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Saturday, January 28, 2017

                                   Mere Christianity

                Discussion starters/questions for Forward, book one, two, and Preface

             Part one of three 

 1- Forward- We often think of C. S. Lewis as this great theologian, he did not describe himself that way. How did he describe himself? Why did he say he was selected for the radio talks?

2- Book One- Do you agree with Lewis that we can all appeal to an objective sense of what is right and wrong – a God-given conception of the Moral Law?*

3- The Tao, If you have a copy of The Abolition of Man , the appendix Illustrations of the Tao  has a wonderful compilation of ancient independent testimonies of moral law.  Any thoughts on the likeness of belief in a moral law or objective morality(not to be confused with black and white thinking) that you have seen or known from rubbing shoulders with people of different beliefs  or from any former beliefs of your own?

4- Do you think Lewis' argument credible- for the existence of God based upon the existence of the  Moral Law? Why or why not? **

5- In chapter two book one Some Objections Lewis counters the argument that we are acting on instinct or on social conventions put into us by education. How does he counter it? Do you agree Why or why not?

6- Why should we not set up any one impulse of our own or one that we have adopted as our own through a teaching or movement and follow it at all costs? Not even Patriotism, family. have you seen havoc and non-sense come from extremism?

7- What does Lewis say about the limitations of: (a) Science (b) Psychoanalysis Why, in his view, do neither of them pose a real challenge to belief in God? Do you agree with him that there is no conflict?*

8- “If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of truth.” Can you identify any “hints of the truth” within other world religions? What do you think our attitude towards people of other faiths should be?*

 9- "If you are a christian you do not have to believe all the other religions are simply wrong all through... If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions contain at least a hint of truth."
How do you think this view keeps us from loudly discrediting what others believe? Could someone else's belief even be  catalyst towards Jesus, because of grains of truth in that belief?

10-Lewis raises a number of opposing belief systems to Christianity (Atheism, Pantheism, Dualism) and attempts to show why none of them fit the facts. Do you agree with his arguments here? Would you have anything to add to them?  Is there anything surprising in Lewis’ description of atheism as “too simple”?*

11- Do you think “Christianity and water” is a prevalent phenomenon? In what other ways might people attempt to water down the faith?*

12- What is dualism? What did you think of Lewis' argument against dualism?

13- At the end of his chapter on The Shocking Alternative Jack presents his famous trilemma: that Jesus was either lunitic, the Devil of Hell, or the Son of God. In examining the identity of Jesus, are Lewis' options the only ones open to us? If not what other conclusion might one arrive at? Which option seems most credible to you and why? **

14- What did you make of the theory of atonement that Lewis proposes? Are there any other such theories that have helped you in your understanding of what happened on the cross?*

15- I saved the preface for last, Any thoughts about denominational preferences? What did you think of his analogy of the hall with the different doors. Christianity being the hall, the rooms being different communions but all connected.  What has your experience been in different rooms, and?or waiting in the hall? Is their a richness and wisdom in diversity? What is the difference between diversity and division/divisiveness?

* Liz Evershed, C.S. Lewis Foundation Intern 2000-01
** Will Vaus  copyright 2010


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Our book discussion on Thursday February 9th 7:20 p.m. will be Mere Christianity, we are dividing it into three parts, read the preface and foreword,  book one- Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe and book two- What Christians Believe. YES, we can meet on campus! No charge to boot.. Thank you Iain MacLean for securing us a place. 
Place Cleveland Hall, Seminar room 114.
Note we have changed the meeting time to 7:20 due to parking. Parking is anywhere except reserved and service spaces between Mason and to right of E.  Grace (coming from S. Main/Rt 11) RIGHT UP TO Front of Cleveland Hall.  I will post discussion starters/questions early this weekend. See you then. :)  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Our book discussion on Thursday February 9th 7:20 p.m. will be Mere Christianity, we are dividing it into three parts, read the preface, foreword,  book one Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe and book two What Christians Believe.
Our next meeting place is eighty percent likely to be at JMU as the kind Professor Iain MacLean has offered to secure us a nice meeting place if he can; coffee, tea, round table, screen to watch, stand by for more information on that. If that falls through I have an idea for a place that has niceties of that sort. I will be posting discussion starters/questions around the 26th of January. See you then. Be blessed.

Friday, January 6, 2017

                  The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe                                                                                                                                                                  Discussion Starters

