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The C.S. Lewis you never knew
C.S. Lewis has become a virtual Christian saint, but his life wasn't as tidy as his public image.
December 1st, 2013
06:00 AM ET

The C.S. Lewis you never knew

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - He looked like a “red-faced pork butcher in shabby tweeds,” lived secretly with a woman for years and was so turned on by S&M that he once asked people at a party whether he could spank them.

We’re talking, of course, about C.S. Lewis, the Christian icon and author of classics such as “Mere Christianity” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

It’s tempting to remember Lewis only as the self-assured defender of Christianity who never met an argument he couldn't demolish. His death 50 years ago, on November 22, 1963, was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has since become a patron saint of American evangelicals.

But the actual man whom friends called “Jack” had a “horrible” personal life, thought he had failed as a defender of Christianity and spent so much time in pubs that his publishers initially struggled selling him to a religious audience, scholars say.

“American publishers worried about offending their more puritanical readers because it seemed impossible to get a dust jacket picture of Jack without a pint or a cigarette,” says Michael Tomko, a literature professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.

There are three other parts of Lewis’ life that clash with his image as well:

1. His religious books made him poor

No modern Christian author sells like Lewis. The cumulative sales of his Christian books for adults - not including the Christian allegory and children's fantasy "The Chronicles of Narnia" - now approach 10 million copies, according to HarperOne publishers. “Mere Christianity” sold more than 150,000 copies over the past year alone. Perhaps the only publishing parallel to Lewis' works would be “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, a mythology written by Lewis’ close friend and fellow Christian J.R.R. Tolkien.

But Lewis never got rich from his Christian classics, says Michael Maudlin, executive editor at HarperOne.

“His books left him poor,” Maudlin said. “He had all of this money coming in, but he didn’t take those royalties.”

Lewis vowed to donate all the money he made from his books on Christianity, Maudlin says. He got big tax bills for his Christian books but struggled to pay them because he had given the money away.

Lewis refused to renounce his vow even though his money worries persisted throughout his life, Maudlin says.

“He is a man whose number one anxiety in life was poverty,” Maudlin said. “Because his dad overspent, money was always a worry. He didn’t fix things in his home because he and his brother worried about poverty.”

Lewis’ financial worries stalked him until the end, says Alister McGrath, author of the acclaimed new book “C.S. Lewis: A Life.”

Lewis’ health began to fail near the end of his life, so he wanted to hire a private secretary to help tend to his affairs. His income, though, was so spotty that he told his potential secretary that he didn’t know whether he could pay him, McGrath writes.

Lewis was more worried about losing his teaching salary from the University of Cambridge than his book royalties, says McGrath, a professor at King's College London.

“Lewis was convinced that his books would cease to be popular and thus generate little in the way of income,” McGrath said.

2. He felt like a failure as a Christian communicator

"Brilliant" is one of the most common words used to describe Lewis. He seemed to have read everything, and he could easily write in several genres: children’s fantasy, science fiction, Christian apologetics and autobiography.

“He had an almost photographic memory,” Maudlin said. “He could recite the passage and page of a line from a book on medieval poetry.”

Lewis was not so adept in the ordinary world. He never learned to drive or type because he was too clumsy. And he was a shabby dresser who lived in a house that was falling apart.

He even began to doubt his ability to defend Christianity.

Lewis' breakthrough came as a Christian apologist, one who publicly defends and explains Christianity by invoking logic. He delivered a series of talks on Christianity for BBC radio during World War II that made him famous (you can hear some of those talks on YouTube). His fame crossed the Atlantic in 1947 when he made the cover of Time magazine.

But just as his fame peaked in the 1940s, Lewis began to doubt his persuasive powers, McGrath says.

Debating Christianity in public became “draining” for Lewis, McGrath says. At a 1945 lecture on Christian apologetics, according to McGrath, Lewis said, “Nothing is more dangerous to one’s own faith than the work of an apologist. No doctrine of that faith seems to me so spectral, so unreal as one that I have just successfully defended in a public debate.”

