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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: taste; was: various bounced replies from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 2/23/2001 7:56:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>I'm not sure that's completely true. Didja ever read C. S. Lewis's "An
>Experiment in Criticism"?

Thing is, you gotta be real careful when you read Lewis because he tends to use
a lot of straw-man arguments to try and make his case, not just here but in his
other essays.

Much as I enjoy the Screwtape Letters, you have to go into the reading of them
knowing up front that the dealer has dealt himself five aces off the top of the
deck. You're there for the finesse of the cheat, not the truth of the deal.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: taste; was: various bounced replies from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 2/26/2001 6:53:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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> Now THAT's unfair. Christian authors writing for Christian readers are
>> under no obligation to start off each and ever oeuvre with an apologia
>> for the sake of non-Christian readers.

Except, of course, that much of his stuff is marketed as straight-ahead fiction
or speculative fiction, such as Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That
Hideous Strength and Till We Have Faces. I don't see The Lion, the Witch, and
the Wardrobe being sold in stores as specifically Christian literature. It's
in the fiction section along with everything else. So the premise that he's
writing only for Christian readers seems a little false to me.

And I used the Screwtape Letters only as one example, when clearly there are
many others. And I'm far from the first person to maintain that he tends to go
for the straw-man argument in most of his work that has theological leanings.
And I do think that it's an intellectual cheat. I'd much rather see a mind
that sharp turned in debate against a well-armed opponent than seeing him knock
down somebody who was already hamstrung.



jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: taste; was: various bounced replies from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 2/26/2001 7:05:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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>I don't blame God for religion, but I am inclined to applaud the bumper
>sticker I once saw in Michigan which said "God save me from your followers".
>I know there are loads of decent, honest, faithful members of religions out
>there who mind their own business and lead by example, rather than trying to
>beat you senseless, but the ones who DO try and beat you senseless drive me
>further away every day.

There's a great quote from Mark Twain, who once said, "If Christ were here
today, there is one thing he would not be: a Christian."

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: taste; was: various bounced replies from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 2/26/2001 8:41:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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>Just don't go too far. I know someone who was driven so far away from the
>catholic religion that he started challenging their faith. To me that
>behaviour makes him no better than the bible bashers you are describing.

Do you mean *challenging* or do you mean *mocking*? Different things.

Everyone's beliefs, whatever they are, should be challenged from time to time.
Challenged in conversation. Challenged by new discoveries. By internal
reflection.

If our ideas are not challenged on occasion, they run the risk of becoming so
concretized that we no longer *think* about what we actually *believe*. And we
are not able to therefore justify them or explain them. At the end of that
challenge you may wind up right where you started, but at least you will now be
stronger and more able to describe what you believe in, and why.

(There's a great story by Mark Twain you should read for more on this: "The Man
Who Corrupted Hadleyburg." It says a lot of what happens to faiths when they
are not challenged from time to time.)

Mocking, of course, is something else again.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: taste; was: various bounced replies from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 2/27/2001 3:10:00 PM  

Message 5 in thread 

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>So, you're saying that Milton's *Paradise Lost* should be shelved in the
>Christian
>section of the bookstore, rather than in poetry or classics?

No. Please do not put words in my mouth, I have enough trouble with the ones
that get there on their own.

I did not say, or imply, any such thing.

For starters, the two aren't comparable in that Lewis always tended to see his
work as subtle proselytization...I don't think that Milton or the others you
note saw their works in quite that light. So right off the top you've pitched
out a false analogy.

Second, I have NO PROBLEM with Lewis being in the straight fiction area, nor
did I every say I *did* have a problem. All I said is that when going into his
books, it helps for a reader to be aware of his predilections in terms of
analyzing the straw-man approach he takes to his intellectual discourse as it
approaches religion and other thematic elements.

Are we now clear on this? Are you going to toss any more boogeyman arguments
out there that have nothing to do with what I *said* but everything to do with
what you *want* me to say so that you can stomp around indignantly, incensed at
something that doesn't touch the reality of what I actually believe or said at
any two contiguous points?



jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: taste; was: various bounced replies from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 2/27/2001 3:15:00 PM  

Message 6 in thread 

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>Besides, [I nearly put a
>rhetorical "What do you want?" here.] isn't this creeping just a wee tad
>in the direction of asking for a Parental Warning Label, "Contains
>scenes of Religion"?

May I ask where you got this from my simply saying that the man often times
used straw-man arguments in his writings? Somebody asked for my opinion. I
gave it. And now I get jumped on and accused of intolerance for saying the man
set up easy targets on the firing range...now all of a sudden that's become
this Christian warning labels analogy.


jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Attn JMS: taste; was: various bounced replies from jms
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 2/27/2001 9:41:00 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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>Since I'm not the only person who made that inference - and no, we're not in
>collusion - you might want to go back and read what you wrote again.

I know what I wrote, and it had nothing to do with the inference you raise
here. The problem is that one knee-jerk response fuels the next knee-jerk
response.

I never, ever said that books by Lewis should be isolated in the religion area.
Didn't say it, or imply it. I'm not liable for escalating misinterpretations
that fuel each other into hysteria.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)

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