In our current environment of extremism, whether it be political, religious, or some other issue, I have found, and continue to find, C.S. Lewis’ following quote quite telling. You see, when we begin a new subject of study, if we are honestly seeking for the Truth, we do not enter into that study with a preconceived belief. However, after only a short amount of study, we become intimately familiar with a particular error on one side of the discussion or another. That error so consumes us that we often turn so passionately and so firmly against it that we have unwittingly embraced the opposite, equally malicious error.
I feel a strong desire to tell you–and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me–which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.
This applies to any subject one can think of:
- In economics, one may see the vast problems of communism and so embrace pure capitalism as if it were the perfect answer. Or visa-versa.
- In language, one may understand the idiocy of thinking that words have no meaning and thereby assume that words will always have the same meaning. Or visa-versa.
- In business, one may understand the importance of making a profit and conclude that he must make a profit at any cost. Or visa-versa.
- In politics, we may see the problems inherent to the Republican Party (Conservative) and so embrace the errors of the Democratic Party (Liberal). Or visa-versa.
- In theology, we may either reject God’s sovereignty or us it to blame Him for our actions. Or visa-versa.
- In doctrine, we may reject certain twisting of Truth in one denomination so hardily that we also reject the Truth that has been twisted yet remains in that denomination. Or visa-versa.
It would seem that almost anytime one is placed in the position of having a belief that must be either this or that, and this and that are complete opposites of each other, that neither this nor that are likely to really be the Truth, but instead are usually two equally evil twisting of what the Truth really is.