C.S. Lewis’ Episcopal Ghost Walks the Earth

Its latest incarnation is Marian Budde the PiskieBish of DC, who writes:

To say that resurrection is essential doesn’t mean that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it that the entire enterprise would come crashing down.

Uh, yeah. It does. “If Christ is not raised, your faith is in vain,” says St. Paul. No resurrection, no good news. In fact, no news. The gospels are nothing other than passion and resurrection narratives with long introductions.

Lewis saw it all coming in The Great Divorce:

FOR A moment there was silence under the cedar trees and then-pad, pad, pad-it was broken. Two velvet-footed lions came bouncing into the open space, their eyes fixed upon each other, and started playing some solemn romp. Their manes looked as if they had been just dipped in the river whose noise I could hear close at hand, though the trees hid it. Not greatly liking my company, I moved away to find that river, and after passing some thick flowering bushes, I succeeded. The bushes came almost down to the brink. It was as smooth as Thames but flowed swiftly like a mountain stream: pale green where trees overhung it but so clear that I could count the pebbles at the bottom. Close beside me I saw another of the Bright People in conversation with a ghost. It was that fat ghost with the cultured voice who had addressed me in the bus, and it seemed to be wearing gaiters.

“My dear boy, I’m delighted to see you,” it was saying to the Spirit, who was naked and almost blindingly white. “I was talking to your poor father the other day and wondering where you were.”

“You didn’t bring him?” said the other.

“Well, no. He lives a long way from the bus, and, to be quite frank, he’s been getting a little eccentric lately. A little difficult. Losing his grip. He never was prepared to make any great efforts, you know. If you remember, he used to go to sleep when you and I got talking seriously! Ah, Dick, I shall never forget some of our talks. I expect you’ve changed your views a bit since then. You became rather narrow-minded towards the end of your life: but no doubt you’ve broadened out again.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, it’s obvious by now, isn’t it, that you weren’t quite right. Why, my dear boy, you were coming to believe in a literal Heaven and Hell!”

“But wasn’t I right?”

“Oh, in a spiritual sense, to be sure. I still believe in them in that way. I am still, my dear boy, looking for the Kingdom. But nothing superstitious or mythological. . . .”

“Excuse me. Where do you imagine you’ve been?”

“Ah, I see. You mean that the grey town with its continual hope of morning (we must all live by hope, must we not?), with its field for indefinite progress, is, in a sense, Heaven, if only we have eyes to see it? That is a beautiful idea.”

“I didn’t mean that at all. Is it possible you don’t know where you’ve been?”

“Now that you mention it, I don’t think we ever do give it a name. What do you call it?”

“We call it Hell.”

“There is no need to be profane, my dear boy. I may not be very orthodox, in your sense of that word, but I do feel that these matters ought to be discussed simply, and seriously, and reverently.”

“Discuss Hell reverently? I meant what I said. You have been in Hell: though if you don’t go back you may call it Purgatory.”

“Go on, my dear boy, go on. That is so like you. No doubt you’ll tell me why, on your view, I was sent there. I’m not angry.”

“But don’t you know? You went there because you are an apostate.”

“Are you serious, Dick?”

“Perfectly.”

“This is worse than I expected. Do you really think people are penalized for their honest opinions? Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that those opinions were mistaken.”

“Do you really think there are no sins of intellect?”

“There are indeed, Dick. There is hidebound prejudice, and intellectual dishonesty, and timidity, and stagnation. But honest opinions fearlessly followed-they are not sins.”

“I know we used to talk that way. I did it too until the end of my life when I became what you call narrow. It all turns on what are honest opinions.”

“Mine certainly were. They were not only honest but heroic. I asserted them fearlessly. When the doctrine of the Resurrection ceased to commend itself to the critical faculties which God had given me, I openly rejected it. I preached my famous sermon. I defied the whole chapter. I took every risk.”

“What risk? What was at all likely to come of it except what actually came-popularity, sales for your books, invitations, and finally a bishopric?”

“Dick, this is unworthy of you. What are you suggesting?”

“Friend, I am not suggesting at all. You see, I know now. Let us be frank. Our opinions were not honestly come by. We simply found ourselves in contact with a certain current of ideas and plunged into it because it seemed modern and successful. At College, you know, we just started automatically writing the kind of essays that got good marks and saying the kind of things that won applause. When, in our whole lives, did we honestly face, in solitude, the one question on which all turned: whether after all the Supernatural might not in fact occur? When did we put up one moment’s real resistance to the loss of our faith?”

