What Christians Believe (Mere Christianity)

We Begin Book II of Mere Christianity,

and you’ll be heartened to know it is easier!

Congratulations to you who made it through Book I,

which is, in my opinion, the hardest of the four books.

Now that it is easier, we will be covering 2 or 3 short chapters a week,

covering Book II in our two remaining weeks in June.

Truly, this is a perfect time to invite friends to join us — they won’t

be behind, for Lewis continually summarizes where he has been, for these

were originally radio broadcasts, and his audience kept growing.

In Book I, Lewis logically explained, without referring to Scripture,

the evidence that there must be a “moral law-giver,”

and he summarizes his reasoning in the first chapter of “Book II.”

Book II now moves to actual Christianity.

 

You’ll start recognizing famous quotes,

such as the one Rachael denHollander quoted when she presented the gospel to her Olympic physician and childhood molester in court this year. Within her remarks, broadcast around the world, she said:

 

Throughout this process, I have clung to a quote by C. S. Lewis, where he says, “My argument against God was that the universe seems so cruel and unjust. But how did I get this idea of just, unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he first has some idea of straight. What was I comparing the universe to when I called it unjust?”

Larry, I can call what you did evil and wicked because it was.

And I know it was evil and wicked because the straight line exists.

 

 

Lewis begins with comparing the foundational Christian beliefs, which all true believers of any denomination hold to, (hence, “Mere Christianity)

with “rival conceptions of God.”

Those “rival” conceptions include atheism and those religions that believe that god is beyond good and evil, so there is no plumb line for right and wrong.
My illustration for Book II is Eric Liddell,

who most of us know from the movie Chariots of Fire. 

When Lewis was broadcasting in the early 1940’s, this Olympic champion was living in a Japanese prison camp, for after the Olympics he went to China as a missionary during World War II.

Liddell died as he lived, and was sometimes called a “Mere Christian,”

for he so exemplified the talks Lewis was giving on the radio.

Here is a famous scene from Chariots of Fire:

Eric had told his sister Jenny that he was going as a missionary to China, but that first, he was going to run in the Olympics, because, he said,

“When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”

 

This week I watched the movie covering the 2nd half of Liddell’s life,

and was so inspired. Here is the trailer, to whet your taste to watch this movie, or the free documentary I will provide this week.

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?

2. What do you know about the life of Eric Liddell, if anything?

Monday: The Rival Conceptions of God

3. Read Chapter 1 of Book II: The Rival Conceptions of God, underlining. Share one thing that really stood out to you.

 

For those of you who would rather listen or find hearing it after reading it to be helpful, here is this good resource from the C. S. Lewis Institute:

 

 

Tuesday: Reflecting on Chapter 1.

The First Division: Christianity from Atheism

4. Why do atheists believe all religions are wrong?

5. Lewis says “If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all of these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.” What thoughts do you have on this?

The Second Division: There is an objective good and evil or there is not

Pantheists and Hindus, think “god” is beyond good and evil. However, Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans believe there is an objective good and evil. Though it may seem amazing that some think there is not an objective good and evil, they do, so they defend all religions, even Satanic ones. I remember a conversation my friend Lee Petno, who had just returned from a mission to Haiti, had with an unbelieving friend of mine when Lee visited me at my cottage. Here was the conversation:

My friend: Why did you go to Haiti, Lee?

Lee: My husband, who is a cardiologist, and I, were ministering to the people medically — and we were telling them about Jesus.

My friend: Why were you trying to convert them?

Lee: Well, one reason is that many practice Voodoo.

My friend: Don’t you think there are some good things in Voodoo?

Lee: (Astonished) Good things in Voodoo?

6. Challenge: Reflecting on what you have learned from Lewis so far, what might be some good questions for that unbelieving friend? (I’m eager to hear your answers!)

7. When Lewis was an atheist, what was his argument against God? And how was that argument self-defeating?

One of the most inspirational characteristics of Eric Liddell was that he chose what was right, even when the consequences were severe. Not running on Sunday was the heart of Chariots of Fire, but oh, what he gave up during the war. He had to say goodbye to his pregnant wife and two daughters when he returned to China as a missionary in World War II. Here she is with all three daughters — Eric never met his third daughter.

 

 

 

 

When Eric had a chance to be released from the prison camp, he gave up that chance and asked that a pregnant woman be freed in his place. He wrote to his wife, Florence, “I know you would have done the same.” He lived and died by the straight line. He died in that prison camp.

 Liddell and his wife knew, this life is not the end of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday: Book II, Chapter II. The Invasion

7. Read this chapter, underlining, and share one thing that stood out to you.

Thursday-Friday: Reflections on Chapter II. The Invasion

8. What does Lewis mean by “Christianity and water?”

9. I’ve always liked this quote from Lewis: “Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. …It [Christianity] has just that queer twist about it that real things have.” I often think of it when God surprises me — with things like circumcision and the sacrifice of animals and turning water into wine. What surprises you about Christianity?

