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…
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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:
- There is a Moral Law
- 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.