Over at Facebook, I piped up on a “friend’s” update who quoted C.S. Lewis‘ The Problem of Pain. The quote says:
A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.
I see religious updates quite a bit. People update with things like, “Looking forward to church today,” random bible verses, and quotes from their favorite religious minds.
I responded to this guy’s C.S. Lewis update, because I have a genuine respect for the guy, and I felt like he’s someone who could have an exchange of the wits. He’s another lover of English after all. He’s the son of my high school English teacher.
Boy, was I wrong.
Watch out! Here comes my criticism of Lewis!
Have you ever read any of C.S. Lewis’ work? He’s famous for books like Mere Christianity and the Chronicles of Narnia series.
Mere Christianity is one of those books that nearly the whole of believers will recommend to each other, especially when one believer senses that another believer needs a little pick me up.
No non-believer is going to read Mere Christianity and say, “Hey, this Lewis guy has indisputable ideas and thoughts. I should now become a Christian.” Mere Christianity is more for the Christian who wants to strengthen his or her weakened faith.
C.S. Lewis claims to have been an atheist and became a Christian later in life. The truth is he was a Christian, he let it go, became interested in mythology and the occult, and then returned to Christianity later in life (Source).
Mere Christianity is an argument from morality and how it pointed him toward Jesus better than other arguments for morality. The book is a word jungle through Lewis’ thoughts. They appear more like insane ramblings than coherent ideas. Lewis is like reading William Lane Craig. If you read him and call him a bullshit artist to his fans, they will write you off.
Perhaps my problem is that I never read The Problem of Pain.
What good is C.S. Lewis?
I would like to remind you, dear reader, that the average Christian is constantly battling their level of belief or interest level in being a Christian. At any time, if you ask a believer, and they are honest, he or she will tell you, “Yes, right now, I couldn’t have more faith. Jesus is awesome!” Or they might say, “You know what, I should probably go to church a little more and I haven’t been reading my bible as I should. My prayer life needs work.” Their metaphorical tail is between their legs.
Many see secular life as temptations, and when they do less bible study and church activities, their levels of guilt increase. It’s a nagging guilt, that is often revitalized within an emotional appeal of a church service or bible study, sometimes called an altar call.
If these religious ebbs and flows didn’t exist, the altar call in any its many faces, wouldn’t be effective. An altar call is an emotional appeal to a believer’s mental status. And despite that no other person would feel guilty for doing normal, fun activities in life; the church has cornered the market on making normal feel wrong.
A person’s prayer life wanes often because one-way conversations get old. It’s no wonder that believers trade prayer for secular reality, but it’s bizarre that religious traditions can cause guilt for it.
Mere Christianity had the opposite effect
C.S. Lewis helped convince me to let go of religion. When I read Mere Christianity, I kept thinking, “If this is the best we’ve got, we’re in trouble.”
Reading Lewis encouraged me to research what the opposition was saying. And not from the minds of Christian leaders, but from the horses’ mouths themselves.
And you know what I found?
Plain speech. I didn’t find any of the convoluted diatribes with mind-numbingly verbose pages. I found strongly cited research with direct language.
Direct language. Imagine that. Prominent atheists and non-believers weren’t speaking in constant metaphor or in comparisons with condescending tones. Okay, atheists often write in condescending tones, but they are direct condescension, as opposed to fellows like Mr. Lewis who hide behind a passive aggressive arrogance.
Atheists speak directly toward the topic.
Take the quote from my “friend” above. It’s a perfect example. Within one statement, C.S. Lewis has established that god is the ultimate grandeur. There is nothing that anyone can do to diminish god’s greatness.
This is a common ideology in Christianity. God is great whether he is praised or not. God is the tree that fell in the forest. God is more than dark matter. While nothing can prove him; nothing can disprove him.
God is the ultimate double negative. Not proving him proves him. The more evidence against him is more evidence for him.
Do you see how it works? Smart right? Christianity’s job is to confuse you to believe.
God is above understanding. He is more than amazing. How awesome. And in a passive aggressive, not-so-direct, but kinda, sorta direct way … Lewis connects thinking otherwise is the kind of lunacy that puts you in an asylum.
This, dear reader, is the believers’ way.
The believer is on a soapbox saying, “Hey, I have the answers to everything. The answer’s name is God, and he’s here right now! Believe me! If you don’t believe me … ” and then there’s an appeal to hell and heaven.
Blah blah blah.
An atheist says, “Hey, we don’t know all the answers. Here’s the information we do have and we’re working on the rest. Yes, yes yes! The Big Bang seems difficult to understand, but here’s some ways to think about it. Oh, you don’t understand that? How about this explanation?” Etcetera, etcetera.
The religious answer is deadset. And if you question, the response is, “That’s lunacy.” And if you continue to question, the response is, “Well, ask God the details when you get to heaven.”
What a copout.
God could answer those questions, but he wants to lure you in with belief mechanisms. Faith is a trophy. It’s unimaginably odd. Anyone who says these things with a straight face has their bar for understanding set so low that ants would have a hard time passing under.
I am a lunatic
I responded to my “friend” because I wanted to challenge his perception of Lewis as a reputable source. I didn’t call him a lunatic. My purpose was to consider alternative thought. I merely wrote:
A person who takes C.S. Lewis seriously might reconsider his or her idea of what is respectable, academic and of sound mind.
Yes, there’s a holy tone in my voice. It’s a challenge.
Note: there is no name calling involved.
He responded with another condescending message that reinforced the lunacy title. He wrote:
A person of sound mind cannot afford not to take C.S. Lewis seriously.
Now he did it! He employed the double negative. I cannot afford not to take C.S. Lewis seriously. These are the kinds of statements I hear with family. They are what makes the Yeshua Fog™ so difficult to escape.
What’s great is this guy is an English teacher at Wesleyan Christian Academy, the school where I graduated from high school. His mother is one of the main reasons I studied English in college. His mother taught me how to avoid the double negative.
Do you see what he did? He painted himself an inferior user of the English language while trying to paint non belief as inferior.
His double negative negated him, and invalidated his position.
Chalk one up for the atheist English lover.
Idea sets like my friend’s above, their perpetuation of ignorance and poor education are the reasons I blog often against belief. These are the reasons I adamantly oppose belief. My “friends” are so caught up in the belief mazes and the faith jungles of the Yeshua Fog, that they forget to wonder. They forget to dream.
They compromise their own love for supernatural “love.”
They forget to question whether talking to someone or something in the mind is not of sound mind.
I’m good with lunacy, if lunacy means my best friend is my wife, and not Jesus, who never responds.
It’s nauseating to hear believers say, “My first loves are Jesus and my wife/husband.”
What a racket.
I hate that my Christian friends think of non-belief as lunacy.
Hey, belief in the unseen is construed as lunacy.
Doesn’t that put us at a stalemate?
I guess you’ll have to ask god when you get to heaven.