I'm currently reading through the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis with my five year old son. As readers of this blog well know, I'm a huge Lewis fan and I frequently site his writings here. Last night we were reading The Silver Chair when we came to a truly great passage, something only Lewis could write.
To set the scene, our heroes (a human boy, a human girl, and a denizen of Narnia a Marsh-Wiggle) have encountered the evil Emerald Witch who has kept the rightful Prince of Narnia hidden from the world under a spell for the last ten years. The witch has caught them just as they were about to make their escape with the now disenchanted prince. Before they can go the witch sprinkles some magic dust onto the fire and begins playing her mandolin in an attempt to put them all under her evil power. She is the Queen of the Underland and tires to break their wills by convincing them that the "Overland" doesn't really exist, that the sun and the clouds and their memories are all parts of a dream or fairytale. Finally, she rejects even the existence of Aslan (the Christ figure) as make believe. She succeeds in overwhelming the Prince, the boy and the girl, but the Marsh-Wiggle gathers his strength before succumbing to the spell and gives a truly epic speech. Remember, Aslan is Christ. Let's listen.
"All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can to it. So I won't deny any of what you've said. But there's one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overworld. Not that our lives will be very long, I shouldn't think; but that's small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."That is Faith. That is a rejoinder any of us can use when confronted by the "New Atheists." Yes, we can prove the truth of our Faith - the existence of God, the Divinity of Christ, Heaven, Hell, etc. - and no one knew this better than Lewis, but if you aren't a philosopher or theologian or if you find yourself tongue tied, or if you are just tired of arguing, remember to have the faith of a simple Marsh-Wiggle and press on. For if the atheists are right, losing the world would be "small loss" indeed.