 

 

10. What does Lewis mean when he says evil is a parasite rather than an original thing?

 

11. We live in enemy-occupied territory, but, Lewis says, “the King has landed.” What do you think this mean to those who were living in the horror of W. W. II?

What does it mean to you in your life right now?

 

12. Why did we need an invasion?

 

 

For those who would like to know more about Eric Liddell, here is a documentary on his life, entitled “Mere Christian.” If you watch, share your comments.

 

Saturday:

13. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

 

 

COMMENTS (90) Post a New Comment ↓
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I must start this out with a happy birthday to one of our longest and most faithful bloggers: Rebecca. Rebecca your heart is so teachable and hungry, you are a model for us all!

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    Oh Dee, I am truly humbled, thank you! :)

    Thank you Dee for making what is challenging less challenging and understandable. I like having the videos where they read the chapters so I can listen on the way to work. This has helped me tremendously and to have it read to me helps me grasp some things I missed while reading. So I have to start with that. :) What stood out to me was Eric’s life and Rachael’s Gospel presentation-how well it goes with this chapter and how they inspire me to press in and press on for I have needed to repent of  my self centeredness thinking of how my circumstances have affected me-having pity parties, not considering others as more important than myself. Eric Lidell’s story inspires me to turn and press in. :)

    Liddel and the Elliotts are heros of mine. I knew more about the Elliotts than I knew about Liddel until around 10 years ago. You know how creation puts us in awe of God-so so often, and it is so sweet how Liddel and Rachael put us in awe of Him as well.

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      🎶Happy Birthday🎶  🎂💐🎁

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    Happy birthday, Rebecca. I hope you have had a good day dropping your son off to band camp. I always read your comments when I have an opportunity and appreciate your deep thinking.

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    Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

    and happy belated birthday to Renee!

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So I just googled and found this article from Eric’s oldest daughter. It is really interesting. When I have time I will google some more, again some of the things she said about him inspire me. I need to take my musician son to band camp but wanted to share with you before I left:  https://www.scotsman.com/news/my-daddy-the-flying-scotsman-1-2362795

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    Both of these posts exemplify what I just said about you — you are such an encourager and sharpener!

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    Rebecca, happy birthday belated as well as to Renee. You two are some of the best encouragers in the words that you pen. Thanks for this article. I will read it later. Yes, Eric Liddell is very inspirational to me as well as the Elliots.

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I am still following with reading CS Lewis and am glad you are giving us the incentive to read this book.  I appreciate the good examples of Christians using Lewis in Eric Liddell. I remember  watching the movie Chariots of Fire and learning to play the theme song on the piano many years ago. I still love that song. His life story is impressive.

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    Oh — I love the theme song of Chariots of Fire!

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Sunday 

1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?

What stood out to me was Eric Liddell’s statement “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”  I never really thought of something that I enjoyed, such as photography, as giving God pleasure…that just made me smile!  It also gives me a different perspective in why I do it.

2.  What do you know about the life of Eric Liddell, if anything?  

What I remember most from the movie is the stand he took not to run on Sunday in the Olympics and what he was willing to give up for His Lord.

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1.  The word ‘mere’ always sets me back. I have to think about what it means and how it is being used.

Then the quote from Lewis that Rachael used. I’d watched the testimony before, but what she was appealing to had gone over my head. Now it registers for me.

 

2.  I’ve seen Chariots of Fire several times, and knew Eric died in a POW camp, but that is all.

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    That makes me so glad to here that it is registering now. I am getting more out of Mere Christianity too — just doing it with all of you!

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

The Lewis quote that Rachael stated out loud at the trial. “My argument against God was that the universe seems so cruel and unjust….” And that is where a lot of people stop, right there, and they reject a God who allows all of the cruelty and injustice we see in our world. However, Lewis went on to say how do we get our idea anyway of injustice or cruelty (the crooked line) if there is not a straight line (implies what is good and right and just)?  When Rachael said, “I know the straight line exists” – there was her hope, not a turning away from God. The “straight line” is God. Perhaps when people blame Him it is because they don’t realize that they too are “crooked lines”.

 

2. What do you know about the life of Eric Liddell?

 

I have seen Chariots of Fire and know that he ran for God’s glory and to feel God’s pleasure, not for his own glory or to find his identity in it, like his rival did. I think I can apply this right to my own life: I try to find my identity in, say, being a mom; then when my kids grow up and I lose my job, so to speak, I lose my sense of purpose in life. Eric’s example is a good heart-check for us all.

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    Susan, This is really, really good insight: “When Rachael said, “I know the straight line exists” – there was her hope, not a turning away from God. The “straight line” is God. Perhaps when people blame Him it is because they don’t realize that they too are “crooked lines”. 

    Hmm..you are making me think..

    I also agree about finding our identity in what we do-yes Liddell’s life is a huge heart check for me too. SO many tricky areas we are not thinking we are finding our identity in. What helps me is Dee’s Idol Lies-the red flags..when I start seeing my response to something that didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, or something that is in motion and I am nervous that it won’t turn out the way I want it to.