“If this is meant to be a sketch of the genesis of liberal theology in general, I reply that it is a mere libel. Do you suggest that men like …”

“I have nothing to do with any generality. Nor with any man but me and you. Oh, as you love your own soul, remember. You know that you and I were playing with loaded dice. We didn’t want the other to be true. We were afraid of crude salvationism, afraid of a breach with the spirit of the age, afraid of ridicule, afraid (above all) of real spiritual fears and hopes.”

“I’m far from denying that young men may make mistakes. They may well be influenced by current fashions of thought. But it’s not a question of how the opinions are formed. The point is that they were my honest opinions, sincerely expressed.”

“Of course. Having allowed oneself to drift, unresisting, unpraying, accepting every half-conscious solicitation from our desires, we reached a point where we no longer believed the Faith. Just in the same way, a jealous man, drifting and unresisting, reaches a point at which he believes lies about his best friend: a drunkard reaches a point at which (for the moment) he actually believes that another glass will do him no harm. The beliefs are sincere in the sense that they do occur as psychological events in the man’s mind. If that’s what you mean by sincerity they are sincere, and so were ours. But errors which are sincere in that sense are not innocent.”

“You’ll be justifying the Inquisition in a moment!”

“Why? Because the Middle Ages erred in one direction, does it follow that there is no error in the opposite direction?”

“Well, this is extremely interesting,” said the Episcopal Ghost. “It’s a point of view. Certainly, it’s a point of view. In the meantime . . .”

“There is no meantime,” replied the other. “AH that is over. We are not playing now. I have been talking of the past (your past and mine) only in order that you may turn from it forever. One wrench and the tooth will be out. You can begin as if nothing had ever gone wrong. White as snow. It’s all true, you know. He is in me, for you, with that power. And- I have come a long journey to meet you. You have seen Hell: you are in sight of Heaven. Will you, even now, repent and believe?”

“I’m not sure that I’ve got the exact point you are trying to make,” said the Ghost.

“I am not trying to make any point,” said the Spirit. “I am telling you to repent and believe.”

“But my dear boy, I believe already. We may not be perfectly agreed, but you have completely misjudged me if you do not realize that my religion is a very real and a very precious thing to me.”

“Very well,” said the other, as if changing his plan. “Will you believe in me?”

“In what sense?”

“Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?”

“Well, that is a plan. I am perfectly ready to consider it. Of course I should require some assurances … I should want a guarantee that you are taking me to a place where I shall find a wider sphere of usefulness-and scope for the talents that God has given me-and an atmosphere of free inquiry-in short, all that one means by civilization and-er-the spiritual life.”

“No,” said the other. “I can promise you none of these things. No sphere of usefulness: you are not needed there at all. No scope for your talents: only forgiveness for having perverted them. No atmosphere of inquiry, for I will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God.”

“Ah, but we must all interpret those beautiful words in our own way! For me there is no such thing as a final answer. The free wind of inquiry must always continue to blow through the mind, must it not? Trove all things’ . . . to travel hopefully is better than to arrive.”

“If that were true, and known to be true, how could anyone travel hopefully? There would be nothing to hope for.”

“But you must feel yourself that there is something stifling about the idea of finality? Stagnation, my dear boy, what is more soul-destroying than stagnation?”

“You think that, because hitherto you have experienced truth only with the abstract intellect. I will bring you where you can taste it like honey and be embraced by it as by a bridegroom. Your thirst shall be quenched.”

“Well, really, you know, I am not aware of a thirst for some ready-made truth which puts an end to intellectual activity in the way you seem to be describing. Will it leave me the free play of Mind, Dick? I must insist on that, you know.”

“Free, as a man is free to drink while he is drinking. He is not free still to be dry.” The Ghost seemed to think for a moment. “I can make nothing of that idea,” it said.

“Listen!” said the White Spirit. “Once you were a child. Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them. Become that child again: even now.”

“Ah, but when I became a man I put away childish things.”

“You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call the free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage.”

