One of the books I use in my Introduction to Philosophy course is Lewis’s Mere Christianity. It’s very clear and accessible and covers a wide range of traditional religious philosophical themes. I’m reviewing it now in preparation for the new semester which begins (yikes) in two weeks.
I find Lewis’s chummy, let’s-pop-round-to-the pub-for-a-quick-one writing style a bit much — and especially irritating when combined with breathtakingly anti-human statements.
For example, in a chapter (Book 3, Chapter VIII) lambasting pride as “The Great Sin” and as the “complete anti-God state of mind,” Lewis contrasts it to humility. Humility is based upon a full realization of your original sinfulness and helplessness. When that realization happens and you accept it, Lewis states, you feel “the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity.” Humility enables us to “take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are.”
All of that set us up for a right relationship with God: “The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object.”
Wow. Tell us what you really think, Clive.
If philosophy is autobiography, that’s quite a statement.
It’s quite a statement even if it isn’t: the generalization about human nature is audacious.