Presentation on theme: "C.S. Lewis: Life and Work Joy Through Reason, Imagination and Faith Oct 17 ‑ The Formative Years: Longing for Joy Nov 14 ‑ The Pilgrim's Regress:In Search."— Presentation transcript:
C.S. Lewis: Life and Work Joy Through Reason, Imagination and Faith Oct 17 ‑ The Formative Years: Longing for Joy Nov 14 ‑ The Pilgrim's Regress:In Search of Joy Nov 28 ‑ Story Telling: Living in Joy Dec 12 ‑ The Christian Knight: The Apologetics of Joy The joy of the Lord is our strength. Neh. 8:10 Paulo and Adriana Ribeiro Shawnee Park CRC WOW Fall 2001, AD
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. [C. S. Lewis]
The Purpose and Content of the Study This study is designed to introduce you to the life, thought and works of C. S. Lewis. C. S. Lewis never claimed to be a theologian. He approached Christianity from a very intellectual, academic, but honest way – not theological. " Mere Christianity” is the core set of beliefs held by the majority of Christians throughout the ages. Lewis believed what Jesus claimed to be: the unique Son of God. He believed that Jesus was literally born of a virgin, crucified, buried, and that He physically rose again never to die again. Mere Christianity teaches the doctrine of the Trinity: that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all three God, and that God is one. C. S. Lewis tried to demonstrate that the supernatural does exist and that miracles did occur. Mere Christianity teaches that Christ died for our sins, that He was resurrected to prove that He conquered death and that to receive forgiveness of sin one must respond in faith to Him. The Theme This study covers the major issues that C. S. Lewis struggled with in his own life and subsequently addressed in his writings: the problem of suffering and pain, the existence of the supernatural or the miraculous, and how Christianity is the only world- view that consistently explains the nature of man and the universe.
IN 1945 C. S. Lewis was invited to address an assembly of Welsh Anglican priests on the topic of Christian apologetics. After humbly confessing that, as a layman, he had "little right to address either," he went on offer his thoughts. Defining apologetics as the defense of orthodox Christianity "the faith preached by the Apostles, attested by the Martyrs, embodied in the Creeds, expounded by the Fathers" Lewis added that, though the Faith is eternal, it is imperative for the apologist to expound it in light of the cultural and spiritual environment of his audience. "Your teaching," he writes, "must be timeless at its heart and wear a modern dress." So how do we transmit the faith of the Apostles, Martyrs, and Fathers to this generation? What is the vernacular in which we are to speak? How do we fashion a postmodern garment for our teachings? These are the immediate questions for apologetics today, and Lewis-as he is in so many other areas of Christian faith and practice-is here an indispensable resource; for, in addition to his helpful comments on how to approach the apologetical task, he has also given us a unique apologetic argument that can help us tailor the dress for our teaching in this time and place-the apologetics of longing. Lewis' understanding of longing is specially relevant to crafting an apologetic strategy for this generation. To this end, this paper will proceed in three parts: Initially, important provisos must be made: First, to say that theology must be translated into the vernacular does not mean that Christian doctrine itself must be revised in order to conform more readily to the Spirit of the Age. (Indeed, Lewis noted that "the bad preacher takes the ideas of our own age and tricks them out in the traditional language of Christianity.)" Rather, it means that in order for orthodox doctrine to be heard and understood, it must be explained in a language the audience understands. We alter the clothes of doctrine, not the body of doctrine itself. Second, of the writing of books on postmodernism and Generation X there has been no end. Thus, it needs to be emphasized that, while it is incumbent to read the signs of the times, such a project is by nature exceedingly ephemeral. "To move with the times," Lewis wrote, "is, of course, to go where all times go." The cutting edge is the first to go dull.
What, if anything, does this self-confessed pre-Modern"dinosaur" have to say in our postmodern times? First, perhaps the single greatest strength of the apologetic is that it is really an invitation to meditation. Because of its postmodern mood, it is not prone to ask questions like, "Does this worldview present a true account of reality?" and "Is this argument valid?" This generation, therefore, remains unmoved by the traditional arguments for Christianity. It is, however, deeply interested in spirituality, meaning, and personal narrative, all of which are encompassed by Lewis apologetic of longing. Second, this apologetic has a natural point of contact with the longing that this generation naturally feels. That we feel deeply the pain of alienation and brokenness is not to be doubted. Such feelings produce the longing for home and the nagging perception that there must be more to life than appears."Is this all there is?" this generation asks. "No," Lewis' apologetic replies and, further, goes on to connect this particular longing with the universal human thirst for the Living Water of Christian salvation. Third, it avoids the technical jargon of the theologians. Discussing with a Gen Xer topics like sin and redemption, bondage and deliverance, repentance and justification, and all you are likely to elicit is a blank stare. Their thorough secularization has left them bereft of understanding of the traditional categories of theological and ethical thought. The apologetics of longing is not dependent upon such pre-understandings and instead presents the Gospel in the powerful--and thoroughly biblical--language of alienation and reconciliation. 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. 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 …. Two months ago I presented a copy of the same book to a Brazilian Professor (nominal catholic) …. This past week, he could not control his excitement … he told me that he had introduced Lewis to another friend who was looking for some answers. ……
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on November 29, 1898, Clive Staples ("Jack") Lewis was reared in a peculiarly bookish home, one in which the reality he found on the pages of the books within his parents' extensive library seemed as tangible and meaningful to him as anything that transpired outside their doors. When the tranquility and sanctity of the Lewis home was shattered beyond repair by the death of his mother when he was ten, Lewis sought refuge in composing stories and excelling in scholastics. Soon thereafter he became precociously oriented toward the metaphysical and ultimate questions. The rest of his saga and the particulars of his writing career might be seen as the melancholy search for the security he had took granted during the peace and grace of his childhood. By Lewis's testimony, this recovery was to be had only in the "joy" he discovered in an adult conversion to Christianity. There were, in fact, three "C. S. Lewises." There was, first, Lewis the distinguished Oxbridge literary scholar and critic; Second, Lewis, the highly acclaimed author of science fiction and children's literature; and Thirdly, Lewis, the popular writer and broadcaster of Christian apologetics. No brief summary can do justice to the many and varied works Lewis produced in his lifetime between Indeed, more Lewis volumes--collection of essays, chiefly--have appeared after his death than during his lifetime. A sampling of the range and depth of his achievements in criticism, fiction, and apologetics might begin, however, with the first books Lewis published, two volumes of poetry: Spirits in Bondage, published in 1919 when Lewis was but 23, and his long narrative poem, Dymer, published in Neither were critical successes, convincing the classically trained Lewis that he would never become an accomplished poet given the rise of modernism; subsequently he turned his attention to literary history, specifically the field of medieval and renaissance literature. Along the way, however, Lewis embraced Christianity, and in 1933, published his first theological work, The Pilgrim's Regress, that details Lewis's flight from skepticism to faith in a lively allegory. In 1936, Lewis published the breakthrough work that earned him his reputation as a scholar, The Allegory of Love, a work of high-calibre, original scholarship that revolutionized literary understanding of the function of allegory in medieval literature, particularly Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene. Between 1939 and 1954, Lewis continued to publish well-received works in criticism and theory, debating E. M. W. Tillyard on the objectivity of poetry in The Personal Heresy, published in 1939, and in that same year publishing a collection of essays under the title Rehabilitations--a work whose title characterized much of Lewis's work, as he attempted to bring the fading critical reputation of authors he revered back into balance. In 1942, his A Preface to Paradise Lost attempted to rehabilitate the reputation of John Milton, while in 1954, he offered a comprehensive overview of 16th-century British poetry and narrative in his English Literature in the Sixteenth Century.
Lewis is best known, however, for his fiction and his Christian apologetics, two disciplines complementary to each other. In 1936, Lewis completed the first book in a science-fiction space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, that introduced the hero, Edwin Ransom, a philologist modeled roughly on Lewis's friend, J. R. R. Tolkien. Perelandra, a new version of Paradise Lost set in Venus, followed in 1943, and That Hideous Strength completed the trilogy in 1945; the latter Lewis billed as "a fairy tale for adults," treating novelistically of the themes Lewis had developed in his critique of modern education in The Abolition of Man, published two years earlier. Lewis's most notable critical and commercial success, however, is certainly his seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia, which he published in single volumes from These popular children's fantasies began with the 1950 volume, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a tale centered around Aslan the lion, a Christ-figure who creates and rules the supernatural land of Narnia, and the improbable adventures of four undaunted British schoolchildren who stumble into Narnia through a clothes closet. Lewis's own favorite fictional work, Till We Have Faces, his last imaginative work, published in 1956, is a retelling of the Cupid/Psyche myth, but has never achieved the critical recognition he hoped it would. Lewis's reputation as an articulate proponent of Christianity began with the publication of two important theological works: The Problem of Pain, a defense of pain--and the doctrine of hell-- as evidence of an ordered universe, published in 1940; and The Screwtape Letters, a "interception" of a senior devil's correspondence with a junior devil fighting with "the Enemy," Christ, over the soul of an unsuspecting believer, published in Lewis emerged during the war years as a religious broadcaster who became famous as "the apostle to skeptics," in Britain and abroad, especially in the United States. His wartime radio essays defending and explaining the Christian faith comforted the fearful and wounded, and were eventually collected and published in America as Mere Christianity in In the midst of this prolific output, Lewis took time to write his spiritual autobiography, Surprised by Joy, published in In the two decades before his death, Lewis published more than eight books that directly or indirectly served him in the task of apologetics and he is arguably the most important Christian writer of the 20th Century. Lewis's life and work have been also the focus of countless books since his death in Both his fiction and theological writings have been endlessly and hyper-critically explored, creating a trail of footnotes and asides long enough to camouflage the essential viewpoints and facts about his life--thus discouraging even the most diligent student of Lewis. It must be said that Lewis's own works remain the most reliable source and insightful interpreter of this original thinker and personality.
Timeline 1898 Clive Staples Lewis born in Belfast, Ireland 1908 Lewis's mother dies 1917 Lewis begins studies at University College, Oxford 1925 Awarded a fellowship in English at Oxford's Magdalen College; publication of G.K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man 1929 Converts to theism and, in 1931, Christianity 1933 The first members of the Inklings meet in Lewis's chambers 1937 J. R. R. Tolkien publishes The Hobbit 1939 Author Charles Williams moves to Oxford, joins the Inklings 1941 Publication of The Screwtape Letters gains Lewis worldwide fame; Dorothy Sayers, Lewis's friend and a 22-year member of his Socratic Club at Oxford, publishes her best- known work, The Man Born to Be King 1948 Lewis loses debate to British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe Writes seven volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia 1952 Mere Christianity, a collection of radio broadcasts Lewis delivered during World War II, is published Publication of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings 1956 Lewis marries Joy Davidman Gresham in a civil ceremony (a Christian ceremony followed in 1957) 1960 Joy dies; to deal with his emotions, Lewis writes A Grief Observed 1963 Lewis dies at his home, The Kilns.
