Monday, May 10, 2010

UK factory workers ask C.S. Lewis questions (Part 11)

Would the application of Christian standards bring to an end or greatly reduce scientific and material progress? In other words, is it wrong for a Christian to be ambitious and strive for personal success?

It is easiest to think of a simplified example. How would he application of Christianity affect anyone on a desert island? Would he be less likely to build a comfortable hut?  The answer is ‘No.’ 119-Gilligan-Meets-Jungle-Boy0047There might come a particular moment, of course, when Christianity would tell him to bother less about the hut, i.e., if he were in danger of coming to think that the hut was the most important thing in the universe. But there is no evidence that Christianity would prevent him from building it.
     Ambition! We must be careful what we mean by it. If it means the desire to get ahead of other people — which is what I think it does mean — then it is bad. If it means simply wanting to do a thing well, then it is good. It isn’t wrong for an actor to want to act his part as well as it can possibly be acted, but the wish to have his name in bigger type than the other actors is a bad one.

"Answers to Questions on Christianity," God in the Dock (Eerdmans: 1970) 55-56.

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