Two Roads to Live On

UnknownThoughtful observers are in agreement that our culture is sick. We are morally confused. We are cracked, violated, and vicious. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we’re much worse than any previous culture. The difference between earlier cultures and ours is not in terms of our lack of virtue, but the lack of knowledge of virtue. As Peter Kreeft so boldly puts it, we are the most freakish culture in the history of the west—because we have loosed our lives from the pursuit of God—and we are the weakest culture in the history of the west—because we no longer act based on objective moral principles, and thus have no objective standard with which to judge and no objective source of power for change.

We are morally lost, wandering around in this world without knowledge. As Kreeft puts it:[1]

The most fundamental issue our civilization faces is: Are there moral road maps? If there is a God, there is a map. If God has a map, his map is the true map.

The most striking feature of God’s map is that there are only Two Roads. The road that leads to life, and the rode that leads to death. The road that leads to happiness, and the road that leads to misery. The road that leads to wholeness, and the road that leads to disintegration.

We find statements of these two roads all throughout Scripture. To cite but a couple:

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. . . . I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Dt. 30:15-20)

 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matt. 7:13-14)

C.S. Lewis describes these Two Roads powerfully in this passage from The Great Divorce:[2]

We are not living in a world where all roads are a radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the centre; rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork you must make a decision. . . . I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road.

There are two roads on which to walk. Which one you choose matters infinitely. Granted, one is the road of self-denial and the other self-love. But, paradoxically, in denying ourselves, Christ says we will, in the end, find ourselves—and God besides. Therein lies happiness. Quo Vadis?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), 11.

[2] Quoted in Ibid., 13.

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