A Poem by C.S. Lewis

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Addison’s Walk at Magdalen College, Oxford

What the Bird Said Early in the Year”

By C.S. Lewis

 

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An Integrated Argument Against Naturalism Using Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis

 Life is “a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.”[1]

 Since the Enlightenment, naturalism – the philosophy that everything can be explained in physical terms and that there is no reality beyond that of this spatial-temporal world – has come to dominate the West, infiltrating almost every aspect of our culture.  Ultimately, with nothing beyond the physical world, naturalism strips human life of significance and logically leads to nihilism, which is the antithesis of a belief in a good and loving God Who cares for His creation and infuses life with meaning.  As apologists, we typically approach the task of challenging naturalism with arguments that appeal to one’s reasoning faculties.  Though this is an important approach, an apologetic that appeals to both reason and imagination is more effective given the fact that it is often difficult to apply detached propositional truths to one’s everyday life.  Imaginative writings can provide us with case studies of complex philosophical ideas and their consequences – applied philosophy, if you will.  Two texts in particular provide us with such an integrated apologetic: Shakespeare’s Macbeth and C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man.  Together, they provide a powerful tool to help the apologist communicate the logical consequences of rejecting God.

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“The Abolition of Man” – Science and Abstractions

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“Perhaps I am asking impossibilities.  Perhaps, in the nature of things, analytical understanding must always be a basilisk which kills what it sees and sees by killing.  But if scientists themselves cannot arrest this process before it reaches the common Reason and kills that too, then someone else must arrest it.  What I most fear is the reply that I am “only one more’ obscurantist, that this barrier, like all previous barriers set up against the advance of science, can be safely passed … There are progressions in which the last step is sui generis –incommensurable with others- and in which to go the whole way is to undo all the labour of your previous journey.  To reduce the Tao to a mere natural product is a step of that kind.  Up to that point, the kind of explanation which explains things away may give us something, though at a heavy cost.  But you cannot go on ‘explaining away’ forever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away.  You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things for ever.  The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.  It is good that the window should be transparent because the street or garden beyond it is opaque.  How if you saw through the garden, too? It is no use trying to ‘see through’ first principles.  If you see through everything, then everything is transparent.  But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world.  To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.”  [1]
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College Campuses and “The Abolition of Man” by C.S. Lewis

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.   Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  Proverbs 4:7[1]

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 One has only to look at recent student eruptions on college campuses across the nation to realize that something has gone terribly wrong with our young people.  It is an all-out war, with students condemning their universities’ faculty and administrative bodies for improperly handling the students’ emotional needs. These students are demanding that anything deemed as potentially offensive or upsetting be either labeled with “trigger warnings” or completely removed from the campuses. Righteous indignation and zeal fuels the charges of insensitivity coming from these students. They feel disenfranchised and the faculty and administration are beyond perplexed at the fragile sensibilities of these kids, worrying that academic freedom will be lost at the expense of keeping them happy.  Communication has become virtually impossible as a breakdown in language between these older and younger generations becomes more apparent.  The atmosphere is oppressive and filled with confusion and a sense of urgency.

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Film Review – Far From the Madding Crowd, 2015 – A Lesson for Modern Feminism

Thomas Hardy’s tale of love between Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak is beautifully and believably depicted in this latest adaptation directed by Thomas Vinterberg.  Lovers of the 1874 novel will not be disappointed in the screenplay written by David Nicholls nor will they be in the depiction of Hardy’s beloved Wessex. Newcomers to Hardy’s novel will be given an accurate introduction to the literary masterpiece, as well, and be drawn to read the book, hopefully.  The lush scenery of South West England and a haunting musical score (composed by Craig Armstrong) provide a rich backdrop, but the characters are what take center stage in the film.  Christian audiences will be pleased to see the biblical virtues of selflessness and humility showcased and that the filmmakers kept much of the biblical imagery in Hardy’s original story.

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