The C.S Lewis Thread

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#21



I read the Great Divorce and it promoted a concept of purgatory? Anyways, I was listening to the testimony of a former witch and was surprised to hear that JK Tolkien and CS Lewis was required reading for their occult education. And even looking back on Mere Christianity, there are slight discrepancies with the bible.

This comes as a surprise to me but we should all be vigilant and keep praying for discernment. Yeah his writings sow tares among the good grain...
 





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#22



I read the Great Divorce and it promoted a concept of purgatory? Anyways, I was listening to the testimony of a former witch and was surprised to hear that JK Tolkien and CS Lewis was required reading for their occult education. And even looking back on Mere Christianity, there are slight discrepancies with the bible.

This comes as a surprise to me but we should all be vigilant and keep praying for discernment. Yeah his writings sow tares among the good grain...
Your response raises some complex issues...

C.S. Lewis was indeed friends with Tolkein as well as G.K. Chesterton. Both were Catholics but we're also genuine Christians. The literary device of purgatory in the Great Divorce was inspired by George McDonald, but, rather like his Space Trilogy with its alien life-forms or Narnia with its mythical creatures drawn from possibly pagan folklore, these are literary devices that form a mere backcloth to the story.

As a lover of allegory, the skill is to create a story that lies alongside reality to set the scene for the main question of the text. If you find it hard not to take allegory literally, C.S. Lewis is not an author who will bless you.

As to it being required occult reading, I presume the Bible is also on the reading list...
 





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#23
Your response raises some complex issues...

C.S. Lewis was indeed friends with Tolkein as well as G.K. Chesterton. Both were Catholics but we're also genuine Christians. The literary device of purgatory in the Great Divorce was inspired by George McDonald, but, rather like his Space Trilogy with its alien life-forms or Narnia with its mythical creatures drawn from possibly pagan folklore, these are literary devices that form a mere backcloth to the story.

As a lover of allegory, the skill is to create a story that lies alongside reality to set the scene for the main question of the text. If you find it hard not to take allegory literally, C.S. Lewis is not an author who will bless you.

As to it being required occult reading, I presume the Bible is also on the reading list...
As I was reading the Great Divorce, a lot of red flags came up but I ignored them..

Hush," said he sternly. "Do not blaspheme. Hell is a state of mind-ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind-is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains." "But there is a real choice after death? My Roman Catholic friends would be surprised, for to them souls in Purgatory are already saved. And my Protestant friends would like it no better, for they'd say that the tree lies as it falls."
"They're both right, maybe. Do not fash yourself with such questions. Ye cannot fully understand the relations of choice and Time till you are beyond both. And ye were not brought here to study such curiosities. What concerns you is the nature of the choice itself: and that ye can watch them making."


Okay, the bible says nothing about purgatory being real or Hell being a "state of mind"..Hell is a place, and yes you can have a hell-like mindset without jesus..but really? This all sounds true but also Jesus mentions none of this stuff (Hell being small as a blade of grass, lust demon turning into a stallion? really?) in the bible, this is not biblical at all..

"The Lord said we were gods. How long could ye bear to look (without Time's lens) on the greatness of your own soul and the eternal reality of her choice?" (Ch.13)
Uh, yeah this raised a big flag...CS Lewis/Satan is extremely clever, I was deceived until actually seeing this. He mixes christian theology (eternal life and God's promises) with some falsehoods(Our greatness, being gods??)...so we overlook the fact that he is blaspheming.
 





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#24
I can see both points really, @priemier and @Red Sky at Morning. I think it does depend on how seriously or literally someone takes C.S. Lewis. It bothered me when I was at the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) homechurch that the pastor's wife would often say "Aslan is on the move" as like code for "the Holy Spirit is on the move" or something like that. I felt Narnia was being taken too seriously and that they lived in some sort of mystical miracle gnosticism (they did).

However, could C.S. Lewis's works possibly be used to minister to someone in the occult and show them there's a better way? Just pondering here. But I would understand if someone who came out of the occult wanted to shun all things remotely connected to it.
 





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#25
Your response raises some complex issues...

C.S. Lewis was indeed friends with Tolkein as well as G.K. Chesterton. Both were Catholics but we're also genuine Christians. The literary device of purgatory in the Great Divorce was inspired by George McDonald, but, rather like his Space Trilogy with its alien life-forms or Narnia with its mythical creatures drawn from possibly pagan folklore, these are literary devices that form a mere backcloth to the story.

As a lover of allegory, the skill is to create a story that lies alongside reality to set the scene for the main question of the text. If you find it hard not to take allegory literally, C.S. Lewis is not an author who will bless you.

