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C. S. Lewis on Marriage

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  • C. S. Lewis on Marriage

    In his classic book, Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis wrote something which directly applies to the question in our courts and churches today about defining marriage. Lewis was writing about marriage between divorced people, but the idea can equally be applied to marriage between two gay people.

    Here is what he wrote:

    Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is quite the different question—how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.

    My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of the British people are not Christian and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

    Incidentally, Lewis’ view appears to be quite similar to mine, which I wrote about last week. It is time for Christians to recognize that the United States Government (or any human government for that matter) is not the enforcer of biblical guidelines and laws. Governments make their own laws which they believe will help bring peace, safety, and security within their own lands, but these laws are often at odds with the instructions and commands of Scripture.

    Even though the government makes something “legal,” this does not mean that it is now legal for Christians, for we must follow both the laws of God and the laws of our government, with the laws of our King taking precedent in our personal behavior over the laws of our land. And we must be wary about trying to get our government to enforce Biblical guidelines on all the people in a country, for if it can be done with “Christian” laws, it can also be done at a later time with “Muslim” laws, or “Mormon” laws, or whatever religion is in “power” at the time. C. S. Lewis gives the example of Muslims and their prohibition to drinking alcohol, but if Mormons ever came into power over the country, maybe they would put a law into effect prohibiting the drinking of coffee. Then where would we be? Just imagine if Romney had been elected President!!!

    I’m joking, of course, for I doubt Mormons would ever do that. But in some countries Muslims are trying to enforce their Sharia law upon everybody in that country, just as here in the United States some Christians are trying to enforce some of our laws on all the people in our country. If anything has been learned from history, we know that it is bad for everybody when any religion picks up the sword of government and tries to enforce religious laws on anybody. - By Jeremy Myers
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