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Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Comprising most of Lewis' writings.

Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby cyranorox » 09 Jul 2010, 16:32

-tiny quibble: Origen, Greek for 'mountain-born', not Origin.
Good point on Athanasius.
RE: noblest- I agree that the content is not a given, and not to be assumed based on the ambient. It requires some thought and attention to tradition, variant views, and revelation. While every such issue skirts close to circular reasoning, some valid synthesis can be approached: Passion, greed, grasping and jealousy are ignoble.

Our modern variant imho is the realization that punishment is not a good; that any time the end can be served without it, it should be dropped. The idea that the wrongdoer ought to be hurt - whether or not he is improved by it - is less and less plausible, for whatever reason. His pain really satisfies nothing of worth- not justice, rightly seen, although I don't expect general agreement with this proposition. His repudiation of wrong is the goal, and punishment the means; therefore, we are less likely to be tied to literal readings where punishment is mentioned in the Bible.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby postodave » 10 Jul 2010, 18:17

I always spell Origen wrong. It's a habbit. I know if you ask me but I forget.
Cyranorox said:
RE: noblest- I agree that the content is not a given, and not to be assumed based on the ambient. It requires some thought and attention to tradition, variant views, and revelation. While every such issue skirts close to circular reasoning, some valid synthesis can be approached: Passion, greed, grasping and jealousy are ignoble.

But what about wrath? Is wrath ignoble? I think we can quite easily see a positive side to say jealousy. so when God says he is jealous because he wants his people to worship only him we can assume this is not like the jealousy of a guy who lives in my town who murdered his girlfriend because she was going to dump him saying, 'If I can't have her nobody else can'. But rather that God really does know that he is the best thing for us. I think the idea of God's wrath still has to mean something. Wrath in itself is not ignoble and there are times when it is right to be angry. Indeed therapists spend a lot of time helping people get past the idea that anger is always wrong because when people think this they tend to deny that they are angry and the repressed anger comes out in destructive rather than constructive ways. So it would be bizarre if just when secular culture was recognizing the value of anger Christians decided it was ignoble and denied it of God. I would suggest that being angry in a healthy way is part of what it means to be made in God's image. So if there is an issue with satisfaction theories of atonement then I don't think the issue can be about God being wrathful as such.
Cyranorox said:
Our modern variant imho is the realization that punishment is not a good; that any time the end can be served without it, it should be dropped. The idea that the wrongdoer ought to be hurt - whether or not he is improved by it - is less and less plausible, for whatever reason. His pain really satisfies nothing of worth- not justice, rightly seen, although I don't expect general agreement with this proposition. His repudiation of wrong is the goal, and punishment the means; therefore, we are less likely to be tied to literal readings where punishment is mentioned in the Bible.

This is more to the point. But I wonder if this view of punishment is true. I mean I really do wonder; I'm not sure; this is not just a rhetorical thing. Lewis you will recall was convinced that the humanitarian view of punishment, the idea that it's sole purpose is corrective, was a dangerous error because it destroyed the idea of dessert. I like the idea of God as the great healer who wants to cure us all of our wrongness and it is not entirely a modern one; it is there in Origen and you can find it in Mother Julian and in the later writings of William Law and various other places. But is it the whole truth - I am not sure. Does the other picture, the one you can find in Anselm and Calvin and Paul, also have something important to say? And as I've said if there is a better reading of Paul I'm open to it.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby cyranorox » 13 Jul 2010, 18:24

"the anger of [a] God should not be like that of a man"
Euripides, The Bacchae
It must mean something, but it cannot be anger as we know it. What is anger but desire to hurt? or feeling mulcted, neglected, or imposed upon? - or felt on behalf of another. It is one of the passions, from which God is free. In His kenotic humility He has accepted to feel pain, and even passions such as hunger or sleep [yes these are passions in the sense of what-is-suffered]. But anger as a virtue? the therapist works with a psyche unable to fully see itself, so the analogy does not seem strong to me. The therapist has no argument against the wrongness of anger; he only claims that men are liable to repress what they believe to be wrong, but cannot avoid.