As to it being required occult reading, I presume the Bible is also on the reading list...
also, no the bible is not on the reading list

I guess I am disappointed with CS Lewis, I thank God for showing me more of the truth. I'd say he did more damage to deceive me than to edify- it's better to stick to the bible when it comes to learning. I guess I would recommend Dr. Francis Schaeffer to non-believers who don't want to listen to the Word, his trilogy truly did open my eyes and turn me back to christ. So even if Dr. Schaeffer was not a true christian, God permitted a good work through him to change me. I cannot say the same for CS Lewis' writings.
 





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#26
also, no the bible is not on the reading list

I guess I am disappointed with CS Lewis, I thank God for showing me more of the truth. I'd say he did more damage to deceive me than to edify- it's better to stick to the bible when it comes to learning. I guess I would recommend Dr. Francis Schaeffer to non-believers who don't want to listen to the Word, his trilogy truly did open my eyes and turn me back to christ. So even if Dr. Schaeffer was not a true christian, God permitted a good work through him to change me. I cannot say the same for CS Lewis' writings.
What can I say - the Lord spoke to me through Tombstone, The Matrix and lots of others. I tend to filter out the bad and hang on to the good. Sometimes good meat includes bones and that is not to everyone's liking. It's not an issue I take with you @priemier as there are definitely some things I choose to avoid too. Thank you for sharing your concerns.
 





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#27
As I was reading the Great Divorce, a lot of red flags came up but I ignored them..

Hush," said he sternly. "Do not blaspheme. Hell is a state of mind-ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind-is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains." "But there is a real choice after death? My Roman Catholic friends would be surprised, for to them souls in Purgatory are already saved. And my Protestant friends would like it no better, for they'd say that the tree lies as it falls."
"They're both right, maybe. Do not fash yourself with such questions. Ye cannot fully understand the relations of choice and Time till you are beyond both. And ye were not brought here to study such curiosities. What concerns you is the nature of the choice itself: and that ye can watch them making."


Okay, the bible says nothing about purgatory being real or Hell being a "state of mind"..Hell is a place, and yes you can have a hell-like mindset without jesus..but really? This all sounds true but also Jesus mentions none of this stuff (Hell being small as a blade of grass, lust demon turning into a stallion? really?) in the bible, this is not biblical at all..

"The Lord said we were gods. How long could ye bear to look (without Time's lens) on the greatness of your own soul and the eternal reality of her choice?" (Ch.13)
Uh, yeah this raised a big flag...CS Lewis/Satan is extremely clever, I was deceived until actually seeing this. He mixes christian theology (eternal life and God's promises) with some falsehoods(Our greatness, being gods??)...so we overlook the fact that he is blaspheming.

I have said, Ye are gods
; and all of you are children of the most High.
But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
PSALM 82:6-7
___

Some believe God was addressing men, here, in Psalm 82-- and Lewis, along with (likely) the majority of Christians probably did, as well. I think he was addressing the old gods... but that is another topic, entirely.

I understand what you are saying in principle.
As far as this thread (and the above excerpt) is concerned, though, I do not believe blasphemy is an issue.
 





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#28
The trouble of being "merely Christian" according to Screwtape (Letter 25 snippet)

My dear Wormwood,

The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And’. You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing....

Your affectionate uncle,
SCREWTAPE
 





TeresaP7

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#29
The trouble of being "merely Christian" according to Screwtape (Letter 25 snippet)

My dear Wormwood,

The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And’. You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing....

Your affectionate uncle,
SCREWTAPE
I see this mindset a lot. I have adopted it a time or two. I love Screwtape Letters. Everyone I love gets a book for Christmas. I gave that to a loved one. :)
 





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#30
“MEDITATION IN A TOOLSHED”

Lewis was standing in the darkness of his toolshed one sunny day. It was bright outside but dark inside, and through a crack at the top of the door he could see a beam of sunlight slanting down through the darkness of the shed. He could see little particles of dust floating in the beam, which lit up a small patch of the floor. Then he shifted his position so that the beam of light was no longer falling on the floor: it was now falling directly on his eyes. And instantly the previous picture vanished. He no longer saw the beam of light. It had disappeared from view. He saw along the beam of light. And what he saw along it was the crack at the top of the door, the leaves on the tree moving in the wind outside, and millions of miles away, the sun itself. Looking at the beam and looking along the beam are very different experiences.

Lewis’s point in his “Meditation in a Toolshed” (the title of the essay where he wrote about this memory) is that we should consider every question in both ways—both by “looking at” it and by “looking along” it. For instance, take falling in love. Why do people fall in love with each other and get married and have children? The biologist might say it’s because we want to pass on our genes to the next generation and ensure the survival of the species. The sociologist might say that it’s because there are certain social structures and expectations that shape the way we behave.

