"The Seeing Eye" (a collection of essays from C. S. Lewis).
C.S. Lewis was a theologian and philosopher and writer. He was the author of the famous Christian book "Mere Christianity". In this book "The Seeing Eye", which was a collection of talks he gave, Lewis addresses many issues. The titles of some of them were: Christianity and Culture, Ethics, Religion: Reality or Substitute, De Futilitate, The Poison of Subjectivism, The Funeral of the Great Myth and so on. I would like to, here, recap some of my favorite parts of this collection of speeches he gave.
The first is from the chapter "Religion: Reality or Substitute?". Here Lewis defends the idea that faith is not always undermined by intelligence alone: "It is always assumed that the difficulties of faith are intellectual difficulties that a man who has once accepted a certain proposition will automatically go on believing it till real grounds for disbelief occur. Nothing could be more superficial. How many of the freshmen who come up to Oxford from religious homes and lose their Christianity in the first year have been honestly argued out of it? How many of our own sudden temporary losses of faith have a rational basis which would stand examination for a moment? I don't know how it is with others, but I find that mere change of scene always has a tendency to decrease my faith at first - God is less credible when I pray in a hotel bedroom than when I am in College ". (I find this last part to be greatly true. I know for myself that I think God listens less when I am tired. Could it be that I am just tired and that I am listening less? After reading this my entire idea of doubt was changed. I always thought that any kind of doubt was valid doubt. But Lewis disagrees. He brought my doubt to light. How silly could I be to give so much honor to every doubt and so little respect to every Christian answer I got.)
Other quotes include: "When we exhort people to Faith as a virtue, to the settled intention of continuing to believe certain things, we are not exhorting them to fight against reason. The intention of continuing to believe is required because, though Reason is divine, human reasoners are not. When once passion takes part in the game, the human reason, unassisted by Grace, has about as much chance of retaining its hold on truths already gained as a slowflake has of retaining its consistency in the mouth of a blast furnace".
"We should therefore abandon the distinction between scientific and non-scientific thought. The proper distinction is between logical and non-logical thought. I mean, the proper distinction for our present purpose: that purpose being to find whether there is any class of thoughts which has objective value, which is not merely a fact about how the human cortex behaves. For that purpose we can makes no distinction between science and other logical exercises of thought, for if logic is discredited science must go down along with it".
Considering all of these ideas, I have found that there are two main characteristics about C. S. Lewis that I adore.
1. Lewis is never one to ignore the truth of logic. From the above mentioned quotes, Lewis (better known as Jack by his friends, which is not me) never tries to powder faith up as an unquestionable all-to-do answer to the riddles of Christianity. What he does do is that he says that faith is trusting in that which we cannot comprehend, not that which we will never understand. It is possible to understand Christ and his movements and his parables, but this does not comes as easy as we think. Lewis does not say that God is a God who hides all from us, but rather, that we are people who dislike the taste of truth. He once said that so many times we choose to stay in our little lives, eating mud pies, instead of accompanying God to a Holiday at the beach. I agree with him.
2. C. S. Lewis tries to make his work beautiful. In everything that I have read of Lewis I have always found him to go to great lengths in explaining himself with original analogies and concepts. 'Jack' adored the skill of Milton, St. Augustine, Tolkien, MacDonald, Dante, and others; and it shows. I have a book of his poetry and he never sounds to be the typical 'ignorant' Christian. In fact Lewis also the another compeling attribute.
Bonus Commentary. One of the best things about C. S. Lewis is that he sounds like a man who has been converted. Someone said that they had never met someone so changed, so repentant or excited about the 'Sangre de Cristo'. It seems that everything about Lewis changed when he was born-again and that is amazing. I have met too many Christians who seem to be born into Christianity and not saved by it.
This book, 'The Seeing Eye' has changed me in many ways. I do not want to leave this book alone without giving my personal gratitude. For one, this book was like no other apologetics book I have ever read. after reading it I realized that Christianity is not supposed to be rude or 'right' but, rather, a true assessment of the world. Lewis conveys this idea. Since reading 'The Seeing Eye' I have taken a different view of apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith). If Christ was who he demanded that he was than I should not treat any situation as a desperate lunge for the helpless athiest/gnostic. I should compare my truth with their truth, and know that I have not found my truth out of personal deservance but out of Mercy. «