1898 (November 29) Born Clive Staples in Belfast, Ireland, to Albert James Lewis and Flora Augusta Hamilton Lewis Lewis family moves to "Little Lea" (August 23) Mother died of cancer; Clive Staples (Jack), and older brother Warren sent to Wynyard School in England Attends Campbell College, Belfast for one term due to sickness and father's dissatisfaction with the school Studied at Cherbourg School, Malvern England, following his brother Warren Extensive literary and philosophical studies under the private teaching of W.T. Kirkpatrick Won scholarship to University College, Oxford (April 28) Began studies at Oxford; interrupted by serving in WWI; Commisioned as second lieutenant in Somerset light infantry Hospitalized for "trench fever"; rejoined his battalion, wounded in Battle of Arras, France, and hospitalized again Resumed studies at Oxford. Moves in with Mrs. Moore and begins their relationship (May) Elected Fellow of English Language and Literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he remained until 1954.
1929 (Trinity Term) Becomes a practicing Theist. (September) Lewis' father dies (October) Lewis and Mrs. Moore settle at The Kilns (28 September) Becomes a practicing Christian Began meeting with the Inklings (6 August) Began first of twenty-five talks about religion over the BBC. Formed the Socratic Club at Oxford Passed over for Merton professorship of English Literature at Oxford. Awarded the Doctorate of Divinity by St. Andrews University Offered the honor of Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Prime Minister but cordially refused. Mrs. Jane King Moore died (1 January) Elected Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature Magdalen College, Cambridge (23 April) Married Joy Davidman Gresham in secret civil ceremony (21 March) Married Joy in church ceremony at her hospital bed (13 July) Joy Davidman Lewis died (July) Lewis goes into a coma and is expected to die. (22 November) Lewis dies at the Kilns. American President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas and on the same day author Aldous Huxley died in California.
Lewis' life was one of change. 1.He lost both of his parents during his life. 2.He had to move to England. 3.He had to go to war. 4.He went back to school after the war. 5.He left Christianity and then came back to it. 6.He came back to his father after disliking him. Lewis had a varied educational life. 1.Lewis had a private tutor as a child. 2.Lewis first school was a bad experience. 3.Kirkpatrick taught Lewis literature. 4.Lewis went to University College which is in Oxford. 5.He became a second lieutenant in the Somerset Infantry. 6.In 1954 he was elected professor of medieval and Renaissance English literature for Cambridge. Lewis is commonly thought of as a Christian, though at one time he was an atheist. 1.Lewis was raised Anglican, but Surprised By Joy hints that he grew up in a religiously unstable household. 2.He became and atheist because of his personal and philosophical ideas. 3.He returned to Christianity in his thirties. A.Hugo Dyson played a role in convincing Lewis to drop atheism and come back to Christianity. B.He was surrounded by those who where Christians (including Tolkien). C.He had a mystical experience wherein he realized that he was not allowing something to be released. D.In the summer of 1929 he admitted that God was indeed God. E.He didn't at that point become a Christian, though. F.He became became a Christian in 1931.
C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis wrote books about religion in two ways. 1.One way Lewis wrote was with imagery. A.His most famous book is The Screwtape Letters. B.Lewis’ series of books in Narnia are children’s books and are less familiar to the public in general. a.The Narnia series tells the story of Jesus in a fairy-tale. b.The model for Lewis' Narnia series comes from his mother's childhood experience of seeing a dead saint open her eyes. C.He wrote a three novel trilogy that was science fiction and concerning good and evil. D.His book Till We Have Faces, is the story of Cupid and Psyche. 1.The other way Lewis wrote was non-fiction. A.Mere Christianity explained his basic thoughts on doctrine. (The British Broadcasting Corporation talks were published in this book.) B.Surprised by Joy is a self-authored book describing how he left atheism for Christianity. C.His other works include The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain and Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition. Certain loved ones had affects on Lewis' life. 1.Lewis’ mother died when he was nine years old. 2.Lewis’ first two works were published under the pen name Clive Hamilton; Hamilton was his mother's maiden name. 3.Lewis' father's death affected him more that he admitted. A.He feared that critics would attribute his theological thought could be explained in terms of the Oedipus complex. B.Lewis' wrote that his father's death "does not really come into the story I am telling." 4.Lewis loved Mrs. Moore. A.He denied that his falling in love with her affected him very much. B.She would interrupt him as he was writing his books for five minutes to a half an hour. 5.Arthur Greeves helped Lewis define who he was. A.The became close friends as teenagers when they found they had similar interests. B.Lewis learned to write to an audience through his correspondence with Greeves.
1898Born Clive Staples Lewis November 29 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to Albert James Lewis ( ) and Flora Augusta Hamilton Lewis ( ). His brother, Warren Hamilton Lewis had been born on June 16, The Lewis family moved to their new home, "Little Lea," on the outskirts of Belfast. 1908Mother died of cancer on August 23, Albert Lewis' (her husband's) birthday; C. S. Lewis (nicknamed "Jack") and Warren sent to Wynyard School in England. 1910Attends Campbell College Belfast for one term due to serious respiratory difficulties Studied at Cherbourg School, Malvern England, following Warren; remained remarkably poor in mathematics, unlike his mother, but evidenced an increasing affection for "Northernness" e.g. Wagner's music and Norse mythology. It was during this time that he abandoned his childhood Christian faith In April, Lewis met Arthur Greeves ( ), of whom he said, in 1933, "After my brother, my oldest and most intimate friend." Extensive literary and philosophical studies (Latin, Greek, French, German, and Italian) under the private tuition of W. T. Kirkpatrick ("The Great Knock"). 1916Won scholarship to University College, Oxford. 1917From April 26 until September, Lewis was a student at University College, Oxford. He enlisted in the British army during World War I and was billeted in Keble College, Oxford, for officer's training. His roomate was Edward Courtnay Francis "Paddy" Moore ( ). Jack was commissioned an officer in the 3rd Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, on September 25 and reached the front line in the Somme Valley in France on his 19th birthday. 1918On April 15 Lewis was wounded on Mount Berenchon during the Battle of Arras. He recuperated and was returned to duty in October, being assigned to Ludgerhall, Andover, England. He was discharged in December His former roommate and friend, Paddy Moore, was killed in battle and buried in the field just south of Peronne, France. 1919The February issue of Reveille contained "Death in Battle," Lewis' first publication in other than school magazines. From January, 1919 until June, 1924, he resumed his studies at University College, Oxford, where he received a First in Honour Moderations (Greek and Latin Literature) in 1920, a First in Greats (Philosophy and Ancient History) in 1922, and a First in English in During the summer, Paddy Moore's mother, Mrs. Janie King Moore ( ) and her daughter, Maureen, moved to Oxford, renting a house in Headington Quarry. Lewis lived with the Moores from June 1921 onward. In August 1930, they moved to "Hillsboro," Western Road, Headington. In October, 1930, Mrs. Moore, Jack, and Major Lewis purchased "The Kilns" jointly, with title to the property being taken solely in the name of Mrs. Moore with the two brothers holding rights of life tenancy. Major Lewis retired from the military and joined them at "The Kilns" in From October 1924 until May 1925, Lewis served as philosophy tutor at University College during E.F. Carritt's absence on study leave for the year in America. 1925On May 20, Lewis was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he served as tutor in English Language and Literature for 29 years until leaving for Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1954.
1926"Dymer," a book-length narrative poem, published under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton. 1929Lewis became a theist: "In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed..." Albert Lewis died on September (28 Sept)Lewis became a Christian: One evening in September, Lewis had a long talk on Christianity with J.R.R. Tolkien (a devout Roman Catholic) and Hugo Dyson. That evening's discussion was important in bringing about the following day's event that Lewis recorded in Surprised by Joy: "When we [Warnie and Jack] set out [by motorcycle to the Whipsnade Zoo] I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did." 1933"The Pilgrim's Regress : An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism" was published. The fall term marked the beginning of Lewis' convening of a circle of friends dubbed "The Inklings." For the next 16 years, on through 1949, they continued to meet in Jack's rooms at Magdalen College on Thursday evenings and, just before lunch on Mondays or Fridays, in a back room at "The Eagle and Child," a pub known to locals as "The Bird and Baby." Members included J.R.R. Tolkien, Warnie, Hugo Dyson, Charles Williams, Dr. Robert Havard, Owen Barfield, Neville Coghill and others. 1935At the suggestion of Prof. F.P. Wilson, Lewis agreed to write the volume on 16th Century English Literature for the Oxford History of English Literature series. Published in 1954, it became a classic. 1936"The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition" was published, for which he receives the Gollancz Memorial Prize for Literature in "Out of the Silent Planet," the first novel in the Space Trilogy. 1939At the outbreak of World War II in September, Charles Williams moved from London to Oxford with the Oxford University Press to escape the threat of German bombardment. He was thereafter a regular member of "The Inklings." 1941From May 2 until November 28, The Guardian published 31 "Screwtape Letters" in weekly installments. Lewis was paid 2 pounds sterling for each letter and gave the money to charity. In August, he gave four live radio talks over the BBC on Wednesday evenings from 7:45 to 8:00. An additional 15-minute session, answering questions received in the mail, was broadcast on September 6. These talks were known as "Right and Wrong." 1942The first meeting of the "Socratic Club" was held in Oxford on January 26. In January and February, Lewis gave five live radio talks on Sunday evenings from 4:45 to 5:00, on the subject "What Christians Believe." On eight consecutive Sundays, from September 20 to November 8 at 2:50 to 3:05 p.m., Lewis gave a series of live radio talks known as "Christian Behavior." 1943"Perelandra," the second novel in the Space Trilogy, was published. In February, at the University of Durham, Lewis delivered the Riddell Memorial Lectures (Fifteenth Series), a series of three lectures subsequently published as The Abolition of Man. 1944On seven consecutive Tuesdays, from February 22 to April 4 at 10:15 to 10:30 p.m., Lewis gave the pre-recorded talks known as "Beyond Personality." Taken together, all of Lewis' BBC radio broadcast talks were eventually published under the title Mere Christianity. From November 10, 1944 to April 14, 1945, The Great Divorce was published in weekly installments in The Guardian. 1945Charles Williams, one of Lewis' very closest of friends, died on May 15. "That Hideous Strength," the last novel in the Space Trilogy, was published.
