Saturday, January 19, 2013

"The man without a moral code...is free from moral problems."

Yesterday I was reminded of the C.S. Lewis essays in Christian Reflections, pulled it off the shelf for the first time in years, and am confirmed in the opinion that it is a fine collection. Did Lewis ever write anything uninteresting? Edited, like many of the posthumous collections of Lewis's work, by Walter Hooper, it includes things that had not been previously published. These are quotations from some of them as printed on the dustjacket:
ON Christianity and Literature:
"...the Christian knows from the outset that the salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the World."
ON Christianity and Culture:
"On the whole, the New Testament seemed, if not hostile, yet unmistakably cold to culture. I think we can still believe culture to be innocent after we have read the New Testament; I cannot see that we are encouraged to think it important."
ON Ethics:
"Obviously it is moral codes that create questions of casuistry, just as the rules of chess create chess problems. The man without a moral code, like the animal, is free from moral problems. The man who has not learned to count is free from mathematical problems. A man asleep is free from all problems...."
ON Futility:
"I can understand a man coming in the end, and after prolonged consideration, to the view that existence is not futile. But how any man could have taken it for granted beats me...."
ON Church Music:
"The case for abolishing all Church Music whatever thus seems to me far stronger than the case for abolishing the difficult work of the trained choir and retaining the lusty roar of the congregation."
ON Petitionary Prayer:
"My problem arises from the fact that Christian teaching seems at first sight to contain two different patterns of petitionary prayer which are...pressingly inconsistent in the practical sense that no man, so far as I can see, could possibly follow them both at the same moment."
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