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An honest Christian,
This review is from: Miracles (Paperback)
"Miracles" is a book by Christian apologist C.S. Lewis. It was first published in 1947 and subsequently revised in 1960. It's Lewis' most philosophical book, and could be read as a heavier sequel to "Mere Christianity", his most well known non-fiction work. Both books explain and defend a fairly traditional form of Christianity. Lewis was an Anglican, but usually attempted to write from a kind of all-Christian perspective. Both Protestants and Catholics appreciate his works.
"Miracles" became quite notorious due to a debate between Lewis and the analytic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe in 1948. The latter supposedly demolished Lewis' entire argumentation, and made him withdraw from philosophy, humiliated. This version can be found in "Jack", a friendly biography of Lewis by George Sayer. Interestingly, Anscombe herself denied that this is what happened, pointing out that Lewis actually rewrote one chapter of "Miracles" to better counter her arguments - hardly an action taken by a humiliated man who broke with philosophy. Anscombe believed that it might have been *Sayer* who was shocked by her criticisms. Besides, Anscombe was a Christian herself, so the point of her arguments was hardly to disprove the existence of God.
Lewis deals with two principal issues in this book. First, he argues that the supernatural exists and that miracles are therefore possible. This is the most interesting part of the book for a non-Christian (roughly chapters 1 - 13). Second, he explains from a more theological viewpoint how the miracles of Jesus should be interpreted. He also briefly deals with some other issues, for instance the difference between theism and pantheism. The book is well written, lucid and occasionally witty.
An atheist reviewer here at Amazon has repeatedly called Lewis "the atheist's favourite Christian apologist". I agree. It's not so much the arguments that mark him out. It's his style of writing. Lewis is strangely unassuming and yet completely unapologetic (in the vernacular sense). In plain English, he is honest. This is not a man who flees to some kind of pseudo-postmodernist ivory tower every time his beliefs are challenged. Nor is he on the attack, in that rabid sense typical of fundamentalists. No, he wants us to "reason together". And although I disagree strongly with his conservative political outlook (his anti-feminism being particularly galling), he even makes salient points. His criticism of logical positivism in this volume is a case in point. Indeed, how could the positivists be anti-Nazi if they believed that moral commandments were simply a way of saying "boo to killing"? If chimpanzees could speak, they would probably ream out such "philosophers". Or bash their skulls, as it were.
"Miracles" may not be convincing to atheist-agnostic, and strike Mean Green Meme seekers like yours truly as somewhat problematical, but it's nevertheless a relatively competent introduction to the Christian criticism of naturalism.