“If we cannot be reverent, there is at least no need to be obscene. The suggestion that I should return at my age to the mere factual in-quisitiveness of boyhood strikes me as preposterous. In any case, that question-and-answer conception of thought only applies to matters of fact. Religious and speculative questions are surely on a different level.”

“We know nothing of religion here: we think only of Christ. We know nothing of speculation. Come and see. I will bring you to Eternal Fact, the Father of all other facthood.”

“I should object very strongly to describing God as a ‘fact.’ The Supreme Value would surely be a less inadequate description. It is hardly . . .”

“Do you not even believe that He exists?”

“Exists? What does Existence mean? You will keep on implying some sort of static, ready-made reality which is, so to speak, ‘there,’ and to which our minds have simply to conform. These great mysteries cannot be approached in that way. If there were such a thing (there is no need to interrupt, my dear boy) quite frankly, I should not be interested in it. It would be of no religions significance. God, for me, is something purely spiritual. The spirit of sweetness and light and tolerance-and, er, service, Dick, service. We mustn’t forget that, you know.”

“If the thirst of the Reason is really dead . . . ,” said the Spirit, and then stopped as though pondering. Then suddenly he said, “Can you, at least, still desire happiness?”

“Happiness, my dear Dick,” said the Ghost placidly, “happiness, as you will come to see when you are older, lies in the path of duty. Which reminds me. . . . Bless my soul, I’d nearly forgotten. Of course I can’t come with you. I have to be back next Friday to read a paper. We have a little Theological Society down there. Oh yes! there is plenty of intellectual life. Not of a very high quality, perhaps. One notices a certain lack of grip-a certain confusion of mind. That is where I can be of some use to them. There are even regrettable jealousies. … I don’t know why, but tempers seem less controlled than they used to be. Still, one mustn’t expect too much of human nature. I feel I can do a great work among them. But you’ve never asked me what my paper is about! I’m taking the text about growing up to the measure of the stature of Christ and working out an idea which I feel sure you’ll be interested in. I’m going to point out how people always forget that Jesus (here the Ghost bowed) was a comparatively young man when he died. He would have outgrown some of his earlier views, you know, if he’d lived. As he might have done, with a little more tact and patience. I am going to ask my audience to consider what his mature views would have been. A profoundly interesting question. What a different Christianity we might have had if only the Founder had reached his full stature! I shall end up by pointing out how this deepens the significance of the Crucifixion. One feels for the first time what a disaster it was: what a tragic waste … so much promise cut short. Oh, must you be going? Well, so must I. Goodbye, my dear boy. It has been a great pleasure. Most stimulating and provocative. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.”

The Ghost nodded its head and beamed on the Spirit with a bright clerical smile-or with the best approach to it which such unsubstantial lips could manage-and then turned away humming? softly to itself “City of God, how broad and far.”

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

    I once heard someone express admiration for a young Catholic priest who had said something like, “My faith is in the risen Christ, whom I know well enough that if per impossible Jesus’ remains were to be discovered, it would only mean we had misunderstood the sense of His resurrection.”

    This was in contrast to an older priest who said something like, “If they found Jesus’ body, we can chuck the whole thing out.”

    I always thought the admirer had it exactly backwards, but there are people who admire subtlety of thought more than wisdom.

  • Benjamin

    Given that we’ve only found one crucified body, ever, of anyone, I don’t think you have to worry about anyone finding jesus’s body. The Romans made sure nothing was left of those who underwent the ‘extreme penalty’, and they had it down to a dark science.

    But yeah, doesn’t make sense to be a Christian if you don’t believe in its central, defining doctrine. What is it about Christianity that attracts the Jack Spong types though? You would never hear of someone calling themselves a Muslim if they believed Muhammad was just another Arabian warlord and nothing more.

    • http://irenist.blogspot.com/ Irenist

      “What is it about Christianity that attracts the Jack Spong types though? You would never hear of someone calling themselves a Muslim if they believed Muhammad was just another Arabian warlord and nothing more.”

