Book Review: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

So, I finally decided to read this classic work of Christian apologetics and despite the buildup it’s been given over the years, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a very strong book and I can see why it’s been responsible for many conversions over the years. (Chuck Colson wrote an introduction to the version I have stating how this book brought him to believe.)

I’ve seen a few criticisms of it over the years, but I think those were from people who misunderstood the book. As he stated in his introduction, Lewis wasn’t trying to write a doctrinal essay expounding every point of Christian belief, but rather a book showing why belief in Christianity is rational and logical. He’s not writing the Summa Theologica, just trying to get people started on the road to Christianity. On that line though, I was surprised when he wrote about the Eucharist, given the number of Protestants who don’t believe in that doctrine. (They’re wrong not to, but there are a large number of them, so I’m surprised Lewis brought it into his work.)

This book covers a variety of topics in an easy to understand format, including:

* Why we can know God Exists
* Why there must be an absolute Truth
* Why Monotheism is the only theism that makes sense
* Why Christianity is true
* Why the failings and faults of Christians don’t disprove Christianity
* Why it makes sense that the one God must consist of multiple persons

Given the clarity and logic of this book, I’d be interested to see what disagreements atheists have with it. It’s hard to disagree with. If you’re interested in Christianity, this book will help you understand why it’s the true faith, and if you’re already Christian it will reaffirm your faith.

Top 100 movies meme

The list as taken from the IMDB. Movies I’ve seen in bold.

#1. Godfather, The (1972)
#2. Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)
#3. Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
#4. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)
#5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)
#6. Schindler’s List (1993)
#7. Shichinin no samurai (1954)
#8. Casablanca (1942)
#9. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
#10. Star Wars (1977)
#11. Citizen Kane (1941)
#12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
#13. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
#14. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
#15. Rear Window (1954)
#16. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
#17. Pulp Fiction (1994)
#18. Usual Suspects, The (1995)
#19. Memento (2000)
#20. North by Northwest (1959)
#21. 12 Angry Men (1957)
#22. Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966)
#23. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
#24. Psycho (1960)
#25. Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, Le (2001)
#26. Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
#27. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
#28. Goodfellas (1990)
#29. American Beauty (1999)
#30. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
#31. Vertigo (1958)
#32. Matrix, The (1999)
#33. Cidade de Deus (2002)
#34. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
#35. C’era una volta il West (1968)
#36. Apocalypse Now (1979)
#37. Pianist, The (2002)
#38. Third Man, The (1949)
#39. Paths of Glory (1957)
#40. Taxi Driver (1976)
#41. Fight Club (1999)
#42. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
#43. Some Like It Hot (1959)
#44. Double Indemnity (1944)
#45. Boot, Das (1981)
#46. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
#47. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
#48. Chinatown (1974)
#49. L.A. Confidential (1997)
#50. Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
#51. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
#52. All About Eve (1950)
#53. M (1931)
#54. Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
#55. Se7en (1995)
#56. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
#57. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
#58. Rashômon (1950)
#59. Raging Bull (1980)
#60. Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
#61. Alien (1979)
#62. American History X (1998)
#63. Sting, The (1973)
#64. Léon (1994)
#65. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
#66. Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
#67. Vita è bella, La (1997)
#68. Touch of Evil (1958)
#69. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
#70. Finding Nemo (2003)
#71. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
#72. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
#73. Great Escape, The (1963)
#74. Modern Times (1936)
#75. Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
#76. Amadeus (1984)
#77. On the Waterfront (1954)
#78. Ran (1985)
#79. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
#80. Annie Hall (1977)
#81. Wo hu cang long (2000)
#82. Jaws (1975)
#83. Apartment, The (1960)
#84. Braveheart (1995)
#85. High Noon (1952)
#86. Aliens (1986)
#87. Fargo (1996)
#88. Strangers on a Train (1951)
#89. Shining, The (1980)
#90. Metropolis (1927)
#91. Blade Runner (1982)
#92. Sixth Sense, The (1999)
#93. City Lights (1931)
#94. Donnie Darko (2001)
#95. Duck Soup (1933)
#96. Great Dictator, The (1940)
#97. General, The (1927)
#98. Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)
#99. Princess Bride, The (1987)
#100. Dogville (2003)

25. More than I would have expected.

Hat Tip: Hube

“Please! I wanna like Derek Jeter! I do!”

Please! I wanna like Derek Jeter! I do! Joe Posnanski

Jeterate (verb) meaning “to praise someone for something of which he or she is entirely unworthy of praise.”

See, the thing is Derek Jeter is such a good baseball player — I mean, we are talking about a no-doubt, first ballot Hall of Famer here — that people don’t need to jeterate him for his fielding. The guy sucks as a defensive shortstop, OK? He’s brutal out there. Every detailed defensive number shows it. He’s back near the bottom again in zone rating and range factor and, I’m sure, the Dewan plus/minus. Plus every scout who pays attention knows he can’t go two steps to his left and his arm is subpar. It’s OK! Really! He doesn’t have to be Mark Belanger. He’s a great hitter! He plays every day! He’s makes up for some of his flaws with his awareness and mental stamina! I wouldn’t be bothered by his defensive liabilities, I really wouldn’t, except, well, you know, so many people don’t think he HAS defensive liabilities. They give him freaking gold gloves. They knight him Sir Derek of Defensive Wizardry because 238 years ago he tagged Jeremy Giambi and jumped into the crowd on a foul ball.