      Reply

      Rebecca, I also meant to wish you a Happy Birthday….I haven’t been on our FB site. I hope you had a wonderful day!

    Reply

    That’s a great application, Susan!

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3. Read Chapter 1 of Book II: The Rival Conceptions of God, underlining. Share one thing that really stood out to you.

Page 45 of my book. When he raised a big question that he struggled with. If  a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? My son asked, Why can’t he just snap it back into place? I would answer something like, I agree that He could snap it back instantly, and I am not sure why he didn’t but I think it might be because of who He is. Maybe because of His relational nature and because He is Love, (rather than a benevolent dictator nature). Snapping it back into place wouldn’t make sense relationally-in regard to the true meaning of love, but sacrificing Himself for us to pay for our sins would. We think instant relief from the consequences of bad choices is God loving us but that is farthest from who He is. This didn’t help my son at all. I should have answered with questions drawing out where he gets his idea of unjust. Where did he get the idea that things aren’t as they should be? Then ask where does he get the idea of how things should be?

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    I love the discussions you have with your sons. It is so good they are dialoguing with you!

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    I so appreciate you sharing this discussion with your son, Rebecca. Sometimes it is nice to hear what how someone else responds to a loved one in a faith crisis. I have a loved one who is also struggling with their faith right now. I found this on Ann Voskamp’s website and found it reassuring. http://annvoskamp.com/2018/06/what-to-do-in-a-crisis-of-faith/

      Reply

      Thank you Diane! So much truth in that article. I love that combined with what we are learning via lewis. To rely on His spirit inside and to pray for our hearts and our loved ones who are struggling or who have turned their backs. Praying for Him to open their hearts and eyes, and to be available when they have questions and to trust God’s leading in answering-so good. For me it has been this and self control in not answering without truly hearing-and when I am truly hearing and trying to understand, God usually gives me good questions to ask.  There is always something underneath that we can’t see and only He can so I pray for good questions and eyes that see.

      It also helps me to know what someone believes and to have processed through that when they aren’t around. Jesus is the master heart drawer with questions and I need to grow in that. So I am asking Him for wisdom and patience in listening first and listening well. I have a LONG way to go in growing in wisdom.

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3.  From chapter one of book two. Christians are actually more liberal than atheists because they recognize that every religion has some truth to it. Atheists, however, insist they are all wrong. And one more thing that stuck out to me. Westerners are the ones who insist that all roads are leading to the same place. Hindus, for example, find no problem with saying they and Christians are at complete odds in their thoughts of where you want to end up. It is the people in the west who are insecure about it.

 

4.  Why do atheists believe all religions are wrong? Because every religion says there is a god, or gods, or higher power. Atheists say it is all random, without anything on the outside making an influence on it.

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That was interesting about the difference between Westerners and Hindus.

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Sunday:
1.  What stands out to you from the above, and why?
The reason why the book is titled “Mere Christianity”. What a fitting but perhaps provocative thought to whet anybody’s interest to read or listen to it.  Although Christianity is never  a “mere” to me.  
A summary from the free online read of the book says this: Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations, C.S. Lewis finds a common ground on which all those who have Christian faith can stand together, proving that “at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice.”
2.  What do you know about the life of Eric Liddell, if anything?
That he was the object of the movie Chariots of Fire and that he died in a prison camp of tuberculosis?
Monday: The Rival Conceptions of God
3.  Read Chapter 1 of Book II: The Rival Conceptions of God, underlining. Share one thing that really stood out to you.
As I read this chapter, all I could say is “Wow, Mr. Lewis. Here we go again going in circles but you make it so sensible. He could win any debate with his line of reasoning. I think of Tim Keller’s books while reading C.S. Lewis. I picked the lines below as one representation of this chapter-a form of reasoning that addresses the mind of man-to reason with man and to touch the heart of man. If I were an atheist and listening to this, I will be convinced if not, seriously interested, of what Lewis is saying about Christianity. Only God can make a man like Lewis be a conduit of His grace through his words. The Holy Spirit is always on the move in hearts of those whom God has called according to His purposes.
“We call a cancer bad, they would say, because it kills a man; but you might just as well call a successful surgeon bad because he kills a cancer. It all depends on the point of view.”
 
 

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Good Morning!

This is my first time here and I’m excited about joining you all in this journey!

    Reply

    We are so glad to have you, Cynthia!

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    Welcome, Cynthia! You will enjoy the journey here.

    Reply

    Welcome, Cynthia!

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    Thanks so much for the Doodle of chapter 2, Bing. I find the visualization of it so much easier to follow. I think I need to listen to it more than once, however, to really “get” it. How helpful it is, how like God, to use Lewis’ original atheistic view to help bring others to Christ because he could really understand where they were/are coming from!

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    Thanks, Bing!

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3. Read Chapter 1 of Book II: The Rival Conceptions of God, underlining. Share one thing that really stood out to you.

