Wednesday 14 October 2020

Are there lessons for us - here, now - from CS Lewis's That Hideous Strength?

Kristor at The Orthosphere has suggested several ways in which he believes that CS Lewis's novel That Hideous Strength provides relevant comparisons, inspiration and guidance for our current situation. 

I very much like THS - but I don't think it has anything strategic to tell us about the current situation. In our world, unlike that of THS, the enemy has already won - and has been (very obviously) ruling the world since early 2020. And there is plenty of active support for the Satanic rulers among the general population - especially (nearly unanimous) among the professional, technical and managerial classes.  Almost everybody else is passively-compliant.

This comes on top of many decades of accelerating Christian apostasy, and the crushing blow against the Christian churches this year - so that they are barely operating, and have all but ceased their core functions. Judging by words and actions, and ignoring their assertions and claims; there are (here, now) extremely few Christians.  

Many people I know of that I would have supposed to be serious Christians this time last year, I now realise are not, and were not. They may not realise it; but I realise now that they have joined the side of Satan: and are doing his work with great zeal and diligence. 

But worst of all - it seems that hardly anybody has even noticed this greatest change in the world since 1939 - perhaps greater in scope and significance; and many of those who have noticed are (on the whole) fine with it, or believe that it will lead to good. 

In such circumstances, calls to arms sound empty: Fight who? And how? And with which army? 

And if we do fight, it is as 'resistance' in an already-defeated and fully-occupied nation; not as national defenders. 

The best example I personally derive from THS is that 'the resistance' comprises half a dozen only-modestly-effective folk (the St Anne's group), whose 'power' is spiritual not temporal, and is personal rather than organisational - it comes mainly from their mutual support and encouragement (St Anne's is not even a community of beliefs or ideals). 

If we have as much as this, we are fortunate. But it is enough: because this war is spiritual, not material; and its outcome is decided after this mortal life. 

The fact is that we are in unprecedented territory and past comparisons are mostly misleading. It greatly adds to the difficulty that we must work-out what to do without help from tradition. 

But that is our situation; and it first needs to be recognised and faced. And indeed that is half the battle.


Anonymous said...

The Satanic agenda behind the birdemic is so blatantly obvious that I was certain many people would see through the lie right away...but now I think I was overly optimistic.

Very few people will "wake up" now if they didn't see something wrong with this picture in the first place.

The difference does seem to be spiritual. Most people are deceived by prince of the power of the air, and they inundate themselves with Satanic media far more than they spend time reading God's Word and other edifying material. "They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."

Bruce Charlton said...

@EDF. Sadly, it seems even most of the serious, Scripture-reading Christians have failed the Litmus Tests, and joined the side of Satan.

Michael Dyer said...

There was an old sermon that got me thinking a long time ago...

It was about the verse that says the plowing of the wicked is sin. Next, I co,nines it in my head with the verse that’s says except the Lord build the house they labor in vain, and except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain. Plowing, building, and keeping watch are all legitimate works. The idea stuck that something can be good in itself, but if God isn’t behind it, the crops will fail, the building will fall down, and your watch won’t keep the barbarians outside the gate.

Dating back to before the First World War we basically accepted a fundamentally secular view of events in the west. It’s almost as if God is putting us in a situation where reliance on Him is the only serious answer, you may do other things and maybe you should, God has a specific will for each individual, but if it’s not done at some level at His behest it’s pointless. All of our clever schemes and I don’t just mean on the left, have basically failed us, including the schemes that perennially try to “keep the young people from leaving the church”, like there’s some system that can replace direct communication with God.

We’re a bit like some strains of Judaism, in modern conservative Christianity, from way back that treat God almost as an algorithm, if we pray x amount, read scripture x amount, follow these rules (which may be biblical or may just be called “biblical”), then we get success. Not necessarily just worldly success either, it’s not as craven as people think, it may just mean personal peace, strength, and guidance. But I don’t think God works like that. That’s also why I don’t know how things will shake out, throughout the history of the church and the people of Israel and the OT, there are so many times where all seems lost on the surface and then things just turn around because God weighed in. Of course sometimes you get stoned to death as well! The point is we can’t control God and shouldn’t even want to. What we should want is God or even want to want Him, when that seems difficult. Those are the terms of the relationship I think and the foundation for what we actually do.

