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Lecture #3- Lewis' Religion and Tao

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Jeff Voth

on 7 September 2018

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Transcript of Lecture #3- Lewis' Religion and Tao

Our Friend Jack
Through the Wardrobe...
The Origins of Religion and Illustrations of the Tao
Have you been there?
Oxfordshire, England
Lewis, Tolkein, Wiliams
Cover of TIME, 1947
Stuff he said...
"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."
The Abolition of Man
Whenever you find a man who says he doesn't believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find a man going back on this a moment later."
The Case for Christianity
"History is a story written by the finger of God."
Christian Reflections
"'Yes,' said Queen Lucy, 'In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.'"
The Last Battle
"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
(29 April 1959)
Letters of C.S. Lewis
"And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies' plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger."
The Last Battle
"Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."
Answers to Questions on Christianity
"'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver. . .'Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'"
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
"The heart never takes the place of the head; but it can, and should, obey it."
The Abolition of Man

"This feeling may be described as awe...The numinous...What is certain that now, at any rate, the numinous experience exists and that if we start from ourselves we can trace it a long way back.”
Problem of Pain
, p. 15)
Strand 2
“they feel towards certain proposed actions the experiences expressed by the words “i ought” or “i ought not.”...but they all agree in prescribing a behaviour which their adherents fail to practise. All men alike stand condemned, not by alien codes of ethics, but by their own, and all men therefore are conscious of guilt.”
(POP, pp. 18-19)
Strand 3
"What can be more natural than for a savage haunted at once by awe (numinous) and by guilt to think that the power which awes him is also the authority which condemns his guilt?...it was the jews who fully and unambiguously identified the awful presence haunting black mountain tops and thunderclouds with the “righteous Lord” who “loveth righteousness”.
(Pop, pp. 19-20)
Christianity's 4th Strand
“There was a man born among these jews who claimed to be, or to be the son of, or to be “one with”, the something (numinous) which is at once the awful haunter of nature and the giver of the moral law.
The claim is so shocking--a paradox and even a horror, which we may be lulled into taking too lightly--that only two views of this are possible. Either he was a raving lunatic of an unusually abominable type, or else he was, and is, precisely what he said. There is no middle way.”
(Pop, p. 21)
"In all developed religion, we find three strands or elements and in Christianity one more.”

The Problem of Pain (1996, p. 14)
The Origins of Religion
Strand 1
The experience of the "numinous"
Lewis' Three Strands
(and one more)
“Now this awe is not the result of inference from the visible universe.”
(POP, p. 17)
“When the deadly flesh began to behold the spiritual things.”
(Lewis, quoting Wordsworth’s prelude, Problem of Pain, p.16)
The acceptance of a universal morality (moral law) which cannot be adhered to
When the numinous is made guardian of an individual’s morality
A historical event
The Tao
The idea of collecting independent testimonies presupposes that 'civilizations' have arisen in the world independently of one another; or even that humanity has had several independent emergences on this planet. The biology and anthropology involved in such an assumption are extremely doubtful. It is by no means certain that there has ever (in the sense required) been more than one civilization in all history. It is at least arguable that every civilization we find has been derived from another civilization and, in the last resort, from a single centre—'carried' like an infectious disease or like the Apostolical succession." (Appendix:
The Abolition of Man
Law 7
- 'The poor and the sick should be regarded as lords of the atmosphere.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 8)
- 'Whoso makes intercession for the weak, well pleasing is this to Samas.' (Babylonian. ERE v. 445)
- 'Has he failed to set a prisoner free?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 446)
- 'I have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, a ferry boat to the boatless.'
(Ancient Egyptian. ERE v. 446)
- 'When thou cuttest down thine harvest... and hast forgot a sheaf... thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.' (Ancient Jewish. Deuteronomy 24:19)

Law 6
'I sought no trickery, nor swore false oaths.' (Anglo-Saxon. Beowulf, 2738)
'The Master said, Be of unwavering good faith.' (Ancient
Chinese. Analects, viii. 13)
'In Nastrond (= Hell) I saw the perjurers.' (Old Norse. Volospá 39)
'Hateful to me as are the gates of Hades is that man who says one thing, and hides another in his heart.' (Greek. Homer. Iliad, ix. 312)
'The foundation of justice is good faith.' (Roman. Cicero, De Off. i.vii)
'[The gentleman] must learn to be faithful to his superiors and to keep promises.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, i. 8)
'Anything is better than treachery.' (Old Norse. Hávamál 124)