1946Passed over for Merton professorship of English Literature at Oxford, but was awarded honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of St. Andrews. 1947"Miracles: A Preliminary Study" was published 1950"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," the first of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published. 1951"Prince Caspian," the second of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published. Mrs. Moore died on January 12. Since the previous April, she had been confined to a nursing home in Oxford. 1952"The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader'," the third of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published. In September, he met Joy Davidman Gresham, fifteen years his junior (b. April 18, d. July 13, 1960), for the first time. 1953"The Silver Chair," the fourth of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published. 1954"The Horse and His Boy," the fifth of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published. In June, Lewis accepted the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge. He gave his Inaugural Lecture, "De Description Temporum," on his 56th birthday and gave his last tutorial at Oxford on December "The Magician's Nephew," the sixth of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published, as was his biography "Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life." 1956"The Last Battle," the seventh and final book in the Chronicles of Narnia, was published (he receives the Carnegie Medal in recognition of it), as was "Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold." On April 23, he entered into a civil marriage with Joy at the Oxford Registry Office for the purpose of conferring upon her the status of British citizenship in order to prevent her threatened deportation by British migration authorities. In December, a bedside marriage was performed in accordance with the rites of the Church of England in Wingfield Hospital. Joy's death was thought to be imminent because of bone cancer. Joy had converted to Christianity from Judaism in 1948 partly under the influence of Lewis's books and divorced in 1953 due to her husband's desertion. 1958Throughout 1957, Joy had experienced an extraordinary recovery from her near terminal bout with cancer. In July of 1958, Jack and Joy went to Ireland for a 10-day holiday. On August 19 and 20, he made tapes of ten talks on The Four Loves in London. Lewis was elected an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford. "Reflections on the Psalms" was published. 1960Subsequent to learning of the return of Joy's cancer, Jack and Joy, together with Roger Lancelyn Green and his wife, Joy, went to Greece from April 3 to April 14, visiting Athens, Mycenae, Rhodes, Herakleon, and Knossos. There was a one-day stop in Pisa on the return. Joy died on July 13 at the age of 45, not long after their return from Greece. "Studies in Words" and "The Four Loves" were published. 1961"A Grief Observed," an account of his suffering caused by his wife's death in 1960, published under the pseudonym of N. W. Clerk. "An Experiment in Criticism" was also published. 1962"They Asked for a Paper: Papers and Addresses" was published. 1963Lewis died at 5:30 p.m. at The Kilns, one week before his 65th birthday on Friday, November 22, after a variety of illnesses, including a heart attack and kidney problems. This same day, American president John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Aldous Huxley died. He had resigned his position at Cambridge during the summer and was then elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. His grave is in the yard of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, Oxford.
Introductory Remarks Champion of Basic / Mere Christianity Born into a bookish family of Protestants in Belfast, Ireland. "There were books in the study, books in the dining room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds," A Life of Problems and Moments of Delight (Joy) Lewis mother's death from cancer came just three months before Jack's tenth birthday, and the young man was hurt deeply by her passing. On top of that, his father never fully recovered from her death, and both boys felt increasingly estranged from him; home life was never warm and satisfying again. Transition From Christianity to Atheism His mother's death convinced young Jack that the God he encountered in the Bible his mother gave him didn't always answer prayers. This early doubt, coupled with an unduly harsh, self- directed spiritual regimen and the influence of a mildly occultist boarding school matron a few years later, caused Lewis to reject Christianity and become an avowed atheist. University Life Lewis entered Oxford in 1917 as a student and never really left. "The place has surpassed my wildest dreams," he wrote to his father after spending his first day there. "I never saw anything so beautiful." Despite an interruption to fight in World War I (in which he was wounded by a bursting shell), he always maintained his home and friends in Oxford.
Introductory Remarks Marvelous and Seductive Writer (Chronicles of Narnia set, for example, is among Amazon.com's top 200 titles) Time Magazine 1947: “Having lured his reader onto the the straight highway of logic, Lewis then inveigles him down the garden paths of orthodox theology.” The implication: Could such a clever man be sincere about the Christianity he was proclaiming? Intense Experiences From His Childhood: Longing For Joy The Search For Joy Becomes The Theme of C.S. Lewis’ Life 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... "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important"
1 - The Formative Years: Longing for Joy First nine Years - Mother Dies, Boys Sent to Boarding School (England) Growing Up: Loving and Intellectual Mother, Unstable Father, Vile Boarding School Became Serious About Christianity - But A Distorted Christianity Led Him To Reject It All Together Preparatory School:He Lost His Faith and His Simplicity Became Serious About His Studies, His Imaginative Life Flourished Becomes Fascinated With Poetry, Romance and Mythology (He later wondered if his near adoration of false gods whom he did not believe was the true God’s way of developing within him a keen capacity for sincere worship.) Start To Develop a Priggish Sense of Superiority (He Maintained that God did not exist. He was angry with God for not existing, and was equally angry with Him for creating the world) Lewis published his first book, a cycle of lyrics titled Spirits in Bondage (1919) In 1924 he became a philosophy tutor at University College, and the following year he was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College, where he tutored in English language and literature. His second volume of poetry, Dymer, was also published pseudonymously.
1 - The Formative Years: Longing for Joy Reading, Reading - Especially enjoyed Christian author George MacDonald. Phantastes, powerfully challenged his atheism. "What it actually did to me," wrote Lewis, "was to convert, even to baptize…my imagination." G. K. Chesterton's books - The Everlasting Man, raised serious questions about the young intellectual's materialism. "A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading," Lewis later wrote in the autobiographical Surprised by Joy. "God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous." Logic - Close friend Owen Barfield pounced on the logic of Lewis's atheism. Barfield had converted from atheism to theism, then finally to Christianity, and he frequently badgered Lewis about his materialism. So did Nevill Coghill, a brilliant fellow student and lifelong friend who, to Lewis's amazement, was "a Christian and a thoroughgoing supernaturalist." Soon after joining the English faculty at Oxford's Magdalen College, Lewis met two more Christians, Hugo Dyson and J. R. R. Tolkien. These men became close friends of Lewis. He admired their brilliance and their logic. Soon Lewis recognized that most of his friends, like his favorite authors—MacDonald, Chesterton, Johnson, Spenser, and Milton— held to this Christianity. In 1929 these roads met, and Lewis surrendered, admitting "God was God, and knelt and prayed." Within two years the reluctant convert also moved from theism to Christianity and joined the Church of England. Almost immediately, Lewis set out in a new direction, most demonstrably in his writing. Earlier efforts to become a poet were laid to rest. The new Christian devoted his talent and energy to writing prose that reflected his recently found faith. Within two years of his conversion, Lewis published The Pilgrim's Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism (1933). This little volume opened a 30-year stream of books on Christian apologetics and discipleship that became a lifelong avocation. Not everyone approved of his new interest in apologetics. Lewis frequently received criticism from members of his closest circle of friends, the Inklings (the nickname for the group of intellectuals and writers who met regularly to exchange ideas). Even close Christian friends like Tolkien and Owen Barfield openly disapproved of Lewis's evangelistic speaking and writing. In fact, Lewis's "Christian" books caused so much disapproval that he was more than once passed over for a professorship at Oxford, with the honors going to men of lesser reputation. It was Magdalene College at Cambridge University that finally honored Lewis with a chair in 1955.
1 - The Formative Years: Longing for Joy New Tutor: Kirkpatrick (atheist, ruthless rational) - New Environment: Surrey Country Side Books, Books, and Books - He bought the Most Important Book: Phantastis (G. Macdonald) Kirkpatrick: Lewis is Qualified for Nothing Else, But The Academic Life Arrives At Oxford Goes To War (on his 19th birthday he arrived in the frontline trenches in France) Meets Paddy Moore (Fellow Soldier) - Takes Care of Paddy’s Mother Until she died 1951 Reads G.K. Chesterton (greatly influences Lewis) (“A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”
1 - The Formative Years: Longing for Joy Ref. Books Surprised by Joy They Stand Together (letters to Arthur Grieves) Letters Top Ten Books That Influenced C.S Lewis In 1962, The Christian Century magazine published C.S. Lewis's answer to the question, "What books did most to shape your vocational attitude and your philosophy of life?" Here is C.S. Lewis's list, annotated with hyperlinks to e-text versions of the works (where available) and to additional information about the authors. 1.Phantastes by George MacDonald.PhantastesGeorge MacDonald 2.The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton.G. K. Chesterton 3.The Aeneid by Virgil.The Aeneid Virgil 4.The Temple by George Herbert.The Temple George Herbert 5.The Prelude by William Wordsworth.The Prelude William Wordsworth 6.The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto. Rudolf Otto 7.The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius. The Consolation of PhilosophyBoethius 8.Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell. Life of Samuel Johnson James Boswell 9.Descent into Hell by Charles Williams. Charles Williams 10.Theism and Humanism by Arthur James Balfour. Arthur James Balfour
2 - The Pilgrim's Regress:In Search of Joy Toy garden made him aware of the beauties of nature for the first time That was the first beauty I ever knew. What a real garden had failed to do, the toy garden did. It made me aware of nature--not indeed, as a storehouse of forms and colors but as something cool, dewy, fresh, exuberant. Flowering Currant Bush on a Summer Day - The Beauty of Nature Beatrix Potter book Squirrel Nutkin - Fell In Love With Autumn Poetry from the Norse god Balder Longing - Joy as an unsatisfied desire which is better than any satisfaction - The Stab of Joy April Meets Arthur Grieves (likes Norse Mythology - 47 years of friendship) March Phantastes by George McDonald: Imagination was baptized Rejected Christianity Philosophical Progression: Popular Realism - Philosophical Idealism - Pantheism - Theism - Christianity “All joy (as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement) emphasizes our pilgrim status: always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.”
The Philosophical Journey of C.S. Lewis By: Glenn J. Giokaris Clive Staples Lewis, born in 1898, is one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century. His stories of distant worlds and poetry have enthralled people of all ages. Additionally, and in many ways, more importantly, his novels of Christian context have made him one of the most successful Christian apologists. For that reason, there have been countless biographies and critics of his life and of his work. Yet, with all of these biographies, there is a noticeable gap that has been left unfilled. As many people who have read the life story of C.S. Lewis realize, at one time he was an atheist. However, for the most part, that is all that anyone knows. In most cases, there is an unavoidable absence of material. He goes from an atheist in 1915 to a Christian in 1931 by way of fraternizing with men like J.R.R. Tolkien. Although this is indeed very true and in many respects very important in the conversion of C.S. Lewis to Christianity, it is not the complete story. Instead, it is important to view the conversion of C.S. Lewis within the context of the world around him. For Clive Staples Lewis was caught in a time of great philosophical debate at Oxford and England as a whole. Consequently, to better understand C.S. Lewis and his gradual conversion to Christianity, one must examine the philosophical battle between realism and idealism that was raging within Oxford. This battle eventually led Lewis down a road that caused him to reject both ideologies in favor of Christianity. The Oxford system of study has been well noted throughout history. At the turn of the century in the 1900, it was the crown jewel of the British Empire. Its methods of teaching, its curriculum, and its continued distinguished world scholars contributed to its importance. As F.E. Brightman explained, "The English school system would seem to be to inspire you to ask questions related to your subject, and then through tutorial conferences and occasional lectures to indicate to you how you might find the answers to your own questions." Students were pushed to challenge themselves and to challenge the system in which they worked. Consequently, much philosophical and ideological debate was possible within the halls of Oxford. When an Oxford graduate during the turn of the century spoke of philosophy, what he most often meant was the tradition that began with Plato and Aristotle later developed by Kant and Hegel and perfected by his own teachers. Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, a movement incorporating moral philosophy and social criticism became the standard theory of thought, an Oxford form of idealism. It was this moral philosophy that was cited in defense of the ideals of self sacrifice and duty in support of a political system based on cooperative principles. This theory of thought came as a result of Plato being the most widely acclaimed philosopher and the Republic the most widely read philosophic work. Additionally Aristotle’s Ethics were incorporated into the philosophical framework. By the 1860s, Kant and other modern philosophers began to appear on examinations and by 1880, Kant and Hegel were the philosophers most widely studied at Oxford. It was at this point that the ideological framework of modern idealism was formed. Through the work of Thomas Hill Green, the principles of modern idealism, became the basis for study at Oxford. Green’s idealism was based on the philosophy of the Absolute. However, in 1882 after only four years as the dominant figure of the head of Oxford philosophy, Green died. It was at this point that the philosophical theory of realism began to implant itself into the curriculum. Realism accords that the world we know consists of unalterable facts having no necessary relation to the knower, other beings, or God. A realist held that knowledge was caused by the immediate intuition of facts. For all practical purposes, realism believed that life could be explained and meaningful without the existence of an Absolute.
