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Monday, April 16, 2012

What's Behind a Universe at War?—Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Light vs. Dark
C.S. Lewis tackled the  problem of a world gone wrong—as much an issue for us today in our perilous times as it was during his amid world war. "Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect.... Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.... The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either. What is the problem?... A universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless but containing creatures like ourselves who know that it is bad and meaningless. There are only two views that face all the facts. One is the Christian view that this is a good world that has gone wrong, but still retains the memory of what it ought to have been. The other is ... Dualism ... the belief that there are two equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and the other bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight out an endless war. I personally think that next to Christianity Dualism is the manliest and most sensible creed on the market. But it has a catch in it."
  
"The two powers, or spirits, or gods—the good one and the bad one—are supposed to be quite independent. ... [but] what we meant by calling them good and bad turns out to be that one of them is in a right relation to the real ultimate God and the other in a wrong relation to Him.... If Dualism is true, then the bad Power must be a being who likes badness for its own sake. But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad.... Badness is ... spoiled goodness.... It follows that this Bad Power, who is supposed to be on an equal footing with the Good Power, and to love badness in the same way as the Good Power loves goodness, is a mere bogey. In order to be bad he must have good things to want and then to pursue in the wrong way: he must have impulses which were originally good in order to be able to pervert them.... Do you now begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel?... Evil is a parasite, not an original thing....

"Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. Enemy-occupied territorythat it what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery."

"God 
  is light; 
  in Him    
  there is 
  no darkness 
  at all."
   1 John 1:5








 Highlights from chapter 2: The Invasion, book 2: What Christians Believe in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  Click here for a clear view of how this chapter relates to the whole book.

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