Lewis then lost a highly publicized debate to Elizabeth Anscombe, a young Catholic philosopher who pointed out inconsistencies in his reasoning. They clashed over passages in his book “Miracles,” which he later revised. Lewis’ confidence was shaken further when he realized that his argumentative powers had little effect on some of his closest friends and relatives, who remained hostile to Christianity, McGrath says.

Lewis thought that he had “failed as an apologist towards those who were closest to him,” McGrath writes. “How could Lewis maintain a profile as a public apologist with any integrity in the light of such private failures?”

When the BBC asked Lewis to participate in a discussion on the evidence of religious faith, he declined: “Like the old fangless snake in 'The Jungle Book,' I’ve largely lost my dialectical power.”

Some contend that even Lewis’ faith failed him.

He lost love not long after finding it late in his life: Joy Davidman was an American writer who befriended Lewis by letter and eventually became his wife. She died of cancer at 45 with Lewis at her bedside. Their love affair was depicted in the 1993 film “Shadowlands.”

Lewis had written about God and suffering in a book entitled “The Problem of Pain.” But when he wrote about losing his wife in “A Grief Observed,” he was a different man, says Ivan Strenski, a religious studies professor at the University of California, Riverside.

“The cocky self-confidence is totally destroyed,” Strenski said. “The confident, modern interpreter of Christianity is gone. He’s really a shattered Christian.”

3. He had a "horrible" personal life

When the University of St. Andrews in Scotland awarded Lewis an honorary degree in 1945, Lewis gloomily joked that he preferred getting a “case of Scotch whiskey.”

Lewis needed some escape at the time. His personal life was a wreck. The man who seemed like the embodiment of self-control and virtue in his books had a personal life complicated by dysfunction and deceit.

Lewis’ personal struggles began early. His beloved mother, Flora, died when he was 9; he never really got along with his father, Albert; and he was sent away to a miserable boarding school where a schoolmaster was literally declared insane.

“It was horrible," Maudlin said of Lewis’ personal life.

Then Lewis experienced another horror – trench warfare in World War I - but he rarely talked about the experience.  Nor did he talk much about the promise he made during the war to his fellow soldier and friend Paddy Moore.

Lewis assured Moore that he would take care of his mother if Paddy didn’t survive the war. Moore was killed, and Lewis fulfilled his vow after returning home. Lewis moved in with Paddy’s mother, Janie Moore, and helped raise her daughter, Maureen.

Lewis’ relationship with Janie Moore is still mystery. Some scholars say they became lovers; others say she was more like his mother. Lewis, though, hid the relationship from his father and his colleagues at Oxford University.

“There was an attraction between the two of them from the very beginning,” said Warren Rochelle, an English professor at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.

“When he first met her, she was 45, almost the exact age when Lewis’ mother died, and it’s clear from correspondence that they found each other attractive and engaging,” Rochelle said.

Lewis had another complicated relationship at home with his brother Warren, or “Warnie," an alcoholic who moved in with Lewis and Janie Moore. Warnie couldn’t stand her.

As Janie Moore grew older, she lapsed into dementia. The demands of caring for an alcoholic brother and a disabled woman proved so difficult for Lewis that he was hospitalized for exhaustion at one point. Yet Lewis took care of Janie Moore and her daughter even as she presumably stopped being his lover, scholars say.

“She gave him stability, a family and a mother figure,” Rochelle said. “She gave him a lover for a while, but no one can prove it.”

Lewis’ sexual proclivities also clash with the images of the reserved Englishman who touted the virtues of abstinence before marriage in “Mere Christianity.”

Lewis displayed an interest in sadomasochism during his youth. He read the writings of the Marquis de Sade; once became drunk at a party and begged people to allow him to whip them; and signed three letters to friend Arthur Greeves with the closing “lover of the whip,” according to McGrath’s biography.

Lewis befriended Greeves during childhood, and the two remained close throughout his life. Greeves was gay, but that didn’t seem to bother Lewis.

“Lewis was aware of Greeves’ homosexuality and made it clear that this would not be a problem within their friendship,” McGrath said. “He also made it clear that he didn’t share Greeves’ orientation.”

