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The Real C.S. Lewis

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Title: The Real C.S. Lewis


1
LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church
The Real C.S. Lewis His Life and Writings
Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity, and other
writings Youll never get to the bottom of
him. J.R.R. Tolkien Paulo F. Ribeiro MBA,
PhD, PE, IEEE Fellow
March 7, 2004, AD Grand Rapids
2
  • The joy of the Lord is our strength. Neh. 810
  • The Apologist's Evening PrayerFrom all my lame
    defeats and oh! much moreFrom all the victories
    that I seemed to scoreFrom cleverness shot
    forth on Thy behalfAt which, while angels weep,
    the audience laughFrom all my proofs of Thy
    divinity,Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver
    me.From all my thoughts, even from my thoughts
    of Thee,O thou fair Silence, fall, and set me
    free.Lord of the narrow gate and needle's
    eye,Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.
  • Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal
    contact between embryonic, incomplete persons
    (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person.
    Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for
    things, is a small part of it confession and
    penitence are its threshold, adoration its
    sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment
    of God its wine. In it God shows himself to us.
    That He answers prayers is a corollarynot
    necessarily the most important one. What He does
    is learned from what He is.

3
Introductory Words Good Morning. Thanks for
the opportunity Presentation Brazilian Style
Audience Participation Talking Points, Share
our insights Why Lewis The most important
Christian writer of the 20th century. A man who
has had, and is having, a profound effect on this
world. Lewis wrote about many different subjects
with a truly integrated Christian Perspective
(theology, politics, education, English
literature, childrens stories, science fiction,
etc.) The Pubs went silent. Politics crime,
obscenity, capital punishment, conscription,
communism, fascism, socialism, war, vivisection,
the welfare state, the atomic bomb, tyranny,
"The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment" has had
had on theories of punishment. The prevailing
idea was that prisoners were sick people who
needed therapy--and that included all the
techniques that modern psychology and technology
could bring to bear to achieve behavioral modifica
tion. Sentences were open-ended, and the
prisoner was not released until he was "cured.
Lewis objected strenuously. Prisoners, he said,
need to be punished, not "cured" in that sense.
The sentence must be fixed, so that the prisoner
knows at least the approximate date of his
release. Treating the prisoner as a patient robs
him of his dignity and constitutes an unwarranted
assault on his personality and character.
4
Introductory Words I discovered C.S. Lewis when
in college (1974). Since then I have read and
re-read almost everything he wrote. He has had a
tremendous influence on me in several ways (just
ask my wife). She says too much! -He has
helped to overcome chronological snobbery and the
temptation to be relevant. -He has helped me to
think more objectively by his rigorous, precise,
penetrating logic, vivid, lively, and playful
imagination. -He has helped me to have a better
sense of the real world. -He shows my
insensitivity and inability to enjoy God's daily
gifts. -He always points me to the ultimate
source of Joy Christ. -His theology may not be
perfect, but the practice was exemplary. Among
the books I have read and enjoyed with much
profit are Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters,
The Problem of Pain, The Abolition of Man,
Miracles, Pilgrim's Regress, Poems, Letters to an
American Lady, Letters of C.S. Lewis, The Narnia
books, Out of the Silent Planet, That Hideous
Strength, Experiment in Criticism, God in the
Dock, The Four Loves, The Weight of Glory, and
everything else.
5
Introductory Words Born in Belfast in 1898.
Educated in England (prep school then at Malvern
College and finally by a private tutor. Enlisted
in the army in 1917, saw front-line combat and
was Wounded in France. Returned to his studies
after the war, graduated in 1922 and became a
fellow of Magdalen college in 1925. An atheist
in his boyhood, Lewis converted to Christianity
in 1931 and became famous as a result of his
wartime religious talks on the BBC, and his
children's books. Lewis was part of the Oxford
literary circle known as the Inklings, whose
members also included J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles
Williams. Married Joy Davidman Gresham in 1957,
an American with whom he had corresponded for a
number of years. Died on November the 22nd 1963,
the same day that John F. Kennedy was
assassinated in Dallas.
6
"The Christians are right it is Pride that has
been the chief cause of misery in every nation
and every family since the world began. Other
vices may sometimes bring people together you
may find good fellowship and jokes and
friendliness among drunken people or unchaste
people. But Pride always means enmity - it is
enmity. And not only enmity between man and man,
but enmity to God. Mere Christianity
7
Introductory Words I relate to C.S. Lewis'
story in Surprised by Joy in many respects the
experiences of the painful, melancholy, yet
"joyful" yearnings (he calls sehnsucht).
Although the scenery was very different
tropical ocean, samba, soccer there is no sin
on the south side of the equator, I still
suffered from the stabs of joy there was an
immediate connection. Several years later I
found myself not far away from the land of Narnia
(PhD at University of Manchester 1982-1985). I
became a freak (according to my children)
house, cars, everything-Lewis-Narnia . Is this
an American thing? Then I am glad to be an
American.
8
At present we are on the outside of the world,
the wrong side of the door. We discern the
freshness and purity of morning, but they do not
make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the
splendors we see. But all the leaves of the New
Testament are rustling with the rumor that it
will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we
shall get in. The Weight of Glory
9
His Main Battle Grounds 1 Needs of the West
Theology in Fiction Aslan as Christ 2 Theology
in Popular Language Mere Christianity 3 The
Devil Screwtape Letters 4 Fighting Moral
Subjectivism (MC, Abolition of Man, Poison of
Subjectivism) 5 Longing for Joy Surprised by
Joy and The Weight of Glory 6 Selling Hell
That Hideous Strength, Great Divorce 7 The
Problem of Pain 8 Theological Modernism 9
Love 10 Building Bridges (Past and
Future) Love Suffering Joy Power released
by splitting the atom of the Trinity in the cup
Christ drank on Calvary
10
  • 'When that which is perfect is come, then that
    which is in part shall be done away.' The idea of
    reaching 'a good life' without Christ is based on
    a double error. Firstly, we cannot do it and
    secondly, in setting up 'a good life' as our
    final goal, we have missed the very point of our
    existence. Morality is a mountain which we cannot
    climb by our own efforts and if we could we
    should only perish in the ice and un-breathable
    air of the summit, lacking those wings with which
    the rest of the journey has to be accomplished.
    For it is from there that the real ascent begins.
    The ropes and axes are 'done away' and the rest
    is a matter of flying.
  • "Man or Rabbit?"

