Monday, October 26, 2015

"Progress means movement in a desired direction, and we do not all desire the same things for our species.  In 'Possible Worlds' Professor [J.B.S.] Haldane pictured a future in which Man, foreseeing that Earth would soon be uninhabitable, adapted himself for migration to Venus by drastically modifying his physiology and abandoning justice, pity and happiness. The desire here is for mere survival.  Now I care far more how humanity lives than how long.  Progress, for me, means increasing goodness and happiness of individual lives.  For the species, as for each man, mere longevity seems to me a contemptible ideal."

C.S. Lewis, Is Progress Possible? Willing Slaves of the Welfare State, God in the Dock

Monday, October 19, 2015

C.S. Lewis’ "Dangers of National Repentance"

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“…men fail so often to repent their real sins that the occasional repentance of an imaginary sin might appear almost desirable.”

This short essay of Lewis’ references young British students and the contemporary trend to take responsibility for World War II.  Looking back on it, this was just the beginning of the Allies trying to “repent” of their part in the bloodshed; my own history classes in college taught that it was the “unfair” treatment of Germany in World War I which bankrupted the country and made it “desperate” enough to turn to Hitler and the Nazi party for survival. 

War is bad.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Because our Lord is risen we know that on one level it is an enemy already disarmed; but because we know that the natural level also is God's creation we cannot cease to fight against the death which mars it, as against all those other blemishes upon it, against pain and poverty, barbarism and ignorance.  Because we love something else more than this world we love even this world better than those who know no other."

C.S. Lewis, Some Thoughts, God in the Dock 

Monday, October 5, 2015

What are you, a Man or a Rabbit?

I love C.S. Lewis’ writings, from his children’s fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia to his Science Fiction Trilogy (particularly Perelandra) to his Faustian, dark-humored epistolary novel The Screwtape Letters.  His nonfiction writings are equally as well-written, perhaps more so.  I won’t deny, however, that his theological and philosophical arguments sometimes go over my head.  So in reading the collection of essays, interviews, etc. compiled in God in the Dock, it was a bit of a mixed bag.  One chapter might be deep and dry and incomprehensible to me, the next would be illuminating and fun and a challenge to my character and growth.   This book definitely gave me plenty of food for thought, so much that I took several months between reading it earlier this summer before attempting to write about it now.   I just re-read it, trying to find what nugget of wisdom I initially thought of interest.  I found much more merit the second read around.

In the essay Man or Rabbit? Lewis poses the question “Can’t you lead a good life without believing in Christianity?”  It’s a conflict between Christians (most of whom would say, “No”) and the rest of humanity, whom Lewis refers to as Materialists.  There’s another conflict here, which Lewis poses as a question as whether we’re Men or Rabbits.  (I’ll try to unwrap that conflict later.)