Realism began to encroach on idealism at Oxford in the 1890s. Leading the way for realism at Oxford was Cook Wilson. He believed that, "Logic was to be kept free of psychology, free from all dependence on the subjectivity of the thinker." By the 1920’s realism and idealism were involved in a struggle of thought. It is under these circumstances that the young C.S. Lewis was educated. For most young men philosophical conflicts matter very little. However, Lewis was not most young men. He was an avid reader, a dreamer, and seeker. His philosophical outlook was intricately intertwined with what he called joy and for Lewis, the attainment of joy was the primary goal in life. However, as Lewis grew older his feelings of joy became less frequent. As a result, Lewis felt what he described as Sehnsucht, the German word for longing. Lewis’ joy turned to Sehnsucht as a result of two occurrences. First in 1908, Lewis’ mother died of cancer. Her death exacerbated the distance Lewis felt from his father. Lewis explained that his father, "sometimes appeared not so much incapable of understanding as determined to misunderstand everything." Despite the attempts by his father to be a friend to his sons, Lewis began to recede deeper into unhappiness. Additionally, Lewis’ severe distaste for his English boarding school contributed greatly to his feelings of disconsolation and intensified his Sehnsucht. It was at this stage in life that Lewis’ search for joy lead him to abandon his childhood faith of Christianity and seek out other ways so that his "longing for joy" could be satisfied. Consequently, Lewis turned toward realism to provide the framework to fulfill his needs. Lewis the Realist At fifteen Lewis was the happiest he had ever been. His previous schooling had given him more pain than pleasure as most classmates were as Lewis described them, as having every motive but that of real learning. Thus, at the age of fourteen, Lewis sought intellectual training and freedom under W.T. Kirkpatrick, a dialectectician and independent tutor. Of his days under Kirkpatrick’s tutorship, Lewis recalls them with the fondest of memories. The stimulation of the countryside, ordered security, freedom to read and write, and the overriding mentorship of Kirkpatrick, combined to develop Lewis into a staunch realist. Besides his academic freedom, among the many new freedoms that were presented before Lewis was his freedom from God. As it happened, Kirkpatrick was an atheist, a primary element of realism. Although Kirkpatrick did not openly encourage Lewis to be an atheist, Lewis was constantly reading and writing material that attacked the existence of God. Soon, Lewis was defying his Christian upbringing and writing his own poetry attacking God and the evil he felt that was incarnated in the Ruler of the Universe. The first stanza of his poem De Profundis written while studying with Kirkpatrick reads, "Come let us curse our master ere we die, For all our hopes in endless ruin lie, Good is dead. Let us curse God most high." Additionally, in a letter to his boyhood friend Arthur Greeves, Lewis argued to Greeves that religion was nothing more than mans own invention without real foundation. As Lewis continued to keep in contact with Arthur Greeves, the realist rational that was now ever present in Lewis’ thought continued to manifest its self. In one letter that was undated but most likely written in 1916, Lewis encouraged Greeves to be more assertive for what he reasoned to be truth. The topic of the letter centered around the novel by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein and Greeves apparent lack of assertiveness in producing his own rational system of thought. Lewis scolded his friend for not trusting his own judgment. "I don’t like the way you say don’t tell anyone that you thought Frankenstein badly written, and at once draw in your critical horns with the of course I am no judge theory... you ought to rely on yourself [more] than anyone else." This letter also reveals that it was Lewis’ self-dependence was the very thing that drew him so devoutly to realism.
Lewis wanted the freedom to reason for himself; to determine what he felt was good or bad, what he thought was just or unjust, and the freedom to where to attain joy. It was this ability to reason that Lewis felt set humans apart from other beings of life. He rationalized that if humans have the capabilities, they should use them. In 1921 in a letter to his brother that included a discussion of Milton’s Paradise Lost, he remarked that it was the "Hebrews who were the class A primitives." Lewis believed that because of the Jews’ history of constant oppression and their actions under this domination, they failed to use their own reason to find a better alternative. Instead they did what they were told and followed anyone who would promise them a better life. However, as Lewis’ need for reason and joy brought him to realism, it would be the very two things that would lead him away from that theory. First however, with realism as his guide and atheism his compasses, Lewis left the security of Kirkpatrick’s teaching in 1917 for Oxford. For the next five years of his life Lewis would hold the realist philosophy as his own. He believed in what he saw, and did what he reasoned to be right. He was the epitome of realism. The grounds of Lewis’ personal commitment to realism were complex. Lewis the rebel, considered idealism the dominant philosophy, and therefore relished his association with philosophical heresy. Furthermore, as exhibited by Lewis’ previous actions, reason was a constant in his life. Realism, like Aristotle, satisfied his lifelong love for the objective: "I wanted nature to be quite independent of our own observation; something other, self-existing, indifferent." Lewis’ philosophical intellect began to impress many of his professors. E.F. Carritt had identified Lewis as a highly promising scholar and when Lewis returned from the First World War in 1919 philosophically unchanged. Carritt persistently sponsored Lewis’ search for a career in philosophy. For three more years, Lewis dutifully studied and believed the theory of realism. However, in the summer of 1922, Lewis’ realism threatened collapse. One of the first outward signs that Lewis began questioning realism and the belief that his own reason could not answer everything was upon the death of his boyhood tutor, Kirkpatrick. When writing to his father regarding the funeral Lewis described a feeling of uncertainty. It was this uncertainty that Lewis’ reason, grounded in the present could not answer. Instead, something more was needed. In describing what he saw at the funeral, "Lewis commented that the person is so real, so obviously living and different from what is left, that one cannot believe something has turned into nothing. It is not faith, it is not reason, just a feeling." This feeling of something greater that had never left him from his childhood was still very present with him in His search for truth and knowledge would now begin to lead him away from realism and towards idealism. Lewis the Idealist With the success of realism that had characterized the first part of the twentieth century, a change of ideology away from realism was rare. As Lewis earned more accolades for his studies and oratory skills on behalf of realism, his foundation began to give way. Lewis began to see that if aesthetic experience was valuable then values must exist. Lewis was also surprised to discover that the best writers were Christians. "The only non-Christians who seemed to me to know anything were the Romantics; and a good many of them were dangerously tinged with something like religion, even at times with Christianity." Lewis was however, no where near believing in a God and even farther from the belief in the Christian doctrine. However, it was here that Lewis reveals his childlike romanticism, as a small thought of an Absolute that would eventually lead him to Christianity.
Although Lewis was not consciously considering Christianity as a viable answer to his questions, his shift away from realism left him in a state of uncertainty. Lewis concluded that the mind was, "no late phenomena... the whole universe was in the last resort mental;... our logic was participation in the cosmic logos." Lewis’ next step came as his reality conceived in a unified whole became less indifferent and based more in the absolute that is taught by idealism. In his journal entry dated the eighteenth of October, 1922, Lewis commented that the Bible produced, "very definitive teaching from the Gospels; the writers had apparently seen something overwhelming but could not reproduce it." Although this does not reflect his consideration of Christianity, it does validate his belief in idealism. Lewis reflected on the conversion toward idealism twenty years later and commented that, "What I learned from the Idealist (and still most strongly holds) is the maxim: ‘it is more important that heaven should exist than that of any of us should reach it.’" It was now in 1923 that Lewis once again believed in a single Absolute. However, although Lewis began to agree with many of the idealist arguments, he could not fit comfortably with the idealistic framework. For Lewis above all else, valued his reason. In 1924 Lewis stated that the problem with Green’s school of idealism was that, "the self has disappeared under his dialectic, and we are left with nothing but ideas and impressions." This situation of flux continued to remain in his life and by the mid-nineteen twenties Lewis could find no philosophical home. The structure that he had known for seven years had crumbled under the weight of the Absolute and yet the idealistic framework did not provide enough room for reason. It was this situation that Lewis found himself in when on May 25, 1925; Lewis was elected to a fellowship position at Magdalen. As Lewis continued on the road that he would later call a natural process, he was forced to define his philosophical position more clearly. In 1925 when Lewis came to Magdalen College, he was much more of an idealist than a realist. He no longer was atheist but was convinced as the idealist doctrine prescribes, "that the whole universe was, in the last resort, mental; that out logic was participation in a cosmic logos." It was also in Magdalen College that Lewis had suddenly found himself surrounded by men who believed what the realists had taught him to suspect. Worse yet, many of them were religious. The real fear for Lewis was that, "If you seriously believed in even a ‘God’ or "Spirit’ as I admitted, a wholly new situation developed... I was to be able to play at philosophy no longer." In the summer of 1925 it was this very serious situation in which C.S. Lewis found himself. In retrospect, Lewis understood the process. "On the intellectual side my own progress had been formed from ‘popular realism’ to Philosophical Idealism; from Idealism to Pantheism; from Pantheism to Theism; and from Theism to Christianity. I still think this is a very common road, but I know that it is a road very rarely trodden." In this context, the first two stages of Lewis conversion were complete. Lewis had left the philosophy that he thought could afford him the most opportunities for joy for a belief in the Absolute. However, for Lewis, something was still incomplete. There was something missing. Life could not be understood or conceptualized by using one or both of these frameworks. Instead, Lewis was forced to search beyond these two ideologies and what he came to was Christianity.