But if you asked a particular man why he had fallen in love with a particular woman, he wouldn’t say anything like that. Instead, he would probably say, “I love her because—um, ah, er—because I love her! Time seems to stand still when I’m with her. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I want to be with her all the time. And anyway, she laughs at my jokes!”

Whose opinion is the most reliable? The opinion of the scientists who are contemplating, or looking at, the lovers? Or the opinion of the couple themselves, who are enjoying love, looking along the beam of their love? “Looking at” and “looking along” are both valuable in different ways, and we shouldn’t automatically assume that one is necessarily better or worse than the other. In certain cases we may have good reason to prefer one way, but generally we should be willing to consider every question in both lights.

Lewis jokingly said we should be like the ancient Persians who debated everything twice: once when they were sober and once when they were drunk! Of course, he wasn’t literally suggesting that drunkenness is a good thing, but he was suggesting that we can see certain things only when we are immersed in an experience, enjoying and looking along it, committed to it, living within it.

And the interesting thing about the experience of looking along is that the beam of light becomes invisible. You no longer see the light; you see by it. The beam itself vanishes from your sight.

Michael Ward, The Narnia Code
 





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#31
also, no the bible is not on the reading list

I guess I am disappointed with CS Lewis, I thank God for showing me more of the truth. I'd say he did more damage to deceive me than to edify- it's better to stick to the bible when it comes to learning. I guess I would recommend Dr. Francis Schaeffer to non-believers who don't want to listen to the Word, his trilogy truly did open my eyes and turn me back to christ. So even if Dr. Schaeffer was not a true christian, God permitted a good work through him to change me. I cannot say the same for CS Lewis' writings.
I also approach C.S.Lewis with a lot more caution than when I was a new Christian. His novels filled with metaphors should not treated as literal theological works.

As Red Sky shows, C.S.Lewis' books is a great help to open discussions with people uncomfortable/ unknowledgeable about the bible/ Christian beliefs in general.
 





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#32
I also approach C.S.Lewis with a lot more caution than when I was a new Christian. His novels filled with metaphors should not treated as literal theological works.

As Red Sky shows, C.S.Lewis' books is a great help to open discussions with people uncomfortable/ unknowledgeable about the bible/ Christian beliefs in general.
I'm halfway through the "Narnia Code" at the moment, and suffice it to say that C.S. Lewis loved parables and was not afraid to take risks in being misunderstood. Whilst I don't agree with all of his ideas, I love the way the thought...

Nice to have you back @JoChris !
 





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#33
I'm halfway through the "Narnia Code" at the moment, and suffice it to say that C.S. Lewis loved parables and was not afraid to take risks in being misunderstood. Whilst I don't agree with all of his ideas, I love the way the thought...

Nice to have you back @JoChris !
I have been humming and hahing for a while - decided that resident Christians here need another helping hand (or two). :)
 





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#34
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
PSALM 82:6-7
___

Some believe God was addressing men, here, in Psalm 82-- and Lewis, along with (likely) the majority of Christians probably did, as well. I think he was addressing the old gods... but that is another topic, entirely.

I understand what you are saying in principle.
As far as this thread (and the above excerpt) is concerned, though, I do not believe blasphemy is an issue.
Isn't becoming a god a mormon belief? There are also a lot of mormon groups that read CS Lewis's teachings.


And I'm curious, can you please read the C.S. Lewis exposed section of this article: http://www.creationliberty.com/articles/fantasy.php and let me know what you think?
 





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#35
Isn't becoming a god a mormon belief? There are also a lot of mormon groups that read CS Lewis's teachings.


And I'm curious, can you please read the C.S. Lewis exposed section of this article: http://www.creationliberty.com/articles/fantasy.php and let me know what you think?
For further expansion on the weaknesses of C.S.Lewis, a very black-and-white viewpoint (no shades of grey): http://www.crossroad.to/heaven/Excerpts/warnings.htm

I still think C.S.Lewis' books can be used, but with great caution. I found Screwtape Letters and Pilgrim's Regress much better than the others- both criticizing the Enemy's viewpoint. There are still some Catholic friendly undercurrents though.

P.S. to clarify: used by discerning mature Christians only, not by Christians who know only basic Gospel truths and therefore not fully grounded in their faith.
I have mixed feelings about using C.S.Lewis to complete foreigners to Christianity. He expresses the inner desire "for more" better than I can think of other modern writers. He never clearly presents the Gospel however.
 





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DavidSon

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#36
I enjoyed the piece you shared, "Meditation in a Toolshed," and that author's commentary afterwards. Very true, to look at life from different perspectives. It's funny Lewis is one of those writers who's name I've heard my entire life but never dove into his stuff. Maybe someday our paths will cross.