Despite Lewis' personal hardships, those who've studied him say his kindness was as impressive as his intellect.

Lewis didn’t try to hide from a public that sought his counsel after he became famous. He made no attempt to conceal his phone number. He rose at daybreak to answer letters from people seeking spiritual advice.

He even made personal visits.  A priest once wrote Lewis that he didn’t know whether he believed in a loving God anymore. Lewis met the man and spent an afternoon talking to him about his problem, wrote A.N. Wilson, author of, “C.S. Lewis: A Biography.”

“The priest, who had expected the author of 'The Problem of Pain' to look pale and ethereal, was astonished by the red-faced pork butcher in shabby tweeds whom he actually encountered,” Wilson wrote.

Lewis is still surprising people 50 years later. His ability to reach people long after his death is astonishing, some say.

“It’s odd that someone has been so popular for so long,” Maudlin said. “Lewis’ books are still in front of the bookstore. We grew up with him, so we lose touch with how unusual that is.”

The Christian icon whose image we see in bookstores may first seem distant. He spoke and dressed like a prim Englishman from another time. But his life was messy, contradictory and tarnished by thwarted dreams.

Perhaps Lewis still speaks to us because we when we look closer at his life, he’s really not that unusual.

We see ourselves.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Books • Christianity • United Kingdom

soundoff (1,513 Responses)
  1. Charm Quark

    Juanito
    I included Hubbard because it shows how easy it is to get people to believe in a pant load of crap that he started off as a joke and built into a cult. Not on the level of apostle peter but peter had a lot of powerful help and lots of time, but I give peter credit for getting the scam up and running. BTW I am fine just killing a little time on a belief blog not a faith blog until my gods take the field starting at 1:00 PM EDT.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:44 am |
  2. cslewistheman

    his wealth is stored in heaven with much abundance, God picks all sorts of people not just the freshly scrubbed cnn approved ones....

    December 1, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  3. Dave E

    CNN, you've lost me as a listener, reader and watcher. This is a smear job and I'm tired of watching you pass off editorial blogs as factual news. You are a slime ball agenda-driven organization. I'm done with you.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • shipwreck73

      Awwww... What's the matter Dave, the truth hurts a bit too much? That's what you get from too much Faux News.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:49 am |
  4. Wini

    It seems that too many Christians have forgotten that they, and well known icons of the faith are not all necessarily pillars of the community or saints. Christians come in all shades, some are really good people and some are stinkers. But it is God to whom each answers in the end not you or me.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Ted

      No worries, Wini, because your god forgives all anyway, if you just ask him to.

      Or isn't that the case?

      December 1, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  5. geno marcello

    No believing Christian would write something like this. For one thing, it's impossible to prove even though parts of it may be true. My real question is this: why would CNN hire a person who thinks and writes columns like this and call him its 'religion' writer. Sorry, Mr. Blake, but I would categorize you as CNN's anti-religion writer.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • truthprevails1

      CNN is owned by someone who is very Secular and if you don't like reading these types of stories, perhaps FAUX (FOX) Newswould be more your speed :-). Your claim that Mr Blake is not a true christian is called the No True Scotsman Fallacy.....educate yourself!

      December 1, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • Kenny

      "impossible to prove even though parts of it may be true."...much like the bible...

      December 1, 2013 at 8:46 am |
      • geno marcello

        Absolutely correct. There are parts of the Bible that I believe are fantasy. Perhaps the scholars of old enjoyed a bit too much wine, or maybe they smoked something equivalent to the 'Blessed Herb' of the Caribbean that the Rastafarians use in their religious practices. It harms no one. And who knows? Smoking an herb could very well be a pipeline of communication to God. While I may smile at some parts of the Bible, I don't trivialize ir or scoff at its deeper meanings for myself and the rest of humankind. C.S. Lewis had his own pipeline to God. He shared what he understood and believed, and we are all the wiser and the richer because of what Lewis shared.

