Tuesday, March 25, 2014

God in the Dock

I have had the C.S. Lewis anthology God in the Dock on my "to-read" list for a while. This book amounts to a collection of essays written by Lewis over the last 20 to 30 years of his life. It was published in 1970, roughly seven years after his death. The preface was written by the respected Lewis biographer Walter Hooper who noted that "Lewis struck me as the most thoroughly converted man I ever met. His whole vision of life was such that the natural and the supernatural seemed inseparably combined." If you have ever read any of the apologetics works of Lewis, you would appreciate his mastery of developing and presenting arguments on a broad range of questions of ethics and theology.

A "dock" refers to the location in a courtroom where a prisoner is placed during trial. The title of this anthology comes from a Lewis essay on making sense of the claims regarding Christianity. How we so often set ourselves up as a judge to the claims made in the Bible. Amusing to see that we place ourselves above the true judge of judges. This compilation contains several dozen essays and replies to various critics and reviewers. A good many of these pieces I have come across in other works, however several I read for the first time. Some essays tackled the "big" questions of faith. In others, Lewis seems to have pulled out his big guns to deal with what I would term "Christian minutiae", as if he were using a 20-lb munitions shell to take down a child's toy boat. However, reading through his thoughts and how he approached his arguments was still very enjoyable.

The essays contained were often hit or miss for me. Sometimes he was writing about some religious trends or religious fringe group that has long since gone the way of the dodo. Without understanding what they were selling, it was sometimes hard to understand what Lewis was attacking. However, even in these pieces, there were still plenty of pearls and nuggets of gold to sustain me.