CSL and I differ here: anger, even dressed up as 'wrath', is no virtue for a man; a forteriori, not of God. Therefore the statements that attribute it to Him must be images referring to something other and better than anger, but somehow best shown to us in this figure.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby archenland_knight » 14 Jul 2010, 17:57

cyranorox wrote:"the anger of [a] God should not be like that of a man"
Euripides, The Bacchae
It must mean something, but it cannot be anger as we know it. What is anger but desire to hurt? or feeling mulcted, neglected, or imposed upon? - or felt on behalf of another. It is one of the passions, from which God is free. In His kenotic humility He has accepted to feel pain, and even passions such as hunger or sleep [yes these are passions in the sense of what-is-suffered]. But anger as a virtue? the therapist works with a psyche unable to fully see itself, so the analogy does not seem strong to me. The therapist has no argument against the wrongness of anger; he only claims that men are liable to repress what they believe to be wrong, but cannot avoid.


I think I'm going to need to disagree with Cyranorox here, (shocker, right?) but mostly on the definition of what anger is. I do not think anger, at it's core, is a desire to hurt, or feeling neglected or imposed upon. I do not even think that anger, in and of itself, is necessarily sinful though it can certainly and easily lead to sin. (Ephesians 4:26-27 "In your anger do not sin" : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.")

In fact, very much like most other human passions and appetites, it has it's place and when used properly it is actually a good thing, and can even be pleasing to God.

Dr. Gary Chapman, a well known psychologist and author of the "Love Language" series of books has written an excellent book entitled "The Other Side of Love" on the subject of anger and how to overcome it which addresses the subject from both the spiritual and the psychological perspectives. In this book, he puts forth the idea that the human ability to feel anger actually comes from the fact that we were created in God's Image.

As He points out, God is capable of anger. But His anger is never just because He feels imposed upon or neglected. When God has anger, it is because a genuine wrong has been committed; an injustice has been done. Human anger, he explains, is that sense we have, in reflection of God's nature, that such a wrong must be addressed; that something simply must be done about it.

In the case of God, that anger is never unjustified, nor are the actions He takes because of it inappropriate. We, of course, are a different story. Because of the fall, our sense of anger, just like every other reflection of God's Image in us, has been twisted and corrupted. Because of The Fall, human anger often interprets a perceived imposition or neglect as injustice, and in it's corrupted state often inaccurately perceives the corrective course of action to be doing some harm to the person who has committed the perceived wrong as Cyranorox has observed.

But the point is, the anger a human feels is still over the fact that he/she believes, accurately or not, that a genuine wrong has been committed. It is not merely because of an imposition or neglect. As Lewis said:

Screwtape in Letter #21 wrote:Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury
depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. (emphasis mine)


So Lewis echoes Chapman's assertion: than in order for a man to feel angry, he must feel that something wrong or unjust has been done, such as the denial of a "legitimate claim".

Now, clearly humans are often perceiving "legitimate claims" where there are none, and seeing wrongs and injustices where in fact there was only accidental inconveniences or in fact nothing at all. But not always. Humans sometimes ... sometimes ... actually feel anger that is in line with a true reflection of God's nature. Sometimes, we see a genuine wrong, and the anger we feel is the reflection of that divine nature saying, "Something must be done about this!"

Sometimes, anger is that which drives us to do the very will of God.

I believe that was the kind of anger felt by Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks when they looked at the world around them and felt they had to do something to change things. I believe that was the kind of anger felt by all the people of every race who marched on Selma and Washington in those days. Even Caucasians who had never felt the sting of injustice themselves saw it being done to others and said, "No! This must not be!" It was anger ... good, God-given anger ... anger fed in fact by compassion for those being wronged ... that caused them to make great sacrifices to see and end to such injustice.

