Tag: C. S. Lewis

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Ok, so it’s not exactly my book. It’s our book. I’m only one of twenty-three authors and one of two editors. (But I think I did more work than the others, and the book was my idea.) I like this artwork: Lewis overlooking a cityscape drawn with an old-school sci-fi vibe that makes me think […]

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No, not Narnian dwarves; these ones are from The Pilgrim’s Regress, his first novel, published in 1933. It is far from his best work, but still deserves to be more widely known and read in my opinion. As the title suggests, it imitates the style of Pilgrim’s Progress; however it focusses more on the philosophies the main characters […]

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Some events are the hinges on which history turns: Moses at Sinai, the trial of Socrates, Caesar crossing the Rubicon, the Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, the conversion of Augustine, Luther’s 95 Theses, the American Revolution, Darwin’s Origins of the Species, etc., etc. A word about one of those in particular: Augustine is the guy whose books […]

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Can Religion Be Empirical?

 

JamesLet empiricism once become associated with religion, as hitherto, through some strange misunderstanding, it has been associated with irreligion, and I believe that a new era of religion as well as of philosophy will be ready to begin. — William James

Empiricism is the theory that we get knowledge through experience. As James notes above, it’s usually associated with things like science, reason, skepticism, and irreligious attitudes. Religion is more often associated with faith (usually thought to be separate from reason), dogmatism, and Rationalism, the view that knowledge comes from reason rather than experience. Are these associations accurate?

James provides us with a useful name for the view that they are notRadical Empiricism. He uses the term as a technical name for his own version of Pragmatism, but it’s still the best name for the theory I wish to propose: that we can get moral or religious knowledge from experience.

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From the penultimate paragraphs of C.S. Lewis’s essay “High and Low Brows”: Until quite modern times the reading of imaginative literature in a man’s own tongue was not regarded as meritorious. The great authors of the past wrote to entertain the leisure of their adult contemporaries, and a man who cared for literature needed no […]

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Ever thought about interpreting the Terminator movies theologically?  Kyle Reese gives his life to save others: the first qualification for a literary Christ figure.  One film bears the name “Salvation,” another “Genesys.”  The chosen child destined to save the human race is born of the chosen woman after a miraculous conception (if time travel is miraculous).  His […]

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Continuing a series on the topic of (and in support of the book I’m editing by the same name) Science Fiction Film and the Abolition of Man. (Previous entries here and link.) Our book is divided into three parts corresponding to the three parts of Lewis’ book The Abolition of Man. Part II is “The Way.” […]

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Last year at Thinking Through Christianity we all did a post on a film.  Since my book project Science Fiction Film and the Abolition of Man was just getting underway, I decided to write a short version of the sort of essay I would have written for Part I of SFFAM if I were writing an essay for Part I.  (I’m […]

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Book Review: That Hideous Strength, by C.S. Lewis

 

that hideous strength

This was the first thing Mark had been asked to do which he himself, before he did it, clearly knew to be criminal. But the moment of his consent almost escaped his notice; certainly, there was no struggle, no sense of turning a corner. There may have been a time in the world’s history when such moments fully revealed their gravity, with witches prophesying on a blasted heath or visible Rubicons to be crossed. But, for him, it all slipped past in a chatter of laughter, of that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make men do very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men.

Mark Studdock is a young, on-the-make sociologist, a professor at Bracton College, in an English town called Edgestow. He is far more interested in university politics than in his research or teaching. And as a member of the “progressive element” at the college, he strongly supports Bracton’s selling a tract of property to a government-sponsored entity called NICE. The NICE is the National Institute for Coordinated Experimentation, which Lewis describes as “the first fruits of that constructive fusion between the state and the laboratory on which so many thoughtful people base their hopes of a better world.” What excites Mark most about the NICE is this:

On Desire

 

shutterstock_298189988Let’s talk for a moment about life, the universe and everything. I don’t know any question about life, the universe, and everything to which the answer is definitely Forty-Two (see Douglas Adams), but I can tell you what some of the best questions are: Why aren’t we as happy as we want to be? How can we become happy?

So what about the answers? Well, these questions motivated millenia of philosophy, and a good bit of religion, too. A lot of interesting answers have been given, at least as far back as Buddha and as recently as C. S. Lewis. A lot of the big philosophers (Buddhists, Stoics, Epicureans, Platonists, Christians medievals, Descartes, Bacon, Lewis) have agreed on the problem: Our desires don’t fit the world. We desire more than this world has to offer. We desire what we can’t have — or what we can have but can’t keep — and we end up losing what we love, or fearing its loss.

There are two general strategies available to fix that problem: 1) We change what we want, so that we want what we can have; or 2) We change the world, so that we can have what we want.

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”There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it.” This is the first line of C. S. Lewis’ classic children’s novel “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (the 3rd book Lewis wrote in the Narnia series and the 5th if one reads them chronologically.) Preview Open

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If you read my last post you were introduced to the poet and philosopher Allama Iqbal and his argument for the reality of both religious and scientific empirical knowledge.  That particular post referenced a conversation with some of my Introduction to Philosophy students.  Now it’s time to go a little deeper and, accordingly, talk about conversations with one of my best former students […]

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Fascinating Look at the Impact of The Inklings on Literature

 

The Inklings“The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams,” by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015, 656 pages, $35.00 (Hardcover)

The Inklings perhaps were the 20th century’s most influential literary circle. Three members, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Barfield legitimized fantasy as a literary genre, a field which has grown explosively over the last 40 years.

“The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams,” by husband and wife team Philip and Carol Zaleski, examines the men of the Inklings and their impact on literature.

Can a Christian Be a Pessimist?

 

Silver ChairI have been thinking about this a lot lately as the news gets darker and darker. We hear politicians talk about the need for “joyful warriors” and conservatives of all stripes indulge in black humor. I must admit I’ve chuckled a time or two at seeing the “Sweet Meteor of Death” in the polls.

When it gets right down to it though, I ultimately hold the conviction that living in a cloud of thunderous worry is not profitable or Christian. Plus, it is wearisome. How on earth do people sustain it?

C.S. Lewis thought there was nothing oxymoronic about being a pessimistic Christian; he managed to write Puddleglum after all. (This, I know, should be a clue: I’m arguing with C.S. Lewis about Christianity. What’s next? Corrie Ten Boom? Aquinas? St. Paul?) My dad once said his favorite part of The Divine Comedy was Purgatory, because everyone there had their eyes fixed on heaven. All that suffering did not overcome the knowledge that it was just a time that would eventually end. How can we Christians do less?

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C. S. Lewis – The Four Loves: It is… easy to see why Authority frowns on Friendship. Every real Friendship is a sort of secession, even a rebellion. It may be a rebellion of serious thinkers against accepted clap-trap or of faddists against accepted good sense; of real artists against popular ugliness or of charlatans […]

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