Pages

8.31.2011

I Am Reading "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis

I am about 60 pages into CS Lewis' "Mere Christianity." It reads well and explains Christian belief in a clear but general way that is easy to understand.

That said, I have a lot of questions and issues with some parts, largely the assumptions and leaps of logic Lewis makes.

I started reading the book as part of a book club type discussion with a friend of mine who is Christian, to gain some understanding of her frame of reference.

In turn, she agreed to read Richard Dawkins' "The Blind Watchmaker" to get the atheist perspective.

My friend went off to school and we haven't discussed either text much. I haven't pushed the issue, mainly because I know she is busy with school and other things. She might have lost interest, because she told me she really dislikes Dawkins. And this is the sweetest, nicest person I know. So if she says she does not like Dawkins, that might be translated as close to hate for most other people.

I have no idea how far she is in the Dawkins book, if at all. I thought that was an easy read too, with a little bit of technical reading here and there that required some extra thinking. I raced through it really fast and got it back to the library before it came due, which is rare for me. I did have to renew "Mere Christianity" though, because I had it checked out at the same time as "Blind Watchmaker" and I am really only good at reading one book at a time. If I try to do more than that, I end up not finishing either.

I'll admit, I am a bit more interested in the topic of evolution, which is probably why I chose to read that one first. But I am upholding my end of the book club bargain now, and "Mere Christianity" isn't a dull read. It's interesting. Unconvincing, to date, but interesting. I like that the chapters were originally written as short radio plays in the 1940s. They are short and concise and to the point. He doesn't waste any time getting into the meat of things. That's alright in my book. Dawkins is pretty parsimonious too, but has the leeway to go into more technical details.

My friend and I will probably never see eye to eye. She's a Biblical literalist and my strict adherence to reason and belief in the universality of the Laws of Nature prohibits me from accepting blatant contradictions to the natural order of the universe. But that leads me back to my original question that started this whole discussion between me and my friend. Are SCIENCE and REASON the Devil's work, if they cause someone to deny the truth of the literal Bible? Because, logically, they must be. Certain things just can't be reconciled, starting right off the bat with the Creation story in the Bible. And then there's the mathematical fact that Christians are no more good or bad than other people, so it sure doesn't seem like you can only be good if you are chosen by Jesus. At what point do we say that the likelihood is no different from random chance, thus neutralizing the need to be chosen by Jesus? Lewis talks about being a good person inside and out, requiring Christianity. Really? I'm a good person inside and out. Have I been chosen by Jesus and I just don't know it? Folly.

But maybe through learning we can at least appreciate each other's world view. I still think atheists are the more open minded group, because we can generally accept people of any faith as friends and relatives and lovers, whereas some religious people are kind of closed minded and strict and unfriendly about such things. I sometimes feel like atheists know that all people are equal and have the same likelihood of being good or bad. But some religions treat atheists as inferior and thus less human, and Christianity is no exception. I could be wrong. Christians say they accept everyone, including atheists, but they certainly don't want just anyone to date their daughters, especially dirty atheists.

You know what I'm saying. Off to read some more CS Lewis.

p.s. Another friend called CS Lewis a "Christian apologetic." I am not seeing it. He writes in a very unapologetic way, as I see it. Unless I don't understand what people mean by "apologetic." Lewis is brazen about the superiority of Christianity to everything else.

No comments:

Post a Comment