FAITH & C.S. Lewis’ observation that it is: “Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” 

[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

Read more at … https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/articles/why-cs-lewis-mere-christianity-still-speaks-today.aspx?utm_content=bufferb7f0d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=CSLewis

WHY GOD EXISTS & C.S. Lewis’ “moral argument” for the existence of God explained

by Jack Wellman, Pathos, 6/14/16.

One of C.S. Lewis’ greatest strengths as a writer was his ability of logic and reason. This served him well in his apologetics. He inherently knew there were dozens of reasons to believe in God but one of his strongest objections for the argument of there being no God was his “Moral Argument” for God’s existence and it is something like this:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

To Lewis, there are so many laws that govern human behavior and activities that it is obvious that objective moral values do exist, not in the least for the governments of the world. To him, the moral objectives clearly reflected the Moral Lawgiver, Who is God. His point was that objective morals and values are more than accidental or random chemical reactions in the brain. He couldn’t understand why atheists could be sure God doesn’t exist. Since it is estimated that humans only know about one-half of one percent of all the knowledge that there is to know, could not God exist in that 99.9% of knowledge that’s missing? Lewis never understood how an atheist could know for certain that there is no god when they are unable to prove it.

Read more at … https://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2016/06/14/who-was-c-s-lewis/

FALLING AWAY & Did C.S. Lewis mean to imply that Susan did not reach Aslan’s Kingdom? Or did he suggest there was more to her story?

“A Plea to Narnia Fans” by Jeremy Lott, November 18, 2013.

… Susan is one of the four children, including brothers Peter and Edmund and sister Lucy, who find their way through a dimensional portal in the back of a wardrobe into the world of Narnia. Their discovery kicks off the seven-book bestselling children’s series.

She becomes Queen Susan the Gentle, one of four kings and queens of that land on the other side of the wardrobe, ruling it for a very long time. Yet when it comes time to defend Narnia in The Last Battle, Lewis’s take on the apocalypse, Queen Susan is unexpectedly AWOL.

Peter explains “shortly and gravely” that “my sister Susan is no longer a friend of Narnia.” Other Narnia kids pillory Susan in her absence for a number of things, including denying the reality of Narnia itself and embracing a permanent adolescence which excludes everything “except nylons and lipstick and invitations.”

…You see, children in the 1950s and 1960s read The Last Battle and were concerned about Queen Susan’s absence. They wrote directly to professor Lewis and he wrote them back.

What Lewis said to his favorite readers was that he hadn’t meant to suggest Susan was damned, just that her story diverged from the one he was trying to tell.

Lewis wrote to one young reader that Susan was written out of the story not because “I have no hope of Susan’s ever getting into Aslan’s country” — that is, Heaven — “but because I have a feeling that the story of her journey would be longer and more like a grown-up novel than I wanted to write.”

Lewis admitted fallibility and issued a startling invitation: “But I may be mistaken. Why not try it yourself?”

Ford calls Susan’s story “one of the most important unfinished tales of the Chronicles.”

Read more at … https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2013/11/19/a_plea_to_narnia_fans.html

Jeremy Lott is editor-at-large of RealClearPolitics and author, most recently, of William F. Buckley.

POWER & Tolkien’s guide to contemporary leadership.

by Peter Franklin, Unheard Magazine, 4/12/19.

… Unlike his friend C.S. Lewis, Tolkien was not fond of allegorical fiction. He had no time for the idea that the Ring – extremely dangerous but hard to get rid of – was an allegory of the atomic bomb. Rather, it was exactly what he said it was: an embodiment of power and the corrupting effects of power.

Tolkien shows us that the only people who can be trusted with great power are those who don’t really want it – or who do, but have the moral strength to reject it. Even then, it’s touch-and-go, the burden of responsibility taking a terrible toll on the reluctant bearer.

Numerous commentaries have been written on this aspect of the story – often summed up by the Lord Acton quote: “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Which is true enough. But Tolkien was onto a whole lot more than that…

Let’s begin at the beginning. The Ring was made at great cost to Sauron, its creator. He poured much of his own strength into an external object – one from which he could be separated, which in due course he was. So why take the risk? Sauron, though evil, was possessed of great cunning – why did he expose himself to such a vulnerability? Did old JRR just not think it through? Does the Ring actually represent a massive hole in the plot?

Not a bit of it. When you understand what Tolkien understood about the nature of power, it all makes perfect sense.

In a letter, he once wrote that the Ring was a “mythological way of presenting the truth that potency… if it is to be exercised, and produce results, has to be externalised and so as it were passed, to a greater or less degree, out of one’s direct control.” This is a crucial insight into the way Tolkien understood power to work.

Read more at … https://unherd.com/2019/04/what-tolkien-teaches-us-about-power/

HALLOWEEN CAVEAT: How CS Lewis and Harry Potter view evil differently.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Popularity of “evil characters” (e.g. “anti-heroes“) in movies, books, media, etc. coincides with the increasing popularity of Halloween. In such instances, popular entertainment often frames evil as some thing or some being “outside of yourself.”  You must react to this evil outside of yourself and you must defeat it (e.g. Harry Potter saga, fright houses, horror movies, etc.).

Yet, the scriptures portray evil as more often something within ourselves.  It is an “inner danger” which will be overcome only if we act rightly.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The Message (MSG)

9-10 “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
    a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart
    and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
    I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
    not as they pretend to be.”

we are born with.

Galatians 5:17-18 The Message (MSG)

16-18 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

CS Lewis got this. Note this comparison between Lewis’ view (which I view as a more biblically valid view) and the outlook in Harry Potter books:

Harry Potter books … If you compare them with the Narnia books of CS Lewis it is very notable that the Potter books are much more dangerous for the heroes. Lewis is far more concerned with inner danger. His heroes know they will be victorious if they only act rightly…  –Andrew Brown, The Church of England should learn from Harry Potter this Halloween, The London Guardian, 10/31/18.

MENTAL HEALTH & Research Finds Positive/Negative Impact From Belief in Screwtape’s Associates

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Here is research published in the The Association of Religious Data Archives, which confirms CS Lewis quote, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and un- healthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight” (C.S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters, HarperSanFrancisco, ©1942, Harper edition 2001, p. ix.)

Demonic Influences: Beware the devil you know by David Briggs, The Association of Religious Data Archives, 1/10/17.

“Belief in supernatural evil has been shown to be linked to positive outcomes such as increasing religious resources and promoting greater cooperation and less selfish behavior.

But too great a focus on beliefs in the power of malevolent beings to do harm may increase stress and anxiety in a world increasingly seen as a dark and dangerous place, other research suggests.

One takeaway, especially for religious counselors and mental health professionals: “Pay attention to the dark side of belief systems,” noted Fanhao Nie, lead researcher in the Purdue study.”

… Belief in the existence of powerful supernatural evil beings was one of the strongest predictors of poor mental health in young adults, according to a new study by Purdue University researchers.

Read more here… http://blogs.thearda.com/trend/uncategorized/demonic-influences-beware-the-devil-you-know/

SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION & C.S. Lewis Quote on Sanctification’s Progress

“If conversion makes no improvements in a man’s outward actions then I think his ‘conversion’ was largely imaginary.”