      In the dark days when Christians killed each other for heresy rather than just arguing about it on the Internet, such Spong-like spongy mush theologies were a lot less popular. Contemporary Muslims are a lot more likely to try to kill each other for heresy (e.g., the Salman Rushdie fatwa) than contemporary Christians–not all Muslims of course, but enough to eliminate “trendy heretical imam” as a niche in the ecology of currently available careers equivalent to “trendy heretical SWPL mainline Protestant pastor.”
      .
      Less sensationalistically, it’s also true that most Muslims are either residents of or recent emigrants from the Third World, and Spongy mush Christianity isn’t that popular there, either: it’s a SWPL suburban taste. Also, Sponginess is kind of a Boomer thing: it’s for people old enough to feel a social need for churchgoing, but secularized enough to be SWPL: in decades past, skeptical Westerners became Episcopalian or Unitarian (or went to folk Masses) for the bourgeouis respectability conferred by churchgoing, but without all that pesky dogma that might interfere with their sex lives. Millennial Westerners with similar proclivites nowadays just buy “New Atheist” books and sleep in on Sunday: there’s no social pressure to attend church. Thus, any more secularized, assimilated children of Muslim immigrants in Michigan or Paris or London in our own era shouldn’t be expected to follow the Boomer path of seeking bourgeois respectability at SWPL mosques; it’s more likely they’d just jump straight to New Atheism like other kids their age if they felt that Islam was crimping their collegiate frolics. Few Muslim Boomers -> No Muslim Spong.

      • Mike

        What does this stand for: SWPL?

        • Mark Shea

          Stuff White People Like. Google it.

        • Mike

          Ok, now I have to read the post again LOL.

    • Mike in KC, MO

      I recently watched a YouTube clip of the Piers Morgan show where he had Penn Gilette (sp?) on. The most amazing thing was that Morgan (who calls himself a Catholic) started attacking various doctrine and it was Penn who actually had the intelligence to defend them. Penn made the totally valid point that (and I’m paraphrasing here) if you call yourself a Catholic there are certain things you MUST believe or else you’re full of crap and have no right to call yourself a Catholic.

      • Benjamin

        Yep. I don’t get people like Morgan or Willis or Spong. I think Irenist is on to something when he says it’s age related (I’m 28). After I decided the creeds of Christianity were false I saw zero reason to go to church or call myself a Christian.

        Though I wouldn’t consider myself a “New Atheist”, either, they’re too, well, they’re the flip side of snake-handling young earth creationist fundies. Different beliefs, same exact attitude–same black and white thinking (all believers are EEEVIIIL!!), same holding to stone-cold stupid positions (the Christ Myth), same woodenly literalist reading of the Bible, and oddly enough the same hang-ups about sex and women (elelevatorgate).

        • Claude

          It’s not mysterious why people are attracted to Christianity despite misgivings or doubt about the dogma. There’s a lot of drama and beauty in Christianity (as well as horror). “New Atheism” certainly isn’t the default for ex- or merely cultural Christians, though. I don’t know how many atheists are actively anti-theistic, but I suspect it’s a minority.

          • bob

            Attraction? In the Episcopal Church you can blather this stuff 24/7 and have a guaranteed, bombproof job for life. When one “retires” as a cleric there is then A) the best pension plan ON EARTH (really), and B) the lecture circuit, as Spong shows. People are so eager to hear him drool he has never had any down time since he retired from losing vast numbers of parishoners full time. It’s a gig like no other anywhere.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      You dropped this load of nonsense several days back, and abandoned the conversation when everything you said was shredded. It’s not going to fly this time, either.

      • The True Will

        Oh, you mean Mark is wrong because he does not choose to spend his life in the gutter with you? (Because, of course, he does not have a life.)

        Aleister Crowley tried that with Chesterton.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          I meant the nonsensical “We’ve only found one crucified victim’s body, therefore Jesus isn’t real.”

          It’s bad scholarship, it’s bad logic, and it’s just plain bad thinking.

    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

      Benjamin, reading your comment, I thought of myself back in my lazy, crazy agnostic days. It dawned on me then that the problem with skepticism is that you can forever move the goalposts. So before that somewhat significant archaeological find that you casually dismiss, skeptics loved to write about the ludicrous crucifixion narratives that rested on tales no ‘proof” had ever validated. Once that single bit of evidence was found? Did they say ‘wow, looks like we were wrong’? No. They just drew a new line in the sand. The moved the goalposts. Just one? So what, big deal. Fact is, there is no ‘proof” that will convince a skeptic (about many things, FWIW). Which is sort of the punch line of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. They have Moses and the prophets, if they don’t listen to them, they won’t believe a man raised from the dead. If a single piece of evidence doesn’t do anything for you, a pile of evidence big enough to fill the Shoe won’t do much better.