MagnusStout said...

Bear with this very odd (but comforting) perspective:

Reading THIS:

Made me consider two very intriguing possibilities with regard to Faith:

1. "Causal invariance" (a principle describing the phenomenon of branching and merging possibilities through time illustrating the unity of quantum and classic physics) implies that the multiway choices flowing from Man's Rebellion (even though given Free Will) perhaps could only lead towards these dark times (death & destruction).

2. The physical limitations predicted by these models (as to light, quantum entanglement, and maximum speed in rulial space) are hard limits to those contained within the universe making prophecy (especially ancient prophecy--ex: the birth of Mary and Jesus in Genesis) impossible. Therefore, given that such prophecy was True, it implies that such a Force not bound by but interacting with us, is "Superior."

3. Finally, the law of computational irreducibility implies that there is no "shortcut" or way to predict what Man (and his Free Will) will actually do (outside of a superior being, like God). Therefore, it appears as the Universe is a giant computer, with Man's mortal task being to find meaning (remember the Creator) and act in accordance with those dictates and this seems to provide an important function for God.

So, in sum: this was predicted, God is Real and How we calculate our moral actions during these times will have eternal consequences.

TonguelessYoungMan said...

Michael Dryer said "We’re a bit like some strains of Judaism, in modern conservative Christianity, from way back that treat God almost as an algorithm, if we pray x amount, read scripture x amount, follow these rules (which may be biblical or may just be called “biblical”), then we get success."

That sounds a lot like old pagan worship, and in many old Pagan religions (I'm thinking mainly about ancient Greco-Roman Polytheism) you could be indifferent to or even despise the gods, but as long as you perform the required ritual and didn't do anything sacrilegious it made no difference. It didn't matter if your heart was in it, so to speak.

Hamish said...

I’m reminded of the movie Brazil By Terry Gilliam that imagines a world of all encompassing bureaucracy and surveillance supported by monstrous lies in the interest of ‘safety’ from internal political terrorism. In the movie, most people blithely go along with the lies as the reality of the evil nature of the regime is too much to contemplate even though it’s wickedness and inefficiency is obvious. The main character longs to experience love and live in a world of beauty and heroism. The depressing ending suggests this can only be found in our imagination but this is of a subjective nature and therefore not real. I think this movie for all it satirical brilliance captures the modern world view, because it is a necessary part of the film that the audience identifies with these longings in the main character which suggests these are universal and have a reality of their own, but the director can’t bring himself to acknowledge this metaphysical reality and see this underlying contradiction.

Andrew said...

Looking at my own internal psychology, I've had to respond to events by turning towards God, and relying on him, in a more complete sense. Previously I certainly believed, but now I feel more the pressing need to be close to God everyday.

Is that not the trap for most people? The numerous non-Christians, and the many nominal "Christians" who aren't actually committed don't have any wiggle room anymore. They either swallow the bigger and bigger lie (eventually unto death), or repent and turn wholly to God.

I'm still fairly young, but it does seem to be the "point" C.S. Lewis spoke of. You either reject God, or wholly reject the world, its lies, and the inverted Satanic system that has become all-encompassing. Probably for better people, this came much sooner. Christians have tried too-long to be mainstream (for example, "pro-life" Christians have been long to fearful to state they really against baby-murder and sacrifice, or admit to demonic influence and possession, or declare the obvious influence of Satan.). They've tried to stay "relevant" and not be mocked too much on TV, like toothless and clawless pet cats.

Anonymous said...

In this context, what think you (dear host and fellow readers) of R.H. Benson's Lord of the World (1907)? I think I once reckoned out that it was set in the 1980s (though I may have that wrong)... It imagines a very successful apparently widely-embraced one-world government, with very few Christians left - at which point I'll stop to avoid spoilers.

David Llewellyn Dodds

Bruce Charlton said...

@DDL - I don't know it. But my main point is that we can't learn much from the past, because things are so much worse now *spiritually* than they could have imagined possible.