C. S.Lewis & Narnia for Dummies

I am not really a fan of the For Dummies books because I am not a dummy. Actually, I find the user-friendly features like the sidebars and the little icons to be a little distracting. I suppose I am old fashioned and am used to receiving my information in a more linear fashion.
Nevertheless, as a casual fan of C. S. Lewis, I was looking forward to reading Richard Wagner’s C. S. Lewis and Narnia for Dummies. I have to say that I was not disappointed. By a casual fan, I meant that I have read and enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and Mere Christianity, and that I had a vague idea of the general outlines of Lewis’s life. Reading C. S. Lewis for Dummies made me appreciate Lewis’s life and works even more and made me determined to read some of his books that I was hardly aware of before.

Wagner begins the book with a general overview of C. S. Lewis, and devotes two more chapters to Lewis’s life and his literary friends, the Inklings. He moves on to Lewis’s fiction spending a lot of time,  about six chapters, on Narnia, giving a synopsis of the plots and characters of the Chronicles and exploring the deeper meaning of the themes of the series.  He spends perhaps too much time on the Chronicles of Narnia, to the detriment of Lewis’s other works. Still, with the movies coming out, perhaps that is the main reader interest.

 

Wagner goes on to explore Lewis’s other fictional works, with a chapter on The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, the Space Trilogy, A Pilgrim’s Regress, and Till We have Faces. He next moves on the Lewis’s non-fiction with a chapter on The Problem of Pain, Mere Christianity, The Abolition of Man, and other books. Wagner doesn’t spend as much time on Lewis’s nonfiction, which to me is unfortunate, since these are the books by Lewis with which I am least familiar. He has, however, written enough to interest me in reading them.

 

I think that C. S. Lewis and Narnia for Dummies has something for any reader of C. S. Lewis. Whether you are just starting to read one of his books, or a long time fan, you are sure to learn something new from Wager’s book and to finish it with a deeper appreciation and understanding of Lewis and his beliefs.

 

Did Jesus Die for Klingons?

This might seem a strange question to ask, yet they are asking it at the 100 year Starship Symposium. To be more precise in an address to the symposium Professor Christian Weideman discussed the possible implications of discovering extraterrestrial life on the world’s religions, especially Christianity. Here is the story in the Daily Mail.

A Christian professor has told a U.S. Government-backed conference on space travel that the discovery of aliens would lead to significant problems for his own religion.

In a speech entitled ‘Did Jesus die for Klingons too?’, German academic Christian Weidemann outlined the possible ramifications that the ultimate space discovery would engender.

Speaking at the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Orlando Florida, Professor Weidemann also attempted to outline how the inevitable theological conflict might be resolved.

Weidemann, a professor at the Ruhr-University Bochum, said that the death of Christ, some 2,000 years ago, was designed to save all creation.

However, the whole of creation, as defined by scientists, includes 125 billion galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy.

That means that if intelligent life exists on other planets, then Jesus or God would have to have visited them too, and sacrificed himself equally for Martian-kind as well as mankind.

The alternative, posits Weidemann, is that Jesus chose earthlings as the single race to save and abandoned every other life form in the galaxy.

Or, it could have been because humans were the only race who had sinned and required ‘saving’, said Weidemann, who added: ‘You can grasp the conflict.’

‘If there are extra-terrestrial intelligent beings at all, it is safe to assume that most of them are sinners too,’ he said, according to Space.com.

However, the conflict of theology would be more of a problem for Christians than it would for other religions.

Hindus believe in multiple gods, and would therefore not have an issue with Weidemann’s suggestion about multiple incarnations of God, and in the Muslim world Muhammad was not God incarnate, simple a prophet, which would also allow for the ‘multiple God theory’.

To be honest, I really don’t see why this would be a problem for Christians in particular. I have always taken it for granted that there are intelligent extraterrestrials out there. I simply cannot imagine that God would create this huge universe all for the benefit of the inhabitants of one planet.
In fact, C. S. Lewis has already explored the theological implications in his Space Trilogy. In these books, the protagonist Ransom travels to Mars and Venus. He discovers that Earth is fallen and therefore cut off from the rest of the universe, hence the “Silent Planet. Mars is inhabited by a race of angel-like creatures while Venus is still in an edenic period since its inhabitants have never fallen.
Lewis also dealt with the matter in the Chronicles of Narnia. As he explained, Aslan is not an allegory of Jesus. He is Jesus, as he might appear in a world of talking animals. In our world, he took the form of a man. In Narnia he is a lion.
So, did Jesus die for the Klingons? I really couldn’t say, having never met any Klingons. I would speculate that either other intelligent races have never fallen, and therefore be without sin, or they have fallen and God has made provision for their atonement in a manner appropriate to each race.