Discussion of the Best News in the World, the Gospel of Jesus, and related topics
The C. S. Lewis Story
02/27/2014Posted by on
I can’t expose the Lord of the Rings and Tolkien, as I did in 2013, without
looks at the life and works of C. S. Lewis. Why? Because J. R. R.
Tolkien had such an influence on Lewis. These short videos portray
the story of the transition that Lewis made and much with input
from Tolkien and other spiritual friends.
Quotes from first video:
Lewis: The new Psychology was at that time sweeping
through us all. We were all influenced. We were all concerned about
fantasy, or wishful thinking. I formed the resolution of always
judging and acting with the greatest good sense.
Walter Hooper: He
was saying that all youth at that time were trying to escape from
wish fulfillment dreams. They got that from Freud. And they wanted
to in one way spit on the images of their youth, and go onto they
knew not what. But, anyway, leave that behind because it was
Lewis: I was at that time living like many atheists; in a
whirl of contradictions. I maintained that God did not exist. I was
also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with
him for creating a world. Why should creatures have the burden of
existence forced on them without their consent?
Lewis: All the books were beginning to turn against me. Indeed, I must have been
as blind as a bat not to have seen, long before, the ludicrous
contradiction between my theory of life and my actual experiences
as a reader. The most religious were clearly those on whom I could
Lewis: I can only describe it as the Great War between
Barfield and me. When I set out to correct his heresies, I find
that he had decided to correct mine! And then we went at it, hammer
and tongs, far into the night, night after night.
Duriez: Barfield believed that the imagination plays a very important part in how we
know. He rejected the model that science is the only way to truth,
to acquiring truth. He felt that the imagination was laid behind
even the work of science. It gave meaning to propositions. And so
he felt that Lewis was missing out in his whole approach to reality
on what made knowledge possible.
Peter Kreeft: When Lewis talks
about joy, he talks about something that he labels the central
theme of his whole life. But what he means by joy is not the
satisfaction of a desire, but a desire that is more desirable than
Lewis: There was no doubt Joy was a desire. But a
desire is turned not to itself, but to an object. I had been wrong
in supposing that I desired for Joy itself. All value lay in that
of which Joy was the desiring. The naked other. Unknown, undefined,
desired. I did not yet ask “Who is desired?”
Kreeft: The very
experience of Joy that Lewis had was an arrow that led to the
target of belief in God. Lewis argued innate, deep desires do not
exist unless they correspond to something that can satisfy them. If
there is hunger, there is food. If there is sexual desire, there is
sex. If there is curiosity, there is knowledge. So if there is the
desire for this thing that is beyond this world, there must be
something beyond this world.
Lewis: The fox had now been dislodged
from the wood and was running in the open, bedraggled and weary,
the hounds barely a field behind. The odd thing was that before God
closed in on me, I was in fact offered what now appears to be a
moment of wholly free choice. I was going up Headington Hill on the
top of a bus. Without words, and almost without images, a fact
about myself was somehow presented to me. I became aware that I was
holding something at bay. I felt myself being given a free choice.
I could open the door or keep it shut. I chose to open. I felt as
if I were a man of snow at long last beginning to melt. Drip-drip.
And presently trickle-trickle. I had always wanted, above all
things, not to be interfered with. I had wanted — mad wish — to
call my soul my own. I had been far more anxious to avoid suffering
than to achieve delight. You must picture me alone in that room at
Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even
for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him
whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. Total surrender, the
absolute leap in the dark, were demanded. I gave in, and admitted
that God was God … perhaps, that night, the most dejected and
reluctant convert in all England.
Quotes from second video:
C.S. Lewis: It must be understood that my conversion at that point was
only to theism pure and simple. I knew nothing yet about the
incarnation. The God to whom I surrendered was sheerly non-human.
C.S. Lewis: [Reading from Chesterton] A great man knows he is not
God and the greater he is, the better he knows it. The gospels
declare that this mysterious maker of the world has visited his
world in person. The most that any religious prophet has said was
that he was the true servant of such a being. But if the creator
was present in the daily life of the Roman empire, that is
something unlike anything else in nature. It is the one great
startling statement that man has made since he spoke his first
articulate word. It makes dust and nonsense of comparative
C.S. Lewis: As I drew near to Christianity, I felt a
resistance almost as strong as my previous resistance to theism. As
strong but shorter lived for I understood it better. But each step,
one had less chance to call one’s soul one’s own.
C.S. Lewis: What Tolkien showed me was this — that if I met the idea of sacrifice in
a pagan story I didn’t mind it at all — I was mysteriously moved by
it. The reason was that in pagan stories I was prepared to feel the
myth as profound. Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth.
C.S. Lewis: I know very well when but hardly how the final step was
taken. I went with my brother to have a picnic at Whipsnade Zoo. We
started in fog, but by the end of our journey the sun was shining.
When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God and when we reached the zoo I did. I had not exactly spent the
journey in thought. Nor in great emotion. It was more like when a
man, after a long sleep, becomes aware that he is now awake.
Excerpt from Lewis’ work Mere Christianity: