God in the Dock is a collection of essays (along with a few letters) written by C. S. Lewis, and published under one title of said essays. I having previously read Mere Christianity and seen the quote: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” Shared by people online within the past two years, I wanted to read more.
After all, the above quote seemed as if it could be pulled from the present, where we were locked down and many pressured into making personal medical decisions under duress. We were told this was all for our good, and regardless of what you felt it when it all started its becoming harder for anyone to deny the damage these actions did to the world. It’s also becoming more obvious that the elites involved will continue to torment us not just over viruses but the environment and anything else they can think of and claim it’s for our good. Whether any of them, or the people working under them, have truly benevolent intentions, only God himself knows. Either way, it seems they are intent on building their utopia, which for most people will be a dystopia, whether or not we consent.
As the quote was attributed to God in the Dock, I decided I would like to read the whole quote in context and picked up the book. C. S. Lewis, as expected, did not disappoint. Not only did I find the essay The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment, from which the quote came from insightful and relevant for today, but the entire book is filled with deep theological thought and observations about human nature.
The essays in this letter cover many topics such as Christian apologetics, whether Christianity is on the rise or decline, what progress really is, and at what costs we can pursue our own happiness or what’s “good” for humanity. Some of my favourites, which I highly recommend as both interesting and very relevant to today, include:
- Man or Rabbit
- The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment
- The Decline of Religion
- We Have No Right to Happiness
- Is Progress Possible
I can’t discuss them without giving too much away, but I can say that after taking the better part of a month to finish and really read God in the Dock, it’s a book that I would have liked to be required reading during my universities studies. At the same time, I know God saved this book for me to read now. I truly wish we had C. S. Lewis with us, as I’m sure he would have so much more insight and I would love to pick his brain about what we are facing today. While the Bible is always the ultimate authority, God in the Dock is a book from one of God’s great scribes that is a great supplement for the sole in these troubled times.