One opinion I wanted to express reading this thread: Christians don't need an excuse to indulge in aspects of life that may not be directly related to Christ and the Bible. For example I like comedy routines once in a while. I'm not amused by the over-the-top vulgar style of comedy, but it's healthy to laugh, especially at ourselves. Stand-up can be a great vehicle for social-commentary. As long as someone isn't directly satanic, we're good. My love only increases learning about other individuals. As a teenager I devoured a lot of the classics and I owe thanks to those authors that helped shape the adult I am: Kafka, Vonnegut, Hemingway, Herman Hesse, etc.-. Remember the 20th century when people read paper books and talked about them for entertainment? Haha.
Give thanks for love.
 





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#37
For further expansion on the weaknesses of C.S.Lewis, a very black-and-white viewpoint (no shades of grey): http://www.crossroad.to/heaven/Excerpts/warnings.htm

I still think C.S.Lewis' books can be used, but with great caution. I found Screwtape Letters and Pilgrim's Regress much better than the others- both criticizing the Enemy's viewpoint. There are still some Catholic friendly undercurrents though.

P.S. to clarify: used by discerning mature Christians only, not by Christians who know only basic Gospel truths and therefore not fully grounded in their faith.
I have mixed feelings about using C.S.Lewis to complete foreigners to Christianity. He expresses the inner desire "for more" better than I can think of other modern writers. He never clearly presents the Gospel however.
I think Chapter 14 of "The Great Divorce" has one of the key quotes for understanding Lewis. People sometimes misunderstand me because I enjoy literature and allegory. I like C.S. Lewis because of the playfulness of his imagination and his persuit of joy. Perhaps this quote hides something of his message...

"AND SUDDENLY all was changed. I saw a great assembly of gigantic forms all motionless, all in deepest silence, standing forever about a little silver table and looking upon it. And on the table there were little figures like chessmen who went to and fro doing this and that. And I knew that each chessman was the idolum or puppet representative of some one of the great presences that stood by. And the acts and motions of each chessman were a moving portrait, a mimicry or pantomime, which delineated the inmost nature of his giant master. And these chessmen are men and women as they appear to themselves and to one another in this world. And the silver table is Time. And those who stand and watch are the immortal souls of those same men and women. Then vertigo and terror seized me and, clutching at my Teacher, I said, "Is that the truth? Then is all that I have been seeing in this country false? These conversations between the Spirits and the Ghosts-were they only the mimicry of choices that had really been made long ago?"

"Or might ye not as well say, anticipations of a choice to be made at the end of all things? But ye'd do better to say neither. Ye saw the choices a bit more clearly than ye could see them on earth: the lens was clearer. But it was still seen through the lens. Do not ask of a vision in a dream more than a vision in a dream can give."
 





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#38
I think Chapter 14 of "The Great Divorce" has one of the key quotes for understanding Lewis. People sometimes misunderstand me because I enjoy literature and allegory. I like C.S. Lewis because of the playfulness of his imagination and his persuit of joy. Perhaps this quote hides something of his message...

"AND SUDDENLY all was changed. I saw a great assembly of gigantic forms all motionless, all in deepest silence, standing forever about a little silver table and looking upon it. And on the table there were little figures like chessmen who went to and fro doing this and that. And I knew that each chessman was the idolum or puppet representative of some one of the great presences that stood by. And the acts and motions of each chessman were a moving portrait, a mimicry or pantomime, which delineated the inmost nature of his giant master. And these chessmen are men and women as they appear to themselves and to one another in this world. And the silver table is Time. And those who stand and watch are the immortal souls of those same men and women. Then vertigo and terror seized me and, clutching at my Teacher, I said, "Is that the truth? Then is all that I have been seeing in this country false? These conversations between the Spirits and the Ghosts-were they only the mimicry of choices that had really been made long ago?"

"Or might ye not as well say, anticipations of a choice to be made at the end of all things? But ye'd do better to say neither. Ye saw the choices a bit more clearly than ye could see them on earth: the lens was clearer. But it was still seen through the lens. Do not ask of a vision in a dream more than a vision in a dream can give."
I suspect a lot of the confusion is due to many people forgetting to not take C.S.Lewis' fictional books literally at all.
For people who not able to do that (for whatever reason), perhaps they should avoid his works and look for more obviously mainstream-Christian theology-friendly novels instead?
 





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#39
I suspect a lot of the confusion is due to many people forgetting to not take C.S.Lewis' fictional books literally at all.
For people who not able to do that (for whatever reason), perhaps they should avoid his works and look for more obviously mainstream-Christian theology-friendly novels instead?
.
That was the point I wanted to gently make. It's a bit like a window - designed to be looked through rather than at.