42.7% Of internet users view pornography

-28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography every second

-53% of Promise Keeper men viewed pornography in the last week

-47% of Christians said pornography is a major problem in the home

This is not just a problem for men..

-20% of men admit to accessing pornography at work

-13% of women admit to accessing pornography at work

-72% male – 28% female — breakdown of male/female visitors to pornography sites

We need help! Internet filters are an easy way to help take the temptation away from our spouses, children and ourselves. The good news is, if you are not looking for this garbage then you might not even notice that the filters are on your PC. It is always better to be safe, than to be sorry when your child accidentally sees something they ought not to.

Parents, read the statistics..

– In a 2010 national survey, over a quarter of 16 to 17 year-olds said they were exposed to nudity online when they were not seeking it (unintentionally).

– More than half of boys and nearly a third of girls see their first pornographic images before they turn 13.

– Average age of first internet porn exposure: 11

– In a survey of hundreds of college students, 93% of boys and 62% of girls said they were exposed to pornography before they turned 18.

– In addition 20% of 16-year-olds and 30% of 17-year-olds have received a “sext” (a sexually explicit text message).

– More than 7 out of 10 teens hide their online behavior from their parents in some way.

Our kids also need help! We cannot be there to watch our kids on the internet every second, but programs like netnanny and k-9* web protection (*Free) can be there to direct your children away from accidentally (or purposefully) seeing inappropriate content.

*I promise, I am not getting paid to endorse any of these products. I just have a passion to serve Christ by pointing out awesome resources which are already available on the internet.

Helpful Resources (For those with sexual temptation and parents of all ages):

www1.k9webprotection.com -FREE* Web filter for PC/Android/Apple (*Recommended for PCs)

www.netnanny.com/products/netnanny/ – Laptop/PC/Android/IOS Web Filter (*Recommended for Android Devices)

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/ – FREE* Pre-Screen Movies, Games, Books, and Apps. (*Recommended for Parents!!)

http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/ – FREE* Online Addiction 60 day Course /Accountability Partner (*Recommended)

Statistics References:

http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/02/19/pornography-statistics/

http://www.familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html

http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/internet-pornography-statistics.html

http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/

http://www.safefamilies.org/sfStats.php