No, I’m afraid I mislead. This is not a comment upon the work of C.S. Lewis. Rather, it is a comment upon a response to C.S. Lewis.
I’ve been perusing my book shelves in search of something to write on for an upcoming literature term paper. One that I should write tomorrow, yet I still cannot decide upon a subject. I realised that if I spent less time alone I would read far less than I do, thus I wouldn’t run into the problem that I do; a vast too many ideas. I thought I had it settled. I was going to write about music. Specifically, Sufjan Stevens’ album, Seven Swans. I should probably mention that this literature class is one that looks at the Bible from a literary perspective. I should say, the Bible and Apocrypha. The term paper assignment is to take a piece of literature, music, or work of art and discuss how the Bible has influenced it, why its creator chose to present this work in such a way, etc. So here I am, running through my head with a thousand million ideas. Sufjan Stevens, Regina Spektor, Joan Osbourn, William Blake, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Flannery O’Connor, and C.S. Lewis.
While reading through the works of Lewis, which I am leaning toward more and more, I stumbled across a reaction from the New York Times Book Review. The quote states that:
C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.
My problem with this quote is the last part. Why must intellect be an issue when it comes to conviction of religion? It is a problem that has always puzzled me. As a child, I remember asking my mother whether it was okay for me to want to be a scientist and believe in God at the same time. From childhood, there was always some distinction between the two, and not of my own creation. These thoughts were fueled in me through outside sources. The church I was attending attempted to inform me that science was not of God and that an interest in it was not correct. In school I was informed that there was only science and to believe in a God was foolish. This seemed to propel me to discredit both ideas. I have always felt that science and God move together. The brilliance of discoveries has to be that of God. The presence of mystery, the need to explore, the need to find and believe in something bigger than ourselves; how can these things not be of some greater authority?
It is a challenge I still face. Every day when I hear a fellow Christian discredit science as preposterous, and vice versa. Today, a friend attempted to discredit faith. He stated that it was humanity clinging to an archaic system doing everything to discredit reality. I disagree. I agree that there are some who fit this reality, but not all. I believe in science. I revel in science. I didn’t become a Bio-Chem major in High School for hating science. Neither did I enter college as a Geology major for hating it. Science is beautiful and graceful. The study of how things work and why they are irresistible to humanity, and I don’t think it should ever be stifled. It never has been. It always finds a way to move onto the next discovery. Faith should never try to stifle discovery. Neither should science stifle faith. No one’s intent should be to point a finger and say, “You’re wrong and I’m right.” How is that constructive?
Why, I ask, must intellect get in the way of faith? Some of the greatest minds in history have been great theologians. Saint Augustine, Sir Thomas More, Martin Luther, Soren Kierkegaard, Muhatma Ghandi, C.S. Lewis, and so many, many more. Why should presence of intellect prevent the presence of faith? This statement seems puzzling to me, especially when some of the greatest and most faith-filled people I know are extremely intellectual.
There are bumper stickers that I often see which say ‘Coexist’ spelled out in various religious symbols. I often question the presence of bumper stickers. I’m not a bumper sticker person, especially when it comes to politics and religion. By pasting something like that to your car you are essentially placing your faith into that statement. I don’t put my faith into any politician. I exercise my right to vote, but more often than not, the candidates do not completely represent the things that I believe in. I don’t agree with the people who place the fish symbol upon their cars because I wonder if the people within the car truly live their lives as that fish suggests; they certainly don’t drive as I believe Jesus would. So this ‘Coexist’ sticker; do the bearers truly live like that? Or do they shun certain ways in favour of their own? The people I have met with those stickers have been rather disdainful of my opinions, telling me that I am just another stupid follower, blind to the world that surrounds me.
I am well aware of the world I live in. I believe in the power of it. I believe that the Earth moves and is capable of change in every form. I also believe that I am not alone upon this earth. That there is a greater purpose for me to live for. I believe in love. Love above all other things. That love does not come from things of science, but of something ever more powerful than my own being. Bigger than that which beats within my chest.
I believe in love.