The excerpt below is from the book Mere Christianity by CS Lewis (pages 40-42)
Very well then, atheism is too simple. And I will tell you another view
that is also too simple. It is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the
view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all
right-leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and
hell and the devil, and the redemption. Both these are boys' philosophies.
It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things are
not simple. They look simple, but they are not. The table I am sitting at
looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made of-all
about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them and hit my eye and
what they do to the optic nerve and what it does to my brain-and, of course,
you find that what we call "seeing a table" lands you in mysteries and
complications which you can hardly get to the end of. A child saying a
child's prayer looks simple. And if you are content to stop there, well and
good. But if you are not-and the modern world usually is not-if you want to
go on and ask what is really happening- then you must be prepared for
something difficult. If we ask for something more than simplicity, it is
silly then to complain that the something more is not simple.
Very often, however, this silly procedure is adopted by people who are
not silly, but who, consciously or unconsciously, want to destroy
Christianity. Such people put up a version of Christianity suitable for a
child of six and make that the object of their attack. When you try to
explain the Christian doctrine as it is really held by an instructed adult,
they then complain that you are making their heads turn round and that it is
all too complicated and that if there really were a God they are sure He
would have made "religion" simple, because simplicity is so beautiful, etc.
You must be on your guard against these people for they will change their
ground every minute and only waste your tune. Notice, too, their idea of God
"making religion simple": as if "religion" were something God invented, and
not His statement to us of certain quite unalterable facts about His own
Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd.
It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect. For instance, when you
have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you
would naturally expect that all the planets were made to match-all at equal
distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or
all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go farther from
the sun. In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either
the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four,
one has two, some have none, and one has a ring.
Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That
is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not
have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always
expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the
sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about
it that real things have. So let us leave behind all these boys'
philosophies-these over-simple answers. The problem is not simple and the
answer is not going to be simpler either.
What is the problem? A universe that contains much that is obviously
bad and apparently meaningless, but containing creatures like ourselves who
know that it is bad and meaningless. There are only two views that face all
the facts. One is the Christian view that this is a good world that has gone
wrong, but still retains the memory of what it ought to have been. The other
is the view called Dualism. Dualism means the belief that there are two
equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and
the other bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight
out an endless war. I personally think that next to Christianity Dualism is
the manliest and most sensible creed on the market. But it has a catch in
it. You can read the rest online at www.lib.ru/LEWISCL/mere_engl.txt
Friends, it is time that we put simple religion behind us. When Jesus was asked, "What is the greatest commandment" part of His response was to "love God with all our mind" (Matthew 22:37-42). Mere Christianity helps us to do that.