        December 1, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • USandWEandME

          Geno,
          Why take it as an offense that the article just revealed C.S. Lewis to be subject to human frailties and fallings (or failings) just like all the rest of us? Even though I'm not a practicing Chrisitian anymore and take a secular humansit-like viewpoint, I don't look at this article as a smear job of Lewis. It reveals him as all too human and perhaps even sympathetic. So the only people that can represent and espouse Chrisitianity are to be only perfect unfailing souls? EVen if the article never revealed any shortcomings or failings of his and he himself never spoke about such shortcomings or failings, I operate on the assumption that ALL people have their own collection of shortcomings or failings (i.e., we ALL have a skeleton or two - or more - in our closets). If any says they don't, then they are either self-deluded or else they are liars or deceivers.

          December 2, 2013 at 2:45 am |
    • shipwreck73

      Ohhh blow it your sanctimonious a$$ geno.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:51 am |
      • Mark

        Another angry potty mouth atheist.

        December 1, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • Mark's Bondage Master

          Mark, you always love it when we talk like that.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • sam stone

          another pompous christian. how typical

          December 1, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  6. bs

    If someone wrote an article like this about Obama or any other secular person with no accredited or substantiated evidence or specific references to the sources and their credibility they would be publicly ran out of the editorial biz but do it to a "Christian Icon" and all is well in the bs editor world. Pity your epitaph and legacy as I doubt if you have one at all it would read ... weasel.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ummmmmm. . . the article contains numerous quotes with sources identified. We will see if any of those quoted object to how their words were used.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:06 am |
  7. LWJR

    Good piece of SLANDER w/out facts, proof, etc. If Lewis was alive, a lawsuit would be forthcoming.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • geno marcello

      No, I don't think C.S. Lewis would file a lawsuit if something like this was published while he was still among the living. I have a feeling Lewis would smile and take the newspaper with him to a pub. He would meet with his friends, share a drink with them, and pray or the poor atheist writer who still does not understand what he was trying to write for the world. I am a Christian. I have also been a gambler, an adulterer, a liar, and a serious problem drinker. All that is behind me now. Will I perhaps do one or more of these things in the future? I pray not. But while the spirit is willing, the flesh is often weak. And for all you Bible haters out there, this is also part of the wonderful wisdom of the Scriptures. The Bible reflects the history of humankind. Who can read the Psalms or Proverbs or some of the other wonderful books of the Bible without reflecting on the awesomeness of God, the failings of man, and his unerring ability to, like C.S. Lewis, try again?

      December 1, 2013 at 8:52 am |
      • Mark

        AMEN.....praying for your strength to overcome and walk the narrow path. God Bless you!

        December 1, 2013 at 9:00 am |
        • Ted

          It's just that, well, prayer has never worked...

          December 1, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  8. Harry Cline

    Very nicely written article. I've never read him if you can believe that, and while it's hard for me to call myself a Christian I believe in God. The story paints us all as mere humans with each their frailties. And I see absolutely no contradiction. Although one wonders what the S&M fetish may have brought out or done to him.

    It would have been pay per view to watch Christopher Hitchens and him debate.
    My own personal belief keeps me from ever offering advice or spouting off somewhere or in some place, because like him I understand where his doubt came from.
    But unlike him I will never apologize for God nor defend God.

    Who the hell am I..

    December 1, 2013 at 8:15 am |
  9. David DeForge

    Its 2013 christians, you can stop believing in fairy tales now.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      For whatever the reason, the bigots like to crawl out from under the rocks on Sunday morning.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:18 am |
      • Hez316

        It is hard for me to understand how anyone would deny their is a spiritual portion to their selves. We are born. We die. That's it. I don't think so

        December 1, 2013 at 8:38 am |
        • G to the T

          Personally, I feel the belief in life after death is mainly driven by egoism. That little part of your brain that believes you are the lead character in a story that is your life. So strong is the belief that it can't imagine a world without it in it so it creates an "afterlife" belief.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • Mark

          Wow that thinking is just totally inconsistent with the article and the teachings of Christ. Feed the poor!

