When C. S. Lewis’ Rage Against God Hit a Dead End

“If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? And for many years I simply refused to listen to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling ‘whatever you say, and however clever your arguments are, isn’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power? Aren’t all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?’ But then that threw me back into another difficulty. My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?

A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too— for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies.

Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist— in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless— I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality— namely my idea of justice— was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.”

 


 

Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics) (pp. 38-39). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 

 

The Significance of Art Today

We live in a time when our culture seems to be actively throwing every ancient value overboard in its effort to be free to be whatever we want to be. It seems that we are loosing every reference point in our attempts to build common ground and a common sense of value. Instead of freeing itself, the result is that the culture is stepping into the void – stepping into a view of the world with no up or down, no ground, no direction. In its effort to redefine itself, the culture is actually loosing its ability to define anything at all.

But there is one thing that our generation does not question – the reality and centrality of art. Though we question everything we do not question the beauty and power of creativity. It seems to be one of the last standing “truths” of our time. Though we have denied everything else, we cling to the aesthetic in every part of culture today. And I think that it is therefore a powerful foundation of common understanding and conversation. It is a bridge – a medium for this seeking to understand and speak truth into this broken world.

This is why I am particularly excited about the Canvas Conference. This is an event that zeros in on this issue. It is a time to really dig down and unpack the significance of the creative drive of our time. It is an opportunity to understand ourselves better. It is a time to be equipped in carrying out the most beautiful message of all to a broken world.

Living Backwards

Its a simple fact really. A stunning fact. A fact that should shake us to the bones: We will all die someday. And yet we live most of our lives furiously pushing forward as if tomorrow has no right not to come. This week some of us were shaken out of the stupor. Something may have happened to wake you up, to make you stop, to let the cold reality sink in. Death is inevitable. This happened to me and some of my friends by the death of a young man. I personally never met him but the pain of a young and untimely death spreads like a cold fog through the hearts of friends and loved ones to all around. It weighs down on us. It says to us in an arresting voice, “Pull over. Stop and think.”

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The Real Conversion of Rosaria Butterfield

This week I have met in my reading an individual who has been challenging me in new and unique ways. Rosaria Butterfield was an English professor at Syracuse University. She was a stalwart feminist and defender of gay and lesbian rights. Rosaria met Jesus in the life and witness of a pastor who was willing to sit and discuss her worldview with her. The book is a fascinating read and very well written. There is so much in it that is challenging me, and so much that could be discussed. But perhaps the biggest thing that stands out to me as I work my way through the first half of the book is her discussion of her entrance into the christian world, and the complexities that this process caused.

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Who Is This Man?

It is a most interesting fact that many who continually denounce christianity and christians nevertheless seem to continue to quote and side with Jesus himself. The reasons behind this fact can take us into a twisted network of rabbit trail discussions, many of which are most unhelpful. In my conversations with friends and coworkers, both in and outside the christian community, I have often fallen into the trap of trying to reconcile the two seemingly opposing halves of this situation. And yet lately, instead of just eagerly lunging at the bone of argument, I have seen it as a doorway into more meaningful conversation.

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Thought Life on Campus

It was now over a year ago that, in a conversation with some friends here in town someone, we came up with the idea that we need to have some sort of event or avenue by which we could channel some of our thoughts and conversations to the college campuses in our town. Despite the slow process, we have worked our way into setting up a club on campus here at our local community college that focuses on discussing the tough questions of faith, meaning, God, doubt and skepticism. We have spent a little more than a month on the ground on campus. That is not much. And yet there are a few things I am learning right away from the weekly meetings and coffee chats.

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Believing Whatever We Want

There is perhaps no greater value in our society today than the idea of complete personal freedom. We are a generation that looks at the past centuries of cultures and societies and we are pained at the injustice and oppression that seems to fill every chapter of history. It seems that no matter how much the people of the past have sought to come up with comprehensive explanations on how society should see life, they have inevitably led to the ill-treatment and abuse of someone else in the world.

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We Are Fragile

I’m not sure exactly when it happened. But somewhere in these last few years, there grew within me this unshakable awareness that life is very fragile. This awareness came quite unexpectedly. Almost like someone pulled back the curtain in the middle of act three, throwing off both the audience and the actors on stage. It shook up my young and untested sense of the world. It melted that notion that life will always continue to flow as it always had.

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An Enriching Disagreement

We are always inevitably building our worldview, and we are always inevitably disagreeing with others around us doing the same thing, though in ways that are different than ours. In a previous post it was noted that it is very important that we learn to disagree correctly. The prevailing tendency in our culture today seems to be to dismiss, to cut ourselves off, to pronounce the others as unreasonable radicals who are not even worthy of our consideration. And yet in this we are perhaps showing, more than anything else, our own radical pride and unwillingness to think and be challenged.
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An Opportunity to Hear

Have you ever listened to someone explain something they believe and think to yourself, “Man, that person is just nuts.” You don’t have to go far to run into some sort of division or hostility between people and their beliefs these days. Today, we live in a time in which people seem to be more than ever committed to their belief systems, thus being more than ever diametrically opposed to those who disagree. As secularism spreads through Europe and America, it is followed closely with a wave of renewed religious faith and a return to ancient belief systems.

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