Lewis as a Christian By 1926 Lewis was at the center of the battle between realism and idealism at Oxford University. Realists surrounded his past and his present found him surrounded by the idealists of Magdalen College. Although Lewis held the fellowship that he had longed for, he felt as though the, "literary conversation in the common room at Magdalen College is (by comparison [to the outside world]) nothing because one remains in the charmed circle of ones own set and caste; there is nothing to refute the accusation of being out of this world, of playing with things that perhaps derive a fictitious value from the chatter of specifically formulated groups." Lewis in 1927 began to long for something more than could be found in halls of Oxford or the doctrines of philosophers. On January 10, 1927, after one of his walks around the hills outside Oxford University, Lewis in his journal remarks at what he calls, "A most extraordinary afternoon. Most of the sky was a very pale creamy blue... near the sun the sky simply turned white itself... I got into a tremendously happy mood." It was the first time that Lewis had described joy as a result of a natural process since the viewing the rolling hills surrounding his home childhood home in Belfast. At this crucial point, Lewis’ new philosophical structure had failed. What followed was the abandonment of idealism that transformed from pantheism to the belief in God. It is at this stage in Lewis’ life that so many biographers have taken up pen and paper to discuss his conversion. From 1930, Lewis’ thoughts and actions concerning Christianity are well documented. The first sign of his possible conversion was noted in a letter sent to one of Lewis’ closest friends in June of 1930, Owen Barfeild. "Terrible things have happened to me. The ‘Spirit’ or ‘Real I’ is showing an alarming tendency to becoming much more personal and is taking the offensive, and behaving just like God. You’d better come on Monday at the latest or I may have entered a monastery." Now settled with his belief in a God, Clive Staples Lewis’ was now firmly on a road headed towards Christianity. What Lewis needed to comprehend, at least in an intellectual sense, was the realization that the myth of God is a refraction of the one great myth that fulfills every literary anticipation. This was the idea that Tolkien and Hugh Dyson, another Christian and professor of Reading at Oxford University had explained to Lewis as they strolled along Addison’s Walk Magdalen on the night of September 19, Lewis had insisted myths were lies but Tolkien responded, "they are not... We have come from God,... and reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal-truth that is with God. Indeed, only by myth-making... can man aspire to the perfection he knew before the fall." This conversation lead Lewis to see that the relationship between the images of literature and the myth of truth was such that myths inevitably led to a point where myth comes together with God to form reality. Eleven days later, C.S. Lewis wrote to Arthur Greeves, "I have passed from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ-in Christianity…My long night walk with Dyson and Tolkien had a great deal to do with it." The conversion of C.S. Lewis had been an intellectual pilgrimage. It was a long road along which he had been progressively been convinced of the truth of Christianity. The final push had come from the realization that there was reason in imagination; that the great literary themes themselves constituted a rational testimony to the myth of truth. However, for Lewis, the journey did not stop with his attainment of Christianity. Instead, he used his amazing literary talents to explain what he had found. The literary work most closely related to his journey to Christianity is told through The Pilgrim’s Regress written in 1933.
2 - The Pilgrim's Regress:In Search of Joy The Pilgrim’s Regress provides a great allegorical statement of his own conversion. Although the novel is one of the least read of his books, it provides a framework for analyzing Lewis thoughts regarding the process that took him from being an atheist to Christian. John, the character in the novel whose boyhood Sehnsucht created by a vision of the Island in the West that led him safely from Puritania through Zeitgeistheim to Mother Kirk (God), is Lewis. The story represents Lewis’ own moral struggle for what he reasons to be right. More broadly, the book was titled a "regress" because it traced Lewis’ return to the Christianity of his youth. The primary theme of the novel is reason. For reason is the most important virtue of Lewis’ life. As his past shows, he was a contentious man. He believed in argument, in disputation and in the dialectic of reason because he believed that the main business of life was the bold search for truth. However, to understand what Lewis means by reason in The Pilgrim’s Regress is to have some insight into a his classical rationalist outlook. For reason as he uses the word does not refer to what is logic, but the experience through which all mankind gains access to an ultimate ground of truth and discovers personal responsibility to an Absolute. It is in this way that Lewis has described his own conversion to Christianity. Throughout the novel, Lewis also uses characters such as Wisdom and Contemplation, which are the allegorical representations of philosophy. Through allegory Lewis describes how philosophy must not be seen as the answer to life, just merely a possible lens through which to view it. According to Lewis, the truth is not found in philosophy, but in God. "Everything is the Spirit’s imagination, and therefore everything properly understood, is good and happy." It is this that Lewis hoped to convey to the reader. Lewis writes this from experience stating in the 1943 preface to The Pilgrim’s Regress that, "I myself have been deluded by one of these false answers in turn, and have contemplated each one of them earnest enough to discover the cheat." It is this that Lewis hoped to convey to the reader. Eventually, after some initial failure of sales, the book had the desired effect that Lewis had hoped. In a review in the December 8, 1935, issue of the New York Times Book Review the critic referred to The Pilgrim’s Regress as, "A modern man’s intricate journey through the worlds of thought and feeling and desire; his passionate search for truth... a picture of genuine mystical experience, rationalized by philosophy." The journey that C.S. Lewis had begun in boyhood had finally come to an end. Led by the joy that had never really forsaken him and unshakably certain of the efficacy of reason, Lewis’ spiritual pilgrimage would have a profound effect on all of Christendom. Through this journey it is important to note where C.S. Lewis’ reason and search for joy lead him. For the conflicting ideologies that Lewis experienced as an undergraduate at Oxford and as a fellow at Magdalen College, shaped Lewis in a way that would allow him to reason the Christian ideals of the Inklings including J.R.R. Tolkien and Owen Barfield, his boyhood friend Arthur Greeves. These and other contacts and occurrences pointed him toward Christianity. For the point that is often forgotten through the many stories of Lewis’ life is the debates of philosophy that captured his mind during the late 1910s and throughout the 1920s. Although it was Lewis overriding search for truth that lead him to Christianity, the system of Oxford, and the ideologies of realism and idealism contributed greatly to the life of C.S. Lewis, the Christian.
2 - The Pilgrim's Regress:In Search of Joy Ref. Books: Pilgrim' s Regress Surprised by Joy Ref. Books: Pilgrim' s Regress Surprised by Joy
3 - Story Telling: Living in Joy To forbid the making of pictures about God would be to forbid thinking a about God at all, for man is so made that he has no way to think except in pictures. Dorothy Sayers Narnia - Many Christian doctrines (Classical Christianity) Doctrines fall into three categories: Nature, God, Man’s Relationship to Nature, God and his fellow man. Animal-Land (7-8 years old) The Narnia Series: Different from other Stories - Magic, Fantasy … the Glimpsing of Other-Worlds Stories -(1-4)London Children being evacuated to the country during WW II. Children Transported from this world into a world faire-tale creatures belonging to a great lion (four books on this scheme). The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, - (5)The tale of two native children of that world who are also chosen by the great lion to serve the land of Narnia and to know him in a special way. - (6)The beginning of the world of Narnia - the intrusion of two Victorian children into the newborn world begins the complications which give rise to all the later adventures. (The Magician’s Nephew) -(7)The end of Narnia (Last Battle) Each story complete in itself - George MacDonald stile. Fragmented - Strong unity of philosophy and consistency of doctrine. “They say Aslan is on the Move Perhaps has already landed”
3 - Story Telling: Living in Joy Lewis’s concept of Nature: Spoiled Goodness Fresh exuberance of nature (This is no thaw; this is spring) - Glimpses of Redeemed Creation The Experience with the Supernatural - Lucy’s tale - several hours in Narnia - less than a minute The Corruption of Nature Lewis’s Response Romantic Appreciation and Idealization Acceptance of the Supernatural Moral Awareness of the evil in nature and of the temporal quality of our world Nature is more than a background setting for the action of his characters “Either there is significance in the whole process of things as well as in human activities, or there is no significance in human activity itself.” C.S. Lewis, The Personal Heresy, “They say Aslan is on the Move Perhaps has already landed”
3 - Story Telling: Living in Joy Ref. Books: Narnia Chronicles Adult Fiction (The Space Trilogy) Till We Have Faces, The Great Divorce Screwtape Letters
The Magician's Nephew Digory and Polly discover a secret passage that links their houses, and are tricked into vanishing out of this world and into the World of Charn, where they wake up the evil Queen Jadis. There, they witness the creation of the Land of Narnia, as it is sung into being by the Great Lion, Aslan. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy find their way through an old wardrobe into the world of Narnia. There, they unite with Aslan to fight the White Witch and save Narnia from perpetual Darkness. The Horse and His Boy Shasta escapes from the land of Calormen with a Narnian warhorse, Bree. Along with Aravis and her horse Hwin, they uncover a Calormene plot to conquer Narnia and must find a way to save Narnia and its people. Who are you? asked Shasta, Myself, said the Voice Moses said to God, suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you and they ask me, What is His name? Then what shall I tell them? God said to Moses, I Am Who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I Am has sent me to you.
Prince Caspian Troubled times have come to Narnia as it is gripped by civil war. Prince Caspian is forced to blow The Great Horn of Narnia, summoning the help of past heroes, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Now they must overthrow Caspian's uncle, King Miraz, to restore peace to Narnia. The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader' Lucy, Edmund, and their cousin Eustace, are magically transported onto the ship, Dawn Treader, where King Caspian is searching for the seven lost friends of his father. On the voyage, the children meet many fantastical creatures, including the great Aslan himself. “Oh, Aslan, said Lucy. Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world? I shall be telling you all the time, said Aslan” The Silver Chair King Caspian's beloved son Prince Rilian has disappeared. Aslan sends Eustace and his school friend Jill to Narnia on a quest to search for the young prince and defeat the evil Witch The Last Battle A false Aslan is roaming Narnia, commanding everyone to work for the cruel Calormemes. Can Eustace and Jill find the true Aslan and restore peace to the land? The last battle is the greatest of all and the final struggle between good and evil.
