Posted by: LucidMystery | February 2, 2009

Wishing for the C.S. Lewis Brain

So I’ve been having a field day on the comments section of someone’s blog. It pretty interesting to see what kind of sparks fly when the subject is religion. My problem is, I’m a lousy debater. I love getting into deep conversations, and I had a really great one last night with one of the people (even if we disagreed), but I know I’m not doing justice for my faith.

One thing that’s weird about me, I’m a pretty “give-me-evidence” kind of person. This one yogurt commercial a while back drove me nuts because it said it bolstered the immune system, and it proceeded to show an animation of “germs” bouncing a wall made of little bubbly beads. What the heck is that supposed to be? No clue. If they say it bolsters the immune system, I want them to tell me if it’s going to increase my monocyte or leukocyte counts, or if it’s going to enhance antibody production, or if it’s going to somehow diversify my major histocompatibility complex. And after you tell me what it does, give me the clinical trial info so I can look it up on PubMed and see for myself.

I’m adamant about that kind of stuff. You make a claim, you back it up. But here’s where it gets sticky. A lot of my claims about God can’t be backed up. I know God loves me. How? Because the Bible says so. What if I don’t believe the Bible, how else do you know? I feel it; I can’t explain it. Oh good. Dead end. Score 1 for the atheists, score -2 for Maria’s rationale capabilities. Good job, make ’em proud, give yourself a cookie.

I need to just start keeping track of how many times in this blog I have mentioned C.S. Lewis, cuz here comes again! If you’ve ever read any of his books, you know what I mean when you say the man had a brilliant mind and knew how to argue effectively. Me? Not so much. Even when I try to quote him, I fumble it up.  The problem is I can’t convey anything. Not to sound braggy, but I know a fair amount of information. (Random information, yes, and that’s why I tune into Jeopardy every night, hehe.) Sure I have my science background, but I’ve done a lot of reading about other religions, taken a class that had strong emphasis on the major Asian religons, and I try to learn what I can from friends who are of different faiths. But I have to be ridiculously versed in something before I can think about coherently presenting it to someone else.

Let’s look at last week’s disastrous population genetics lab. So I teach two college freshmen labs. Relatively easy stuff. Unfortunately, last week all we did was calculate frequencies, predict the genotypes of offspring–all that Hardy-Wienberg goodness. Well, I can do all of it, certainly. Give me the numbers and I’ll give you the answers. I hate math more than almost anything in the world, but I can do it just fine. Now, give me some chalk a room full of 32 freshies all zoning out because I’m babbling, well, you have the recipe for the most annoying three hours EVER. It sucked, to say the very least, and I know I big time turned all of them off to a career with the Census Bureau.

My point is, I need to learn how to explain answer questions about my faith. Of course, I am more than aware that even when I give the answers, that isn’t going to be what all people want to hear, but at least I would know that it wasn’t my fault their were rejecting a concept.

Any book suggestions out there?


  1. So the atheists win that argument. So what? You know God loves them, and God loves you. That’s all you need to know.

    Winning arguments is overrated. My new favorite thing is to be okay with not convincing someone they’re wrong. 😉 Or seriously, just being okay that I can’t explain everything and that I don’t have a way to rationalize what I believe sometimes.

    The Wesley quadrilateral is the following:
    – reason
    – Scripture
    – tradition
    – experience

    I like combining all those elements when forming my beliefs. It makes me know my experience can be just as precious as my reason or my reading of Scripture, etc.


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