It was anger that caused the people of Poland and East Germany and Romania to cast off the shackles of the oppressive regimes that ruled them. It is anger that motivates people to rise up and make changes in an unjust society.

But, it is also anger that causes family members to abuse one another and gang members to shoot other gang members for wearing the wrong color hat in the wrong neighborhood. This is the kind of anger that comes from the corruption of the image of God within us. The abusive family members really do believe a wrong has been committed and really do believe that beating the other person is the corrective action. The gang members really do see it as unjust for the members of other gangs to be in the wrong place with the wrong colors, and see shooting them as the proper corrective action.

Dr. Chapman makes the distinction between these two kinds of anger. The anger that comes from the true reflection of God's nature within us, the anger that motivates us to actually right genuine wrongs, he calls "Definitive Anger" and makes the point that this is the only kind of anger that God ever has.

The other kind of anger, the kind where we become angry merely because we don't like something that someone else has done and convince ourselves that what they have done is "wrong", he calls "Distorted Anger" since it is a product of the distortion within us. But it is important to realize that even "Distorted Anger" really is just that ... a distortion ... a distortion of something that was, originally, actually a good thing.

So, like many other human drives, anger is sometimes a virtue and sometimes a vice. When it is a virtue, it is because we are using it as God intended and as a reflection of His nature within us. When it is a vice, it is because we are giving in ... or being deceived ... by our corrupted natures and using anger in a way contrary to His intent.

The trick, as always, is in learning to tell the two apart. Rather than saying, "the anger of [a] God should not be like that of a man", we should be saying, "My anger should be like God's anger."

The book also offers some strategies for dealing with one's own anger and bringing it into line with God's Word which I have found quite helpful. I will say the strategies do not work nearly as well for people who's anger is being driven by deeper problems ... such as PTSD ... but one would expect this to be the case.

All in all it is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to better understand anger and how to handle it.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby cyranorox » 14 Jul 2010, 18:46

@AK- i think the language about passions is somewhat obscure to you. We can perceive a wrong, and intend to act upon it, with or without anger. But 'do something' is often a mistake. If the action needed is merciful, the proper motive is pity. If justice is to be attempted, the proper motive is love of justice. Even that is not necessarily connected to anger. You don't need anger to right wrongs; you don't need to be motivated by it, but to decide. That is from a different aspect of the mind. Any such motivation is a work-around or crutch - of course many of us need it - but that's consistent with my premise that anger is ignoble. Part of the distinction is that anger is a passion, ie, something suffered, something of which we are passive recipients, but pity or love are something we do, active virtues.

Your psychologist is downstream of the conversation; he has accepted as literal the idea of God's anger, but the conversation, or at least my part of it, was involved in questioning that position.

The quote from Euripides is a famous climax, demanding nobility and disinterest from the god who has acted in a way beneath the justice of man
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby postodave » 14 Jul 2010, 19:37

I'm with Knight. He's said a lot of what I'd want to say better than I could have said it and at greater length. I think the approach to motivation in your reply makes people sound very cold and calculating. There are plenty of examples of Jesus in the gospels getting angry and the anger does seem to motivate him, albeit along with other things. I think the other problem here is that we have a description of God in mythical or picture language and Cyranorox, you seem to be trying to get behind that and get a glimpse of what God is really like. I don't think we can do that. I don't see that God's other attributes such as love must be taken literally whereas anger must not. We can take them all literally or we can see them all as pointers towards something we can never really grasp.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby cyranorox » 14 Jul 2010, 22:20

I am giving an argument derived fromthe concept of apatheia, an ideal state for humans of passionlessness, but not coldness; a state of charity and virtue, warmth and activity. As explained [and I have not achieved it!] it's hard to distinguish from coldness; when it has been seen there is no question.

Love and anger may both be metaphors; but Love will refer to something greater and similar to our 'love'; I am sure anger will refer to something greater and other than our 'anger'.

