December 24, 2007

(Christmas) Bread to feed our hunger…

Posted in Christianity, Religion at 3:21 pm by a11en

This will be one of the few religious based posts that I have here. But, it is Christmas eve, and I feel a need to post a bit about it. I am both a scientist and Christian. These two may seem diametrically opposed, unless you have tried this as well personally. They are not opposites, unless you believe in the religion which is also called Science. I will choose not to attempt to convince you, as likely no one can do so. What I will say, is that this opinion also is a rebellion against the majority of my peers (I often find I am in this position)… as Dyson suggests, a scientist as Rebel.

As a scientist, and part-time philosophy student (mostly self-taught, being that life itself necessitates man to find his philosophy, and doubly so for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student…), the works of C. S. “Jack” Lewis are dear to my heart. Lewis paves a path forward through logical deduction and discussion that upgirds the logical in a religion that often asks us to believe the illogical. In Miracles, Lewis records a philosophical treatise about the existence of Miracles. Miracles by nature of their definition are “not of nature”… and are not to be “natural”… except they play out their role in nature (that is our known existence), and so the after-effects are natural. As a scientist do you find you have a problem with the concept of Miracles because they are “not natural”? Well, my friend, that makes complete sense because a priori they are not natural. If that is your only problem with them, you had better do some more thinking, because that’s their definition…

One of C.S. Lewis’ most well known works, Mere Christianity (Simple Christianity), is a wonderful place to start. The simple notion (which I believe Lewis shares also with G.K. Chesterton, although Lewis explained this simple thought much more clearly than Chesterton), is the concept that no craving in Man exists without a way to quench that craving. For lust, there is sex. For ants in your pants, there is running. For need to love, there is woman. For thirst, water. For hunger, there is bread. Yet, we find that Man has another craving. A craving for God. There is a desire in Man that reaches out beyond our earthly existence. Why then should we believe there is no food for this hunger? Isn’t all other hunger in existence capable of being quenched in some manner?

I of course cannot do justice to the amazing discussions of Lewis. Surely Lewis is this century’s greatest apologetic, if not one of our greatest philosophers. If you are a Christian, or are wondering about Christianity from a logical discussion, I strongly suggest you read Lewis’ work(s). I warn you, however, that some of Lewis’ discussions are meant for the older Christians, and he often pushes our thought to the edge with his discussions. The most infuriating thing about Lewis is he’s often right, even when we don’t want him to be. πŸ™‚ This I find grows my faith and my understanding. (I found the first half of Mere Christianity to be the best for me at the time, and the last half did some pushing… I have to revisit the work now that I have read much more of his life’s works.)

I’m certainly not the best Christian in the world. In fact, I often ask my Christian friends to forgive me- I tell them honestly: “I may be the worst Christian you’ll ever meet.” And this is the truth.

I have a post here somewhere that I may revise over this break entitled: “On the importance of vices…” In which I discuss why vices are important. πŸ™‚ So, you see, I am quite bad. I somewhat revel in this badness, to some degree, but at the same time, it often brings heartache. As Lewis discusses in Mere Christianity, we find that when we look inside ourselves, we find that man has a consciousness, and that Man is in the unique position of recognizing his faults and realizing that he falls far from his own mark. Every time I miss a meeting, or a task, or don’t do this or that… or slack off, or procrastinate, or fall short of my mark, I am reminded of Man’s state. Man’s striving for perfection, and Man’s failure to attain it. No other religion in the world describes this state of Man. Thankfully, there is Mercy and Grace to be had.

And, so, I bring this post to a close. I am thankful this season for this Grace, this Mercy, this Love. For, I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living*.

I leave with you a few words of Jack’s which describe my position (from “Is Theology Poetry” published in the collected lectures entitled “The Weight of Glory“):

The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world; the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one. For the same reason I am certain that in passing from the scientific points of view to the theological, I have passed from dream to waking. Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

I wish you a Very Merry Christmas!! Hosanna!

ps- I will talk here and there of other religions or philosophical thought on this blog.Β  However, I felt this season a need to share Lewis’ works, and Christmas with you in some way.

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3 Comments »

  1. C.L. Mareydt said,

    … wow … thank you for a ‘thoughtful’ posting … haven’t read a good one like this in a long time … mentally & spiritually extraordinary !

  2. a11en said,

    Hello C. L.! Thank you very much for dropping in and letting me know how you felt about my post! It was wonderful to get a message about it. πŸ™‚ Again, I can’t take credit for the true insights in this post, they come from Lewis, who was a truly amazing philosopher and writer. πŸ™‚ But, these concepts have become dear to my heart ever since I read them.

    If you haven’t read C.S. Lewis yet, I implore you to snag a copy of any of his books from the library. Some are hard to read, some are easy… my thought is to pick up Mere Christianity first, perhaps. If you want something slightly different, pick up The Weight of Glory, which is a collection of speeches. [Those go a bit quicker, and are none the less awesome.]

    I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas, and that you have a great new year! Please drop in anytime!
    -Allen

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