A Literary Critique of C. S. Lewis: The Case for Christianity, The World's Last Night

A Literary Critique of C. S. Lewis: The Case for Christianity, The World's Last Night and Problem with Pain I. Introduction II. Brief Biographical Information III. The Case for Christianity - Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe IV. The Problem with Pain - Divine Omnipotence V. The World's Last Night - The Efficacy of Prayer VI. Conclusion A Critique of C. S. Lewis "A Relativist said, 'The world does not exist, England does not exist, Oxford does not exist and I am confident that I do not Exist!' When Lewis was asked to reply, he stood up and said, 'How am I to talk to a man who's not there?'" - C. S. Lewis: A Biography Clive Staples Lewis was born, in 1898, in Belfast. C. S. Lewis was educated at various schools in England. In 1914, Lewis began studying Latin, Greek, French, German and Italian under the private tuition of W. T. Kirkpatrick. He then moved to Oxford where his studies were interrupted by World War I (1917). Two years later he was back in Oxford resuming his studies. In 1924, Lewis was "elected" to teach Literature and Language at Magdalen College, Oxford and remained there till 1954. During this time period in his life, Lewis wrote the majority of his work. Lewis moved to Cambridge for the remainder of his life teaching Medieval and Renaissance Literature.1 C. S. Lewis was a man dedicated to the pursuit of truth who" believed in argument, in disputation, and in the dialectic of Reason. . ."2 He began his pursuit of truth as an atheist and ended up as a Christian. His works the Problem of Pain and Mere Christianity dealt with issues he struggled with. Mere Christianity consists of three separate radio broadcasts. One of the broadcasts was titled The Case For Christianity. In The Case For Christianity, Lewis discussed two crucial topics in his apologetic defense of Christianity. They were the "Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe" and "What Christians Believe". This critique will address the first chapter. "Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe", can be broken into three parts. The first deals with moral law and its existence. The second addresses the idea of a power or mind behind the universe, who, is intensely interested in right conduct. Also that this power or God is good. Good as in the area of truth, not soft and sympathetic. The third point moves to Christianity, its attributes and why it was necessary for the long" round-about" approach . The law of nature binds humans as would the laws of gravity apply to a falling stone. It is called the law of nature because it does not need to be taught. Lewis points out that an odd individual may exist "here and there who didn't know it, just as you find s few people who are colour-blind or have no ear for tune. But taking the race as a whole, they thought that the human idea of Decent Behavior was obvious to every one."3 Lewis brilliantly defended his statement of natural law's existence. Two arguments, which argue for relativity, posted against him are the "herd" instincts or genetic inborn in us ( i.e. motherly love, survival or sexual impulses) and that which is taught socially or learned. Historically, these to interpretations of human behavior have clashed, however, he suggest that "reason" is above both. He clarifies his position by classifying impulses as separate from the decision to follow the impulse itself. The "learned" argument is refuted by his analogy of a boy on the island who is unaware of the existence of the process of multiplication. He never attended school and learned them. The education would be classified as "human convention". This human convention, consequently, did not invent multiplication just as it did not invent the law of nature. However, this comparison is based on a false assumption. The law of nature, as Lewis argued, is not taught but some how exists as an inherent part of the human psyche. This law also presents itself in the form of decisions and actions in