I agree that you have to mythologize; but advisedly, and not reducing all the images to the same plane - I have no sense that you do that generally, but here you seem to.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby postodave » 17 Jul 2010, 21:42

You reminded me of something Eliot said in Four Quartets:
There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:
Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment
From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference
Which resembles the others as death resembles life,

If indifference corresponds to my cold and calculating. And if what Eliot calls detachment is something like what you mean by apatheia. There have been traditions, at least in the western church and maybe in the eastern as well that see attachment and detachment as alternative but acceptable ways. But I thought you were a romantic Cyranorox and this is almost the opposite of romanticism. This seems to be something that entered the Church from stoicism. Did the Church take over the stoic idea in total or did it modify it?

Anyway it is intriguing that different conceptions of God can give rise to different ideas about human psychology.
John Stott in the process of arguing for a theory of atonement as penal substitution describes God's wrath as something like his persisting opposition to evil; that does not sound much like a passion. It's not so much about whether all the images can be taken on one plane as why in this case one should be seen so much more literally than the other. I can see what you mean when you say anger is a passion but must it always be so? And is passion in humans always a bad thing? And is love never a passion and is there not sometimes kind of a passionate quality to God's love? Don't get me wrong I believe God is as our prayerbook says without body, parts or passions and I understand that to mean he is not subject to his own emotions and Stott seems to be taking that in the same way. So if by passion you mean an unruly emotion out of God's control then no I think his wrath is not a passion but I don't think anyone who thinks of God as wrathful really thinks of it as a passion in that sense.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby archenland_knight » 12 Aug 2010, 18:31

I thought one of the quotes on the front page of this site from a few days ago was very appropriate to this thread, but I wanted time to think about the rest of my post before I put it out here. The quote was:

C.S. Lewis wrote:Anger is the fluid that love bleeds when you cut it.
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer


I have no real comment on that, because I think I already said everything I could say along those lines. I just wondered if anyone else might have a comment that relates to this.

cyranorox wrote:I am giving an argument derived fromthe concept of apatheia, an ideal state for humans of passionlessness, but not coldness; a state of charity and virtue, warmth and activity. As explained [and I have not achieved it!] it's hard to distinguish from coldness; when it has been seen there is no question.


I do not think I can agree at all that such a state is "ideal" for humans, or indeed for any other order of being. While the scripture speaks of "sinful passions" (Romans 7:5) or of "sinful nature with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24), it does not seem that we are being called to eradicate passions from ourselves and live without them, but rather to govern them. In Titus 2:12 it says this of the Grace of God.

Titus 2:12
"It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, ... ."


This sounds to me much more like a call to govern sinful passions than a call to rid ourselves of all passion altogether. Nowhere is there any indication that all passion is, in fact, sinful. Perhaps this is why the call is to govern, not eradicate, passion. Spraying herbicides on your lawn to kill the weeds is fine, but you wouldn't spray an herbicide that killed the grass as well.

cyranorox wrote:Love and anger may both be metaphors; but Love will refer to something greater and similar to our 'love'; I am sure anger will refer to something greater and other than our 'anger'.


Certainly God's love is greater and purer than our own. And without any doubt His anger is also purer and greater as well. I don't think, however, that it is proper or right to consider the "love" and "anger" which the scriptures declare that God displays to be mere metaphors. To make this claim reminds me of Bree's claim in HHB that Aslan can't really be a lion; that this description must be metaphorical. It makes me think of The Fox in "Till We Have Faces" declaring that the "Divine Nature" can't really be jealous, or angry. Of course, Aslan turns out to really be a lion, but so much more. And the jealously and anger and love of the gods in TWF turns out to be real, but to be greater and purer than any we could ever have.

The same, I would contend, is true of the love and anger of the True and Living God.

I believe that we often think such things as anger or jealousy are above God because when we feel anger or jealousy we nearly always do so improperly, either for reasons that are wrong or in degrees which are wrong. But what if there is a Good, Holy, and proper way to be angry, or for that matter jealous? What if there are times when anger is the right thing? We might never know, because our anger nearly always has something wrong with it.

