Tuesday, March 08, 2011

God in the Dock

This book contains a collection of various Christian essays and speeches given by C.S. Lewis. The audience and tone can vary significantly, however, on a whole they are all very well done. Many are outright defenses of diety and Christianity. Others go on to other topics, such as Christmas, vivisection and punishment.

He attacks the modern "humanitarian theory" of punishment as being unjust. With traditional punishment, the punishment is a consequence of the crime. With the humanitarian theory, punishment is put in place to either deter future crimes or as a means of curing the underlying pathological problem. With the first, perception is more important. If everyone thinks somebody is guilty, then the punishment will have the desired impact, even if the person is innocent. With the later, the punishment now becomes indeterminate, relying on the opinion and current psychological theories used by the technocrats.

He also spends plenty of time criticizing common theories of the day. A criticism of reason based on underlying psychological and physiological desires ends up falling on itself. While scientists can criticize religion for ulterior motives, scientists themselves are open to the same criticism, thereby leaving us with nothing at the end.

A common theme through most essays is that strong reason proves that reason itself is not enough and that faith is needed to fully understand the world and live a joyful life.

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