Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Definition of a Man

I am coming to the end of my last semester on campus at Taylor. I have enjoyed the five years I spent here. Looking forward is sometimes terrifying and exciting all at the same time. It's like looking down a huge cliff. I have learned so much and am taking away a lot of good things Also, I have accumulated a lot of things I wish I had not seen, heard or said. As I grow older, I develop a greater knowledge and a part of that knowledge is evil.

Where ever you go to college, you will encounter evil in its various forms. Some of it will be ugly and revolting. Some of it will look deceitfully beautiful and seductive. All of it leads down a sad path.

I read a book called, "Eric," by F.W. Farr, over Easter break. It's about a young boy who goes to school living in Victorian England. It was written, for high schoolers and junior high, but I think those in college can learn a lot from it. The book talks a lot about what happens in college and the evil found there. In one section of the book, the main character asks his teacher whether it would be good if his brother came to school. He was worried that the evils (drinking, swearing, crass behavior) in the school would corrupt his brother. This was his teacher's response:
The innocence of mere ignorance is a poor thing; it cannot, under any circumstances, be permanent, nor is it at all valuable as a foundation of character. The true preparation for life, the true basis of a manly character, is not to have been ignorant of evil, but to have known it and avoided it; not to have been sheltered from temptation, but to have passed through it and overcome it by God’s help. (p. 113)
This is a great quote, especially for men, because it contains, I think, the core of what it means to be a man. What makes a man is someone who has known evil but avoided it. In this context, to know, does not mean to have participated in. Rather it means you have known about evil, know where you can find it, get it and have it yet avoided it. I think that's what makes a man, someone who has known evil but avoided it.


  1. David:

    Very good post on Eric. It makes me want to reread it. I like the way you put it about being a man, making choices.


  2. Hi David,

    Great post!

    I like the quote as well. Reminds me so much of the book of Proverbs, which teach us all about wisdom (not ignorance). Proverbs also is full of references to the "paths" of life, with many admonitions to keep our paths from sin. Read Proverbs 4 and 5. Proverbs 5:8 --- it says not to go even "near the door" of the adulteress; we are not to play with fire or toy with sin.

    Uncle Peter


Thank you for your comment, I'll review it as soon as I can!