"Is--is he a man?" asked Lucy. "Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion--the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he--quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." "That you will, dearie, and no mistake,' said Mrs. Beaver, 'if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly." "Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy. "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King I tell you." "I'm longing to see him," said Peter, "even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.“ (C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
Biblical Parallels The Magician's Nephew This blending of fairy tale and allegory facilitated the inclusion of many Biblical parallels which Lewis used to reveal different lessons in each of the Chronicles of Narnia. In the chronological order of Narnian history, The Magician's Nephew, although not the first written, is a logical beginning to the parallels. This book explains the origin of Narnia and of the evil witch from The Lion, both of which bear similarities to the creation story in Genesis which illustrates God's relationship to man and the universe. The first part of the story introduces Jadis, the infamous witch. An eccentric man named Andrew coerces two children, his nephew Digory and Digory's friend Polly, into putting on magic rings he invented which would transport them to other worlds. They stumble into the dead world of Charn and, upon finding a room full of frozen figures, an inscribed, magic bell tempts Digory to ring it, despite the warnings of Polly. The consequence is that he freed the evil Queen Jadis who uses the children to transport her into a new world to conquer. They inadvertently arrive in Narnia on the day of its creation, introducing evil for the first time. This episode uses Digory to show mankind's propensity to sin, or to succumb to the temptation to indulge one's own desires at the expense of suffering. The outcome of his inconsideracy is not only unpleasant to the two children, but also to the entire land of Narnia which has to deal with this unleashed evil force. The second part of The Magician's Nephew concerns Aslan and his creation of Narnia. Aslan sings Narnia into existence and creates animals from the ground, giving some of them the gift of speech and intellect. This is remarkably similar to the initial creation described in Gen. chapter 1. This correspondence is used to give insight into who Aslan really is and to illustrate how the world has such an intimate, vital connection to him. When he meets Aslan face to face, the lion is stern because of the trouble Digory had just started. However, his most notable characteristics are that he is compassionate and father-like to Digory; knowing that the boy's mother was suffering from a terminal illness. Digory notes that "great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes... as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself" (Lewis 127). Aslan gives Digory a chance to make things right by retrieving a magic apple which could be used to keep the Witch out of Narnia. The boy is successful despite the fact that the Witch tries to convince him that he should take the apple of life for himself and mother, rather than to obey the Lion. When he returns, Aslan rejoices, and rewards him with an apple from the resulting tree which could be used to cure his mother. Digory sees that his choice to obey had better consequences than if he would have taken the Witch's advice, because she stole and ate an apple, gaining immortality, but also a tortuous eternity of living in her own cruelty and despair. This take-off of the story of the temptation in the garden of Eden serves to show not only the consequences of transgression of God's guidelines, but also the positive results of adherence. Colin Manlove agrees in his analysis of the Narnia Chronicles, stating that "By the end, Digory can see through the deceptions of the witch... showing that he has gained full control over himself and his life, even when he submits both to Aslan's will" (99). Essentially, The Magician's Nephew portrays the world the way God intended it to be. Aslan has a very close, dynamic relationship with his creations, giving them the ability to reason and know goodness. It illuminates the Christian belief in a very active, fatherly God who knows what is best for his creations; delighting in the fact that they would choose to follow his will and forgiving them for their tendency to stray.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe The second book in chronological order is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The plot of this story closely follows the sequence of events of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. It effectively portrays the significance and emotional depth of this immense Christian concept in a tangible way. It begins when four siblings accidentally uncover the land of Narnia at the back of an old wardrobe. The two youngest go there first, and of these two, Edmund comes in contact with the aforementioned Witch. She fears the prophesied return of humans to Narnia because it would trigger a sequence of events leading to the downfall of her evil reign over the land. Therefore she convinces Edmund to turn over his brother and sisters to her by tempting him with fame, fortune, and all the Turkish delight he can eat. Edmund becomes a traitor, and coincidentally there is a law, written by the Great Emperor Beyond the Sea, that all traitors fall under the jurisdiction of the Witch who decides that his punishment must be death. This is reminiscent of a key point made in Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death", reinforcing the idea that rebellion against God's law deserves punishment. However, Romans goes on to state that because of mankind's state, Christ died, taking the punishment which mankind deserves upon himself so that we can be free and reconciled with God. Hence the entrance of Aslan, the Son of the Great Emperor Over the Sea, coming to Narnia to save Edmund and the rest from the dominion of the Witch, the embodiment of evil. Aslan offers himself to the Witch in place of Edmund, because he wants to save him, yet cannot break the law established by his father the Great Emperor. Aslan has the advantage over the Witch because although she knows the law of "Deep Magic, there is a deeper magic still which she did not know...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead,.. Death itself would start working backwards" (Lewis, Lion 132). Therefore Aslan the great Lion solemnly accepts capture, mocking, and finally death at the hands of the Witch and her minions just as Christ, with as much heavenly power as he was believed to have held, submitted to the same fate. Lucy and Susan, Edmund's sisters, witness the ordeal and the story goes on to described the terrible sadness and loneliness they experienced. Lewis as the narrator adds that "it was all more lonely and hopeless and horrid than I know how to describe" (128) leaving it up to the reader to decide how it must have been. However the most joyous part of the book immediately follows when Aslan comes back to life and partakes in an enormous "romp" with the amazed children and then helps Peter and the Narnians fend off the Witch's army. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe shows the extent to which Aslan loves Narnia and its inhabitants and is willing to serve them. The fact that it is recognizably based on events in the life of Jesus automatically leads the reader to make the connection between the love of Aslan and the love of God. Therefore the poignant story enhances the most fundamental of Christian beliefs: that God loves mankind so much that he died so that we wouldn't have to bear the horrible shame and punishment, but that because he did not deserve to die, he came back to life, thereby defeating death and evil.
Prince Caspian In addition to the parallels seen in The Lion, Aslan shows a number of similarities to Christ in Prince Caspian as well. The role of Aslan in this story is that of a teacher, guide, and healer which is the role of Jesus in the synoptic gospels. The original four siblings have been transported back to Narnia the next summer, but thousands of years later in Narnian time. Their mission is to aid the underground resistance movement of Caspian, the boy King, and the Narnians to regain their rightful position which had been taken away by Caspian's evil Uncle Miraz. However, before they can begin the battle, they first must find Caspian and his army of Talking Beasts, and learn some important lessons along the way. They are guided in part by the loyal dwarf, Trumpkin, and must navigate through the Narnian wilderness which has changed considerably over the millennia. Peter takes the lead since he is the oldest and was named High King of Narnia by Aslan the last time they were there. However, Lucy, the youngest, sees Aslan in the distance motioning for them to follow. The others cannot see him and are too stubborn to change their course. By nightfall, they become very lost on rough terrain so they stop to sleep. Again Lucy sees Aslan and runs to reach him. He asks her why she did not come to him the first time and she surprisedly replies, "How could I - I couldn't have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don't look at me like that... oh, well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn't have been alone,... not if I was with you" (117). this seems to be a parallel of Matt. 19:29 when Jesus tells his disciples "everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much." The lesson here implies that, although it may not seem to be at all convenient or practical at the time, it is best to follow God's directions to make everything work out. Lucy learns that by leaving her siblings she would have made them follow her to Aslan, and they would have gone in the right direction. Lucy tries again, but when they wake up, they cannot see Aslan, and do not believe that he is there. Finally, Edmund decides to be open minded, and only then can he see the Lion. Last of all to realize his presence were Susan and Peter who, being the oldest, felt too superior to the others to admit that they might be mistaken (Lindskoog 94). Here, Aslan teaches another of Jesus' lessons. Matt 5:8 states that "blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God". Because Lucy was the only one at first to be humble and open-minded, she was the only one to see Aslan and to understand what he wanted of her. The others were being too arrogant and self-reliant to let Aslan help them, but once they submitted themselves to the will of the youngest among them, they were able to be open and selfless enough to let Aslan back into their lives. Once they are reunited and are able to join Caspian, Aslan runs around the Narnian countryside with a steadily increasing throng of followers. He releases children from schools, lets all of the Narnian creatures come out of hiding, and even stops to heal a little boy's sick aunt. This can be compared to the actions of Jesus who wandered around Galilee and Jerusalem with his followers, teaching and caring for those around him. Because Aslan's behavior portrays him as a loving, adventurous, and charismatic individual, his character illuminates that of Jesus, and leads the reader to a greater understanding of the kind of person he was.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Later, in The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader", the characters' brief encounters with Aslan further expound upon his qualities, and illustrate two important concepts in the lives of Christian believers. The first idea is that of salvation by belief in Christ and the changes this acceptance brings. When the story opens, the readers meet Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and if it is not evident from the name, he is a very unpleasant, unlikeable, arrogant child who refused to believe in his cousins' stories about Narnia. He is then transported to Narnia against his will, along with his cousins Lucy and Edmund. They find themselves on the "Dawn Treader", a ship of their old friend King Caspian, and he tells them of his plans to sail to the end of the world (because Narnia is flat). While the others are having a great time exploring new islands, Eustace is sulking and keeping a journal in which he records his thoughts. He believes everyone to be extremely vile and ignorant and is convinced of the superiority of his actions and intellect, even though he is always the one who fails to see things beyond his own interests. One day he runs off and hides in a dragon's cave only to discover the next morning that he has become a dragon himself. He immediately realizes how isolated he is and longs to be back with the others who he had taken for granted before. He recognizes that he had not always been the nicest person towards them and tried to make it up by being useful in his dragon form. However, the real change came one night when Aslan appeared to him and told him to take off his skin. No matter how hard he tried, he could not get all of it off by himself, so he had to trust Aslan to do it. After the dragon-skin had been shed, Aslan threw him into the water and dressed him in new clothes. Eustace "began to be a different boy" (Lewis, Voyage 92), losing his egotistic, self-centered attitudes, and for the first time, he begins to enjoy life. This episode demonstrates the concept of becoming a new person in Christ seen in 2Cor 5:17 : "Therefore whoever is in Christ is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come." This means that by accepting and believing in Christ it is possible for anyone to let him get rid of their sinful corrupt nature in order to enjoy life by being in a proper relationship with God. Eustace could not do it by himself, he needed Aslan to intercede to completely rid himself of his dragonish nature. Saltzgiver agrees, stating that "There is nothing we can do on our own to overcome our sin and its penalty, and be acceptable to God" because self-centeredness is a part of human nature that prevents people from being able to be open to Him (5). But Lewis emphasizes that God still gives us a way out through Christ, just as Eustace was given a second chance by Aslan. The second major topic covered by The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" is the concept of the Holy Spirit. In John chapter 14, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be leaving the world shortly, but not to worry because he will give them a counselor who will always be with them; describing the Holy Spirit. Aslan also keeps this promise during the course of the story by intermittently appearing to each of them as a guide who never lets them stray too far off track. Even though he is not a constant physical presence in the story, he is always there in the thoughts of the children, and sometimes appearing in various forms to serve as a reminder to them. For example, he first came to Lucy who tries to help break an invisibility enchantment using a wizard's spell book. Aslan appears in time to stop her from using any of the more harmful ones for her own pleasure. He also emerges near two of the newly discovered islands to guide Caspian out of impending danger. Next, Aslan turns Caspian around right before the edge, reminding the boy of his responsibilities as king back home in Narnia. Finally, Aslan greets Eustace and his companions when they reach his country at the end of their journey. He is in the guise of a lamb, symbolizing Jesus, the "lamb of God" (John 1:29) and offers the seafarers a grilled fish breakfast, just as Jesus does with his disciples after his resurrection at the end of John. Aslan's actions throughout Voyage reaffirm Christ's promise at the close of Matthew, "surely I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matt 28:20). Aslan is an everlasting guardian to the Narnians (Manlove 51). The Holy Spirit of Christian belief, like Aslan, gives strength, understanding and guidance to those who seek it (Saltzgiver 4). Through Aslan, Lewis portrays the Holy Spirit as a very comforting, constant, and dependable presence which anyone, even someone like Eustace, can enjoy if they open their heart to Christ.
