How Can We Have Narnian Faith in a Screwtape World? – page 4

 

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VOLUME 3 NUMBER 1 ISSUE OF BROADCAST TALKS

How Can We Have
Narnian Faith in a
Screwtape World?

by Russell Moore,
President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty
Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

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Lewis recognized that, and that’s why Lewis spends a lot of time talking about human uniqueness, a uniqueness that he says shows up in something as simple as ghost stories. He says we’re afraid of ghost stories; we have a sense of the uncanny and of the supernatural, and why. He says that one might say that “we dislike corpses because we are afraid of ghosts,” but “(y)ou might say with equal truth that we fear ghosts because we dislike corpses — for the ghost owes much of its horror to the associated ideas of pallor, decay, coffins, shrouds, and worms.”

What Lewis is getting at is exactly what the author of Hebrews is talking about in Hebrews 2, in which he talks about the slavery that comes with a fear of death. We see the fear of death all around us, and we see exactly what Blaise Pascal warned us of, of the running toward diversions to occupy the mind from the fear of death.

We have an opportunity to speak to that sense of eternality, to that sense of human uniqueness in a way that the age actually demands. As Wendell Berry puts it, “It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.” We live in a time when artificial intelligence and transhumanism speak of moving humanity even beyond the limits of humanity itself, and at the same time often reducing humanity to simply data enlivening meat. We are the people who have the opportunity to speak to a vision of humanity that is on the one hand more limited, bound by creatureliness, and on the other hand unbound from the mere mortality of biological processes around us. We can speak by engaging the imagination, by engaging the conscience of longings and fears and warnings that are already embedded in the heart. We can speak to what Frederick Buechner talked about in his epiphany when he says that he believes in God because he was writing novels; he recognizes that as he was writing novels he’d gotten into the habit of looking for plots. And then Buechner said, “After awhile, I began to suspect that my own life had a plot. And after awhile more, I began to suspect that life itself has a plot.”

Life itself has a plot. Individual lives have plots. We have the ability to speak to an imagination with a Christian world that has been given to us in Holy Scripture in a way that is needed in this age.

 

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