Thursday, January 22, 2009

Man of Rabbit

In “Man or Rabbit” C. S. Lewis addresses the question “Can’t you lead a good life without believing in Christianity?” His simple answer is no. The basis for this answer is that a Christian and a non-Christian have different definitions of “good.” To a non-Christian a man’s life is short and thus it is good to consider what is best for society over what is best for an individual. To a Christian man’s life is eternal and society is only a passing entity. A Christian’s goal in life is not to live with good morals, but to follow good morals so that God might remake him into the image of Christ by making his character like that of Christ. To a non-Christian man’s the sole distinction of a good life is whether good morals are followed. Lewis sums it up in this way: “Firstly, we cannot do it; secondly, in setting up ‘a good life’ as our final goal, we have missed the very point of our existence.”

Lewis also spends a portion of this essay scolding the man who asks this question. It is obvious that the questioner knows about Christianity and does not wish to discover whether it is true of not. Lewis calls this man a rabbit for trying to shirk one of the main qualities that distinguishes man from animals: the pursuit of knowledge. Lewis outlines this distinction further in his other essays such as: “Bulverism,” “Learning in War-Time,” and “An English Syllabus.” I found this essay to be a little amusing as well as practical. It is a reminder that we are not here on earth to do good works but that good works will result when we pursue our true purpose: transforming ourselves to be Christ-like.

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