          December 1, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  10. geno marcello

    John Blake is simply one more atheist whose mission, it seems, is to destroy the foundation of Christianity. Instead of erecting a billboard stating YOU KNOW IT'S A LIE, or placing billboards in various locations comparing God and Jesus with the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, he attacks a dead man who cannot defend himself. Well, I know something about memory and history. I know it can be selective, and what seems to be the truth often does not come close to it. I have this message to John Blake and the atheists who will happily give their fellow non-believers 'high fives' on the publication of this article: TO OUR ATHEIST FRIENDS: THANK GOD YOU'RE WRONG.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • igaftr

      That is funny, but christianity is destroying itself. As more and more of your magic book gets proven wrong, people will see it for the fiction that it is.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:12 am |
      • Mark

        Only the blind,

        December 1, 2013 at 8:29 am |
        • igaftr

          Really.... Am I blind whn I read in numbers that all I have to do to tell if my wife is unfaithful is have a preist gather dust from the floor and mix it with your magic water and have her dirnk it...that works?
          We know for fact that Naoh's Flood never happened, proven false by MANY sciences, but it is true? Impossible

          on and on one can see how wrong the bible is. You are the one who chooses to be blinded by it.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:34 am |
        • Mark

          I follow Christ...the first Christian. He was real and history proves it. The bible was inspired by God by written by man.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:39 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Mark: You're laughable. Evilbible.com will show you how wrong you are.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:44 am |
        • Mark

          Proof of heaven will show you. Remember I as an atheist, I read the anti faith gospels according to an atheist. No longer I sqaw the light literally and will see it again, and actually Truth you will come back.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:58 am |
        • igaftr

          History proves no such thing, and also the bible was written by men...no evidence any god had anything to do with it.
          That is why it has so many flaws in it....do you really think a god would tell men they can raise striped goats by having the goats stare at striped objects? Clearly false...your god must have some sense of humor....

          December 1, 2013 at 9:03 am |
        • Mark

          Geez Ig you made my point, we are infallible God is not, and yes a GOD of the universe and beyond can do what ever he wants including inspiration, heck Lombardi could do it, or your 3rd grade math teacher so could God in a way apparently you don't care to glean from.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:14 am |
        • Colin

          Mark, you said the the Bible was inspired by [theChristian] God. Why is he mentioned nowhere, and I mean, nowhere, in it? The Holy Trinity is 100% absent for the bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:23 am |
        • mr sensitive

          Mark, Jesus was Jewish. All the time He was alive.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:28 am |
        • Mark

          What? I'm probably too ignorant to understand your post.

          In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

          Matthew 28:19 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

          December 1, 2013 at 9:31 am |
        • Mark

          Good point Mr S. my bad! However he departed from the Jewish tradition of living by the law, so in essence he was the first Christian, but lets give that to Peter and Paul.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • Colin

          I am saying that, if the Holy Trinity is real, why does the Bible never mention it?

          December 1, 2013 at 9:37 am |
        • Fallacy Spotting 101

          Post by 'Mark' is an instance of the Secret Decoder Ring fallacy.

          http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

          December 1, 2013 at 9:40 am |
      • JustAScientist

        Provide some proof that the "magic book" has been proven wrong...Because I have no idea what you are talking about.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:38 am |
        • Mark

          It's just easy for them to say, they have no proof of their exertions, there argument to believers.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:41 am |
        • igaftr

          Just as a start...Noah's flood, proven wrong by MANY branches of science.
          Numbers...Do you honestly think that you can tell if your wife is unfaithful by having her drink magic water and dust? clearly false.
          And how many striped goats have you raised by having the mating pair stare at striped objects...Laughable to think that people believe this ridiculousness.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • Mark

          The flood and the arc proven by many scholars, See how easy it is.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • HotAirAce

          The flood and the ark from The Babble have been proven by many scholars? In which reputable scholarly journals can I find this proof?

          December 1, 2013 at 9:31 am |
        • igaftr

          Fisrt...it would take 5 times the amount of water that exists on the planet to cover the earth to a point 15 cubits above the highest peak. Impossible number one.