But God's anger would never have anything wrong with it. His anger would be Pure and Holy, never for the wrong reason or in wrong degree, and never would it lead to wrong action. His love also would never be selfish, as ours often is, but would reflect 1 Corinthians 13 perfectly.

Far from being mere metaphors, I think the "love" and "anger" which the scripture attributes to God are the true Love, and the real Anger. What we feel when we merely think we feel love or anger is the shattered image; not a metaphor really, but a corruption of the true Heavenly ideal. (This, also, is a common theme in Lewis' writings.)

Maybe the problem is that you and I mean different things by the word "metaphor", but it does not seem right to me to consider what the scripture says about His Love or His Anger to be metaphorical.

If by "metaphor" you mean that God's Love and Anger are like the "England" that was found beyond the stable door in "The Last Battle", and that our love and anger are like the England here in the shadow lands, then I would agree with that. "Metaphor" just doesn't seem like the right word to me. Perhaps I would be more comfortable saying that our anger or love is a "shadow", or a "type" of His.

cyranorox wrote:Your psychologist is downstream of the conversation; he has accepted as literal the idea of God's anger, but the conversation, or at least my part of it, was involved in questioning that position.


No, He accepts as I do that God's anger is real anger, and that what we feel is the corrupted reflection, the shattered mirror image of it.

cyranorox wrote:We can perceive a wrong, and intend to act upon it, with or without anger.


I don't think so. I think the mere intent to act upon the wrong is anger, even if it is done with little to none of that fiery and fleshly passion with which we often associate the feelings of anger. Like Ransom in Perelandra, we can decide "This can't go on," without sinful passions. This would be anger is it's Pure and Holy form ... very rare for a human, but not impossible.

cyranorox wrote:But 'do something' is often a mistake. If the action needed is merciful, the proper motive is pity.


It is true that to "do something" is often a mistake. But pure and holy anger makes that distinction. I would clarify that the kind of pity that is the proper motive in the case mention is the kind born of sympathy and compassion, not the kind born of condescension. "Pity" can be just as sinful and just as much a "passion" as anger.

cyranorox wrote:Even that is not necessarily connected to anger. You don't need anger to right wrongs; you don't need to be motivated by it, but to decide.


Again, I would call the mere act of making that decision "anger", though it can be done without fire in the emotions. It is often best done without fire, for then it is in no danger of cooling and ceasing to motivate action.

cyranorox wrote:That is from a different aspect of the mind. Any such motivation is a work-around or crutch - of course many of us need it - but that's consistent with my premise that anger is ignoble. Part of the distinction is that anger is a passion, ie, something suffered, something of which we are passive recipients, but pity or love are something we do, active virtues.


I just don't see it this way. I don't think anger is either noble or ignoble, any more than pity or love. Any of the three can be good or evil. Pity imporperly motivated is just as bad as anger improperly motivated, as is selfish love (like much of Orual's toward Bardia and Psyche in TWHF). Any of the three can be suffered as a passive recipient, or can be as you say, "something we do, active virtues". To see anger as only an ignoble passion, suffered only passively, and to see love and pity as something only as something we do as an active virtue seems to me to be an incomplete view of all three. Any or all of the three can be active virtues or passive passions.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby postodave » 15 Aug 2010, 18:57

I felt the following which I read recently was relevant to this discussion:
the goal of therapy as opening up our emotional life


While there is no question that personal control is an aspect of emotional maturity, this point of view is nevertheless one-sided. There is an equally sizable body of clinical literature that views psychotherapy as a process of liberation. Classical Psychoanalysis in particular, with its notion of repression views psychological disorders as resulting from an excess of cognitive control. It focuses on the importance of affect and passion in the economy of human existence. It tends to foster a receptive attitude toward the emotional substratum of our lives so that our lives may be opened up to the rich variety of human experience. It tends to stress the dynamic, energizing function of the id. Similarly, Person-Centered Therapy advocates that we "listen to our experiential organism" which, it says "is wiser than our self(concept)" (Van Belle, 1980) and in that way promotes a non-regulative, receptive attitude to our experience.