11

Interesting facts about Lewis Accent Oxford
with an Irish tinge Voice 1 Voice 2 Voice
3 Number of books sold Breath of subjects .
() 1947 Time Magazine article Declined honors
from Winston Churchill Adored In America (all
over the world, we are working in Brazil
) Sharing Time??? () APOLOGETICS, EDUCATION ,
CHILDRENS STORIES, ETHICS, PHILOSOPHY,
POLITICS, FRIENDS, LONGING, "MERE CHRISTIANITY,
MODERNISM AND SECULARISM, MYTH AND IMAGINATION,
SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY
12
The Many Sides of Lewis Lewis, the
distinguished Oxford literary scholar and critic
Lewis, the highly acclaimed author of science
fiction and children's literature Lewis, the
popular writer and broadcaster of Christian
apologetics, the Knight of Orthodox Christianity
(Champion of Mere Christianity) Lewis, the
soldier and faithful friend (from Arthur Grieves
to Tolkien) Lewis, the masterful teacher and
tutor Lewis, the private man and with family
problems (Father, Warren, Mrs. Moore) Lewis, the
romantic yet rationalist (Baptized
imagination) Lewis, the thoroughly converted man
(The Pilgrims Regress) Lewis, surprised by
marriage (the Joy of his life) Lewis, the
aggressive debater and humble/gentle man
13
Lewiss Appeal Invitation to meditation Natural
point of contact longing for meaning Avoidance
of the technical jargon of the theologians. Allow
me to illustrate the power of the apologetics of
longing with a testimony. A few years ago I
introduced CS Lewis to an engineer in Virginia
who was going through an existential crisis. I
presented him a copy of Mere Christianity. .
After several months after reacting against some
of the statements he came to me and said, I in
the hall, Paulo . In another case, I presented
a copy of the same book to a Brazilian Professor
(nominal catholic) . Two months later, he could
not control his excitement he told me that he
had introduced Lewis to another friend who was
seriously looking for some spiritual answers.
14
Interdenominational Appeal Almost Reformed I
believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun
has risen, not only because I see it but because
by it I see everything else. "From this
buoyant humility, this farewell to the self with
all its good resolutions, anxiety, scruples, and
motive scratchings, all the Protestant doctrines
originally sprang. For it must be clearly
understood that they were at first doctrines not
of terror but of joy and hope indeed, more than
hope, fruition, for as Tyndale says, the
converted man is already tasting eternal life.
The doctrine of predestination, says the
Seventeenth Article, is full of sweet, pleasant
and unspeakable comfort to godly persons.' . . .
Relief and buoyancy are the characteristic notes.
15
Interdenominational Appeal Lewis on Calvinists
and Puritans "Whatever they were, they were not
sour, gloomy, or severe nor did their enemies
bring any such charge against them. On the
contrary .... Calvinism was not too grim, but too
glad, to be true. It sprang from the refusal to
allow the Roman distinction between the life of
religion and the life of the world. Calvin's
picture of the Christian was less hostile to
pleasure, but then Calvin demanded that every man
should be made to live the fully Christian
life. This will at least serve to eliminate the
absurd idea that Elizabethan Calvinists were
somehow grotesque, elderly people, standing
outside the main forward current of life. In
their own day they were, of course, the very
latest thing. Unless we can imagine the
freshness, the audacity and the fashionableness
of Calvinism, we shall get out whole picture
wrong. It was a creed of progressives, even
revolutionaries."
16