That he admits that when he, as an atheist, asked “If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong?” that he refused to listen to the answer because he thought ‘whatever you say, and however clever your arguments are, isnt’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power? Aren’t all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?”

But the real answer to an unbeliever with that question is “From what do you get your sense of just and unjust?” If you can get pondering that question then they may come to the same conclusion that C.S. Lewis did, that there is a God.

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5.  “All religions have some hint of the truth.” I really like that. Jesus often worked that way with people, finding some common ground to start from. Paul used that tactic in Athens. I think missionaries use it as well. Then, like Priscilla and Aquilla with Apollos, they move on from there to deeper and more truth.

 

6.  I know very little about Voodoo. Is it a form of satanism? Seems like for the unbelieving friend, it would be good to press on the meaning of the word ‘good’, and what makes that preferable to ‘bad’. Seems, too, that those with ‘liberal’ views find it expansive to say all are good. Until it affects them personally. Like saying those who cheat and lie are OK until they try to do business with them.

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I haven’t had time to listen to all of this but I thought some here might be interested in Ravi Zacharias’ words on what the next generation are dealing with. It relates to what we are studying here. He asks,”How do we spiritually prepare the next generation? What kinds of questions and distractions are they dealing with and how can we help?” He concludes this message by saying we need to speak “apologetics” and we need to live it out. This is only part one but I always find his perspective very interesting.

https://rzim.org/let-my-people-think-broadcasts/releasing-the-next-generation-part-1/

    Reply

    Thanks, Diane! He is so good.

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3. Read Chapter 1 of Book II: The Rival Conceptions of God, underlining. Share one thing that really stood out to you.

 

I’m not sure I really understand this, but it did stand out to me:

 

“But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic—there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”

 

I realize that Christians believe the way to heaven is through Jesus Christ, but how do you explain this to people without seeming arrogant or snobbish? To explain that our way is the only way seems harsh to them.

 

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    Such a good question — I want others to respond before I do!

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    I think one way to respond to people without arrogance is to quote from Jesus, when He says that He is the only way to the Father, and adding in wonder that it is hard to believe that He would give Himself to open our opportunity receive Him and that gift.

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      I think this is good Mary. I might change it up to ask your question first (liar, lunatic, or Lord) and then when they answer “Lord,” use my/your question but state it this way…Did you know that He claimed the only way to Heaven is through Him? Isn’t it incredible that He them died so we could have that way?

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    I meant to add maybe even asking them first what they think of Jesus. Was He good, or crazy, or a liar? Most people will say He was good.

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      What would you think of this response (to Laura’s question)?

      Do you think it is possible that God designed Christianity rather than man?

      And to Mary’s question — I think it is good to ask the Lewis question — though I would say liar, lunatic, or Lord — just because I do think everyone thinks Jesus is good, but not God.

      Thoughts?

       

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    Laura, I’ve had this conversation with a couple of non-believers before and the what I have said is that I know that it sounds exclusive and arrogant, but I wouldn’t be a true Christian if I didn’t believe the very heart of Christianity which is that no one come to God, but through Christ. If there was any other way or any excuse then all of Christianity falls apart and isn’t true. I don’t fault them for thinking that it isn’t right or fair and I don’t know how Christ is revealed to those who are severely handicapped or those who are born and raised in a secluded pagan culture, God will handle that. What I do know is that now that we’ve had this conversation they are without excuse and can choose to do with it what they want.

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      Oh Dawn! This is insightful. Do you remember the context of your conversation? How it got started? I’m curious.

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Happy belated, Rebecca and Renee…hope you both enjoyed a lovely birthday!

3. Read Chapter 1, Book II. Share one thing that really stood out to you.
“a very big question.  If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong?”
I have asked this question myself, pondering the sin and evil that exists in this world, e.g., holocausts and genocides, human trafficking and slavery, child and domestic abuse, etc.   Lewis dispenses with the question with going back to the moral law, the foundational notion of how one has the idea of what is just and unjust?…so logical and rational.

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    Yes — that is how I am going to respond next time an unbeliever broaches that! So good, Nanci.

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Monday

3.  Read Chapter 1 of Book II;  The Rival Conceptions of God, underlining.  Share one thing that really stood out to you.

Athieism turns out to be too simple.  If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark.  Dark would be a word without meaning.”  

This quote got me thinking…how can the universe be meaningless without having meaning in the first place?  I hope I’m understanding Lewis’s circular thinking here.  Is it possible to believe the universe is meaningless without believing in a higher power that brings it meaning?

 

 

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    You are getting it perfectly, Sharon — and it’s great to see.

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Happy Birthday late to Rebecca & Renee!!  <3

Sun: what stood out to me was the movie about Eric Liddell’s life. I loved Chariots of Fire, but that is all I knew of Eric Liddell. Now I want to to see “On Wings of Eagles”! What a devoted man & true follower of Christ…so inspiring & challenging to hear about him! Also Rachael’s words & courage to speak out. Love “I know the straight line exists”.

