The Eagle and Child: S1E7 – “We Have Cause to Be Uneasy”

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

We finally come to the last chapter of Book I of “Mere Christianity”! The chapter bears the ominous title “We have cause to be uneasy”. Thus far, C.S. Lewis has demonstrated that there is a Moral Law which we did not create and that we violate this Law continually. Now Jack explains why this should give us cause for concern…

If you enjoy this episode, you can subscribe manually, or through a service like iTunesGoogle Play or Podbean. As always, if you have any objections, comments or questions, please send us an email through my website or tweet us @pintswithjack.

Episode 7: “We have cause to be uneasy” (Download)

 

— Show Notes —

• My outline for the Chapter 5 is available here. There is also a C.S. Lewis Doodle for this chapter.

• The line “Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia” comes from C.S. Lewis’ fictional work, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

• As my mother pointed out, people should be calling me “Sir David”, not “Sir Bates”. You have been told…

• The beers for this episode were Blue Moon and Heineken.

• Jack reviews what has been established thus far:

  1. There is a Moral Law
  2. In this Moral Law something or someone beyond the material universe is “getting at us”

• The phrase “religious jaw” used by Lewis means “religious chatter”.

• When speaking about the desire of some people to only pay attention to new ideas, I mentioned Acts 17:21, the incident where St. Paul visits the Areopagus:

Then they took [Paul] and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

• In response to someone who rejects what Lewis says because “you cannot put the clock back”, he makes three points:

1. Moving forward sometimes requires you to go backwards (like a cha-cha!)
Progress means getting closer to your destination, not simply being “new”.

• We gave a number of examples demonstrating this. Firstly, I mentioned how I missed a sign while walking the Camino De Santiago and ended up heading in the wrong direction. I had to backtrack in order to ultimately arrive at my destination. Matt gave the example of making a mistake early in a mathematical calculation. He also explained how a small mistake early in a flight, a few degrees of difference, can result in a very different destination (San Diego vs Seattle).

• We discussed whether or not it’s really controversial to say that modern humanity is making a lot of mistakes. I mentioned same of the disturbing comments from Princeton Philosopher Peter Singer about killing young children. Matt told a story by Fr. Mike Schmitz about a member of his congregation who survived vicious persecution in China for his Christianity, only to then succumb to a slow fade in his faith after escaping to America. I also brought up the example of the sexual revolution and the damage which it has done to marriage, family and therefore society as a whole.

2. We haven’t yet reached “religion”
We’ve just established the existence of the Moral Law and a “something” behind it. We can’t just dismiss Lewis’ arguments because we can see the direction in which they point. Each argument should, instead be judged on its individual merits. We haven’t got as far as a person. Perhaps a mind?

Lewis then asks two questions. What can we know about this “something”…

(a) …based upon the universe?
Lewis says we can know that this “something” is an artist, but also very dangerous.

(b) …based upon the Moral Law?
Jack says this thing cares a lot about Right and Wrong. He even goes so far as to say that we can’t even yet call this thing “forgiving”. I quote the often-repeated phrase in the Chronicles of Narnia referring to Aslan: “He’s not a tame lion”.

3. Christianity only makes sense once you understand the questions it answers.
Christianity promises people forgiveness…and therefore has nothing to say to those who do not feel they need forgiveness!

• Christianity is a thing of great comfort, but it does not begin that way. In Book IV, Lewis devotes an entire chapter to answering the question: “Is Christianity hard or easy?”

• We both spoke about how Christianity makes sense of the reality which we experience, quoting Lewis: “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but by it I see everything else”. I then also paraphrased G.K. Chesterton who said that all his reasons for faith could be boiled down to one reason – it’s true.

The Eagle and Child: S1E5 – “The reality of the Law”

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

Moving on to Chapter 3 of “Mere Christianity”, Jack speaks further to “The reality of the Law”. Do we imagine a Moral Law because it is convenient to us? Or does it arise due to its good for society? In today’s episode, together with some help from C.S. Lewis, we tackle these and other questions…

If you enjoy this episode, you can subscribe using iTunes or Google Play. As always, if you have any objections, comments or questions, please send us an email through my website or tweet us @pintswithjack.

Episode 5: “The reality of the Law” (Download)

 

— Show Notes —

* My outline for the Chapter 3 is available here.

