“The Invasion,” chapter 2 in the second book of Mere Christianity, wasn’t all that interesting to me, so this may be a short post.
C.S. Lewis states that “There are only two views that face all the facts. One is the Christian view that this is a good world that has gone wrong, but still retains the memory of what it ought to have been. The other is the view called Dualism.Dualism means the belief that there are two equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and the other bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight out an endless war.” My first problem with is claim is that he doesn’t state what the facts are. How can he say that Christianity faces all the facts if we don’t know what these facts are? It’s really a useless claim. My second problem with it is that he never says how the world has gone wrong. You can’t claim that something is broken and then not say how it’s broken. It’s another useless claim. My third problem with it is his explanation of dualism. There are multiple kinds of dualism. The one he’s discussing is moral dualism. There is also mind-body dualism, which is deeply ingrained in Christian theology. All in all, I don’t know what his point is in saying this other than to say “Christianity is right.” He’s writing a whole book with this premise, so he doesn’t really need this bit. Especially since he has yet to prove that Christianity is right.
He goes on to say “If ‘being good’ means simply joining the side you happen to fancy, for no real reason, then good would not deserve to be called good.” Again, there is no physical thing called “good.” “Good” is a label we give certain things. So yes, we do in fact say things are good simply because we like them. This does not mean that the word is meaningless. Lewis hasn’t defined what he means by “good,” so this sentence has no meaning. He also hasn’t given any evidence to support his stance that there is some objective “good.”
Continuing that trend, Lewis argues “But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all, as far as they go, good things.” Are they? How do we know that they are good? Where is the evidence? I certainly wouldn’t call money good. Money is something I need because I live in a society that has set money up as our main currency. It’s something I need to survive. I do call survival good. I call eating and warmth good. I call health good. And I need money to get all that. But money isn’t good, it’s how I get good things.
He then says “And do you begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel?” Christianity calls Lucifer a fallen angel because it makes for a good story. It has nothing to do with his relationship with “good,” other than that it can be used to show that it’s Lucifer’s fault that there’s bad in the world, which takes the blame off God. Personally, I don’t see how Lucifer can be said to be truly evil. The “crime” he committed against God is petty at best. He certainly doesn’t have the higher body count between him and God. What has he done, really? Encouraged critical thinking? Proved that God is not good? Been a general annoyance to God? In Sunday school they said that Lucifer was bad because he disobeyed God and will tempt people away from God, but they never give any real reason as to why he’s bad. Disobedience can be a good thing where authority is concerned. Giving people a choice isn’t a bad thing. All the Lucifer story really says is that, as far as Christianity is concerned, it is “good” to be a thought-slave and “bad” to act on your “freewill.”