 

    Reply

    Will be eager to hear your thoughts on the movie, Jenny.

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The First Division: Christianity from Atheism
1.  Why do atheists believe all religions are wrong? Maybe because no religion addresses what really matters?
I don’t know how to answer this question.
5. Lewis says “If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all of these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.” What thoughts do you have on this?
Maybe from a point of finding common ground with the other person?
The Second Division: There is an objective good and evil or there is not
1.  Challenge: Reflecting on what you have learned from Lewis so far, what might be some good questions for that unbelieving friend? (I’m eager to hear your answers!)
Oh my! I wouldn’t know what to ask! I don’t know much about voodoo. But perhaps ask the unbelieving friend what is good about voodoo and go from there? Or “please define what you meant by something good in voodoo” and go from there?
1.  When Lewis was an atheist, what was his argument against God? And how was that argument self-defeating?
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”
 
“…Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.”
Sorry my numbering here is kind of mixed up!
 

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    Bing — on 1st question, because all religions believe in some kind of god, atheists would have to say all are wrong. It’s a good approach to those who feel atheists are more open-minded than Christians.

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      Dee, thanks. That makes sense. I am really enjoying this study although it is taking me a lot more time to process Mr. Lewis. God has so blessed him with such insight and he is articulate. (even in a round of way!)

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4. Why do atheists believe all religions are wrong? 
 

Atheists believe all religions are wrong because the one main point is one huge mistake.

 

 
5. Lewis says “If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all of these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.” What thoughts do you have on this?
 

I think that religions, in general, all believe there is a “higher power.”

 

6. Challenge: Reflecting on what you have learned from Lewis so far, what might be some good questions for that unbelieving friend? (I’m eager to hear your answers!)

 

I don’t really know much about voodoo… Only about sticking pins in replicas of people.   Probably from that show Gilligans island! Here goes!

 

Is there some higher power figure within the scope of voodoo? What personal relationship would someone have with the “higher power” of voodoo?  What hope does voodoo give you?

 

7. When Lewis was an atheist, what was his argument against God? And how was that argument self-defeating?

 

Louis had to convince himself that most of the human race was wrong about their thinking regarding God.

 

Lewis believed the world a cruel and unjust place and it was easier to dismiss an intelligent maker and claim it to be simpler than it was (avoiding the discussion). He knew that to say the world was unjust meant he had to compare it to something else…being just. If he did that then he acknowledged a good and evil. He realized atheism was much too simple in explanation. Light would not exist without dark; the meaning of the universe would not have a counterpart either (no meaning).

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7.  Lewis’ argument against God was that there couldn’t be one since the universe had so much unfair and wrong with it. Yet how could there be something unfair and wrong unless there was also something fair and right.

 

8.  When Lewis talks about Christianity and water, he is talking about people who believe in a good god and everything is all right, that they don’t acknowledge the problems in the world. My mind goes to a bar, and people ordering scotch and water; a watering down of something to make it easier to swallow. These people take the truth of a God in heaven, but they also need to grapple with evil.

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Tuesday

4.  Why do atheists believe all religions are wrong? 

They have to believe that the main points in all the religions, belief in some kind of higher power, is simply one huge mistake.  Therefore, all religions are wrong.

5.  Lewis says “If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all of these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of truth.”  What thoughts do you have on this?

When I first read this my reaction was, “oh, no I don’t!”  Then I realized that what he meant, is that there is some truth woven into all religions…they just haven’t quite done the math correctly.

6.  Challenge:  Reflecting on what you have learned from Lewis so far, what might be some good questions for that unbelieving friend?

I would ask him what kind of power does he think is behind Vodoo.  Are the people practicing it, being good or bad in their actions to get the results they want?  And are the results good or bad?  So, is there a moral law behind Vodoo and if so, who or what dictates that law?

7.  When Lewis was an atheist, what was his argument agains God?  And how was that law self-defeating?

His argument was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.

It was defeating in that he then had to figure out how he got the idea of just and unjust. “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”  

Dee, the picture you used with the plumb line over the Bible is beautiful and worth a thousand words…love it!

 

 

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Wednesday: Book II, Chapter II. The Invasion
1.  Read this chapter, underlining, and share one thing that stood out to you.
We live in enemy-occupied territory but the rightful King has landed. And He has landed in disguise! He has invited us to participate in the great campaign of sabotage. J
Such a relief to be reminded that the King has landed and He is already victorious.
A prayer request: The rebel is hard at work within my brother’s(Ernesto) family. One of his daughters, Hannah, lost her 5 month old baby in utero. This is very devastating to them as this was their first. (husband, Hans) There is complicated family dynamics with the 5 kids. Please pray for God to intervene according to His will. Not sure if the children or my brother’s wife are Christians. My brother is the only one I know for sure is a Christian.

    Reply

    Prayers for them, Bing!

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    💓

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Wednesday

8.  Read this chapter, underlining, and share one thing that stood out to you.

Another simple view…”It is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right – leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption.  Both of these are boys’ philosophies.”