You see what happened there. I completely went overboard again. This is what Derek Jeter does to me. I like Derek Jeter. I do! I wouldn’t even care about Jeter’s deficient defense if certain people would just stop jeterating, stop mythmaking, stop telling me that the numbers are wrong and my eyes are wrong and that Jeter’s defensive brilliance is beyond my understanding, like the size of the universe or the appeal of Drew Barrymore.

This sums up my feelings about Jeter as well: absolutely a Hall of Famer, but so overrated. We don’t hate Jeter as much as we hate how much praise he gets. (I really think Tim McCarver is trying to figure out how he can become the first person who’s actually male to give birth so he can have Jeter’s baby.) He’s kind of like Mike Piazza: Great offensively, not so hot defensively. If his boosters could just accept that, I don’t think there’d be the Jeter-hating phenomenon we see so often. The hate is a counter-reaction to the overweening praise he gets. (But we should still hate him since he is a Yankee, and therefore evil.)


What time is your alarm clock set to? 6:30 AM, but that’s a backup since the sun wakes me up before 6 most days

What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Hair.

Do you think people talk about you behind your back? No, I’m not interesting a topic.

What movie do you know every line to? Ghostbusters

What is your favorite movie? Airplane

Is anyone in love with you? Other than myself?

Do you sleep on your side, stomach or back? Side

Who was the last person to make you mad? Grand Knight

Are you a lover or a fighter? Not particularly good at either.

Are you a morning or evening person? Morning.

Are you a cuddler? Only with my laptop

Are you a perfectionist? “Ist” makes it sound like perfection is something I strive for, rather than have already attained.

Have you ever written a poem? Once: I given a choice between a five page paper or writing a sonnet for an English class in high school. I took the sonnet because that’s only fourteen lines. Got a “C” with is probably better than it deserved given the 15 minutes I put into it.

Do you have more guy or girl friends? Guy.

How many tickets have you gotten? Two parking, one for not having a front license plate while living in Maryland.

Piercings? I’ve got enough problems without putting more holes in my body.

Do you have a tattoo? I’ve got enough problems without putting ink under my skin.

Are you patient? Nope.

Do you miss anyone right now? With John McCain as the Republican nominee, I miss Ronald Reagan.

Tea or coffee? Neither.

Regularly burn incense? Got enough problems without setting things in my house on fire.

Ever been in love? Yep.

Best room for a fireplace? Living room.

What do you do when you’re sad or upset? Sad: Mope. Upset: Stew.

Afraid of heights? Yep. It’s one reason I’m glad I live in Delaware where there are no really tall buildings

Can you change the oil in your car? Yes, but I don’t.

Favorite flower? None.

Favorite hangout? My backyard,

Middle name? Joseph

Most romantic sounding language? C#

Ever been overseas? Germany, Austria, England, Scotland.

Quote-a-palooza – Memorial Day Edition

“I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means…” —John Adams

“[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.” —Dwight Eisenhower

“No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong and get peace from his acquiescence.” —Woodrow Wilson

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” —Sir Winston Churchill

“The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.” —Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” —Calvin Coolidge

“In November 1776, after Washington had lost four battles and just before he crossed the Delaware to Trenton, British commanders offered a pardon to all who would swear allegiance to the crown. It was time to put up or shut up. I can hope I would have remained steadfast then, resolute in confidence that neither I nor my family would ever again sing ‘God Save the King.’ I didn’t have to make that choice. Thousands of men and women who went before us did, and thank God for every one of them.” —Suzanne Fields

“Of our three national holidays, for me, Memorial Day is the most significant. The Fourth of July celebrates our independence. Harkening back to our beginnings, Thanksgiving recalls our religious roots. But it’s the blood and guts (the suffering and sacrifice) symbolized by Memorial Day that made America possible. To make ideals real—and to protect and preserve them—requires payment in the coin of strife and death.” —Don Feder

“A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world. A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him. A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad. The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists. We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.” —Ben Stein

“Once each May, amid the quiet hills and rolling lanes and breeze-brushed trees of Arlington National Cemetery, far above the majestic Potomac and the monuments and memorials of our Nation’s Capital just beyond, the graves of America’s military dead are decorated with the beautiful flag that in life these brave souls followed and loved. This scene is repeated across our land and around the world, wherever our defenders rest. Let us hold it our sacred duty and our inestimable privilege on this day to decorate these graves ourselves—with a fervent prayer and a pledge of true allegiance to the cause of liberty, peace, and country for which America’s own have ever served and sacrificed… Our pledge and our prayer this day are those of free men and free women who know that all we hold dear must constantly be built up, fostered, revered and guarded vigilantly from those in every age who seek its destruction. We know, as have our Nation’s defenders down through the years, that there can never be peace without its essential elements of liberty, justice and independence. Those true and only building blocks of peace were the lone and lasting cause and hope and prayer that lighted the way of those whom we honor and remember this Memorial Day. To keep faith with our hallowed dead, let us be sure, and very sure, today and every day of our lives, that we keep their cause, their hope, their prayer, forever our country’s own.” —Ronald Reagan

I Wil Derive

What was really amusing for me about this was that I used calculus as standard practice when it came to remembering the various formulas for motion. I only committed the formula for distance to memory and then figured the derivative with respect to time to get the formulas for velocity and acceleration. That was actually quicker for me than to try to remember multiple formulas.

Yeah, I’m a dork.

Hat Tip: The Corner