Above and Beyond the Parallels: Lewis's personal beliefs These Narnian adventures serve to enhance the reader's understanding of certain doctrines through similarities which make the original concepts more tangible and attractive. However, the mission of an allegory, in addition to teaching through parallels, is to go above and beyond them to cultivate the most significant ideas (Encarta). Thus Lewis transcends the parallels of the Chronicles in order to stress certain Christian beliefs which are the most important to him. Alternate Scenarios The first method he uses to do this is through incorporating a few obvious discrepancies in the Chronicles' correspondence to Biblical events. By not adhering to the original stories, Lewis provides an alternative look at the ideas presented in each situation. One interesting example of this occurs when the Witch, playing the traditional role of Satan, tempts Digory to steal the magic apple from the Garden. As the story in Genesis goes, Adam succumbs to the same temptation in the Garden of Eden, causing mankind's alienation from God. However, in The Magician's Nephew, Digory resists and Aslan is overjoyed. Rather than focusing on the terrible consequences of sin, Lewis uses Digory's triumph to demonstrate the wonderful rewards of obedience. Another very telling discrepancy is the fate of Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In a letter to one of his young fans, Lewis explains that "Edmund is like Judas, a sneak and traitor. But unlike Judas, he repents and is forgiven; as Judas would have been if he'd repented" (Letters 93). The fact that Edmund, who prepares to sell his siblings' lives and who precipitates Aslan's death, is completely absolved of his misdeeds sends a powerful message about God's eagerness to forgive and take back even the most depraved. However, Lewis makes it clear that this can only happen provided that the guilty party humbles himself enough to seek it. Both of these modified lessons also serve to discuss another of Lewis' beliefs concerning free will and sin. In his book, Mere Christianity, Lewis maintains that God gave man free will, the ability to choose between right and wrong, because "a world full of automata... would hardly be worth creating". While this makes it possible for people to be evil, it is deeply satisfying to God to see people love him and try to please him of their own accord rather than him forcing them to (52). Each of these alternative episodes shows a human being facing a dilemma over whether or not it would be in his best interests to follow God. Through the positive results of the boys' choice to ally themselves with Aslan, Lewis presents his case concerning the significance of the choice we are each given. He shows that although people are given to following their own misguided whims, it does not always have to come to that end. Lewis maintains that the alternative to blind, self-inflicted misery is a bright future which stems from choosing to listen to God.
Christian Joy The second way Lewis was able to emphasize his personal beliefs was through recurring themes which are interwoven throughout the Chronicles. One of Lewis' own significant beliefs is his theory of "Sehnsucht", or joy, which can only be obtained directly from God (White 296). Lewis says that "we find ourselves in a world of transporting pleasures, ravishing beauties and tantalizing possibilities, all coming to nothing" (qtd. in Lindskoog 38). He believes that there is a certain pleasure which people are subconsciously driven to seek all of their lives, but no matter what they pursue to fulfill this desire, they are always let down. It is simply something that cannot be found in this world. He contends that we are made this way and that this happiness cannot be found apart from God (Lewis, Mere 54). Saltzgiver supports this idea, stating that "we are meant to be in a right relationship with Him. God wants us to have full, joyous, abundant, meaningful life" and that "He is the very One for whom we are made" (3). This urgent longing is personified through Lucy who hates nothing more than going back to her own world at the end of each story. She is always portrayed as the one most fervently seeking and following Aslan. At the close of The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader", Lucy is terribly distraught at the thought of departing once more, crying "It's not Narnia, you know, it's you [Aslan]" (142). Lucy knows that she can never feel as loved and fulfilled as when she is in the presence of Aslan (Freshwater 100). Lewis uses her anguish to effectively illustrate his argument in emotional terms. This concept of deep longing is also portrayed through the militant mouse, Reepicheep (Manlove 64). Reepicheep is constantly fighting for honor and recognition, at the front of every battle in Prince Caspian and is the most adventurous character of all in Voyage. However, nothing excites Reepicheep more than knowing that he is sailing to the end of the world to stay forever with Aslan. Lewis is trying to show that nothing we strive for on earth can even remotely compare with the joy that can be experienced with God, because he is the only permanent, dependable answer to that mysterious inner longing for love and fulfillment. The Cardinal Virtues In addition to emphasizing his belief in Sehnsucht, Lewis consistently uses the Chronicles to support his views on the most essential of all Christian virtues and on the chief cause of sin. In his book, Mere Christianity, Lewis describes what he feels are the "Cardinal Virtues": "Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Fortitude" (74). Some of these virtues are demonstrated by several of the main characters throughout the chronicles. For example, Caspian signifies justice because he overthrows the slave trade on the first island he discovers, and in his everyday interactions he is constantly concerned with the fair treatment and well-being of everyone aboard the "Dawn Treader". Caspian is a king, yet he goes out of his way to serve his friends, giving them his own cabin and some of his dry clothes when he rescues them from the ocean. He is portrayed as an admirable character and becomes a role model of impartiality and fairness. Fortitude, or courage is personified by Reepicheep, who is only a one foot high, talking mouse, but who proves himself to be more resolute than any of the characters he is with. Reepicheep is fearless and chivalrous. He never backs down from a challenge, and despite his size, is always the first one to rush into danger. Lindskoog notes that Lewis believes "that where courage is not, no other virtue can survive except by accident" (103). Reepicheep's courage translates into many other qualities, such as perseverance, compassion, and leadership abilities. Most importantly, "Reepicheep always dares to believe" (Lindskoog 105). For his unwavering convictions, he is rewarded by being permitted to stay forever in Aslan's country which is the Narnian equivalent to heaven. His courage made it possible for him to have faith which is the most essential ingredient to any religion. Through his treatment of Caspian and Reepicheep, Lewis is able to persuasively describe the rewards that come from adherence to Christian ethics.
Pride The second key moral point that is made in Mere Christianity is that pride is the worst of all vices. According to Lewis, pride leads to every other evil (109). Saltzgiver defines sin as a state in which man puts himself at the center of his life without making room for God (5), and this is precisely what Lewis tries to explain through the antagonistic characters of the chronicles. As the Witch and Digory's Uncle Andrew discover Narnia, the only thing they can think about is exploitation and conquest. They see Aslan, but they cannot understand what he is, or what he is doing. The children can see that Aslan is singing and creating Talking beasts, but the adult antagonists convince themselves that they are only hearing roaring, and will not accept the truth because it would stand in the way of their own plans. When Edmund succumbs to the Witch's temptation, it is because she appealed to his sense of pride, promising to make him a prince if he would turn over his siblings. Another example of pride standing in the way of the truth occurred in The Last Battle when the dwarfs would not let themselves see Aslan because they feared they were being taken in by a hoax and did not wish to risk damaging their integrity. As a rule in the Chronicles, pride and selfishness lead to separation from Aslan (Manlove 53). The actions of these characters are in direct opposition to those of Lucy, whose humbleness gave her the ability to see Aslan, or of Reepicheep who constantly risked his reputation and well-being for the sake of finding Aslan's country. Lewis wishes to make it clear that the selfish and prideful always miss the real pleasures in life, and, by continuing in their ways, will inevitably come to a destructive end, like the Witch. God the Rock The most essential theme that arises in the Chronicles of Narnia is that God is permanent, and is the only reality (Manlove 50). There are innumerable times, in all seven books of the series, in which the main characters become lost or confused, but each time Aslan appears in some form to guide them and lead them out of danger. When they are not sure what is real or who to trust, Lewis shows that everything turns out for the best when they rely upon Aslan. One such example is when Aslan appears as an albatross to steer Caspian out of Nightmare Island. No one knew where to go or what was really happening since in the realm of the island, nightmares become reality. Another example of this occurs when Digory chooses to bring the magic apple back to Aslan, even when the Witch told him that he should keep it for his mother rather than listen to a strange lion. In both cases, Aslan was the only concrete entity that the children could trust, and each time they did, they discovered that it was the only logical choice they could have made. This theme was most heavily dealt with in The Silver Chair. It is many decades later in Narnian history when Eustace is brought back with his friend Jill to find King Caspian's lost son Rillian who has been kidnapped by an evil, subterranean- dwelling, green witch. The children are assaulted with a barrage of illusions, and are constantly being misguided by the green witch and her trail of enchantments. However, right before they set out on their journey, Aslan gives Jill explicit instructions which she has to obey in order to have a successful quest. Several times they are distracted from the instructions; each time almost leading to defeat. One example of this being when they accept the hospitality of seemingly friendly, but actually man-eating, giants. Once Jill and Eustace learn their lesson they are able to find the green witch's underground kingdom and rescue Prince Rillian from her web of deception. They discover that nothing in Narnia is quite what they expect it to be, and that the only hope they have of retaining their sanity is to trust in Aslan. Aslan is the permanent, dominating force throughout Narnian history and, as shown at the end of The Last Battle, he even outlasts Narnia itself. This is a very reassuring theme which Lewis means to be applied to our own world. As the children in these stories came to learn, there is hope for anyone who has ever been scared, misguided, or confused. Through the Narnia Chronicles, Lewis reveals his belief in a compassionate, loving, dependable God who is trying to reach us and guide us through our trials and the confusing messages of the world around us.
"The Dark Tower and Other Stories" Ed. Walter Hooper. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Contains four stories - "The Man Born Blind," "The Shoddy Lands," "Ministering Angels," "Forms of Things Unknown," - and two fragments of unfinished novels. "Dymer" [originally under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton] London: Dent, A Narrative poem, republished in 1950 under Lewis' name with a new Preface in which he summarized the subject of the poem as "the story of a man who, on some mysterious bride begets a monster: which monster, as soon as it has killed its father, becomes a god." Included in "Narrative Poems," Ed. Walter Hooper (see below). "The Great Divorce" London: Geoffrey Bles, 1946; rpt. New York: Macmillan, A dream (owing some ideas to Dante) in which the author visits Heaven and Hell. The question is not what they are like physically, but rather what it means to be in Hell or in Heaven. "The Horse and His Boy" London: Geoffry Bles, 1954; rpt. New York: Collier Books, Shasta, aided by the Tarkheena Aravis and two Talking Horses (Hwin and Bree), helps save Archenland from invasion. "The Last Battle" London: The Bodley Head, 1956; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1970 The final story: in the last days, a clever ape has constructed a false Aslan. Even after Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb help Tirian to expose the deception, confusion reigns. The children die in a railway accident in England at the same time that Narnia ends. The children go on to find a new Narnia where "the inside is larger than the outside." "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" London: Geoffrey Bles, 1950; rpt. New York: Collier Books, Four English children (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) accidently discover a magic land that lies beyond and through an ordinary wardrobe. In this land, called Narnia, one of them, Edmund, betrays his siblings to the wicked White Witch, who has been holding all Narnia in thrall to winter. Only when the lion Aslan agrees to die at the witch's hand can the betrayal be forgiven and Spring come to Narnia. "The Magician's Nephew" London: The Bodley Head, 1955; rpt. New York: Collier Books, Beginning in Victorian London, two children named Polly and Digory - whose Uncle Andrew is a magician - meet a Queen during their travels who wants magic for power. They are present at the creation of Narnia, when Aslan gives the gift of speech to the animals. "Narrative Poems" Ed. Walter Hooper. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Contains four poems: "Dymer" (with Lewis' 1950 Preface), "Launcelot," "The Nameless Isle," and "The Queen of Drum." "Out of the Silent Planet" London: John Lane, 1938; rpt. New York: Macmillan Paperbacks Editions, 1965 First novel of the Space Trilogy. The main character, Ransom, is kidnapped and taken to Malacandra (Mars) as a kind of human sacrifice. Ransom escapes his captors and discovers the inhabitants are friendly. This voyage of philosophical adventure culminates in a trial scene between Ransom and his former captors.