I feel that people that have this view are the hardest to witness to because they think that since they believe in God you should be ok with that.  They put a hand up and say that’s as deep as I go!

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9.  What surprises me about Christianity? That God would want people so much that He not only made us, but let us walk away from Him. He knew in advance that would happen, and from the very start planned a way to buy us back so we could again be His. It doesn’t make sense that He should love me.

 

10.  Evil is good that has been twisted and no longer bows to its Creator. Evil lives both on and off of what God created, and does so for itself, never wanting God’s glory. I think I act like that at times. I can be willing to take in God’s gifts and provisions yet not giving Him credit, praise, or using it for His purposes. Like the wicked servant with the talent, I haven’t used it for Him. Worse still is that I often use it up on myself.

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Thank you, Bing, for finding the doodle for Chapter 1 of Book 2, I found it helped the information to “sink in” better…much appreciated.

4. Why do atheists believe all religions are wrong?
Atheists do not believe in a higher power, i.e., God…they believe that this foundation belief is an error of all religions.

5. Lewis says “If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all of these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of truth.” Thoughts?
Similar to Sharon, I thought, wait, that can’t be so.  I thought about cults, specifically looking up the Moonies to justify my thought.  But in pondering this, all religions point to a higher power, e.g., God for Christianity and Judaism, Allah for Islam, Sun Myung Moon for Unification Church (Moonies), so I guess the hint of truth in all is the belief in a higher power.

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    I agree — and I can’t think of anything good about VooDoo because their higher power is Satan — so –not sure I completely agree with Lewis!

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7. When Lewis was an atheist, what was his argument against God? 
If a good God made the world, why has it so cruel and unjust?  Lewis’ argument was premised on the unjustness of the world.

And how was that argument self-defeating?
Lewis came back to the moral law…how was he able to differentiate between just and unjust, what was he comparing unjust to?

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Thursday-Friday 

8.  What does Lewis mean by “Christianity and water?”

Watered-down Christianity…their view is they say there’s a good God in heaven and all is good but that’s where it stops.  They leave out “all the difficult and terrible doctrines”…sin, hell, the devil and redemption.

9.  What surprises you about Christianity?

That an all-powerful and holy God loved me enough to send His only Son to die for my sins.

 

 

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11.  The territory we live in is Earth. Created by God, owned by Him, but being governed and held by someone hostile to God. Those in WWII were well aware of all the countries that Germany had taken over. They knew the reality of enemy spies among them, and the violent, unrelenting ways the enemy was using to try and get them to surrender. Today, to say the King has landed, is to say that Earth’s rightful Owner is here, doing something positive, just and powerful to throw out evil. He wants to retake what is His for the purpose of restoration and righteousness.

What does it mean to me right now? I have been living as though the devil rules me, but that is a lie. God is the only Sovereign. He paid for me and has taken me to be His own. I need to quit listening to Tokyo Rose and get my mind centered back on Christ.

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8. What does Lewis mean by Christianity and water?

Lewis speaks of a watered down Christianity, where God is good and all the evil and injustice of the world is not addressed.

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12.  We needed an invasion because the devil had taken up shop in our hearts and minds and still controls most of the world around us. We could not throw him out on our own. We needed, and still need help.

Eric Liddell. The passion he lived with, while at the same time being someone fun to be with. Wow.

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3. Read Chapter 1 of Book II: The Rival Conceptions of God, underlining. Share one thing that really stood out to you.

 

It kind of startled me, on the first page, to read Lewis’ quote: “If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.” Lewis does, of course, go on to say that in the ways that Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong.

I find this interesting because in many evangelical churches, we are taught, or “catch” the idea that all other religions are blatantly wrong, evil, etc…and we are not taught to look for the kernel of truth they may contain. On the other end, many popular (so-called?) Christian speakers or pastors today take the stance that we should embrace the teachings from other religions and kind of meld them all together with the Christian faith. We should be open-minded to embrace other spiritual practices.

 

4. Why do atheists believe all religions are wrong?

 

Lewis says that if you are an atheist, you do have to believe that the main point in all the world’s religions is one huge mistake. I think that “main point” in all religions is that there is some sort of god, or higher power, that exists. He doesn’t really say why atheists believe they are all wrong, but at the end of the chapter he said that in answer to the question, “If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong?” isn’t it much easier to embrace the way of the atheist, to just say that the world was not made by any intelligent power?

 

5. Lewis says, “If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all of these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.” What thoughts do you have on this?

 

I answered this in #3, because it stood out to me in reading the chapter. I like that we have the freedom to think and to ponder, and to find that “hint of truth”, just like we find it in secular novels and movies. I do believe we must be careful, cautious, not to be lead astray to follow what feels good (like the popular guests on Oprah-their form of spirituality). Could it be a bit of a dangerous freedom? Yet, I would think that a true child of God, with the Spirit’s guidance, won’t abandon their true faith. As I said above, evangelicalism doesn’t usually allow for this freedom. I am also thinking of a very popular broadcast on Moody Radio that ended a few years ago, and the two hosts have revealed that they were not given the “freedom” to talk about certain subjects or to have certain guests on the show, but now that the one has her own podcast, they have the freedom to do so. Thoughts, anyone? Is this a good freedom or maybe one to be cautious with?