Law 5
Part I: Sexual Justice
- 'Has he approached his neighbour's wife?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 446)
- 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:14)
- 'I saw in Nastrond (= Hell)... beguilers of others' wives.' (Old Norse. Volospá 38, 39)
Part II: Honesty
- 'Has he drawn false boundaries?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 446)
- 'To wrong, to rob, to cause to be robbed.' (Babylonian. Ibid.)
- 'I have not stolen.' (Ancient Egyptian. Confession of the Righteous Soul. ERE v. 478)
- 'Thou shalt not steal.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:15)

Part III: Justice in Court, etc
- 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:16)
- 'Regard him whom thou knowest like him whom thou knowest not.' (Ancient Egyptian. ERE v. 482)
- 'Do no unrighteousness in judgement. You must not consider the fact that one party is poor nor the fact that the other is a great man.' (Ancient Jewish. Leviticus 19:15)

Law 4
- 'Children, the old, the poor, etc. should be considered as lords of the atmosphere.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 8)
- 'To marry and to beget children.' (Greek. List of duties. Epictetus, in. vii)
- 'Great reverence is owed to a child.' (Roman. Juvenal, xiv. 47)
- 'The Master said, Respect the young.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, ix. 22)
- 'The killing of the women and more especially of the young boys and girls who are to go to make up the future strength of the people, is the saddest part... and we feel it very sorely.' (Redskin. Account of the Battle of Wounded Knee. ERE v. 432)

Law 3
- 'Your father is an image of the Lord of Creation, your mother an image of the Earth. For him who fails to honour them, every work of piety is in vain. This is the first duty.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 9)
- 'Has he despised Father and Mother?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 446)
- 'I was a staff by my Father's side ... I went in and out at his command.' (Ancient Egyptian. Confession of the Righteous Soul. ERE v. 481)
- 'Honour thy Father and thy Mother.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:12)

Law 1
Part I: Negative
'I have not slain men.' (Ancient Egyptian. From the Confession of the Righteous Soul, 'Book of the Dead', v. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. v, p. 478)
- 'Do not murder.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:13)
- 'Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects of Confucius, trans. A. Waley, xv. 23; cf. xii. 2)
- 'Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart.' (Ancient Jewish. Leviticus 19:17)
- 'He whose heart is in the smallest degree set upon goodness will dislike no one.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, iv. 4)
The Law of General Beneficence

Law 1 (cont'd)
The Law of General Beneficence
Part II: Positive
- 'Speak kindness ... show good will.' (Babylonian. Hymn to Samas. ERE v. 445)
- 'Men were brought into existence for the sake of men that they might do one another good.' (Roman. Cicero. De Off. i. vii)
- 'He who is asked for alms should always give.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 7)
- 'I am a man: nothing human is alien to me.' (Roman. Terence, Heaut. Tim.)
- 'Love thy neighbour as thyself.' (Ancient Jewish. Leviticus 19:18)
- 'Love the stranger as thyself.' (Ancient Jewish. Ibid. 33, 34)
- 'Do to men what you wish men to do to you.' (Christian. Matthew 7:12)

Law 2
The Law of Special Beneficence

- 'Love thy wife studiously. Gladden her heart all thy life long.'
(Ancient Egyptian. ERE v. 481)
- 'Nothing can ever change the claims of kinship for a right thinking man.'
(Anglo-Saxon. Beowulf, 2600)

Duties to Parents, Elders, Ancestors
Duties to Children and Posterity
The Law of Justice
The Law of Good Faith and Veracity
The Law of Mercy
Law 8
The Law of Magnamity
(noble and generous in spirit)
'There are two kinds of injustice: the first is found in those who do an injury, the second in those who fail to protect another from injury when they can.' (Roman. Cicero, De Off. I. vii)
'Courage has got to be harder, heart the stouter, spirit the sterner, as our strength weakens. Here lies our lord, cut to pieces, out best man in the dust. If anyone thinks of leaving this battle, he can howl forever.' (Anglo-Saxon. Maldon, 312)
'Praise and imitate that man to whom, while life is pleasing, death is not grievous.' (Stoic. Seneca, Ep. liv)
'The Master said, Love learning and if attacked be ready to die for the Good Way.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, viii. 13)

by Dr. Jeff Voth
Lecture #3
...(1).... .........(2).........., .....(3)....... .....(4)....
...(5)..... ....(6)..... ....(7)..... ....(8)...

....(9)...... ....(10)......
be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) that we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.” (Sire, The Universe Next Door, loc 133)
Fill in the blanks
*skip to 49 seconds in
Most of Lewis' spoken words were lost due to tape being recycled in The Second World War. This radio address, given before the war, remains. In it Lewis discusses prayer and evolution. These radio talks would lead to his writing "Mere Christianity."
Jesus is the thesis
Full transcript