Monday, February 07, 2011

Plantinga on Gossip

Two salient quotes:

1.  On the sin of envy:

"The envier gossips.  He saves up bad news of others and passes it around like an appetizer at happy hour."

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr in Not the Way It's Supposed To Be, pg. 171

2.  On the danger of nothing:

"Making a career of Nothing--wandering through malls, killing time, making small talk, watching television programs until we know their characters better than our own children--robs the community of our gifts and energies and shapes life into a yawn at the God and savior of the world.  The person who will not bestir herself, the person who hands herself over to Nothing, in effect says to God: you have made nothing of interest and redeemed no one of consequence, including me."

This idea of Nothing being dangerous is very appropriate for the study of gossip, especially thinking of gossip as careless or idle words.

Plantinga goes on to quote C.S. Lewis

"Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man's best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is took weak and fuddled to shake off...The only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy...Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.  Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."  (From The Screwtape Letters).