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The Long Path to Christianity in Surprised by Joy

The Long Path to Christianity in Surprised by Joy

Surprised by Joy is essentially an account of those factors that brought Lewis to a mature, adult Christian faith. Lewis begins his work with an overview of the Lewis household and his early schooling. “The reality Lewis found on the pages of his parents’ extensive library seems as tangible and meaningful to him as anything that occurred in the “outside” world” (Hannay 41). Lewis depicts himself and brother, William, as absolute confidants who share their deepest longings and secrets–all in the security of their parents’ home. The tranquility and sanctity of the Lewis home is shattered by the death of his mother; the rest of his saga becomes the melancholy search for the security he had took granted during the peace and grace of childhood.

It is this theme, the longing for a restoration of the joy he experienced as a boy, that permeates Surprised by Joy. “By “joy,” Lewis meant not mere pleasure but the sublime experience of the transcendent, the glimpse of the eternal that is only fleetingly available in earthly loves and aesthetics” (Griffin 13). It is, for Lewis, only finally received in heavenly glory at the consummation of the age, a joy to be found in the Creator who himself invented both world and word, person and personality. It is He alone who redeems his fallen creation and provide them joy. From his earliest intimations of this joy, Lewis depicts himself in Surprised by Joy as precociously oriented toward the metaphysical and ultimate questions. Lewis turns first to the written word as an outlet for this ongoing search, creating at age eight the land of Boxen, a world populated by dressed, talking animals, the precursor of what would someday be re…

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… wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.

From Lewis’s perspective, the “joy” he had so long sought had been discovered in the least likely place within the least likely circumstances. Few Oxford professors of medieval and renaissance literature become ardent, vocal, internationally-known promoters of religious faith. Lewis’s personal account of this highly unusual occurrence thus makes Surprised by Joy compelling reading for both the believer and nonbeliever alike.

Works Cited and Consulted

Lindskoog, Kathryn. C. S. Lewis: Mere Christian, 1988

Hannay, Margaret. C. S. Lewis, 1981

Roger L. Green and Walter Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, 1974

Griffin, William. C. S. Lewis; A Dramatic Life, 1986

Como, James. C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table, 1979

Criminal Law and The War on Drugs

Criminal Law and The War on Drugs

“These records of wars, intrigues, factions, and revolutions, are so many collections of experiments, by which the politician or moral philosopher fixes the principles of his science, in the same manner as the physician or natural philosopher becomes acquainted with the nature of plants, minerals, and other external objects, by the experiments which he forms concerning them.” (David Hume.)2

“Our long armed and hairy ancestors had no idea of redress beyond vengeance, or of justice beyond mere individual reprisal.”3

To determine what constitutes criminal law, is, as one learned judge has opined, “a work of art, it is something that may be easier to recognize than define …”4 I shall venture to say, that, when a person commits a crime that person commits a breach of faith with the community in which that person lives. In such an event the community, as a collective whole, in a self protective act, will assert itself against the criminal.5 Criminal law is a method of enabling men to live together in a community in spite of the possibility that their desires may conflict. Historically, punishment has been the manner by which the community attempts to deter crime;6 and, generally, the criminal offense has been, throughout history, gauged and matched to a suitable punishment. As to what individual acts the community has considered to be a crime and as to what punishment it has meted out, makes for an interesting historical study, which I do not now have the time to carry out.7

Of course, it is no longer the sovereign who defines crime, that is now the function of our democratically elected assemblies. However, such an assembly cannot make an act into a crime, …

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[6] Blackstone defines “a crime, or misdemeanor, is an act committed, or omitted, in violation of a public law, either forbidding or commanding it”; and John Austin (1790-1859): “An offence which is pursued at the discretion of the injured party or his representative is a civil injury. An offence which is pursued by the Sovereign or by the subordinates of the Sovereign is a Crime.”

[7] Such a study would begin with Sir Edward Coke’s work, Institutes of the laws of England (1628-44) and certainly include a review of Sir James Stephen’s seminal work, History of the Criminal Law (1883).

[8] Rand J., The Margarine Reference, [1949] S.C.R. 1,49-50.

[9] Rand J., Goodyear Tire and Rubber at p. 311.

[10] Justice Major, para. 196.

[11] The Economic Anatomy of a Drug War by David W. Rasmussen and Bruce L. Benson

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