Objections to Christianity... are phrased in words, but that does not mean that they are really a matter of language and analysis and argument. Words are tokens of the will. If something stronger than language were available then we would use it. But by the same token, words in defense of Christianity miss the mark as well: they are a translation into the dispassionate language of argument of something that resides far deeper in the caverns of volition, of commitment. Perhaps this is why Saint Francis, so the story goes, instructed his followers to "preach the Gospel always, using words if necessary." It is not simply and straightforwardly wrong to make arguments in the defense of the Christian faith, but it is a relatively superficial activity: it fails to address the core issues.
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I would not be practicing love toward God OR my neighbour if I were to smile benignly on an unjust social order. It is not charitable to refrain from moral judgment: when Jesus says 'Judge not, lest ye be judged, " he is forbidding condemnation, not discernment. There are times indeed when Christian charity demands that one speak forcibly.
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Readers who wish to follow Whim rather than whim-readers who have learned enough about what he or she really thrives on to seek more of it-the first lesson must be in humility... Don't waste time and mental energy in comparing yourself to others whether to your shame or gratification, since we are all wayfarers.
Read what gives you delight-at least most of the time-and do so without shame. And even if you are that rare sort of person who is delighted chiefl y by what some people call Great Books, don't make them your steady intellectual diet, any more than you would eat at the most elegant of restaurants every day. It would be too much. Great books are great in part because of what they ask of their readers: they are not readily encountered, easily assessed.
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The book that simply demands to be read, for no good reason, is asking us to change our lives by putting aside what we usually think of as good reasons. It's asking us to stop calculating. It's asking us to do something for the plain old delight and interest of it, not because we can justify its place on the mental spreadsheet or accounting ledger (like the one Benjamin Franklin kept) by which we tote up the value of our actions.
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When we talk today about receptiveness to stories, we tend to contrast that attitude to one governed by reason - we talk about freeing ourselves from the shackles of the rational mind and that sort of thing - but no belief was more central to Lewis's mind than the belief that it is eminently, fully rational to be responsive to the enchanting power of stories.
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Christian writers, whether they like it or not, do not simply write for themselves; for good or ill, readers will see their work as reflecting Jesus Christ and his church. And if only for this reason - though there are other reasons - one must take great care when dealing with potentially controversial topics not to imagine one's every pronouncement preceded by 'Thus saith the Lord.' The law of love, on which 'all the law and the prophets' depend (Matt. 22:40), mandates charity toward one's opponents in argument.
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