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    I love these thoughts from Susan on Lewis’s statement that we can find bits of truth in all religions:

     I like that we have the freedom to think and to ponder, and to find that “hint of truth”, just like we find it in secular novels and movies. I do believe we must be careful, cautious, not to be lead astray to follow what feels good (like the popular guests on Oprah-their form of spirituality). Could it be a bit of a dangerous freedom? Yet, I would think that a true child of God, with the Spirit’s guidance, won’t abandon their true faith. As I said above, evangelicalism doesn’t usually allow for this freedom. I am also thinking of a very popular broadcast on Moody Radio that ended a few years ago, and the two hosts have revealed that they were not given the “freedom” to talk about certain subjects or to have certain guests on the show, but now that the one has her own podcast, they have the freedom to do so.

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    You asked for thoughts on whether this is a good freedom. All freedom comes with a risk. God knew that in creating us with free will. He knew we would choose against Him. Yet He chose freedom for us. And still chooses freedom for us. But He also gives His believers the Bible and the Holy Spirit as guides and discernment help. So, be cautious? Yes.

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6. Challenge: Reflecting on what you have learned from Lewis so far, what might be some good questions for that unbelieving friend?

 

Hmmm….I suppose that you might ask your unbelieving friend to explain what she believes may be the good things about voodoo; what does she think? Do its practices lead people into freedom and peace and joy, or in the end, does it enslave them to fear and superstition? It would make for a good conversation! The contrast is that Jesus wants us to have peace, freedom, assurance, and to not be afraid.

 

7. When Lewis was an atheist, what was his argument against God? And how was that argument self-defeating?

 

Lewis’ argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. It was self-defeating because, where did Lewis get his idea of just and unjust? What was he comparing the universe to when he called it unjust? He could, of course, just conclude that any idea of the existence of justice was just his own private idea, but if that were true, then his argument against the existence of God also collapsed, because it depended on saying that the world was unjust.

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    Yes — when questioned like that, we should ask the questioner to answer his own question. Great!

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Finally schools out for summer and I have a few weeks of semi-down time. It’s been chaotic in my life.

 
8. What does Lewis mean by “Christianity and water?”
 

Lewis describes this as “a good God in Heaven.” He is making all things right. He also says that it ignores the evil part of the universe (he calls these boys’ philosophies) . I’m not really sure I understand (again); is he saying that both the good and the evil are the boys’ philosophies of that just the evil bits are? Or, is he saying atheism and Christianity and water are boys’ philosophies? I think it is this…atheism and Chrisianity and water are both boys’ philosophies, meaning they are simplistic in nature.

I know we drink water and on the surface it seems like it’s a simple bit of matter. By using a microscope you can see that it is really more complicated than on the surface. Is he saying that on the surface Christianity is simple like the good and evil ideas? Or, is he saying that Christianity without the evil bits is watered down making it simplistic? I think it’s the latter.

Whew! That was a brain exercise for sure….

 
9. I’ve always liked this quote from Lewis: “Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. …It [Christianity] has just that queer twist about it that real things have.” I often think of it when God surprises me — with things like circumcision and the sacrifice of animals and turning water into wine. What surprises you about Christianity?
 

I think the whole idea of Christ coming to earth as a baby, living life to die young, for us is a strange (queer) twist to the story. Back then the people were waiting for something much different than a baby to come save them. They didn’t understand that He needed to be relatable to them on many levels. They thought their Savior would be a king.

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10. What does Lewis mean when he says evil is a parasite rather than an original thing?

 

A parasite lives off another; all things were made by God as good and then evil was begot; a parasite that grows. The powers that allow badness to be bad come from good things ultimately. Round and round we go again…

Incidentally he talks about people being bad just to be bad (or cruel). He says they can’t be bad without the “use” of good. My grandson had an incident at the lake last weekend where a young dog was barking and running on the shore next to the boy, who is 2.5 years old. It frightened him so much that even a mention of the word dog made him scared and nervous. What does my daughter go and do? She had bought her boyfriend a Father’s Day card with a moving dog (with music) on it and keeps bringing it out and scaring the boy. She laughs because she thinks it’s funny he is scared. So upsetting to me, but this is her mentality. It seems pretty cruel that she did that to him. But if what Lewis says is true, that laughing/pleasure is ultimately good, then bad did have to come from good I suppose…

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    Oh Laura — a window into your hard world.

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7. Book 2, chapter 2 — share one thing that stood out.
I found myself underlining a number of different things…the one that sticks out among them all is “we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.  Enemy-occupied territory”

9. What surprises you about Christianity?
How the Lord involved people one would never guess would be involved in His redemption plan, e.g., Rahab, Jacob, Mary and Joseph.

