A fantastic and excellent apology for belief in supernaturalism and, more specifically, the divinity and acts of the God of Israel. Lewis confronts a skeptical and naturalistic world with excellent arguments demonstrating how there is more to the universe than what is perceptible on the natural plane, defining miracles and how miracles truly work, demolishing Hume's argument from probability, and providing robust defenses for the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Jesus' miracle-working powers. A most excellent book to encourage the believer and challenge the skeptic.
Miracles - Audiobook
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In the classic Miracles, C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, argues that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation.Miracles - Audiobook
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C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis sets out to...
C.S. Lewis sets out to prove by logical argument that miracles are possible. The clear-headed writing style helps to draw you in, he anticipates a lot of the criticisms people will have, and I just like the attempt to argue from a position of rigorous logic something which mostly just comes down to "you believe it or you don't". The trouble is that, in the end, it comes down to that anyway. The calm logic proceeds slowly from step to step, and I am with him all the way, until he makes a big leap, which is that scientific theories of evolution cannot explain the development of human rational thought. Because the process of reasoning is so completely different from anything we can find in the animal world, he argues, it cannot come from that world. Therefore it must come from outside, i.e. from God. On this point his whole argument rests - because each human brain is an intrusion of the supernatural into the world of Nature, so other intrusions are plausible too. He sees miracles in this way - not as breaking the rules of nature, but as sporadic intrusions by God, after which the rules of nature continue to work with the new situation. In the framework he has constructed, most of his arguments are logical. But his framework is based on a logical leap I don't think is justified. It's very hard to understand a lot of evolutionary theory intuitively. I can't imagine basic organisms evolving into giraffes, or a fish coming out of the water, developing the ability to breathe and becoming an amphibian. But I can accept that over countless millions of years, countless tiny, incremental changes could add up to huge, incomprehensible changes. The development of reason doesn't seem to me so different from anything else that we have to give it a supernatural cause. Another problem with the book is that all of the miracles are Christian. This is Lewis's belief system, so it's understandable that he would be interested in proving the viability of the virgin birth more than anything else. But he is completely dismissive of other religions, without making any attempt to explain why. If Christian miracles are possible, then are Hindu or animist ones possible. Presumably not, because Christians say there can only be one God. But the reason for believing the Christian miracles specifically comes down to an absurd criterion called "our innate sense of the fitness of things." The last few chapters are devoted to trying to prove that the Christian miracles meet this bizarrely vague standard of "fitness." Lewis does not seem to consider that his own assumptions of how the universe should be are unlikely to be the same as someone else's. People like him, the "we" of his definition, white male Oxford dons, might agree with his "innate sense of the fitness of things", although many, clearly, would not. As for people all over the world of different origins, different religions, different social status, etc etc, surely they would have their own sense of what is "fit"? And, perhaps, they would have their own ways of describing the supernatural, and different religions would form, each as valid in its generalities and false in its details as Christianity. I am willing to believe that miracles could happen, but not because of this book. C.S. Lewis raises some interesting ideas, but after all the long philosophical arguments it comes down once again to a question of belief.
How Ive missed C. S. ...
How I've missed C. S. Lewis! I picked this book up to read for a book club, and settled into it like conversing with an old friend. The topic is miracles. Do they exist or not? Do they contradict with Nature or not? This is not a nuts and bolts proof book; it is a call to see miracles in a different light. There is, for instance, nothing miraculous about turning water into wine ... nature itself can do this. God has created a vegetable organism that can turn water, soil and sunlight into a juice which will, under proper conditions, become wine. Wine is merely water modified. Should it surprise you that one day, God short circuited the process, using earthenware jars instead of vegetable fibers to hold the water? As in this example, Lewis's arguments sometimes amount only to warm fuzzies. Pantheism, he explains, is nothing special, for people are merely predisposed to believe this way ... pantheism has hung around like an unwanted parasite from the beginning. In contrast, a the story of a dying and rising God is surely true because nature itself teaches this concept, as any farmer knows. Now, beneath the surface, these two arguments are similar, but Lewis manages to draw the desired results from each with a bit of conversation made elegant in one circumstance and ugly in another. Lewis errs also in his science, imagining that "every event in Nature must be connected with previous events in the Cause and Effect relation." We know better today (Lewis was writing in 1947), and thus the foundation crumbles for many of his arguments against Naturalism. (Lewis attempts to argue that there must be a God who is not a part of Nature, and reasons that this God must surely be our creator.) But it's the way Lewis writes that so grabs the imagination! I absolutely love reading his books. There is a spellbinding discussion of Morality and Human Reason herein (their divinity earns their capitalization). Yet I cannot honestly award the book five stars, because Lewis never accomplishes what he sets out to do. Lewis's God is elegant and beautiful, but no less unlikely for Lewis's efforts, and must remain a matter of faith. Yet for those who already believe in this particular God, this book cannot fail to lift their spirits. Very much recommended.
This is the book that ...
This is the book that changed my life. Until this, I'd taken to Christian doctrine and apologetics eagerly, weathering the difficulties with the usual shrug of the pious. But then, Lewis here poses a philosophical problem, that of determinism, and asserted that naturalistic science was philosophically committed to this. I thought: nonsense. Poppycock. In fact, I thought it a dishonest argument. I became ashamed of my hero. And the more I thought about the explanatory power of naturalistic humanism versus theism, the more impressed with the former I became. This book, which helped so many people become Christians, is the main work that set me in the other direction.
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