There is No Third Way

Tertium non datur. That’s the law of the excluded middle. It is used in philosophy, especially logic, but there is a lot of other “middle” that we can exclude besides philosophy. In my last post, There is a Third Way, I suggested going up the middle in our social lives, our fellowship, but that does not mean there is always a middle road.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction… the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life…” (Mt 7:13-14 RSV) Jesus speaks of two ways:  one wide and easy, one narrow and hard. If we take Him at His word, there is no third way, there is only life or destruction.

This amplifies an Old Testament passage: “… I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” (Deu 30:19 RSV) We have the opportunity to choose our path in the eternal scope. We can choose blessing or curse, but there is no third way. C.S. Lewis wrote of just this toward the end of The Weight of Glory:

“All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

When it comes to our faith and our morality – to how we live – there is no third way.

This applies, too, to our thoughts. Thoughts come from two sources or two groups of sources:  the Godly and the ungodly. God does not lead us away from peace. If a thought comes to you from a place of anxiety or anger, it is coming from the world, the flesh, or the devil. If it comes from a place of peace (given a healthy mind and well-formed conscience), it is a Godly voice, from your conscience or guardian angel or from the Lord Himself. Recurrence of a thought isn’t a guarantee of goodness, though I’ve found that God often puts the same thoughts into my mind and heart over and over. (This is needed in my case, as I can be rather thick.)

This makes sense, if there is one voice of Truth speaking to you and calling you. How likely is it that your calling or some other word from God for you will change from hour or hour or day to day? It likely won’t – unless, of course, you are actively following that call and ready for the next step. And that’s the rub — you have to follow. You have to choose to follow that call. There is one voice of Truth, one Truth, one pillar of cloud in the desert. You can up and follow, or you can stay lost. Anything else serves or comes from the devil. You are moving toward Him or away from Him with every such choice. There is no third way.

Copyright 2018, Joe Wetterling

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Joe Wetterling

Joe Wetterling

Joe Wetterling is a professional educator, homeschooling dad, and writer. He's appeared at national conferences, both secular and religious, speaking on education, technology, and philosophy. Joe writes online for New Evangelizers, as well as his own blogs. He's taught in the Holy Apostles MOOC program and currently teaches Natural Theology at the new Dominican Institute. He's a member of the Militia Immaculata and current President of the Catholic Writers Guild. Learn more about him at

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