"Perelandra" London: John Lane, 1943; rpt. New York: Macmillian Paperbacks Edition, Second novel of the Space Trilogy. Ransom travels to Perelandra (Venus) where he must fight with the Devil (who has taken possession of Weston, the scientist from the first novel) for the soul of the Green Woman (the Eve of Venus). Ransom succeeds and thus prevents a repetition on Venus of the Earth's fate - the fall and loss of Eden. "The Pilgrim's Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism" London: Dent, 1933; rpt. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1958 An allegorical account of a search for Joy and Truth; the main character, John, finds these where he least expected them - in a leap of (religious) faith. "Poems" Ed. Walter Hooper. London: Geoffry Cles, 1964; rpt. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, A selection of the poems Lewis wrote during his life. Does not include poems from the first volume, "Spirits in Bondage" (see below). "Prince Caspian" London: Geoffry Bles, 1951; rpt. New York: Collier Books, The four children return to a Narnia much later in time than their last visit. They meet the mouse Reepicheep and all assist Prince Caspian in defeating the Telmarines and bringing back the Old Things. "The Screwtape Letters" London: Geoffrey Bles, 1942; rpt., with "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" and a new Preface. New York: Macmillan, A moral fable about temptation, faith and Christianity, cast in the form of letters from the demon Screwtape to a lesser devil. Black is white, good is evil, and Hell is a bureaucracy. The related "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" is a satire on the American and British educational system, originally written for the Saturday Evening Post. "The Silver Chair" London: Geoffry Bles, 1953; rpt. New York: Collier Books, Eustace Scrubb, with a friend named Jill Pole, is sent by Aslan to find the imprisoned Rilian - the true heir to the Narnian throne. Guided by Puddleglum, the children help Rilian to escape from Underland. "Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics" [originally under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton] London: William Heinemann, Lewis' first book publication. "That Hideous Strength: A Modern Fairy-Tale for Grown-Ups" London: John Lane, 1945; rpt. New York: Macmillan Paperbacks Edition, The third novel of the Space Trilogy. Back on Earth, Ransom heads a loosely formed society, Logres, which opposes NICE, Lewis' satiric portrait of a modern power-mad bureaucracy. The NICE hopes to recall Merlin and use him in their plot to recondition society but succeeds only in constructing a modern Tower of Babel. "Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold" London: Geoffry Bles, 1956; rpt. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, The story of Cupid and Psyche (how Psyche, a beautiful mortal princess, is loved by Cupid [Eros], the god of love himself and then loses him through a lack of trust) told in the first-person by Orual, one of Psyche's two sisters. Orual learns that we cannot look the gods in the face until we have acquired faces - selves or souls. "The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader'" London: Geoffry Bles, 1952; rpt. New York: Collier Books, Edmund and Lucy join their cousin Eustace Clarence Scrubb ("he almost deserved it"), who becomes an unwilling voyager on a ship with King Caspian. Caspian (and Reepicheep) propose to sail to the World's End. They do. Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy that they are now too old for Narnia and must learn to see him - Aslan - in their own world.
4 - The Christian Knight: The Apologetics of Joy Now theology is like the map... Consequently, if you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones... --C.S. Lewis, The Joyful Christian
The Apologetics of Longing The king's beautiful daughter, Psyche, is to be sacrificed to the god of the mountain--the Shadowbrute, a holy and frightening being--so that peace and prosperity can come again to the land of Glome. Her sister, Orual, who loves Psyche deeply, comes to visit her in her tower chamber before the sacrifice is to occur. Orual is beside herself with fear and grief for Psyche, but Psyche is calm, even expectant, longing to come into contact with this holy Other. "I have always," she says, "-at least, ever since I can remember-had a kind of longing for death." "Ah, Psyche,"Orual replied, "have I made you so little happy as that?" "No, no, no," she said. "You don't understand. Not that kind of longing. It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine where you couldn't see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The color and the smell, and looking across at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn't (not yet) come and I didn't know where I was to come to. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home. The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing-to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from. my country, the place where I ought to have been born" This passage from Lewis' novel Till We Have Faces explores in a literary context one of the primary themes of the Lewis corpus: longing, specifically that experience of longing or desire that points us toward God. Truly, the experience saturates nearly all of Lewis' literary work, from his fiction to his apologetics, from his theological books to his popular essays. And this is precisely what we should expect, for by his own admission in his spiritual autobiography, Surprised by Joy, "In a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else." If we take Lewis at his word, then, we can conclude that one cannot fully understand Lewis apart from this experience of longing. Further, Lewis explained this phenomena of longing in such a way as to present it as a sort of apologetic, what will be called the "apologetics of longing" in what follows. The structure of the argument is rather straightforward. Premise One: Each natural human desire corresponds to a real object that can satisfy that desire. Premise Two: There is in each of our experiences one desire that defies satisfaction in this world. Conclusion: Something must lie beyond this world that is the satisfaction of this desire. This object of our longing is God. First, the premise that each natural human desire corresponds to a real object that can satisfy that desire. In his sermon "The Weight of Glory"-- one of the most magnificent writings to come from his hand--Lewis, in the course of preaching about our eternal destiny in heaven, explores this notion of desires and objects. He begins by noting that there are two different kinds of rewards. In a fallen world where the reality of sin is ever- present, people can and do desire all sorts of unreasonable, imaginary, improper, and unnatural things. So, in Lewis' examples, the man who marries in order to advance his financial standing and the general who fights in order to secure a peerage desire improper objects; indeed, we would condemn such men as mercenary. Conversely, there are those objects that it is appropriate for one to desire. The man who marries for love and the general who fights for victory desire appropriate things, "victory being the proper reward of battle as marriage is the proper reward of love." In these examples, the desire and the object of that desire are closely and appropriately linked; indeed, according to Lewis, "the proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation." So, Lewis makes a careful distinction between unnatural desires, which are the result of our environment, and natural desires, which are the result of our spiritual heritage. Not every possible human desire has a corresponding object; only our natural, innate desires do.
Further, Lewis is careful to point out that, yes, a particular desire may go unsatisfied, but it does not then follow that the object of that desire does not exist at all. As he explains, a man stranded on a raft in the middle of the Atlantic hungers for bread, yet may starve to death. The mere existence of his hunger, however, points to the fact that the man comes from a race that is able to eat and that lives in a world where things to eat do exist. Presenting another example, Lewis writes, "a man may love a woman and not win her; but it would be very odd if the phenomenon called 'falling in love' occurred in a sexless world."In short, the absence of satisfaction of a particular desire does not demonstrate that the object of that desire is a fiction. Second, the premise that there is in each of our experiences one desire that defies satisfaction in this world. Lewis lays out this point most fully in his preface to the third edition of The Pilgrim's Regress, itself a powerful and moving allegorical treatment of his apologetics of longing. He first explains the experience itself, that it is one of "intense longing"--in another place he describes this longing as "the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited" and that it is, he writes, "common, commonly misunderstood, and of immense importance." Further, this peculiar longing is distinguished from other kinds of longings on two points: First, these other, more mundane longings are pleasurable only insofar as one expects their imminent satisfaction. Hunger is pleasant only if we know that we will soon eat; prolong this longing, and it quickly becomes misery. But the longing that Lewis describes is enjoyed, even cherished, even when there is no hope of its fulfillment. "This hunger is better than any other fullness," he writes, "this poverty better than all other wealth." Second, according to Lewis, "there is a peculiar mystery about the object of this desire."Many who experience this longing at first confuse it for the desire for something temporal; so, different people associate it with different things, such as homesickness, nostalgia, wanderlust, romanticism, sexual pleasure,the occult, or the craving for knowledge. Lewis is convinced that each of these impressions is wrong, chiefly because he claims to have tried each in turn and, in his words, "contemplated each of them earnestly enough to discover the cheat" the "cheat"being that though each of these possible satisfactions were exhilarating in its own way none of them were able to bring complete satisfaction. The longing remained; the object of this longing remained elusive. Thus Lewis concludes: One feels this longing. He then tries to satisfy it by pursuing its possible objects, discovers that each of them in fact do not satisfy it, and rejects them each in turn. Following this strategy, Lewis maintains, he would discover "the clear knowledge that the human soul was made to enjoy some object that is never fully given-nay, cannot even be imagined as given-in our present mode of subjective and spatio-temporal experience." So, if each desire does indeed have its requisite object, "if nature makes nothing in vain," as Lewis puts it, then "the One who can sit in this chair must exist." When all possible temporal objects of this desire are proven false, one is driven to the conclusion that the object of our deepest and most powerful longing lies beyond this world. In Lewis' words, "the dialectic of Desire, faithfully followed, would force you to not to propound, but to live through, a sort of ontological proof."
One primary objection to this argument is to deny the premises. This denial can take two forms, both of which Lewis anticipated in perhaps his best-known and most-read book, Mere Christianity. The first form of this denial states, "Yes, I am unhappy in this world and I do experience this longing, but I can think of a situation in this world where I would be happy." Lewis calls this "the Fool's way," for such an individual will spend his whole life always seeking for that next big thing which will truly fulfill this longing, but never finding it. The second form this denial takes is, "No, I am perfectly happy right now, and all this pursuit of something better is nonsense." Lewis calls this "the Way of the Disillusioned 'Sensible Man.' " He represses his desire and longing by asserting that the whole business was a fantasy to begin with. Echoing Pascal's "Wager,"Lewis points out that if the possibility of infinite, eternal happiness was indeed fact, it would be an infinite pity to discover this all to late. Countering these two denials, Lewis presents a third possibility, what he calls "the Christian Way," really a restatement of his apologetics of longing. As he explains, "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exist. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If that is so I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country." 4 - The Christian Knight: The Apologetics of Joy
4 - The Christian Knight: The Apologetics of Joy (Longing) Ref. Books: Theological Works Mere Christianity Screwtape Letters God in the Dock Academic / Professional Redemptive Work Abolition of Man Conclusion It must be emphasized that, powerful though this apologetic is, it is also limited in one important respect. The argument demonstrates that the object of our longing is the Holy Other, but it is unable to elaborate on the character of this Other. We have yet to come before the alter of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; to worship at the throne of the God of the Apostles, Martyrs, and Fathers. This apologetic is an important first step, but still only a first step. We must also always remember our catechetical obligation. We may be dealing with post-Christian people, but ultimately they must be brought into the fullness of the Christian tradition. This apologetic does not provide a comprehensive road map to guide us all the way from the dark wood of postmodernism to the Holy City. Longing,as Lewis reminds, is "valuable only as a pointer to something other and outer When we are lost in the woods the sight of a signpost is a great matter But when we have found the road and are passing signposts every few miles, we shall not stop and stare." We are pilgrims on a long journey, progressing and regressing, and the apologetic of longing is only a glimpse of the first few feet of road on our journey. But, as Lewis wrote, "to a man on a mountain road by night, a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon." That glimpse is crucial, given the vanished horizons of our time, but once our postmodern pilgrims have set out on those first few feet, then the full horizon of grace can be brought into sharper relief. But not yet. The message of that grace must be delivered in a language its hearers can understand; we must take first things first, and Lewis' apologetic of longing is that crucial first thing for this generation in these times. So, no, Generation X is not a lost cause; the springs of God's grace yet flow and still prove to be irresistible to those spiritually thirsty. We are not at home in this world, and if we are honest, each of us--of any generation--knows in his heart of hearts that we subjects of a Sovereign of another country.