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That Hideous Strength - Artwork

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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby jo » 19 Dec 2009, 16:31

I've got a mix and match set :)

Colleen - I do not know what ultimately I think should have been done with Wither and Frost. I realise that the circumstances were out of the ordinary but nonetheless, arbitrary assassination without benefit of trial - even if done by an animal or animals - does bother me somewhat :(
"I saw it begin,” said the Lord Digory. “I did not think I would live to see it die"

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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby archenland_knight » 20 Dec 2009, 20:08

Jo wrote:I always worried a bit about Mr Bultitude having killed men, actually :(. It just doesn't seem entirely 'right' to me. In fact the whole mass slaughter at the end always struck me as being deeply bloodthirsty.


I understand what you're saying. But you have to look at it from Lewis' perspective. He was a combat veteran of Word War ONE, and lived through the terrors of WW2. He understood the concept that evil often can simply not be stopped by kind words and understanding. Sometimes ... really quite often ... the only way to stop evil is to kill it.

We see this in much of his work. Even in CoN, the children's books, there is a great deal of bloodshed. In the Last Battle, there is a positive melee', with even Jill her self killing Calormen soldiers with her arrows. In LWW, there is the great battle there, with much bloodshed and slaughter on both sides. Prince Caspian ends in much the same way, with the "Old Narnians" and nymphs entering in the fray.

In Perelandra (SPOILER ALERT) Ransom realizes that he's actually been SENT to Perelandra, by Maleldil, to kill Weston. That is his purpose for being there.

Lewis even went so far as to deliver an essay entitled "Why I Am Not A Pacifist" (summarized here).

I think that, by the standards of many today, Lewis himself would have seemed positively bloodthirsty. But he wasn't. He merely recognized the cold, hard truth that there are people in this world who are so evil that they only way to keep them from ravaging everyone they can is to eliminate them first.

edit:

This does create a dilemma for the Christian, for how can we "love our enemy" if we're sighting in on him through the scope of a rifle and thinking to ourselves "squeeze the trigger ... don't pull the trigger"? How can we bless those who persecute us when we're putting their co-ordinates into the guidance system of a cruise missile?

What does it mean when Jesus instructs us to "Turn the other cheek" but then forcibly drives the money changes out of the temple with a whip made of chords?

Furthermore, what of the scripture calls King David "a man after God's own heart". Have you really looked into David's body count? I mean ... it's staggering! Considering the technology he was working with, it's mind-boggling!

I think the matter is cleared up when one realizes the context in which Jesus uttered His famous words:

Matthew 5:38-39 wrote:MT 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.


The "Eye for eye" passage was often used to justify revenge, then as now. Jesus was addressing THAT ... they question of revenge, not the concept of stopping an evil person or group from perpetrating their evil. Otherwise, his actions driving the "money changes" out of the temple would have been a direct violation of His own words.

It is clear, therefore, that the Christian must not seek vengeance. But he is also obligated to protect his neighbors. Thus, if a man kills a loved one and escapes, and circumstances conspire so that I one day have the man at my mercy, my obligation before Christ is to hold the man until the police arrive, so that the principles of Romans 13 can prevail.

However, had I come across this man as he was trying to kill a loved one ... or even just a neighbor, and if I have just returned from a disappointing hunting trip and still have my rifle loaded (which would be stupid, but play along) then I am not only allowed, but obligated, to put the man down.

Anyway, that's the C.S. Lewis version of the Christian perspective, summed up and filtered through my own perceptions. I will bear no ill will toward any who disagree with this, or think that Lewis, or myself, are just not quite pacifist enough.
Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby jo » 23 Dec 2009, 01:10

Hi and nice to make your acquaintance :)

This is something that I have struggled with for years (though I am an agnostic, not a Christian). One the one hand I find the concept of killing another human being, in any context (war, capital punishment, disturbed burglar etc) to be abhorrent. On the other hand, I know enough of history - and especially the history of the 20th century - to know that sometimes, saying 'well killing is wrong so we should just never do it', whilst it might sound laudable, doesn't REALLY work in practical terms. And yes, Lewis was a veteran of WWI and someone who witnessed WWII, with all the horror that came with that. I am not trying to condemn him personally for the actions that his characters take but merely to say that to me, with the sensiblities that come with my generation (70s child), it is difficult to understand, still less justify, killing a human being without so much as a trial.

(Incidentally this is something that has occasionally bothered me in both the CoN and Tolkien's books, though I am a huge fan of both).
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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby archenland_knight » 23 Dec 2009, 06:57

Oh, that's right! It's nice to make your acquaintence as well, Jo. I had read a few of your old posts before you returned. I guess I felt like I knew you already! :snow-laugh:

Messageboards are funny that way. If you read old posts from someone who stopped popping in before you ever started, you get to think of them as online-friends just like all the other posters. Then they show up again and say, "Nice to meet you" ... and you're thinking, "Don't you KNOW me?!"

Anyway, I think you've got a good head on your shoulders about things. You are repulsed by the thought of taking a human life, but at the same time you recognize that there are times when it may be absolutely necessary. That's the sort of balance that keeps one from going too far to one extreme or the other.
Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby Theophilus » 23 Dec 2009, 17:26

jo wrote:it is difficult to understand, still less justify, killing a human being without so much as a trial.

(Incidentally this is something that has occasionally bothered me in both the CoN and Tolkien's books, though I am a huge fan of both).

It would be wrong for a person to kill someone without a trial but God isn't limited in this way because he knows all the facts and since he gave us life in the first place he has the right to take it away.
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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby RamandusDaughter » 27 Dec 2009, 23:57

Thank you all for discussing this subject. After college, my son plans to serve in the military, and I need ways to think about his future life as a soldier. We often talk of the decisions made in the heat of the battle. But we don't come to satisfying conclusions. Perhaps your comments will help me. :snow-smile:
Additionally, I have been perusing The Quotable Lewis for help on grief, death, and war, as I've (unbelievably) lost two close family members in the last year. But having found this forum gives me hope that you are there-- people who ponder these things intelligently and with compassion.
Happy New Year to you all :snowflake:
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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby jo » 28 Dec 2009, 17:21

Hello and welcome :)

I am distinctly uneasy about the idea that it's 'okay' for God to kill without trial, not least because such a line of thought is open to a great deal of abuse in many ways. Remember also that there were people at that banquet who might well have had nothing to do with the NICE ... journalists, for instance. Also, despite the fact that the end of the novel makes it clear that many people did escape Edgestow I am still not happy at the wholesale slaughter that took place there - it reminds me too much of the end of The Last Battle (in which I think Lewis really did 'overdo' things).
"I saw it begin,” said the Lord Digory. “I did not think I would live to see it die"

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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby Robert » 29 Dec 2009, 14:06

Yes, the climax of THS is a bit Old Testament...rather seen them prosecuted in a court of law like some episode of Law and Order.
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Re: That Hideous Strength - Artwork

Postby Theophilus » 02 Jan 2010, 16:11

Robert wrote:Yes, the climax of THS is a bit Old Testament...rather seen them prosecuted in a court of law like some episode of Law and Order.

The problem with this solution is that the evils of NICE were demonic in origin and so would be outside the jurisdiction of any human court.
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