Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Overly-simple simplicity

I've managed to pick up a copy of C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity and I must say from what I have read so far it earns its reputation as an insightful piece of work. I hesitate to call it apologetics just yet because it steers clear of the doctrinal issues common in that field, but it certainly approaches it. The book is certainly not as light a fare as other Lewis I've read, but when one takes into account its setting in war-time England and as an extrapolation of the goodness and truthfulness of Christianity, and thus of the rightness of the English in their fight against the Nazis in a way, flights of whimsy would be rather out-of-place.

I'll snag a quick quote that caught me. It's a nice summation of the central tenant of Christianity - that of a God who takes human form and dies for our own salvation, as St. Paul said "a stumbling block" for those who would not believe. But Lewis turns that a bit on its ear and I think they are both right in their own way:

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. So let us leave behind all these boys' philosophies - these over-simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either.

It kind of goes with the saying, "truth is stranger than fiction".