10. What does Lewis mean when he says evil is a parasite rather than an original thing?
Evil began as something good that went bad…evil pursues good things in the wrong way.

11. We live in enemy-occupied territory, but Lewis says, “the King has landed.” What do you think this meant to those who were living in the horror of WWII?
I think it gave them hope that all that was so wrong would be put right, that good would overcome evil.

What does it mean to you in your life right now?
It puts life into proper perspective.  Jesus has come and He will come again; He is the victor over the powers of darkness. Regardless of the difficult moments, days, times, etc., I know that good has overcome evil, I know Who is victorious…in the end goodness (i.e., our Lord) wins.

12. Why did we need an invasion?
(Romans 3:9) all people are under the power of sin, (Romans 3:10) “Not one is righteous–not even one”
We are all sinners in need of the Lord’s saving grace.

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Thursday-Friday 

10.  What does Lewis mean when he says evil is a parasite rather than an original thing?

I think of my dog when I find a tick on him…My good and loving dog is enabling that evil tick (if you will) to survive!  Lewis says “The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness.”

11.  We live in enemy occupied territory, but, Lewis says, “the King has landed.”  What do you think this means to those who were living in the horror of WWII?

Victory over their enemies…something they desired and could relate to.

12.  Why do we need an invasion?

Christ is the only one who can can give us victory over the enemy…people need the Lord!

 

 

 

 

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1.  What does Lewis mean by “Christianity and water?”
“It is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right-leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption. Both these are boys ‘ philosophies.”
I have many friends who like to leave out the “difficult and terrible doctrines of sin, hell and the Devil and the redemption.”
2.  I’ve always liked this quote from Lewis: “Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. …It [Christianity] has just that queer twist about it that real things have.” I often think of it when God surprises me — with things like circumcision and the sacrifice of animals and turning water into wine. What surprises you about Christianity?
Jesus dying for me while I am yet a sinner; when I am weak, then I am strong.

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1.  We live in enemy-occupied territory, but, Lewis says, “the King has landed.” What do you think this mean to those who were living in the horror of W. W. II?
The King’s landing means victory. Though WW II is horrific, there will come a time when justice and peace will prevail and the horrors will pale in comparison for what the King has in store for His people.
What does it mean to you in your life right now?
There is a powerful King who reigns in spite of the atrocities and sorrow and injustice right now. I can live with confidence knowing that whatever is happening on this planet is under His sovereign rule. There are momentary afflictions. May I be faithful in trusting you, Lord!
 
2.  Why did we need an invasion?
So we can be free from slavery to sin and live victorious lives in Christ.

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So I found this article-interesting. Eric Liddell’s youngest daughter. :)http://www.lifeandwork.org/news/news/post/913-eric-liddells-daughter-seeks-her-father-through-faith. I am not sure what her book is about or if it is good or not but found this interesting. Not sure she knew Jesus although she may have come to know Him through her search to find more information about her dad. Not sure where she is at but anyway. This is really cool. This started her journey:file:///Users/rebeccadority/Downloads/Conversations+with+Nate.pdf

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My take-a-way:  I really love how you are articulating and taking in the logic of Lewis. Helps me as well.

I do think I will respond differently to those who say they can’t believe in a God who would allow so much suffering — instead of trying to explain suffering, when I really don’t know the answer,  will ask them where they go their idea of good == and quote that straight line quote Rachael used.

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Oh Dee…thank you for posting this video.  It was informative and very touching.  I just watched it this morning.  It has definitely peaked my interest in this man and how he allowed the Lord to work through him.  Of course it is very sad that Eric was never reunited with his wife and children and died at such a young age…did I know he died of a brain tumor?…I don’t think so, or at least I didn’t recall.  I think it was his daughter, Patricia, who said that she lamented how unfair the circumstances were of her father being separated from the family, but when she heard from children in the camp, how her father had impacted them, she understood the necessity of his being in the camp and was consoled.  Wow…just an incredible story and legacy…I was going to say that most sweet was Eric’s humility, certainly sweet, but his love, trust, and obedience to the Lord is most sweet.

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    Yes, Nanci — he is right up with Bonhoeffer in my book of heroes of the faith!

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      absolutely!  Do you have a favorite Eric Liddell biography you could recommend?

        I’ve only read one — The Flying Scotsman, and it was pretty good. I think the other might be better — I just go it though:Pure Gold It

        is the one on which the documentary I included this week is based. He also wrote a book I haven’t read.

        Thanks Dee!  I recently ordered Eric Metaxas’ “Seven Men: And the Secret of their Greatness”…Eric Liddell is one of the seven Eric Metaxas includes.  I’ll be eager to hear your thoughts on “Pure Gold.”

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My take away: Hard to choose

There is a straight line. Rachael denHollander

The King has landed.  C. S. Lewis

Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans but God is not helpless among the ruins. Eric Liddell

Thank you, Dee for this wonderful study!

 

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Nanci — I’d forgotten about Metaxis book — I did read that too — and it was good. It’s short, of course!

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