Santa & CS Lewis

Being Christmas, I can relate to the old "joke" that there are three stages in a man's life:

  • First, you believe in Santa,
  • Then, you are Santa,
  • Finally, you look like Santa!

I'm in Stage 2, trying my best to delay the onset of Stage 3 :-)

On a more serious note... and speaking of Christmas and Santa... I'm sure we've all found ourselves, at some point this season, reflecting on that epoch event in history for which the Christmas holiday (root: Holy Day) is fashioned. Church services around the world are standing room only events, filled with many folks who will not set foot in a church again until next Christmas... unless of course someone they care about gets married or dies in the meantime.

We all learned in The Great Election (Bush -vs- Kerry) what a farce exit polls can be, but I was just thinking that it would be interesting to perform an exit poll following Christmas Eve church services, with a single multiple choice question. A question that CS Lewis developed in his classic book "Mere Christianity" [1952], particularly in Chapter 4. It might go something like this:

Christmas Eve Church Service Exit Poll Questionnaire:

Q: Which of these best describe your opinion of who Jesus was?

  1. Liar:  He wasn't who he said he was... He purposely misled people.
  2. Lunatic: He actually believed what he said, but it wasn't true. He was delusional
  3. Legend: Others made up the story later. He never made the claims.
  4. Lord: He is who he said he is. His claims are true!

And compare the results to the same population as they existed from work some mid-week day in, say, March. Hmmm.

I added choice #3 to Lewis' choices, because I think some might actually pick that as the "safe" option. Even though most serious scholars and historians, even those who are devout atheists, would not deny that Jesus existed, was a great teacher, made claims of divinity and equality with God, performed wonders and healings, and was eventually crucified, ostensibly because his teachings threatened the elite power base. Regardless, it is a reveling question... rather the answer to it is revealing. But it's hard for many to think about, because the answer has profound implications for the rest of one's life (and beyond). There is actually a Stage #4 in the "Santa Progression"... when the bell tolls, the No. 2 pencil is finally put down, and the test is handed in for grading. This is one test where Gene Kranz's (NASA, Apollo 13) famous saying rings true... "Failure is not an option". Thankfully, we've all been given the answer in advance, and it's an open book exam!

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