Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Reasons to Believe

My previous post concerning C. S. Lewis' endorsement of believing things that are appealing was preceded by a scene just as revealing. In it the witch attempts to put the heroes under an enchantment by combining magic smoke, the repetitive strum of a mandolin and reasonable sounding arguments delivered in a soothing voice. In trying to convince them that only her underground realm exists she argues that because they can not explain how the sun hangs in the sky it must just be a dream or a product of their imagining. Likewise with the Christ-Lion, Aslan. She states that they have only imagined something bigger than a normal cat with which they embue their highest virtues.

The latter argument is obviously a dig a rationalists arguments that God is a created in men's minds out of a need for an ultimate father figure. Perhaps Freud even said that. The former argument however reveals Lewis' view of science's procedural naturalism. Science, it seems, wants things to be explainable. If there is no explanation for an observable phenomenon, science digs for one. If a phenomenon is not observable than science offers at most guarded skepticism, at worst public exposure. After all, history is littered with grand sounding claims that proved untenable and, in hindsight, unrealistic.

Lewis will have none of it. He belittles science's prime virtue by placing it in the mouth of a despicable character. It seems he must have his mystery, at the cost of the greatest truth-producing mechanism yet devised by man. Science ain't perfect or sufficient to a well-balanced life, but mystery only covers ignorance with self-indulgent childishness. Perhaps that is it's appeal.

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