  1. In the first chapter "Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe" we are introduced to the four children, the professor and Mr. Tumnus. The reason the children are here deep in the country is because of the air raids the London Blitz, what does history tell us about that, how intense was it.      Did C. S. Lewis have children as guests during this period in history?     In this chapter Lucy finds her way into a Wardrobe and Narnia. How does being uprooted not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually open us up to God moving in our life to propel us into being/doing what He wants for us?
  2. In "What Lucy Found There" we find Mr. Tumnus living in the always winter never Christmas tyrannical reign and pay of the White Witch. How is Mr. Tumnus like us when we are living under the weight of circumstances or pay of evil or a combination of those things? How did Lucy bring Mr. Tumnus clarity of good and evil and the need to chose good? 
  3. In "Edmund and the Wardrobe" the other three listen in disbelief to Lucy's story. How is Edmund's attitude towards Lucy and her story different than Peter's and Susan's?  Lucy questions herself wondering if it was all a dream. Have you ever had an clear leading from God and then question it as time passes? He always revisits us with what he has said and reaffirms it.  What kind of "apology" did Edmund shout to Lucy? What was the Queen's attitude toward Edmund? 
  4. In "Turkish Delight" Edmund finds himself in company of the Queen, eating enchanted Turkish Delight, and being enticed with a promise of power and more Turkish Delight and feeling comfortable, even though at first he did not like the arrangement. Do we ever get comfortable with things or people or ideas that are not right? When he meets up with Lucy he is not so comfortable anymore. Have you ever been somewhat comfortable with wrong things until you see someone who knows better?
  5. In "Back on This Side of the Door" Edmund and Lucy come back through the wardrobe and Edmund lets Lucy down out of pure nastiness. Why was Edmund so hateful with Lucy? The Professor's logic, in what other book by C. S. Lewis was there a paragraph in that reminded you of this one, what it was? If you have read "The Magician's Nephew" who is Professor Kirk and what does he know about Narnia?
  6. In the chapter "Into the Forest" all four of the children stumble into Narnia and find Mr. Tumnus gone and his house ransacked. Peter went right to Lucy and apologized how was his reaction so much different than Edmund's? Edmund is found out to be a liar, Edmund had called Lucy a liar, have you ever accused someone of what you doing, has anyone ever done that to you? We see Edmund trying to plant doubt about the queen and about sides to Peter. Have you ever been sure of something and someone plants doubt in your mind?
  7. "A Day with the Beavers" In this chapter Mr. Beaver finds the children , Edmund dreams of power and has horrible ideas. Did you notice Edmund says something true that they were lost. there is always enough truth in lies to keep us guessing any thoughts on that? At the mention of Aslan how did Edmund's feelings differ from the others? Did you notice throughout all of this Edmund keeps his meeting with the White Witch a secret, why is that?
  8. In "What happened after Dinner" they dine with the beavers and are told of Mr. Tumnus's plight and the moving of Aslan. Mr. Beaver tells an over zealous Peter they have to wait for Aslan to defeat the White Witch. How can we be like Peter and want to bull through on our own strength and goodness instead of empowerment from God which sometimes means going in a different direction than we would think?  
  9. "In The Witch's House" Edmund did not enjoy the food at the beaver's house because all the time he is thinking about Turkish Delight, nor did he enjoy the conversation espesially when Aslan was mentioned. He slips away to the witch's house. Edmund tries to convince himself that the white witch isn't that bad. How and why do we try to convince ourselves at times that someone or something isn't that bad? What did you think of Edmund's attitude toward the lion that was turned to stone?
  10. "The Spell Begins to Break" The children and the beavers flee the house to met Aslan. They meet Father Christmas. Is his being in Narnia a clue that her spell is beginning to break?  Any thoughts about the gifts ?
  11. "Aslan Is Nearer" Edmund is having a most disappointing time. How does sin and thinking one is better end in disappointment, He is wet, cold, and has no coat. What does Edmund begin figuring out about the witch's promise to make him king? We see Edmund for the first time begin to feel sorry for someone besides himself after the witch turns the party of animals to stone. How has empathy towards others help us turn toward good? How does the witch react to Spring?
  12. "Peter's First Battle" They meet Aslan at the stone table. What did you think of the children being afraid of Him even though he is good? Peter blames himself for Edmund going wrong, any thoughts on that? Do we blame ourselves too much or perhaps take too little responsibility for others, how so? Aslan Said all will be done to save Edmund and is sad. Who notices that Aslan is sad? Why does Aslan let Peter fight the wolf instead of doing it Himself? Do you ever feel a tension between what God wants you to do and what he is doing? Do you think He ever wants us to stand back? 
  13. "Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time" The witch intends to destroy Edmund and then he is rescued. Once again we see that Aslan had sent a rescue party for Edmund. Are we sent, where and why? Any thoughts on the transaction between the witch and Aslan?
  14. "The Triumph of the Witch" Aslan is sad and lonely, yet He willingly goes for Edmund. What does this remind you of? There are so many reminders in this book, it is not an allegory but a reminder. Do you find you need reminded more at certain times in your life than others. What are the things God uses to remind you most often, not only of His sacrifice but of His presence in the day to day? Susan and Lucy follow Aslan, any thoughts about their heart for Him?
  15. "Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time" In this chapter it was all more lonely and hopeless and horrid than can be described for Susan and Lucy until the stone table cracks. What does the stone table cracking remind you of? Aslan is no longer dead, death worked backwards. What is your favorite part about that chapter?
  16. "What Happened about the Statues"Susan and Lucy enter the witch"s house with Aslan. The statues what does that remind you of? Of course my favorite part in this chapter is Mr. Tumnus, what is yours?
  17. "The Hunting of the White Stag" I think Lucy was right that Edmund should know, any thoughts?" The children grow up as Kings and Queens of Narnia then go back to England. I had a little trouble suspending my disbelief over them not remembering the lamp post, any thoughts? 
  18. What was your favorite part of the book or reminder of faith from the book overall?