* This week, Matt and I were finishing off some Heineken. If you’d like to suggest what we should drink in coming episodes, please tweet us @pintswithjack. Remember, Matt is a very cheap date!

* According to Jack, the fact that there’s this Moral Law and that we don’t keep it is “odd” and this has consequences. What does this tell us about the Moral Law and what does it tell us about reality itself?

* Stones and trees aren’t “good” or “bad”. They are the way they are because they follow the laws of nature and could never have been otherwise. The laws of nature are only descriptive, not prescriptive. They describe what stones and trees do whereas the Moral Law describes what humans should do.

* Stones and trees are only “good” or “bad” in the sense that they are convenient or inconvenient to us, in relation to a particular use we have in mind. Is it the same with the Moral Law? Are “right” and “wrong” simply a question of convenience? No, because…

(1) Inconveniences can be identical, yet we regard one as “right” and another as “wrong”
(2) We might not be inconvenienced at all, yet still regard something as “wrong”
(3) Sometimes “bad” behaviour can be very convenient to us
(4) Sometimes our own “good” behaviour is immensely inconvenient

* When talking about the inconvenience of the Christian life, Matt and I referred to the book The Cost of Discipleship by the Dietrich Bonhoffer. When we make it to Book IV, in Chapter 8, Lewis will discuss the question “Is Christianity hard or easy?”

* Some people might say that the Moral Law is simply what pays society as a whole. While a “fair” society does indeed help people to flourish, this argument rather misses the point. Unless it affects me directly, why should I care about what’s good for society?

* Matt and I discuss Game Theory in relation to the idea of society good. Matt describes The Problem of the Commons and I then I talk about The Prisoner’s Dilemma.

* Doesn’t it make sense that a good God would write on our hearts a Moral Law which would encourage our flourishing? (Aside from Aries in the movie Wonder Woman, of course)

New Podcast on the way…

Cheers

The above picture was taken on a trip to Oxford I made a few years ago. I am standing inside “The Eagle and Child”, the preferred pub of “The Inklings”, the literary club to which C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien belonged.

In the next week or so I will be launching a new podcast. If you’ve been enjoying my other podcast, The Restless Heart, don’t worry, that will continue as normal. This new podcast will be called “The Eagle and Child”, named after that Oxford pub. Together with my friend Matt, we will work through C.S. Lewis’ book, “Mere Christianity”, chapter-by-chapter.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to become more familiar with C.S. Lewis, I’d invite you to buy a copy of Mere Christianity and join us each week as we discuss one of Lewis’ most famous works. If you have an questions or comments, please tweet us at @PintsWithJack.

Matt and I had a test recording last week and, as I listen to what we recorded, I’m really excited for the road ahead…

Find me on Google Play!

A few days ago I posted that my longer talks are now available on iTunes. Well, I just received confirmation that they’re now available on Google Play too:

Play

Find me on iTunes!

I recently set up an RSS feed for the full-length talks I’ve given in different places around the States. After a few issues, I’ve finally got that feed approved by iTunes. This means that you can now subscribe to the feed and listen to my back catalogue of talks from your Podcast app:

David Bates Talks

Restless Heart Podcast Launched!

Header

Header

Today is the the Feast Day of St. Christopher, the patron Saint of travellers, and St. James, the patron of the Camino De Santiago, so it seemed like an appropriate day to launch a new podcast, “The Restless Heart”. Each week on this podcast I will be sitting down with my friend Nessa to discuss some aspect of the Catholic Faith.

Restless Heart – Pilot (Download)

 

— Show Notes —

* If you have iTunes installed, you can click here to subscribe. Alternatively, you should be able to find us in the podcast section of the iTunes Store and Google Play. If you need to setup your podcast feed manually, our feed is:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/RestlessHeartPodcast

If you have any feedback or would like to pose a question for an upcoming episode, you can always tweet us at @davidandnessa.

Help! What should we call this?

Microphone

Microphone

HELP PLEASE! My friend Nessa and I are starting a podcast, but we need help with the name…

We’ve been meeting up for the past few weeks to record some prototype episodes. Each one has been 15-30 minutes long and topics have been pretty broad-ranging:

  • “Worship in the Early Church”
  • “Dating non-Catholics”
  • “Getting more out of the Mass”
  • “13 Reasons Why”
  • “Getting to grips with the Old Testament”
  • “An introduction to Confession”

…what should we call the podcast?

1 2 3 6