The Search For Joy - The Unifying Theme of C.S.
Lewis Life The Search for the
inexpressible "In speaking of this desire for
our own far-off country, . . . I feel a certain
shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I
am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in
each one of you - the secret which hurts so much
that you take your revenge on it by calling it
names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and
Adolescence the secret also which pierces with
such sweetness that when, in very intimate
conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent,
we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves
the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though
we desire to do both . . . " It was not until
his Christian Conversion that Lewis understood
what he was seeking Lewis found joy in Greek and
Nordic Mythology, Music, Literature, Nature,
Friends...
17
Surprised by Joy
Lewis calls "the shape of my early
life." Summary Less an autobiography more an
account of his religious ups and downs from
childhood From an almost lack of religion in his
early experience ... Of his hectic efforts in
boarding school to create a satisfying spiritual
realization Of his retreat into atheism .. The
long and painful return through nature,
spiritualism and philosophy to Theism and finally
to Christianity.
18
The Development of a Tough And Holistic Christian
Mind
  • The Chronology
  • The First Years - Born to Nine
  • Born on November 29, 1898 at Belfast
  • Father, Albert James Lewis, was a lawyer and
    mother, Flora Augusta Hamilton Lewis, a
    descendent of clergymen, lawyers, and sailors.
  • Father - sentiment and passion
  • Mother irony, coolness and the capacity for
    happiness.
  • Lewis description of his father not very
    positive.
  • Lewis's mother died before he was ten, but she
    had already started him in French and Latin.

19
  • Surprised By Joy
  • Lewis and his brother (three years older) were
    left alone in a large house and spent endless
    hours in their respective imaginative worlds of
    Animal-Land and India
  • Lewis learned Sehnsucht (sen-zart), - longing
    from looking out of the nursery windows, but
    there were not genuine religious experiences.
  • The house was rich in books and the brothers read
    widely. They lived almost in their imagination.
  • One day the young Lewis stood beside a currant
    bush in flower there suddenly and mysteriously
    arose in him "as if from a depth not of years but
    centuries" the memory of an earlier happy
    morning. Though it happened in an instant of
    time, he felt that "in a certain sense everything
    else that had ever happened tome was
    insignificant in comparison.
  • It was the beginning of his search for joy.

20
  • Surprised by Joy
  • At ten, Lewis was sent to school in hated
    England. Under the tutelage of Oldie, who flogged
    his boys with and without excuse but taught them
    to think logically.
  • At twelve, he went to Campbell College, not far
    from the Lewis home in Ireland, but his stay was
    cut short by illness which gave him happy weeks
    on his own.
  • From 13 to 15 he was back in England at a small
    prep school he calls Charters. Here at last he
    began to love the English countryside, but here
    he also lost his faith, and his simplicity.
  • Other things which led him to atheism were the
    occultism imparted to him by a matron at the
    school, a natural pessimism, and particularly the
    reading of H.G. Wells, and Sir Robert Ball.
  • At fifteen he won the classic scholarship to
    "Wyvern" College, located in the same English
    town as Charters.

