I picked up a book this past week. It’s a book I have always thought I might read, but have not read up to now. The book is “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.
For those of you who have read this book, I offer my congratulations. It is meaty, and it takes a while to read. I underline as I go along at a snail’s pace. That’s the way I have always studied and it seems to work for me.
C.S. Lewis is an interesting bloke. He is a logical, humble, and step by step thinker. A British citizen, Lewis served in World War I. In 1940, when the bombing of Britain began, he served as a air raid warden and gave encouraging talks to men in the Royal Air Force, later broadcasting on the BBC teaching a series on Christian faith.
Lewis doesn’t cover individual doctrines of Christian faiths, nor dabble in theology, per se. He takes the reader through logic and step-by-step deduction to the existence of a creator God, and makes one understand why this is true. Once an atheist, Lewis explains what is Christianity, and takes the reader with him in his intellectual pursuit to understanding.
I recommend this book for atheists. Just in case one might think he has figured it all out, he will be challenged to perhaps think otherwise.
I hope I inspire you to get the book. Be sure to buy your own copy. You will underline a lot, and mark it up.
Lewis confronts the “Law of Human Nature.” It is a standard of what is right or wrong planted in us, and in fact, in every human being. There is a sense of “decent behavior” in the human condition; fair play, courage, unselfishness, honesty, truthfulness. Likewise, cowardice, dishonesty, selfishness, double-crossing one another; these are all considered deviant actions in humanity, and are shunned in most societies.
Human beings seem to naturally understand what is RIGHT or WRONG, understanding how to behave in a certain way. People know when they fail to do the right thing. So, Lewis confronts the reader: WHERE did this innate awareness of right and wrong come from? Who put this awareness in us?
Did these standards originate from a Big Bang explosion? Or did the “God is in nature” or the “God is everywhere” philosophy create this “knowing” in man? You know, a tree, a butterfly, grass, a dog.(Pantheism) Or did a “being” instill this conscience in us? C.S. Lewis then securely exposes the reality of a “Somebody” or a “Something” who is behind the Moral Law; a personality; a creator of creation. He is NOT a stone or a tree.
Lewis states that there has been “a great deal of soft-soap talked about God for the last hundred years. That’s for sure. Explanations to a 6-year-old have become adult perceptions.
Have we simplified the very complex and intricately planned work of God? His “Law of Human Nature” does not give us any grounds for thinking that God is “good” in the sense of being indulgent, or soft, or sympathetic. There’s an overemphasis of “God” being “good” instead of “God is Just.” He doesn’t bend the rules. He provides a way (Christ) to enable us to approach His goodness. And we line up with Him. He does not line up with US.
Here are some of my underlined statements that might spur you on to get the book. Keep in mind I am only 1/3 of the way though and loving every page.
This “Being,” as Lewis calls Him at the beginning of the book, has given us a free will.
“If a thing is free to be good, it is also free to be bad, because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any joy, or goodness, or love worth having. A world of automata – of creatures that work like machines – would hardly be worth creating. The happiness God has designed for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united with Him and to each other (with) love ...” (page 48)
Read that again.
“It is after you have realized that there exists a Moral Law, and a Power of that law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power – it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk. When you know you are sick, you will now listen to the doctor.” (page 32)
I hope I haven’t lost you. If you have read this column and in some way are inspired to read this book, please let me know. If you are not sure about what I have written here read it again. Then let me know. Oh, and read the book.
Until next week.
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com. Visit her website juditabler.com.