“Why do you attack the whole world?” someone came out of the school who was just as hot-headed as Encouragement was.

The party looked at Encouragement. He almost started again, but noticed that Christian and Witness were both watching. They were watching with those eyes that silently begged him not to start again. He took a deep breath and walked away.


Book I, Book XV


            “What do you mean?” Christian turned toward the accuser.

“Why do you follow ancient rules and try to hold the whole world to that antiquated standard? It is a new time! We must accept new things!”

Christian found the nearest park bench and invited the man to sit down with him, “What is your name, friend?”

“My name is Progress.”

Christian continued, “Well, I am from the King’s land on the other side of the chasm. My name is Christian and I’m glad that you might ask a question like this. First, I must say that I do not worship ancient tradition as you might suggest.”

Progress inserted, “But your manual is as ancient as it gets.”

“Do you know anything about the King?” Christian asked in response.

“I believe that there is a King.”

Christian smiled, “Do you know that the King commissioned the manual?”

Progress had studied the subject, “Yes, but the manual has many different authors.”

“All writing the King’s story and code according to the King’s commission,” Christian elevated his voice so that it could not be ignored.

“Okay,” Progress regressed, “but centuries ago! Surely the change of the times means that a newer, updated manual needs to be commissioned.”

“Do you believe that the King must know His own land and has proper records of the events during His reign?” Christian asked.

“Well, yes,” answered Progress, “He would hardly be King without these.”

“Precisely my point,” Christian continued, “If the King has knowledge of His kingdom, then what He commissions regarding His kingdom must be accurate. Surely if the King does not change, neither do His commissions.”

Progress found the change in tone from when they were in the school refreshing, “The manual is still too restrictive for our day.”

Christian pulled out a manual, “Is that by your own measure or by the measure of the King?”

Progress admitted that it was by his own reasoning that he came to such a conclusion.

“I don’t think we can properly measure a standard of morality or law by our own reasoning because we are measured by the standard. A standard cannot be measured by those under it.” Christian drew Progress in, “If we are talking about being too restrictive, I am certain that the manual teaches us how to be free. It is life without the manual that is more restrictive.”

“How do you suppose?” Progress was curious because he did not follow many rules and the manual had them abundantly.

Christian opened up the manual and explained, “There is a great darkness that tries to overcome all people. In fact, most people are a slave to such a darkness. The manual tells us of a gift given by the King to set us free from the darkness and gives guidelines on how to resist the darkness. There are restrictions, but they are put in place to lead us away from darkness and into light. These restrictions are for our good and will lead us into true freedom in the King’s land forever.”

“What if one of the other manuals is actually the correct standard?” Progress inquired, “How can we be sure that this one is the one, especially if we are unable to measure its validity?”

Christian responded, “Good question. What I meant was that we cannot measure the rightness of its contents if it is truly our standard. We can inquire as to its validity. This manual has proven to be historically accurate where it can be tested and is also coherent, which is more than can be said for other proposed manuals. Its foundation in antiquity is evidence also of its validity, because the King’s word must be timeless. If it is our standard, then, it dictates morality and law for us, not us for it. That is what I was trying to say, friend.”

Progress spoke up again, “And if I choose to live without these guidelines? Can I still be with the King?”

“If you knew the King,” Christian said, “this is not a question you would ask. If you knew Him and had experienced His freedom, you’d be more than willing to give anything up because He is worth it.”

“How can I know the King?” asked Progress.

“Follow me,” said Christian, “One thing you must know, though: we cannot move forward by doing more or developing more or accepting more. We can only do this by living the King’s way. We are tricked, many times, into thinking that moving forward is about depending more on ourselves when doing this actually brings us further from life. As it turns out, the more we deny ourselves on this side of the chasm the freer we are.”

They all stepped over the border from Power into Religion together. Witness asked as the crossed over, “So, we deny ourselves for a time while looking forward to a day when we will not have to?”

Christian responded, “I don’t know what that life will look like; but I imagine that we will not have deny ourselves because our desire will be filled rightly and our natural disposition will be to benefit others first. We will not have this imperfect nature to contend with.”