21
Arthur Greeves
  • Surprised by Joy
  • Though Lewis's brother had attended Wyvern and
    liked it, he himself concluded that this school,
    like most other such college in England, produced
    not the understanding and fraternal man described
    in its catalogue but rather a "bitter, truculent,
    skeptical, debunking, and cynical intelligentsia"
    dominated by social struggle and priggishness.
  • One of the few valuable assets of Wyvern was
    Smewgy, a hard but courteous teacher and taught
    his boys to be scholars without being pedants.
  • In religion Lewis at this time suffered the
    conflict, as he says, of maintaining that God did
    not exist and being angry with him for not
    existing.
  • Lewis prepared for university entrance under the
    tutorship of a tall, lean shabbily dressed but
    ruthlessly dialectical man named W.T. Kirkpatrick
    in Surrey. He found this the happiest period of
    his life.
  • He read abundantly in literature of all sorts,
    including much of Homer and other Greek authors
    in the original. His atheism was strengthened.

22
  • Surprised by Joy
  • Lewis had been living two lives. One was filled
    with the bustle of ordinary pleasures and
    miseries while the other was secret, imaginative,
    and full of longing for Joy.
  • During his illness while at Campbell he had first
    found delight in fairy tales and fallen under
    the spell of dwarfs. Northerners and Norse
    mythology became part of his life. Under Smewgy
    he had indirectly discovered not more Northerners
    but the power and fire of Mediterranean myth.
    And of course there was plenty of King Arthur and
    early Britain.
  • Joy, "that central music in every experience,"
    pressed its illimitable claims upon him and
    spread its glory in unbearable waves to the roots
    of his being. Yet the time came when Joy
    disappeared and the memory of it teased him.
  • Meanwhile his atheism grew bolder and
    Christianity came to mean ugly architecture, ugly
    music, and bad poetry, and God a great
    transcendental Interferer. He wanted to tell God
    and every body else that his innermost being was
    marked No Admittance.

23
  • Surprised by Joy
  • At this time he says he was made up of two
    separate elements one the longing for Joy, the
    other a fixed and certain belief in scientific
    materialism.
  • Then he discovered in Yeats and other men who
    while disbelieving Christianity yet thought there
    was a world behind, or around the material world,
    and he was temporarily persuaded to believe in
    magic and occultism.
  • It was at this point that he, came upon a copy of
    George Macdonald's Phantastes in a bookstall.
    Alongside the romantic elements in the novel,
    Lewis found something new, a bright shadow that
    he later discovered to be the voice of holiness.
  • Always in the past Joy had been separate from the
    ordinary world in Macdonald he found, to his
    surprise, that the bright shadow transformed all
    common things while itself remained unchanged.
  • His imagination was baptized. It was the
    beginning of the road back.

24
In reading Chesterton, as in reading
MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting
myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a
sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his
reading. . . . God is, if I may say it, very
unscrupulous. Surprised by Joy
25
  • Surprised by Joy
  • At 18 he took the scholarship examination for
    Oxford and was elected. But a war was in
    progress, and the day he was nineteen he found
    himself in the front-line trenches in France.
  • A brief illness gave him three weeks in an army
    hospital where he first began to read G.K.
    Chesterton and loved him in spite of his
    religious element.
  • He was wounded in April by a British shell
    falling short of its German target.
  • In January 1919 he was discharged from military
    duty.
  • He ridicules his experience of taking sixty
    German prisoners of war what happened, he says
    is that they simply appeared with their hands up
    and ready to surrender.
  • Back at Oxford, he began to make friends who were
    to influence his future.
  • Just when the New Psychology was causing him to
    doubt his whole experience of Joy, some of his
    closest friends began to turn Christian.

26
  • Surprised by Joy
  • With Barfield in particular he debated violently
    and learned much. It was he who destroyed forever
    in Lewis the easy belief in "chronological
    snobbery,"
  • He also convinced Lewis that abstract thought can
    give indisputable truth and is therefore a
    different sort of from experience of the senses.
  • Finally Lewis was forced to conclude that logic
    itself participated in a cosmic Logos. He also
    became convinced of a cosmic Absolute but did not
    assume it would ever get personal.
  • Lewis was twenty-three when he finishes Greats
    and, because he could find no position, decided
    to remain for a fourth year at Oxford.
  • Almost immediately he was drawn to a brilliant
    young man named Nevil Coghill and was shocked to
    discover him a Christian and thoroughgoing
    supernaturalist.

