Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Nudge from C.S. Lewis

Sometimes it's hard to read complete books by C.S. Lewis. The man was such a master of the English language and his thoughts were so precise and so incredibly acurate to reality that it almost hurts trying to make sense of everything he said. Which is why I'm happy to have found a book called The Joyful Christian so I can read individual blurbs taken from his various books in the hopes that what he says will sink in and stay. Because let's be honest, Lewis had a lot of crucial insights into humanity in general and Christianity specifically.

So I just read the very 1st blurb which deals with *drumroll please* Right & Wrong. Since this is only a blurb it only skirts the basics of what Lewis wrote but it's enough to give me food for thought. When we hear arguments in our daily lives it's usually based on the idea that we share a similar view of Right & Wrong with the other person involved in the argument. In Lewis' words, "he is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about."

A standard of behavior. An accepted norm that this is right and something else is wrong. I love how Lewis remarks that humanity rarely argues with the Right & Wrong standard but tries instead of make a special case for himself as to why it doesn't apply to him in a given situation. That standard applied to a friend in another situation but not to me right now because . . .

I'm reading a book by Alison Strobel called Worlds Collide and it's fascinating watching the hero come to the realization that he needs Christ. He moves through logical moments of denial and need before asking himself some very basic questions such as does God exist and if so what is he going to do about it. Once he moves past those two levels he realizes the question of truth must also be answered. Is it relative or absolute? His conclusion is, according to the very fact that we can say something is wrong and/or sinful, that absolute truth exists.

Most people realize there is a right and a wrong. And most, if they thought about it long enough, would realize that it's not based on what they think at the moment. I'm sure that slavery was not considered a sin in the South but it still was one regardless of what they thought. Imagine the slaughter in the Roman games with Gladiators and Christians and wild beasts. It was a horrific evil committed against mankind regardless of whether they saw it as a sin or not. Human perception doesn't matter. Truth is absolute.

Which means that inwardly that standard of Right & Wrong exists in most people. If it didn't then there would be no point in quarrelling with someone because you don't have the same standard. Makes me feel sometimes as if I shouldn't even bother arguing with those of a more liberal bent because nothing I say is going to change their mind which means they don't believe in this Law of Right & Wrong or as Lewis describes it The Law of Human Nature. In his words "a body could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it."

A person might choose to not participate in this Law of Human Nature but denying its existence doesn't work either. I could go on for paragraph after paragraph and reiterate the same thing but I won't. All I will say is WOW! Lewis managed to wrap up in a few paragraphs what it takes some authors 100s of pages to say. Truth is absolute and the majority of men are held to a certain standard or law. Disobeying is their choice but it doesn't mean the standard ceases to exist.


  1. Lewis is brilliant in that manner -- he had such an incredible mind (God-given) for taking incredibly complex ideas and boiling them down to a few concise sentences. That's part of the genius of Narnia -- he boils Christian theology down to its most basic form, in a translation that Children understand before their parents do. Lewis was intensely logical, but had a gift that permitted him to take that logic, strip it of its complexities, and present it in such a manner to the common man that they could understand it.

    Right now, I'm reading his "Til We Have Faces," which is a retelling of the legend of Pysche and Cupid. I feel it is profound, but I don't understand WHY I feel that way. I'm reading between the lines ... or rather, my spirit is, my brain has not put the pieces together yet.

    1. Ooh, I LOVE Til We Have Faces! I haven't read it in at least 6 years but it was absolutely brilliant when I did. I feel as you do, that it's utterly brilliant and spiritually profound even though I can't quite comprehend why. I really should read it again.

      God certainly did bless Lewis with a gift of discernment and understanding. He's remarkable.

  2. Lewis said Christianity is the myth that came true, and all other myths point to Christianity. I think Till We Have Faces is a good example of that -- Psyche is the Believer, whose faith opens her up to greater sight, her "god-lover" is Christ/God, and the main character is the one who chooses not to have faith, and thus cannot understand or see.


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