Christian integrationist tend to ignore schools of therapy which emphasize the liberating function of psychotherapy. Perhaps this is because these schools have traditionally been critical of organized religion. These approaches to therapy claim that religion has been largely restrictive of human emotions, and they can make this claim with some measure of justification.

Historically speaking, traditional Christendom in Western Civilization, under the influence of Neo-Platonism, has generally treated human passions as problematic aspects of our existence to be controlled by human beings in the pursuit of Christian virtues.
However, it is doubtful that this traditional bias against passions can be justified on biblical grounds. Thus, there is no biblical reason why Christian therapists should restrict themselves to (inter)personal wholeness as the goal of therapy. The gospel of Jesus Christ is quite clearly a gospel of liberation. Jesus Christ is not portrayed in the Bible as the one who shrinks human lives, but rather as one who liberates our existence. Sin is identified as shrinking our lives. It results in bondage. It makes our hearts hard and closes off our experience to the rich and colourful variety of God's creation and to the needs of our neighbours. But the Bible clearly points to salvation in Jesus Christ as the way to open up our lives again.

This point is especially emphasized in Phil.2:1. This passage lists a number of the gifts we receive by being united with Christ. According to this verse these are: encouragement, comfort, fellowship and compassion. In addition speaks of one more gift. Tucked right in the middle of this list is a gift described by the Greek word, splagchna, which literally means 'bowels', but which the English translates as 'passion'. The word is listed right before the gift of compassion, and is meant to contrast with it as its prerequisite. One has to have passion in order to have compassion.

Elaborating further, the word means 'emotional openness or sensitivity to our experience of the world'. The implication is that sin closes our hearts, our bodies, our lives to the pleasures and pain of the world which we inhabit. Sin robs us from being able to experience the wonderful variety of God's good creation and it also makes our hearts insensitive to the needs and the hurts of others. The result of this process is that we become rigid, hard, legalistic and inflexible. By contrast, the fruits of the Spirit given to us by means of salvation, open us up again and soften our hearts so that we can live fuller lives and become able and willing to show compassion toward our neighbour.


I apologize for the length of this quote. It can be read in context as part of the essay 'STRUCTURE AND DIRECTION recounting the presence of God in the therapeutic relation ' at Van Belle's website. http://www.allofliferedeemed.co.uk/vanbelle.htm also on the same theme in more detail but less academic is the essay on the place of feelings in our lives. The difficulty I see in pursuing this discussion is that we come from different traditions and it is hard to find common ground, not in general but on this issue. To me it seems that the fathers took the world views of their time and tried to adapt them to Christianity. We do not honour them by simply adhering to the results of this but by continuing the dialogue with the world that they began. So we need to engage with Freud and Rogers just as they engaged with Plato and the stoics. But I know that speaking personally I am often enough governed by my passions in a destructive way and I feel I cannot in any sense sit in judgement on these great saints like some latter day Damaris Tighe and I hope that is not what I am going.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby archenland_knight » 16 Aug 2010, 15:54

postodave wrote:We do not honour them by simply adhering to the results of this but by continuing the dialogue with the world that they began. So we need to engage with Freud and Rogers just as they engaged with Plato and the stoics.


And interesting take both on the fathers and on our role as Christians today. It's definitely something to consider.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby postodave » 28 Aug 2010, 08:27

Well, it feels right, almost obvious to me. Protestants have always felt it was okay to criticise the Fathers in this way and the main problem is a feeling that one is not worthy. Is it possible to recognize their moral superiority, their utter dedication to what they did believe, but also to question whether that morality is always right. It is after all possible that they are right and we, I mean I specifically, are so far down the moral ladder that we miss that. Like reading a parody of an argument and responding as if it were a straight argument or criticising a disharmonious passage in a piece of music that has it's significance in a structure one has not grasped. Maybe that is what I am doing here but there are reasons for thinking this is not so or at least not the whole story.