27
  • Surprised by Joy
  • At the same time it dawned on him that all the
    authors on whom he could really feed (Macdonald,
    Chesterton, Dr. Johnson, Spencer, Milton) saw
    things through Christian eyes.
  • Even the most religious of the Pagans (Plato,
    Virgil...) had some of the same quality. They had
    roughness and density of life.

Magdalene College
  • He still thought Christianity only a myth, a good
    philosophical framework on which to hang Absolute
    Idealism.
  • He became a temporary lecturer for a year and was
    then elected a Fellow of Magdalene College in
    1925, when he was 26 years old.
  • Christians now began to appear all around him -
    men like Dyson, Tolkien ..
  • He re-read Euripides' Hippolytus and Joy returned
    to his heart.

28
  • Surprised by Joy
  • A thought is not simply a thing inside one's head
    and isolated from its object.
  • Introspection can only find what is left behind
    and cannot operate while the original thought
    exists.
  • It is a terrible error to mistake the track left
    behind for the thing itself.
  • Immediately Lewis knew he was looking in the
    wrong place to find Joy he had sought, that his
    hope to find some mental content on which he
    could lay his finger was wholly futile, for this
    was and would always be simply the "mental track
    left by the passage of Joy.
  • Not only must joy look to its object, but a
    desire owes all its character to its object, for
    the object is the very thing which makes it
    desirable.
  • He had always been wrong in thinking that he
    desired Joy itself.

29
The Trout Inn
  • Surprised by Joy
  • Now teaching philosophy at Oxford, Lewis began to
    have real troubles with the Absolute. He
    lectured on a philosophical "God" but
    distinguished it from "the God of popular
    religion" and insisted that there could be no
    personal relation with Him.
  • But now two hard blows struck him.
  • He read G.K. Chesterton's Everlasting Man and was
    shaken by its theistic rationale.
  • Shortly afterwards the toughest of all the
    atheists he had known sat beside the fire in
    Lewis's room and said, "Rum thing. All that
    stuff about the Dying God. It almost looks as
    if it had really happened once."

30
  • Surprised by Joy
  • Lewis thought that nobody could be safe from God
    if this man were not.
  •  
  • There followed a time in which all the strands
    steadily platted themselves into an invincible
    whole in which Lewis's inner being. It seemed to
    him that God was surely after him as a cat
    searching for a mouse.
  •  
  • You must picture me, he says, alone in that room
    in Magdalene, night after night, feeling whenever
    mind lifted even for a second from work, the
    steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I
    earnestly desire not to meet. That which I
    greatly feared had at last come upon me.
  •  
  • It was in the Trinity Term of 1929 that he
    capitulated. As he knelt down in prayer and
    admitted that God was God, he felt himself the
    most dejected and reluctant convert in all
    England.

Tolkien
Williams
31
Surprised by Joy
This walk in the grounds of Magdalen College was
the site of a long conversation between Tolkien,
C.S.Lewis and Hugo Dyson, after which C.S.Lewis
became converted to Christianity.
That which I greatly feared had at last come upon
me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and
admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed
perhaps, that night, the most dejected and
reluctant convert in all England. I did not then
see what is now the most shining and obvious
thing the Divine humility which will accept a
convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at
least walked home on his own feet. But who can
duly adore that Love which will open the high
gates to prodigal who is brought in kicking,
struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in
every direction for a chance of escape?
32
  • Surprised by Joy
  • It was conversion to Theism only, not
    Christianity and not belief in a future life.
    They came later.
  •  
  • I was driven to Whipsnade one sunny morning.
    When we set out I did not believe that Jesus
    Christ is the son of God, and when I reached the
    zoo I did.
  •  
  • It was thus that the Hound of Heaven overtook
    and conquered his prey.
  • Shortly after Lewis died, Clyde Kilby wrote that
    Lewis was "a man who had won, inside and deep, a
    battle against pose, evasion, expedience, and the
    ever-so-little lie and who wished with all his
    heart to honor truth in every idea passing
    through his mind."
  • Almost forty years after Kilby's words have been
    very verified through the detailed scrutiny of
    Lewis's life and writings.