    • Dave P.

      Benjamin:

      1) Finding one crucified body means that there could be others out there. The remains are likely not the only ones in existence.

      2) In Jesus’s case, I think Pontius Pilate was more than willing to make an exception to get back at the Jewish leaders who forced him into that situation.

  • Knower

    I agree fully that the Empty Tomb is both *de fide* and historically demonstrable. Nevertheless, let’s not confuse what has happened in fact, with what had to happen. In fact, our resurrected Lord asked for food to eat. But this doesn’t mean He needed food for nourishment, right? He here used eating as a concrete manifestation of His bodily reality, not out of physiologic necessity. And since each human soul confers its own individuality on the body, why couldn’t our Lord have raised Lazarus — with, really, the latter’s same body — while the remains in Lazarus’s tomb continued to turn to bones and dust? Of course, that’s not how it happened in fact. But why couldn’t ii have?

    • Claude

      I agree fully that the Empty Tomb is both *de fide* and historically demonstrable.

      How so?

      • Knower

        This introductory sentence of mine, while quite sincere, was only by way of concession before moving on to my main point of distinguishing fact from necessity. That it is *de fide* means that genuinely Roman Catholic bishops teach and have always taught it peremptorily as essential to the Christian world view. For its historical demonstration, I would refer to the relevant literature which sets about this.

    • Benjamin

      The empty tomb unfalsifiable, as all religious claims are.

      • Mike in KC, MO

        What a profoundly silly statement. It reflects lack of thought on the matter. I can think of several manners that it could be possible. Just off the top of my head:

        Do you REALLY think that if, let’s just say hypothetically, Pope Francis declared, in his power as head of the Church and teacher, he was declaring that the Eucharist was only a symbol, that that wouldn’t cause an instant crises of Faith?

        • Benjamin

          If you really believe he is the infallible Vicar of Christ on Earth, why would it?

          • Mike in KC, MO

            I think this shows you misunderstand Catholic teaching. This is not surprising, as there are also many Catholics who don’t really understand it.

            It would be a crises of Faith because it would be a DIRECT conflict.

            The Eucharist is a doctrine. It doesn’t EVER, can NOT ever, change like that. Period. That’s what doctrine is. The Holy Father is, by his office, prevented from teaching error when he exercises his authority as pope. That is also fundamental teaching.

            From this, do you understand why it would cause a crises of Faith? It would mean that either one, or both, was WRONG.

          • Mark Shea

            Not how it works. Infallibility is really quite minimal. It doesn’t mean “The Pope is never wrong”. It means that he is protect from defining error as truth on the very rare ocassions he offers a definition of the Faith. In short, it doesn’t mean “He can deny the existence of God tomorrow and from then on all Catholics have to believe that because the Pope said so.” Rather, it means “It is impossible that he will be able to deny a truth essential to the historic Catholic faith when defining doctrine. The Holy Spirit won’t let him.” Pope can and have erred in expressing opinions privately and they have made any number of theological blunders, moral errors and bad judgment calls on policies. You need look no further than Peter chickening out on his own teaching in Galatians 2. Here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/02/infallibility-what-it-is-and-aint.html

            • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

              Of course, Penn Jillette made much the same mistake in rebutting Piers Morgan. That is, he knew enough (more, seemingly, than Morgan) to know that Catholics ought to believe Catholicism, but he didn’t really ken what Catholicism teaches about papal infallibility. (Nor, of course, should Catholics leave it to Penn Jillette to explain Catholic doctrines clearly in public.)

              • Mark Shea

                Finally, somebody is pointing out that Gillette’s defense was really pretty crude. Yeah, it was nice to see him take Morgan down a peg, but the fact is he was completely wrong on a number of points and his argument boiled down to “If you are Catholic, you should just shut up and agree with the pope about everything and not think.” Conservative Catholics embracing that as an “out of the mouths of babes” defense of the Catholic Faith only reinforce for people like Gillette that Catholics are idiots.

                • Mike in KC, MO

                  I don’t think you’ll find people (at least I hope not) who think Penn’s argument was some kind of excellent example of sound Catholic teaching. It’s actually pretty obviously not the case (even to two of my non-Catholic friends who have seen it). I think what the interesting thing about that video is is that it is like watching a geriatric cripple take down someone who claims to be an MMA fighter. What is to be noted is not that the cripple is the epitome of fitness and fighting skill (because he isn’t), but rather that his “opponent’s” claimed skill was so pathetic that HE LOST TO A CRIPPLE.

      • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

        Believe. He is. You will see.

      • Theodore Seeber

        No religious claim in unfalsifiable, including the religious claim that all religious claims are unfalsifiable.

        • Mike in KC, MO

          Mind…. BLOWN! :-)

          • Theodore Seeber

            It is the ultimate hole in skepticism that skeptics are never skeptical about their own skepticism.

  • LJP

    “You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call the free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage.”

    Whoa…mind blown. I’ve got to get this book.

    • Thinkling

      Yes, Great Divorce is mind blowing. I always thought it similar to Screwstape Letters, except instead of being privy to plotting demons, we see the demons’ results in the person themselves as they fight against Grace.

      You read this excerpt, or nearly any other from it, and you would swear it was written for 2013. Amazing.

      • Mike

        I am getting it now…have read Mere C. and Screwtape Ls and the abolition and couldn’t put them down.

    • KML

      Yes, do! It’s absolutely my favorite Lewis of the ones I’ve read. I really think he’s at his best with allegory, and you’ll recognize quite a few people in it.

  • bob

    Why do you think Lewis is so unpopular among Episcopalians? I recall 35 years ago clergy who discouraged my reading him. Things are far worse now. Lewis was a prophet and was as popular in his own town as they always are.

  • David Naas

    I first discovered Lewis at a Methodist Episcopal MYF camp in the mid-Sixties (Last century). Several small volumes by him were at the camp bookstore. I read him, then listened to the sermons and class teachings, and wondered why the youth ministers were so seriously copying the bad arguments and presenting them as spohisticated truth. Over the years, I have watched the Kumbayah crowd take over the Methodists, the Episcopalians, and make great inroads into the Catholics.
    Lewis’ great advantage is that he never attended a seminary. His work is the product of an educated, inquisitive mind that was not blinded by ecclesial training. (Hence his popularity among Evangelicals.)
    It is not that Boomers and their children are abandoning Christianity, they have never been taught Christianity in the first place. I hope the ‘Cisco Kid (aka Pope Francis) can get the point across. So far, so good.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    WHERE ALL IS FUTURE HISTORY

    The spirit of God moved over the waters
    But not our sea alone is meant,
    The sea that is meant is the sea Forever,
    Within us is a firmament

    Now and then along a shore
    We walk, beyond the shore a sea
    Where we shall go, have gone before
    Where all is future history

    Then God reached down and drew it up
    And gave the world to us to sip,
    It is our life that is the cup
    From the vastness of the sea, the lip

    Pavel
    April 5, 2013

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    I think that people believe, and know, before they ever hear the Gospel, and then, when they hear it and read it they awaken, and know that they believe.

    • SouthCoast

      I was going to comment merely with “Elegant!”, but it was, alas, deemed too short, leading, most sadly, to this over-upholstered restatement of the original. Elegant!

  • http://yardsaleofthemind.wordpress.com/ Joseph M

    “Friend, I am not suggesting at all. You see, I know now. Let us be frank. Our opinions were not honestly come by. We simply found ourselves in contact with a certain current of ideas and plunged into it because it seemed modern and successful. At College, you know, we just started automatically writing the kind of essays that got good marks and saying the kind of things that won applause. When, in our whole lives, did we honestly face, in solitude, the one question on which all turned: whether after all the Supernatural might not in fact occur? When did we put up one moment’s real resistance to the loss of our faith?”

    And here we find Lewis making the same observation made under the recent ‘Oh. So. True’ post. The only difference: his bishop is still staggering about, hung over, from drinking the strong wine of Christianity, still too foggy in his thinking to reject concepts like service and civility and intellectual engagement as he has rejected truth and objective reality and logical necessity. Today, while the naively charming atheist or deconstructionist exists, we see more and more people who have finally completely got off their Christian bended enough to see that, not only truth and logic, but also kindness, compassion, civility, intellectual honesty and virtue in general are nothing more than historically conditioned subjective nonsense, used, more often than not, as tools of oppression. The kindly – if insane – bishop of Lewis, who you could invite over for tea with no fear he’d be anything less than charming, has been largely replaced by howling banshees of one flavor or another, whose first (and only) line of intellectual defense is to call their opponents bigots.

