[mere christianity]

[mere christianity]

All of a sudden, a couple of days ago, I realized that I want to re-read Mere Christianity.

I’ve read it a few years ago, in Russian, and I wasn’t too impressed with it back then. Yet another theology book, it seemed like.

Well, God sure knew when I needed to read it again… and this time in original language.

Two things that I have realized right away:

1. Something I knew for a long time, but didn’t experience in such a strong way – when you can read the original language, whatever you’re reading makes a lot more sense. And I thank God for the opportunity to read C.S. Lewis in his language, without any editions or corrections from the translators’ side (no matter how good they are, translated stuff is always not as good… unless it’s songs as we have seen in my previous posts hereΒ and here and here).

2. I love C.S. Lewis’ style and I already joked in a comment on Tony’s post (which was an amazing post, btw – go read it here) that my love for logic is Spock-like. If something doesn’t make sense, I disregard it, most of the time. But Lewis makes quite a strong case for Christianity without appearing to be strong about it.

Mom and I had a discussion the other day. I said that Christianity makes logical sense.

She disagreed. “You think that because you know what it’s all about.”

I still think that Christianity makes sense. It’s logical – when you consider everything. At least it makes more logic than the rest of what I’ve heard.

Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Reality is indeed odd… It often brings us face to face with something we’ve never encountered before.

Yet… there’s this thing called Chaos Theory, about finding the underlying order in apparently random data. It fascinates me. Dean Koontz, one of my top two favorite authors, keeps bringing it up in his books and it fits perfectly because life is seemingly full of chaos… but if only you would distance yourself from the immediate surroundings, you would be able to see the order, like a fractal (William P. Young used this analogy in his bestseller, The Shack).

What do you think? Is Christianity logical?

  • Mary

    I don't know whether Christianity is logical or not. There are many different beliefs under that umbrella. I think logic will only take us so far. What you say about translation is interesting. I have some French, very little Russian although I have learned the Cyrillic alphabet ( that should get me a medal) and I know a few words. I will never be reading Tolstoy in Russian! A Friend of mine from Ukraine tells me the Russian translation of Shakespeare is better than the original. I am not in the position to challenge this opinion!

    • I guess for me, the main thing is that there's more logic in Christianity than any other religion… (At least from my point of view, which is not the ultimate (thank God) point of view)

      Cyrillic alphabet is fun to explain, especially when you get to soft / hard signs (which aren't letters, yet they are in the alphabet) and letter Π«. But yes – whenever I can, I try to read the original because I want to know what the author was thinking about, not the interpreter thought the author meant – because interpreters interpret πŸ™‚

      Reading Tolstoy in Russian… To be honest, I wouldn't even want to read him in English. He's so boring (to me, anyway)… Dostoyevsky is slightly better in this regard – I've recently read Brothers Karamazov (my pastor dared me… long story)))), and it was okay. Not my favorite writer for sure – his sentences are so long that you get lost in them.

      Shakespeare… I got used to the Russian translation because that's what we studied at school, but I don't think it would be better… For the reasons stated above. It's one thing to read Shakespeare and another thing to read the interpretation of Shakespeare. *Shrug* πŸ™‚

  • Mary

    Brothers Karamazov IS a long book. I tried it first as a teenager – too young, but Father Zossima and Alyosha stayed with me. I read it again a couple of years ago. To me they remain the outstanding characters. Interestingly Dostoyesvsky intended to write a novel about Alyosha's later life in the world, but of course he did not live to write it. Have you read Bulgakov's Master and Margarita? My Ukrainian friend recommended it to me. I read it twice, and read as much as I could find about the book. It is an extraordinary work. I agree with you about Shakespeare.

    • I don't know… Actually it was interesting to me – it was similar in a way to my favorite Les Miserables by Hugo (on which I wrote extensively here) – I liked the way both Hugo and Dostoyevsky described inner turmoil. I want to re-read it again sometime – no idea when because I am currently swamped with books to read πŸ˜€ (Not complaining about that however).

      Yes – I have read Master and Margarita – even got into a quarrel with mom in regards whether Christians should read it at all. We ended the quarrel peacefully and agreed that mom can read whatever she wants and I will read whatever I want. Right now, I got her reading Potter πŸ˜€ But back to Master and Margarita – it was interesting to read, but it's not really my style… I liked the bits about the Master, but not so much about Margarita. *Shrug*

  • Mary

    Master and Margarita is not an easy read. I was more at home with the realism of the scenes in Judea. The satire about life in the Soviet Union was a big contrast in style. I needed to re-read the book to take it all in. I found the sections involving Pilate fascinating. The last few chapters I was deeply moved by, in a way I cannot explain. To me Bulgakov has a powerful creative imagination. I believe there was a television series based on the book. Did you see it? It would have been a challenge to a film maker.

    • Having lived in Ukraine (and a bit in USSR) all my life, I guess the Soviet Union description was not new to me. There are still artifacts that are present even today that were described in that book. But yes – I was more at home with Judea as well. I didn't like the fact that Jesus appeared as a weakling there, but still the dialogue between Pilate and Jesus was incredibly intriguing.

      I haven't watched the series – just bits and pieces – my mom did. For me, it's one of those books that better are left to just being a book. A lot of people are saying that the movies based on that book are cursed – there were a few attempts to make a movie out of the book and accidents happened all the time. I don't usually believe that stuff, but there were just too many coincidences. From the pieces that I *have* seen, I didn't like Begemot (the cat) – he looked rather pathetic πŸ™

  • Mary

    I saw that the series is available with English subtitles. Maybe one day I"ll see it. I must ask my friend from Ukraine what she thought of it. She is not a "believer" but recommended the book to me in the first place and I think she saw the series. She lives in Sydney, Australia, as I do.

    • If you'll get a chance to watch it – let me know what you think! πŸ™‚

      And yeah – over here it's considered a classic – almost everyone (at least adults) have read it.

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