33
Mere Christianity - Excerpt from Preface It
is more like a hall out of which doors open into
several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that
hall, I have done what I attempted. But it is in
the rooms, not the hall, that there are fires and
chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in,
a place from which to try the various doors, not
a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of
the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think
preferable. It is true that some people may find
they have to wait in the hall for a considerable
time, while others feel certain almost at once
which door they must knock at. I do not know why
there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps
no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for
him to wait. When you do get into the room you
will find that the long wait has done some kind
of good which you would not have had otherwise.
But you must regard it as waiting, not as
camping. You must keep on praying for light and,
of course, even in the hall, you must begin
trying to obey the rules which are common to the
whole house. And above all you must be asking
which door is the true one not which pleases you
best by its paint and paneling.
34
Mere Christianity
Book I Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning
of the Universe I. The Law of Nature II. Some
Objections III. The Reality of the Law IV. What
Lies Behind the Law V. We Have Cause to be
Uneasy Book II What Christians Believe I. The
Rival Conceptions of God II. The Invasion III.
The Shocking Alternative IV. The Perfect
Penitent V. The Practical Conclusion
35
Mere Christianity
Book III Christian Behavior I. The Three Parts
of Morality II. The "Cardinal Virtues" III.
Social Morality IV. Morality and
Psychoanalysis V. Sexual Morality VI. Christian
Marriage VII. Forgiveness VIII. The Great Sin IX.
Charity X. Hope XI. Faith XII. Faith, level II
Book IV Beyond Personality or First Steps in the
Doctrine of the Trinity I. Making and
Begetting II. The Three-Personal God III. Time
and Beyond Time IV. Good Infection
36
Mere Christianity
Book I - Right and Wrong as a Clue to the
Meaning of the Universe An Engineering
Perspective A Flow-Chart Approach
37
Mere Christianity
End of the Story
A Force/Power is a sort of a tame and
convenient God . An inconsistent Power
Yes
Do you believe in the existence of a Moral Law?
What Kind A Force (Power)?
No
End of the Story
No
Yes
No
Are you tricking me with a religious talk?
A God ?
Yes
Is there anything or anyone behind the Moral
Law?
No
No
We are trying to find truth and the meaning of
the universe.
End of the Story
Yes
Are you interested?
Yes
No
End of the Story
38
Mere Christianity
How can we find out more about the thing behind
the moral law and the meaning of the universe?
The Moral Law ells you to do the straight thing
and it does not seem to care how painful, or
dangerous, or difficult it is to do.
The Moral Law does not give us any grounds for
thinking that God is good in the sense of
being soft and nice.. The Moral Law is as hard as
nails. If God is like the Moral Law, then HE IS
NOT SOFT.
Looking into the The Universe He Made
Looking inside ourselves, where He wrote the
moral laws
He is quite merciless. The universe is a very
dangerous place.
He is a great artist
No
Do you want to proceed? at your own risk?
But you cannot know a man by looking at the
house he built.
End of the Story
End of the Story
Yes
End of the Story
39
Mere Christianity
Is He an Impersonal Absolute Goodness ?
No
Is He a Personal absolute Goodness ?
If the universe is not governed by an absolute
goodness, then all our efforts are in the long
run hopeless.
Yes
Yes
Absolute Goodness is either the great safety or
the great danger - according to the way you
react to it. God is the only comfort and supreme
terror
No exceptions, or allowances permitted.
Do you want to find out more about God
End of the Story
End of the Story
No
Yes
Christianity tells how the demands of the Moral
Law, which we cannot meet, have been met on our
behalf, how God Himself becomes man to save man
from the disapproval of God.
Have you broken the Moral Law? Do you think you
need Forgiveness?
No
Yes
Beginning of Chapter 1 of the Great Story
... Which goes on forever in which every chapter
is better than the one before.
End of the Story
40
Mere Christianity
My reason for going around in this way was that
Christianity simply does not make sense until you
have faced the sort of facts I have been
describing. Christianity tells people to repent
and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has
nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who
do not know they have done anything to repent of
and who do not feel they need any forgiveness.
It is after you have realized that there is a
Moral Law, the Power behind the law, and that you
have broken that law and put yourself wrong with
the Power - it is after all this, and not a
moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk.
41
Mere Christianity
