A reminder from C.S Lewis: the reason for us to learn from each other and history.
‘I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F., an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, ‘I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!’
Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.’
From Mere Christianity C.S Lewis
Reading the experiences of C.S Lewis adds to our own experience, as he explains in this passage from his book. And that is exactly why we should also delve into the Christian classics of the church Fathers as well as the History of the Christian Religion, itself.
Through such investigation we get a broader picture of how our theology and doctrine was hammered out over time, through spiritual battles fought and answers arrived at. These were forged for the benefit of we, who are at this end of history; that we may derive a bigger picture of the overall scope and meaning of the Scriptures. And that we can see how the Evil one has used the same tactics and arguments to attack God’s people throughout history.