Book: Mere Christianity Book 2-What Christians Believe
Chapter: 2: The Invasion
If atheism fails in its simplicity, Christian teachings devoid of tough doctrines of sin, hell, and Satan are equally impotent. Reality is both complex and surprising according to Lewis. “Real things are not simple…” and they are “…usually odd.” It is the complexity and oddity of life and faith that Lewis credits as a strong reason for believing Christianity.
The complex truth is that our universe is “obviously bad and apparently meaningless.” How do we grapple with this reality? One way is to understand this is a good creation that has gone very bad, but “retains the memory of what it ought to have been.” Another way is Dualism, which sees good and evil as two equal and opposite forces at war in the universe. How then, does one determine what is good and what is not, and what is the nature of the two? Is good determined by preference, or is there a standard of goodness to which one power conforms to, and the other does not? According to Lewis, good is that which we ought to prefer regardless of what we like at the moment.
Further, evil is dependent on good for its survival. Evil is the pursuit of goodness in the wrong way. Evil is goodness gone wrong. Thus evil is parasitic. Evil can only be expressed because of the good creation of free choice. Christianity submits that the Dark Power in the universe was created good by God, with the good gift of choice, only to exploit those good things and go bad. Now, this world is the territory of the Dark Power.
Lewis’ descriptions, while complicated, actually work to simplify the concepts of good and evil. Not simple, but clear. Can good and evil be explained and lived out by those who reject a belief in God? Is it accurate to believe that the “morals” of secularism are operating off of borrowed capital?