Monday, June 25, 2012

Is Theology Poetry? This Friday

Update: 4:12 p.m., Tues. 26 June: venue: Craft room across from the Camp House, 1427 Williams St. on the Southside.

Why do Christians believe what they believe?  Is it because they leave Reason behind and are simply victims of an overactive imagination?  Is Christian belief merely a kind of poetry - something that satisfies the imagination, and nothing more?  Has Reason no role in leading to Christian belief?
Such was the challenge set before C. S. Lewis at the 6 November, 1944, meeting of the Oxford Socratic Club.  In the essay "Is Theology Poetry?" Lewis takes the challenge on as a true champion of Christian apologetic.

Professor Marvin Hinten in the C. S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia (p. 222) considers this essay poor and disjointed.  The second half, he claims, is off topic.  Rev. Beckmann will demonstrate how this is not the case.  The essay is quite brilliant and exemplifies how formidable Lewis could be in debate at the Socratic Club.  The whole essay fits the topic and is especially interesting because of the way Lewis uses his own personal experience to answer the topic at hand.

"Is Theology Poetry?", the fifth chapter in the book The Weight of Glory, is both autobiographical and a living witness of what it could be like to be present at a meeting of the Socratic Club.  Why not be present at our next meeting of the C. S. Lewis Society of Chattanooga and enjoy with us together this wonderful essay?

The meeting will be this Friday evening, 7:00 P.M.  The venue will be confirmed within twenty-four hours, so check back tomorrow if you think you can make it.


adele daney said...

Poetry relies on visual and oral communication to express one’s feeling.

The Rev. David Beckmann said...

Visual and oral, yes, in a public reading, but Lewis defines poetry according with regard to the subjective experience of the hearer, or reader, as the case may be. It plays upon the imagination. So the issue presented to him was: is the Christian religion merely the result of the effect of poetic elements upon someone's imagination.