The question it seems to me is how early Christian thinking and Greek thinking relate. Is it that Christianity is polluted by ideas that are culturally alien to it (and this claim has been made in several ways with different ideas about the original nature of Christianity) is it that Christianity uses Greek terminology but remains distinctive, or is it that Christianity transforms the Greek world view and suffuses it with something new. Perhaps all three in different respects. I think Lewis is important in this discussion because he is so at home in both the Classical and Christian worlds.

I wish Cyranorox would rejoin this discussion she was making such interesting contributions.
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby rusmeister » 29 Aug 2010, 18:06

I'm actually logging in (having periodically lurked for some time now)...
I'd participate, but I feel that this forum was gutted last year, and has become what Stanley predicted: "Into the Daycare Center". This is not a personal comment on you, AK, you've always been a bit above that, but it's just why I don't post any more. Why bother? Debate is forbidden (and is often not useful unless people actually want to dig to truth), but this site lost something that made it a forum that practically doesn't discuss what Lewis thought important at all. The weight loss and "what do you look like?" threads predominate, and the question of truth - that this thread alludes to - has been made of no import.

So while this is not a final goodbye for me, it might as well be. I have no more motivation to post here - just a sadness at what this place has become. I see that a place alive with discussions Lewis would have fed on (and some that he would have shunned - there were some wrongs - primarily discourtesy and a failure to prevent it) has become an insipid place with only a few topics even coming close to touching on the issue of truth (this thread being one of them). A few people got what they want, I suppose. But it is no longer a Socratic Club - and members like Stanley are greatly missed. I see a huge disparity between what Lewis thought worth discussing and what is actually discussed here now.
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
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rusmeister
 
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby Nerd42 » 29 Aug 2010, 23:43

Well my point about pagan ideas influencing Christian ideas was only meant to refer to the realm of religion. It's not a problem if we inherit any philosophical or political wisdom coming out of Socrates and Aristotle. But we have a holiday named, "Easter," after a pagan fertility god. That's not a philosophical influence, that's a cultural and ultimately religious influence. Pagan feasts become christian feasts and demigods became saints. Alot of the same religious ideas remained sometimes even though the flag over the fort happened to be a different color. I don't think that's how things ought to have worked.

I don't have to agree with Lewis about EVERYTHING, do I?
Nerd42
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Re: Lewis' thoughts on other major religions?

Postby postodave » 30 Aug 2010, 10:55

Hi Rus

The thought police don't seem to notice what's going on down here in the catacombs - or maybe they don't mind as long as we're not disturbing the peace. At the end of the day John's in charge as he set up the site but it has lost some of it's charm since the great purge.

Hi Nerd

I'm not sure where your comments are picking up from. I'm intrigued by your idea that there is a realm of religion and its implication that there are other realms such as philosophy and politics that are non-religious. Are you advocating something like Gould's Non-overlapping magisteria or are you being more subtle than that? I should point out that even Gould sees religion as being concerned with ethics and therefore surely with both politics and philosophy. I suppose the big question is what is religion; what is it that makes a particular belief or practice religious? And what is it about religion which according to you would exclude politics and philosophy?

As a reminder of Lewis's view: You have nature, the cycle of the year which is transformed by the pagans into the idea of death in winter and resurrection in Spring, or death in the seed resurrection in the fruit and so on. Then the same God who created nature sends his Son to die and rise again and so enacts once and for all the truth inherent in nature - As Martin Luther says not only does scripture teach resurrection but every new bud of Spring - Thereafter if some old pagan ideas get taken back into Christianity and transformed this is all to the good. That was Cyranorox point about Christmas and with all due respect for the Puritans I'm inclined to agree with her really. So I don't think the pagan origins of the word Easter or the choice of spring for the celebration is a problem. The saints taking over from the gods might be more of an issue
So I drew my sword and got ready
But the lamb ran away with the crown
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