Sunday, January 9, 2011

C.S. Lewis and the Law

"...we know that if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate
most of what we do. That is the terrible fix we are in. If the
universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then our efforts are
in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves
enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to
do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. We cannot
do without it, and we cannot do with it. God is the only comfort, He
is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we
most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made
ourselves his enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of
absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are
still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety
or the great danger-according to the way you react to it. And we have
reacted the wrong way.
Now my third point. When I chose to get to my real subject in this
roundabout way, I was not trying to play any kind of trick on you.
I had a different reason. My reason was that Christianity simply
does not make any sense until you face the sort of facts I have
been describing. Christianity tells people to repent and promises
them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to
say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of
and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness. It is after you
have realised that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind
the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong
with that Power-it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that
Christianity begins to talk. When you know you are sick, you will
listen to the doctor. When you have realised that our position is
nearly desperate you will begin to understand what the Christians
are talking about...All I am doing is to ask people to face the
facts-to understand the questions which Christianity claims to
answer. And they are very terrifying facts. I wish it were possible
to say something more agreeable. But I must say what I think true.
Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the
long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in
comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is
no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going
through that dismay."

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