Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

Where the Straight meets the Crooked…

Mark made no reply. He was thinking, and thinking hard because he knew, that if he stopped even for a moment, mere terror of death would take the decision out of his hands. Christianity was a fable. It would be ridiculous to die for a religion one did not believe. This Man himself, on that very cross, had discovered it to be a fable. And had died complaining that the God in whom he trusted had forsaken him, in fact, found the universe a cheat. But this raised a question that Mark had never thought of before. Was that the moment at which to turn against the Man? If the universe was a cheat, was that a good reason for joining its side? Supposing the Straight was utterly powerless, always and everywhere certain to be mocked, tortured, and finally killed by the Crooked, what then? Why not go down with the ship? Here Mark began to be frightened by the very fact that his fears seemed have momentarily vanished. They had been a safeguard…they had prevented him, all his life, from making mad decisions like that which he was now making…
— C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength1945

Update: Alice the Camel considers Mark's conundrum as Pilate's.

5 comments:

Alice the Camel said...

I just finished reading That Hideous Strength and had even had that very quote earmarked for such a time as this. :)

Kind of amazing how a book written in 1945 can be so current. Every once in a while a person comes across an old book that seems to live in the now.

MapMaster said...

Lewis takes his subjects from everything that has come before and will come again, and things that have never gone away. It is true that ours is an age where burying one's head in sand is fashionable, and most contemporary books will never last, but surely other ages like this have also preceded ours as well. That Hideous Strength is also particularly politically relevant too, though, as it happens.

Thank you for the elaboration on your blog, by the way, and I'm quite pleased that someone else enjoyed that quote.

Alice the Camel said...

Very politically relevant: the acronym NICE, the media manipulation, the severed head. Very Fenris. Politically & culturally, it seems we're living out the logical progression of ideas that were enticing the thinkers of Lewis' day. He must have known where it would lead.

At any rate, a treat to find someone else who's read the book.

MapMaster said...

As someone who is interested in the subject of education, you would find The Abolition of Man extremely relevant to today's conditions as well, I think, if you haven't read it already.

"Very Fenris..." I like that.

Alice the Camel said...

Haven't read it yet, but it's definitely on my list...