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At the meeting we will be considering what Reader Ministry is and speak a little of the selection and training. 
Current serving Readers in our Deanery will then talk of the types of ministry they are involved in. 
It is hoped that Cheryl Cloverley, the Assistant Diocesan Warden of Readers, will also be there if there are any 'hard questions'
This is an open meeting and we stress that it is a no-obligation event. Please consider coming along to the meeting to find out more about this ministry.

 

Discovering CS Lewis [2] 
Getting more than you bargained for

In The Silver Chair and Miracles, CS Lewis sets out two possible views of the everyday world we can touch, see and study by science—what we ordinarily call ‘Nature’:

[1] Nature is all that exists;

[2] Besides Nature, there is something else.

View [1] denies everything outside the realm of physical, material Nature.

We can call this outlook Materialism. 

According to Materialism, understanding the world means understanding Nature through science. Many regard this as the regular viewpoint of educated, modern people. And if they see no limit to what science can explain, God, for them, is redundant.

   We as Christians may feel the tug of this current of opinion and, on occasion, lose our grip and ‘go with the flow’. Or some of us may quarrel with materialists rather feebly by pointing out that science doesn’t know everything. But of course it’s unreal to suggest that what science hasn’t explained is unknowable. Nearly everyone has a sane expectation that science, precisely by exploring Nature, will continue to explain the unknown.

   Looking at Nature - biological life, galaxies, space-time, black holes, gravity  waves - I have difficulty visualising anything outside it. Materialism looks formidable. Sincere people thoughtfully believe in it, and I don’t blame them, for Christians aren’t quick to offer the alternative. We can’t even talk about an alternative unless we can adopt View [2] and point to something truly beyond Nature. Do we know of any such thing?

   The answer, most shockingly, is yes. There’s something outside Nature. It is the human gift so central to our being that we generally ignore it. It’s the gift of Reason. We’re usually so unaware of Reason that it’s worth studying an everyday example.

   Suppose your quartz clock has stopped. You assume the battery’s flat. So battery replacement should fix the problem. This belief contains some uncertainties: the fault may be in the clock mechanism, not the battery; the replacement battery may not be sound. Actually the only certainty in the matter is what you get from Reason, that is, a sound battery in a sound mechanism should produce a working clock. And you’ll say that’s too obvious to mention.

   Yes exactly. Intelligent minds keep seeing obvious truths such as: If Fred and I get the same pay, and mine’s the same as Anne’s, then Fred and Anne get the same pay. These aren’t observations. You don’t believe such things by studying numbers of clocks or salary statements. You just see they’re so. And if you make a mistake with Reason, where’s the remedy?—answer, more Reason. By this, in simple or complex ways, we make sense of the world around us. Without Reason there would be no science.

 And the point that’s hard to grasp at first is that the world around—Nature—cannot be the source of Reason. To borrow Lewis’s illustration, cabbages grow according to Nature’s laws. They don’t give lectures on the subject. By observing plant growth to all eternity we will not understand it. To understand we must take to Reason and study the proper sciences.

Materialists, believing that Nature is everything, have tried to see ways by which Nature could somehow give rise to Reason. For instance, there were popular ideas that evolution or physical happenings in the brain were the source. Anyone with time and internet access can study the field. Here we can summarise: attempts to trace Reason back to Nature are themselves operations of Reason. In short, explaining Reason requires Reason. We can’t look behind Reason any more than we can look at the back of our own eyes.

CS Lewis gives us more than we bargained for—a world where Materialism has pronounced itself unbelievable because it can’t explain the reality of human Reason. The shock is perhaps most severe for scientists whose work is expressly devoted to natural processes. Nevertheless, scientists, by asking seriously what they can believe and why, do not get back to natural processes; they get back to Reason.

The existence of something outside Nature means that Materialism, as an alternative to ‘religion’ in general and Christianity in particular, must be abandoned. Lewis, however, distinguishing Christianity from ‘religion’ in general, reminds us that we’re made by a God Whose image we bear [Gen1:26]. And he promptly goes on to argue that our Reason comes from God’s Reason. I want to share that in the next piece.

Lewis’s argument leaves me with the same faith, the same commandments, the same gifts and the same promises. What he’s done is to clear my view of the rubble left by Materialism. Images like ‘kingdom of heaven’ [Mat 13:44], ‘the resurrection and the life’ [John 11:25], ‘my father’s house’ [John 14:2] now stand on a clean horizon lit by the light of Christ in creation [John 1: 1-5]. Let’s read them again—as ‘poetry’ if you like, but poetry about steel-hard, stark realities.


things by studying numbers of clocks or salary statements. You just see they’re so. And if you make a mistake with Reason, where’s the remedy?-answer, more Reason. By this, in simple or complex ways, we make sense of the world around us. Without Reason there would be no science.

   And the point that’s hard to grasp at first is that the world around - Nature -cannot be the source of Reason. To borrow Lewis’s illustration, cabbages grow according to Nature’s laws. They don’t give lectures on the subject. By observing plant growth to all eternity we will not understand it. To understand we must take to Reason and study the proper sciences.

   Materialists, believing that Nature is everything, have tried to see ways by which Nature could somehow give rise to Reason. For instance, there were popular ideas that evolution or physical happenings in the brain were the source. Anyone with time and    internet access can study the field. Here we can summarise: attempts to trace Reason back to Nature are themselves operations of Reason. In short, explaining Reason requires Reason. We can’t look behind Reason any more than we can look at the back of our own eyes.

   CS Lewis gives us more than we    bargained for—a world where  Materialism has pronounced itself    unbelievable because it can’t explain the reality of human Reason. The shock is perhaps most severe for scientists whose work is expressly devoted to natural processes. Nevertheless, scientists, by asking seriously what they can believe and why, do not get back to natural processes; they get back to Reason.

   The existence of something outside Nature means that Materialism, as an alternative to ‘religion’ in general and Christianity in particular, must be abandoned. Lewis, however, distinguishing Christianity from ‘religion’ in general, reminds us that we’re made by a God Whose image we bear [Gen1:26]. And he promptly goes on to argue that our Reason comes from God’s Reason. I want to share that in the next piece.

   Lewis’s argument leaves me with the same faith, the same commandments, the same gifts and the same promises. What he’s done is to clear my view of the rubble left by Materialism. Images like ‘kingdom of heaven’ [Mat 13:44], ‘the resurrection and the life’ [John 11:25], ‘my father’s house’ [John 14:2] now stand on a clean horizon lit by the light of Christ in creation [John 1: 1-5]. Let’s read them again - -as ‘poetry’ if you like, but poetry about steel-hard, stark realities.

                                                                                                             John Dixon