Saturday, April 25, 2009

CS Lewis on thinking

It might be that humanity, rebelling against tradition and authority has made a ghastly mistake, a mistake that is not rendered less fatal because the corruptions of those in authority have rendered it very excusable. On the other hand it might be that the Power that rules our species is at this moment carrying out a very daring experiment. Could it be intended that the whole mass of humanity should now move forward and occupy for themselves which were once reserved only for the sages? Is the distinction between wise and simple is starting to disappear because all are now expected to become wise? If so our present blunderings would be but growing pains. But let us make no mistake about our necessities. If we are content to go back and becoming plain and humble men obeying a tradition, well. If we are ready to climb and struggle on till we become sages ourselves, better still. But the man who will neither obey the wisdom of others or adventure for himself is fatal. A society where the many simple obey the few seers can live. A society where all were seers could live all the more. But a society where the mass is still simple and the seers are no longer attended to can only achieve superficiality, baseness, ugliness and in the end extinction. On or back we must go; to stay here is death.
CS Lewis, Miracles, P47

Is he right? Maybe. In the next chapter Lewis goes onto talk about common, but 'red herring' objections to Christianity and miracles. 1) People didn't understand enough about miracles in Biblical times to know they were miracles. BUT unless you understand the parameters of nature, you don't know what's miraculous. Unless Joseph understood the way women became pregnant, he wouldn't have been angry at Mary, unless the disciples knew that man can not walk on water they wouldn't have been scared when Jesus did. No one would be surprised if the sun rose in the west one morning unless we understood that it should rise in the east.

2) That the universe is so huge how can we claim that God is concerned with us? Men have known since ancient Egypt the size of the universe, in the Psalms it's used as fuel for praise. No Christian has ever claimed the universe existed for man, it exists for God. No Christian should ever claim that Jesus came to Earth because we were lovely, but because He is love. And if naturalism is right, it still doesn't give us an answer. Old errors don't pass away, they simply change their form.

Are those slightly lazy, ill thought out objections to Christianity and miracles evidence of what Lewis is talking about? Maybe.

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