Friday, September 3, 2010

What Christianity has to say about this moral law

It is after you have realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power—anthony-edwards-ER-doctor-greeneit is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk. When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor. When you have realised that our position is nearly desperate you will begin to understand what the Christians are talking about. They offer an explanation of how we got into our present state of both hating goodness and loving it. They offer an explanation of how God can be this impersonal mind at the back of the Moral Law and yet also a Person.They tell you how the demands of this law, which you and I cannot meet, have been met on our behalf, how God Himself becomes a man to save man from the disapproval of God. It is an old story and if you want to go into it you will no doubt consult people who have more authority to talk about it than I have. All I am doing is to ask people to face the facts— to understand the questions which Christianity claims to answer. And they are very terrifying facts. I wish it was possible to say something more agreeable. But I must say what I think true. Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay. In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair. Most of us have got over the pre-war wishful thinking about international politics. It is time we did the same about religion.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952, this edition: 2001) 31-32.

1 comment:

  1. And that my friends is the conclusion of Part 1 of the C.S. Lewis classic Mere Christianity.

    To review, see August 19 to September 3 covers in brief Part 1 of Mere Christianity, "Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe."

    Usually I've numbered off readings that consecutively come from one source. Perhaps I should've done that this time too. I don't know. I tried to divide up the readings so they could each stand on their own, but I'm afraid they actually work much better together.

    All I can say is that I love this argument. It works for me. I know that I live by this moral law which I did not create. I know that we all live by it. And yet without God, we cannot explain where it came from. If I want to find out where it came from, suddenly find that Christianity presents God and Christ in a way that makes sense of this moral law and my failure to keep it. Very cool!