Thursday, November 12, 2020

The good and the bad

On my long walk on Sunday I listened to the last in the series of talks on Lewis's Mere Christianity.

It had good points and bad points.

Chris Mitchell took Darwinian evolution as a starting point in one place. Perhaps it was just a rhetorical ploy, but later comments told me not so.

He considered those pondering the 'next step' in 'human' evolution. It seemed that he, along with most others, have the darwinian Victorian progressivism in mind as the pattern of evolution. But Darwin's idea has no 'directional' force. The 'next step' only has to have superior survival value to humans and out compete them for resources in relevant ecological niches. There's no concept in evolution of 'better' in any other way. Either rabbits or bacteria may be better, but we need to see enough mutations to disable humanity first, arguably.

I was further disappointed that he referred in question time to Francis Collins (a famous theistic evolutionist) as the go to guy for  discussion of the 'new' atheists. I'd much prefer to go to William Lane Craig, Greg Koukl and JP Moreland for this, even though they are all 'long age' creationists.

As a clever use of the idea he said that the 'next' step has already been taken. We go from being creatures of God to sons of God.

 Pentecost, thus, should be the most important day of the church calendar. It is the founding of the church. At least, it is as important in God's grand outworking as Easter.

On the good: he talked about Lewis not quoting scripture, but rather weaving scripture into everything he said.

Lewis didn't use theological or 'churchy' language. He addressed the ordinary person in his talks and book (Mere Christianity, that is). Mitchell called him a 'translator' and reminded us that it is work to do this; we have to work at understanding our faith and the Bible so that we can translate it into contemporary thought forms and be meaningful for our listener. Churchy language is off putting and excluding for those who aren't familiar with it. People want to be conversed with in a common language and with respect for their ignorance of what is to them a specialist area.

This is something that the church has consistently failed at, but for a few spokesmen (Lewis, Chesterton...).

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