the wise Mr. Lewis

More quotations, this time from Mere Christianity, which I am only now reading. I’ve read a shortened version with the first half, but this is my first time through the entire book. Shocking!

It is also shocking, in the most sarcastic of senses, that I am delighting in the chance to heavily underline my own copy of this excellent book. Here are some extracts (that makes me sound like Mary Bennet, but Mr. Lewis is a far cry from Fordyce):

If you are Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are wrong all through. . . . If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. . . . But of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic – there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong: but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.

[People who believe God is beyond good and evil] would say that the wiser you become the less you would want to call anything good or bad, and the more clearly you would see that everything is good in one way and bad in another, and that nothing could have been different. . . If you do not take the distinction between good and bad very seriously, it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God. But of course, if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then you cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will. Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, “If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realize that this also is God.” The Christian replies, “Don’t talk damned nonsense.” For Christianity is a fighting religion.

My argument against God [as an athiest] was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.

And one more from the next chapter:

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.

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