WORRY & C.S. Lewis reminds us that during crises the most important question on people’s minds becomes: “Is this all there is?” and so we have the opportunity to speak of Christ to those who are waking up to the realities of this life.

by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 3/26/20.

… In his (C.S. Lewis’) admonitions, can we simply replace the words “atomic age” with “COVID-19 age” or was Lewis getting at something deeper and even more relevant for the church today?

…Here’s how he opened “On Living in an Atomic Age,” which can be found in the collection Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays:

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

…After the above excerpt, Lewis moves on to what he saw as the “real point.” … He points out that all of science agrees that the end of life on this earth is inevitable. It’s only a matter of “when” not “if.”

If the threat of an atomic bomb serves as a reminder for us, then it can be a good thing. “We have been waked from a pretty dream, and now we can begin to talk about realities,” he writes.

Once we are awakened to the frailty of life, Lewis says we see at once that whether or not an atomic bomb destroys civilization is not the most important question. Something was always going to destroy us and civilization.

The most important question becomes: Is this all there is?

If we are going to die (and we will), if civilization as we know it will be ended (and it will), Lewis argues, then we should be most concerned about what, if anything, lies beyond the natural world?

And as we live life differently—both from how we did previously in limiting our interactions and in how others do now through selflessness—we will have the opportunity to speak of Christ to those who are waking up to the realities of this life.

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2020/03/19/no-c-s-lewis-would-not-tell-you-to-ignore-the-coronavirus/

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.”

FAILURES & Quotes That Will Remind You About Their Teaching Value

“I learned that good judgment comes from experience and that experience grows out of mistakes.”— Omar Bradley

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.”— Don Wilder

“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”— Winston Churchill

“I’ve failed over and over and over again. And that is why I succeed.”— Michael Jordan

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It is delay, not defeat. “It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.”— Denis Waitley

“It’s not your circumstances that shape you, it’s how you react to your circumstances.”— Anne Ortlund

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”— Thomas A. Edison

“Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.”― John Wooden

“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail, than to attempt nothing and succeed.”— Robert H. Schuller

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”— Leonardo da Vinci

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”— Ben Okri

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”— Mary Anne Radmacher

“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.”— Billy Graham

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”― Albert Einstein

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”— C.S. Lewis

Read more at … http://lmt-lss.com/40-motivational-quotes-that-will-inspire-you-to-make-something-of-your-life/

ETHICS & How Unethical Behavior Becomes Habit Forming #HarvardBusinessReview

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This offers a case study exemplifying one of my favorite CS Lewis quotes, ‘The safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings…’ See how little lapses in ethical behavior have been confirmed by researchers to lead to greater ethical breaches. And then … be forewarned.”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/09/how-unethical-behavior-becomes-habit/

WAR & Can It Be Fought For Noble Purposes? What #CSLewis and #JRRTolkien think.

Of Hobbits, Narnia and Postwar Belief

by Loconte, Joseph, Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition [New York, N.Y] 08 Aug 2014: A.11.

Abstract (summary)

Many of the 400 postwar memoirs and novels from the 1920s and 1930s are profoundly pessimistic, focusing on the cruelty and senselessness of World War I. Erich Remarque, in his novel “All Quiet on the Western Front,” spoke for many: “Now if we go back we will be weary, broken, burnt out, rootless and without hope.” Every combatant nation in World War I abandoned moral qualms and used any weapon at hand to obliterate the enemy

HEAVEN & CS Lewis Quote “Heaven, once attained, will work backwards & turn even agony into glory”

1TPnB3ps_normal.jpegC. S. Lewis (@CSLewisDaily)

Posted at August 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM

“Mortals say: ‘No future bliss can make up for it’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards & turn even agony into glory.”