  • Theodore Seeber

    The tomb has been found, we found it long ago, and it was empty.

    That isn’t to say some future hoax may not be created from the remains of other 1st century Jews, an Ossuary, and a forgery; such as what happened with the infamous James Ossuary in 2002- 2004 (here’s the Wiki article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ossuary ), which also created the run-along hoax of the 2007 finding of the “Tomb of Jesus”.

    • http://www.pilgrimage.subcreators.com Lori Pieper

      Ted, don’t blame the poor inoffensive James Ossuary for Simcha Jacobovici’s stupidity and dishonesty. It didn’t create his hoax. He did.

      I have studied the James Ossuary quite a bit over the years, and have had the privilege of interviewing both Fr. Joseph Fitzmyer and Mr. Hershel Shanks of the Biblical Archeology Review on the subject. The overwhelming evidence appears to be in favor of it being a genuine first-century artifact. Even the prosecution’s main witness at the forgery trial admitted on the stand that there was genuine ancient patina in both halves of the inscription. The ossuary’s owner was consequently acquitted of forgery. The ossuary’s authenticity has been supported by some of the world’s greatest paleographers and epigraphers. It simply fell victim to politics and the Israeli government’s desire to crack down on the sale of unprovenanced antiquities.

      Of course, whether it actually the ossuary of James the brother of Jesus is unprovable. Half of the information that we need to know about any artifact comes from the site where it is found, and we don’tFr. have that in this case. Plus, as Fr. Fitzmyer pointed out in our interview, the relationships aren’t all that clear. The inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” could actually be referring to a James who was the son of Joseph and Joseph who was the brother of Jesus. Which opens up the possibilities considerably.

      A while back though, I recalled that Jesus actually did have a brother (i.e. half brother or cousin) named Joseph (Joses), who could quite possibly have had a son named James. So it could still be all in the family. Who knows?

      Here’s a link to the stuff I’ve written on the subject.

      http://subcreators.com/blog/2012/03/15/the-james-ossuary-forgery-trial-verdict-not-guilty/

      • Mark Shea

        Actually, James of Jerusalem (the “brother of the Lord”) was the son of Mary, the wife of Clopas, the disciple to whom Christ appeared on the Emmaus Road. So the James of ossuary fame ain’t him. Luke calls her “Mary, the mother of James”. John calls her “Mary, the wife of Cleopas”. Interestingly, he also calls her the sister of Jesus mother. That means either the Virgin’s parent were the most unimaginative people on earth and named two daughter “Mary” or Mary of Clopas was the cousin of the Virgin. But one thing is certain, James was not the sibling of Jesus.

        • Jon W

          You would not believe the number of people in the Bach family named “Johann”.

        • http://www.pilgrimage.subcreators.com Lori Pieper

          Well, a good many people in the early Church did think Jesus and James were half-brothers (cf. the Protoevangelium of James, where he is the son of Joseph’s first marriage).

          And we don’t know for sure that Mary was Cleophas’ wife; the “wife” isn’t in the Greek, which has only “Mary of Cleophas”; she could conceivably have been his daughter. Also it’s by no means certain that “his mother’s sister” and “Mary of Cleophas” are the same person; they could be two different people just listed one right after the other.

          One thing that is certain is that James is not the son of Mary the mother of Jesus, and I never meant to imply that he was. But that doesn’t preclude his being related to Jesus by blood in some sense and so called his brother. He could have been the son of another of Jesus’ relatives named Joseph, rather than the Blessed Virgin’s husband. There were relatively few proper names in those days, and there would have been a number of people with the same name among an extended family circle of aunts and uncles, cousins, in-laws, etc. The truth is, we just aren’t sure.

          I’m by no means trying to claim that the ossuary is necessarily that of James of Jerusalem, but we don’t need to deny the possibility altogether, as it doesn’t necessarily touch the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity at all.

  • FW Ken

    The resurrection is not a “religious” claim, but a claim about history. It may not have happened, but “happened” is the issue. It’s actually well-arrested by eyewitnesses, but if you don’t believe it, at least be honest enough to dismiss it as what it is, not something “religious”. That’s just parroting Lewis’s bishop.


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