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C.S. Lewis And Guessing Christianity Essay

2134 words - 9 pages

Expect the Unexpected

Skeptics have always had a problem with the concept of salvation in Christianity: they don’t understand why a being that is supposedly infallible decided that the only way to redeem humans was to have a miracle birth, sacrifice the child, and then resurrect him. I’m sure if we really thought about it, all of us can think of better ways to go about this task. For example, God could have erased our sins by snapping his fingers, or just make us good in the first place. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis argues that the improbability of the scenario establishes its truth: “Reality, in fact, is usually something ...view middle of the document...

Certainly God could have added an infinite number of even more unpersuasive details to make it all absurd beyond belief.

Unfortunately, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity suffers from a lack of healthy skepticism. His readiness to allow us to accept his claims without apparent restraint left me finding the whole thing a bit fluffy, and not as challenging as I’d hoped it to be. First of all, anyone with a passing interest in the mythology of the near east, and especially “dying god” religions, could have “guessed” Christianity (or something similar) would exist. Furthermore, in ancient times, government and religion were strongly tied together. It is safe to assume that religion doubled as a tool to create social order and control. With that, it would be a logical progression that as empires like Rome started to evolve and became more civilized, an updated version of old religions would be needed to answer the more challenging questions of the growing educated population. Another problem with Lewis’ argument is that it depends on a subjective property of oddity, of which he uses the example of science to confirm. With that being said, It seems as though Lewis is giving up on epistemology, as if it were too redundant. All he has done here is confirm that human brains, and probably most brains, have survived by recognizing and distinguishing between patterns. That tells us more about us than about external reality. It’s nice poetry, but bad science.

I can understand where Lewis is coming from. He sees reality as “odd,” not what would be expected, and then he sees Christianity with its stories of virgin births, invisible people, and people rising from the dead as having properties similar to reality. Lewis sees reality as “odd,” because he didn’t expect it to be the way it is. He also sees Christianity as odd for the same reason. He concludes that since they have similar properties, they must have something in common; they are both true. In fact, there are many other religions that have “odd” stories, nothing makes Christianity so special, besides it being the dominant religion in the area CS Lewis lived. If Christianity’s unbelievable stories make it true, the unbelievable stories of Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism should make them true as well. C.S. Lewis briefly mentions this inconsistency but then implies that Christianity is closer to accuracy than the others. Buddhism has similar stories (the hero is born under a special star, for instance), but presumably CS Lewis did not think it was true. In fact, the early Christians and Pagans shared many rituals and practices. There are many possible explanations of the similarities between earlier Pagan and later Christian beliefs and practices, the most obvious one being plagiarism. Various early church writers such as Justin Martyr (100- 165 AD), concluded that the Pagan/Christian similarities were a Satanic attempt at "diabolical mimicry." Satan was said to have use "plagiarism by anticipation." That...

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