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God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics Paperback – March 24, 1972
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"Here the reader finds the tough-minded polemicist relishing the debate; here too the kindly teacher explaining a complex abstraction by means of clarifying analogies; here the public speaker addressing his varied audience with all the humility and grace of a man who knows how much more remains to be known."
-- Christianity Today
"For those who know little of C. S. Lewis or his ideas, this book is a good introduction. . . . God in the Dock contains some of the best of Lewis's witty apologetics. And for those who have long known and loved the writings of Lewis, this volume is a welcome addition."
"Takes us on a journey that is thoroughly entrancing. . . . A model of solid common sense and imaginativeness, of balance and ingeniousness, of artistry and coherence."
About the Author
(1898-1963) He held the chair of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at Cambridge University in England. Among his many famous works are Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, the Chronicles of Narnia series, Miracles, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, and Surprised by Joy.
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Top Customer Reviews
Towards the end is a collection of letters, mostly to magazines and journals commenting on this or that paper. Some are funny in his dry way, others show that he was engaged in lots of different areas.
No one can go wrong reading anything he wrote. But this volume should not be your first exposure to him.
> Should we pray, and [why] does it work?
> Why would God want to bother with a tiny, insignificant planet in the universe?
> Has science negated God?
> Why should anyone go to church?
...and many more challenging topics in this complilation of essays written over CS Lewis's lifetime.
The amazing thing about this book is he doesn't just ask the hard questions--he has well thought out, mind-blowing answers as well, backed up by theologians, scientists, the Socratic method, and of course, the Bible. The essays may have been written in the 1940s and 50s, but they have lost none of their relevance or power in today's world.
As a Christian, this book has taken me to a whole new depth of understanding about what I believe. As a thinking person, it challenged me to look at my motivations for everything I do. For example: Why do I try to be a good person? Why is "good" better than "bad"?
I would recommend this book to any Christian with a thirst for deeper understanding of Christian theology. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what being a Christian REALLY means at the foundation, not what modern culture has tried to make it mean.
Some people may have trouble reading this book --it is definitely not light reading. Lewis was an English professor at Cambridge, and it shows in his dense writing and complex subject matter. He frequently quotes Latin and from sources and authors only a literature scholar would know of. However, the editor does a good job in translating and citing references where appropriate.
It is not enough to say that I have been profoundly moved and changed by this book. Definitely, definitely read it.
About GOD IN THE DOCK specifically, this is a collection of his letters, columns, and speeches. Most are short (4-10 pages) reflections on something he has encountered recently, from animal-rights protestations to dogma within the church to attempts to debunk myth to Christmas. Really, though, each one of these essays is about modernism. Modernism is the arch-enemy to Lewis - in its materialism, rationalism, statism and "groupism", it denies the validity of opposing systems of thought. Miracles are definitively ruled because they can't be reproduced in a lab (which Lewis argues is precisely why they are "miraculous" in the first place." Christian beliefs are discarded because they are similar to other "primitve" myths; Lewis argues that if God is real and we are made in His image, it makes sense that we would have common motifs in how we think about Him.
The essays in GOD IN THE DOCK are mostly designed to show the fallacies in people's thinking. They start with an observation, continue to describe the orthodox Christian point of view, point out something which the reader already knows to be true, and then shows that it makes more sense in the context of orthodox thought rather than modernist thought. What I found most interesting was that the same problems that Lewis wrestled with in his day are the same ones that Americans face today! I'm not sure if this proves that history repeats itself or if America is just 50 years behind England. Either way, Lewis' predictions for the future if his society continued to follow the modernist path were vindicated (if anything, he underestimated the degree to which society would degenerate).
In summary, C.S. Lewis was a humble and insightful man whose essays cover a wide gamut of topics. Each essay is short, about a 15 minute read, which is a comfortable way to wind down the day. I think that he very correctly evaluated the danger that modernism poses to humanity. Finally, his essay topics are very relevant to Americans whose country is now hashing outt he same issues that Lewis' nation did fifty years ago.