The Christian religion is, in the long run, a
thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not
begin with comfort it begins with dismay. In
religion, as in war and everything else, comfort
is the one thing you cannot get by looking for
it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort
in the end. If you look for comfort you will not
get either comfort or truth - only soap and
wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end
despair. All I am doing is to ask people to
face the facts - to understand the questions
which Christianity claims to answer.
42
Mere Christianity
Book 2 - What Christians Believe
Who was (and is) Christ?
God?
Great Moral Teacher?
Lunatic?
It does Not Make Sense
It is beyond my senses
It is non-sense
43
Mere Christianity
Book 2 - What Christians Believe
The Cosmic Equations - Calculus for Life
Creation
Fall
Redemption
44
Mere Christianity
The C.S. Lewis Catechism Q1. Why does man need
God? A1. Because God made man to run on God
Himself Q2. Why did God give free will to man
allowing evil to come into the picture? A2.
Because free will is the only thing that makes
possibly any love or goodness or joy worth
having. Q3. What did God do to restore / redeem
man? A3. God Himself becomes man to save man
from the disapproval of God. Q4. What is
formula of Christianity? A4. That Christ was
killed for us, that His death washed out our
sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself.
That is the formula. That is Christianity. That
is what has to be believed. Q1 - says in a less
elegant way what Augustine said 1500 years ago.
"Though hast created us for Thyself and our
hearts are restless until they find their rest in
you." Q2 - Lewis leaned more to the
semi-pelagian or Arminian side of things on free
will than he did of the classiscal reformers
(e.g. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin). They all would
agree on free will before he Fall, but Lewis held
to the idea of free will after the Fall. Re
point three, he seems to operate with the
Anselmina view of the atonement, which is held to
by Calvinists, Lutherans, and most evangelicals.
45
Mere Christianity
The C.S. Lewis Catechism Q5. Is salvation by
God's predestination or by human choice? A4. "I
was offered what now appears a moment of wholly
free choice. But I feel my decision was not so
important. I was the object rather than the
subject in this affair. I was decided upon... I
chose, yet it really did not seem possible to do
the opposite."
46
Mere Christianity
"Faith... is the art of holding onto things your
reason has once accepted, in spite of your
changing moods. For moods will change, whatever
view your reason takes. I know that by
experience. Now that I am a Christian, I do have
moods in which the whole thing looks very
improbable but when I was an atheist, I had
moods in which Christianity looked terribly
probable. This rebellion of your moods against
your real self is going to come anyway. That is
why Faith is such a necessary virtue unless you
teach your moods 'where they get off,' you can
never be either a sound Christian or even a sound
atheist, but just a creature dithering to and
fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the
weather and the state of its digestion."   "...
As St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that
we were to remain children in intelligence on
the contrary, He told us to be not only 'as
harmless as doves' but also 'as wise as
serpents.' He wants a child's heart, but a
grown-up's head."
47
He took in more, he felt more, he remember more,
he invented more His writings record an intense
awareness, a vigorous reaction, a taking of the
world into his heart His blacks and whites of
good and evil and his ecstasies and miseries were
the tokens of a capacity for experience beyond
our scope. Austin Farrer on C.S. Lewis
48
Conclusion It is the way Lewis thoroughly
integrated his Christian faith into his scholarly
work that leaves the largest legacy and which has
impressed me and blessed me most. Lewis taught
me... how to long for God and seek true joy. How
to integrate a Christian worldview with my
vocation, my family life, and my inner self. If
go to Lewis for ultimate answers you will be
disappointed. In all his writings, Lewis tried to
point to Christ. The impact of Lewis on my life
has been great. He has challenged me to grow in
my faith so that Im not afraid to engage
spiritually and intellectually with a world
hostile to God. But above all he has taught me
that the power of the imagination is one of the
greatest tool we have to bridge the gap into the
secular mind. My tropical-Latin-culture- mind
found in Lewis a way to conciliate samba, soccer,
engineering, theology, joy which is consistent
with a Reformed worldview. Youll never get to
the bottom of him. JRR Tolkien
49
Next Weeks
  • March 14
  • Morality, Ethics
  • Screwtape Letters
  • Theological Essays
  • March 21
  • Myth, Imagination
  • Narnia and Trilogy
  • March 28
  • Love, Pain and Suffering
  • Shadowlands
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