Off the Shelf
By Marcus Pan
C.S. Lewis, since the days of World War II,
has been pointed to as both a fantasy writer and Christian apologist. In
apologist, of course, we dont mean, Gee, Im sorry we went
around killing lots of people in the name of our One True God, or
anything like that apologist is one who attempts to coincide the beliefs
of Christianity with those of modern science. This is a much needed career
choice around this time, what-with the rise of the believers of all that
factual shit like evolution and scientific evidence and what-not.
Things that flew in the face of the Christian belief that the world is about
seven thousand years old and there were no dinosaurs and there was only,
originally, a couple who screwed a lot. Or something.
Im sorry, this is a book review. C.S. Lewis, born
Clive Staples Lewis, was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1898. He however lived
most of his life in England, even serving in the services there. Most striking
about his life was his abandoning, in 1913, of his parents chosen
Christian faith which, ultimately in 1929, led to his choice of theism. In 1931
he once again found himself embracing Christianity as the truth and
being a professor at the time everyone points at him and say That smart
guy says so, and off they go to church. Or something.
Mere Christianity is a short book that was adapted
originally from his 1943 edition radio broadcasts while at Oxford. In three
sections, The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior and Beyond
Personality he makes his case to align modern scientific beliefs with that
of Christian faith by using badly aligned analogies (Imagine book B holds
up Book A but both books have been here forever
huh?) and attempts
to argue against the fact that most of the Christians I know arent
really all that nice by saying Gods not done with them yet
still nicing them up for me. Or something.
In The Case for Christianity, Lewis leads us to
believe that instincts towards common good are evidence of
Gods existence and influence, while almost fully disregarding the state
of a persons upbringing having at least some level of influence on what
is right and wrong within sociological circles. I argue that there is no
instinct of common good but merely what works in that upbringing,
relative to their time. Other than survival at its core, there isnt much
in the way of any living creatures instinct really and there is no
evidence of right and wrong beyond what has been learned responses during the
course of a persons growing up.
In Christian Behavior he discusses various pieces of
Christian doctrine sex both outside and inside marriage, instincts
versus good behavior, etc. Lastly, in Beyond Personality,
Lewis tries to apply the argument that the only way to attain behavior
transcendent of the wrong of his God, is to, for all intents and
purposes, give up. Yes, give up. Turn yourself over to God in your entirety and
begin to live as nothing more than a vessel through which he acts and speaks.
The gist of it was read by me recently in a sign in front of the local church
where I live, noticed during a walk with my family that basically said that you
can do absolutely NOTHING worthwhile so just give it up and be Christian
because only God can do stuff worthwhile if you bend over and
wont go further with this line of reasoning
The end result is that the only way to be proper is to be
Christian, which is nothing new, really. But to such an extreme that you must
give up all that is yourself and in fact he is fond of stating that any
time you start thinking of yourself as individual and in any way worthy of
anything at all, you are not being Christian. Everything you have is because of
his superimposed deity and everything you can gain can be done so ONLY through
this same deity. You are not good at ANYTHING in fact, if you do show
some prowess at something, its because God is doing it through you so it
isnt you its in fact uh
you just suck or something, ok?
The vagueness levels C.S. Lewis reaches in Mere
Christianity are so pronounced its difficult to follow. Statements
like, Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really
yours. in Beyond Personality for example. Hell rally in
circles, mystifying you with nonsensical analogies in an attempt to confuse the
matter even more. Or A man who was merely a man and said the sort of
things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a
lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be
the devil of hell. Of course theres no explanation as to why Jesus
was anything more than a poached egg as he skips that part
assumed that he wasnt poached. Or something.
Because he has come back to Christianity later
in life, is a learned man from Oxford and a serviceman, his work is often cited
as important to a growing Christians faith in that it attempts to explain
things easily than youd find in, say, a theology class. But theres
no actual explanation here just opinions and flawed ones at that.
Circular explanations that come back around without having said anything at
all, really, is what you get. This was a difficult read for me because after
every paragraph I wanted to write the review of the book similar to what
youve read thus far as a response mechanism, but alas, a 24 page
book review wouldnt go down well.
"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis
© 1943, 1945, 1952 by The Macmillan Company
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