          The mixing of salt and fresh waters would kill nearly every sea creature in the world. All plant species would die, and there would be no food available for many , many years after this alleged flood, the biology of it would take far too long to explain.

          Next is the geology. Not only is there no record of a world encompassing flood, but an event of that nature would absolutey leave evidence...but there is none. There is evidence of floods here and there, but NEVER an all encompassing flood.

          Genetics. We did not all come from three breeding pairs, especially three related pairs. Another impossibility.

          Meteorology, Oceanography...In order to cover the highest peak in 40 days, the water level would need to go up by 6 inches a MINUTE, for 40 days and nights. Ridiculous, plus there isn't enough water to accomplish that on the planet.

          The ark itself...could not support it's own weight given the construction materials of the day, and there is no way possible to fit every animal pairing, and all the food and deal with sanitiation, etc, etc. Impossible. You have to change every law of physics to make it happen, which is absurd that your god would do that when there are so many other ways to kill all the wicked.

          Need I continue? For more direct proof of the falseness of the flood story, take a few science classes.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • HotAirAce

          But, but, but! The alleged god of The Babble is not constrained by physics!! It's "his" story, he can do anything "he" likes, just like in any other work of fiction.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:37 am |
        • Mark

          Unless God was watching over the event, and therefore anything is possible, not unlike the seed that is germinated by wild fires to reproduce fauna. Bam! I took science, but am not jaded by it. You're awesome IG.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:37 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I agree with Mark. If god used magic, we might have only just popped into existence last Tuesday with all these memories implanted in our brains. With magic, anything is possible and no reasoning is too good or too bad--reason just doesn't apply. Makes you wonder why all those preachers attempt to show logic and reason in their sermons and witnessing.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Fallacy Spotting 101

          Post by 'Mark' is a False Analogy.

          http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

          December 1, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Mark

          Good point Obvious...time is a human attribute, has no relevance to God.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:44 am |
        • igaftr

          Mark.
          By your logic , the Harry Potter books are just as real, since magic can make anything happen.

          There is no logic or reason that can be used on someone who believes ( with no evidence) in god magic.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • HotAirAce

      If we are so clearly wrong, you will have no problem proving that. Perhaps you could start with proving your alleged god exists.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:23 am |
      • Mark

        Don't worry it will be emperical to you the second after your heart stops. Good luck!

        December 1, 2013 at 8:31 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Hahaha, that's futile to ay to someone who obviously disagrees with you...care to provide the evidence for your claim?

          December 1, 2013 at 8:36 am |
        • igaftr

          yeas...as soon as you heart stops, you will be recycled and fed to the others in the matrix... better be ready for it.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:36 am |
        • Mark

          Ig Spock isn't real.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:42 am |
        • Mark

          I don't know...maybe read Proof of Heaven. Just a thought.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:43 am |
        • sam stone

          what would christianity be without the old proxy threat?

          mark, get off you knees and grow a pair

          December 1, 2013 at 9:51 am |
        • sam stone

          explain to us, marky mark, how fre will and an omniscient god are compatible

          December 1, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • JustAScientist

        Obviously, you're not a scientist. If you were, you would know that science cannot prove anything neither can apologetics. I would like to know how you want someone to "prove it". How about, instead of that, you follow the scientific method and prove to me that he does not exist. But, of course, you can no more do that than you can prove that he does exist.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:36 am |
        • HotAirAce

          I believe you have made my point – geno cannot prove the existence of any god (nor can the nonexistence of gods be proven), therefore geno does not know atheists are wrong, he merely thinks we are wrong. And please note, I did not claim no gods exist.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:59 am |
        • James

          Certainlty for the unbeliever, the things of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are a mystery. Faith is the fabric of things hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Faith is not evidence for anything other than people will believe in things for which there is no actual evidence. As Peter Boghossian says, faith is pretending to know things you don't know.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  11. Apple Bush

    He was a typical author. Great writer but he got stung by the god bug. Even Tolkien disagreed with his preaching, but they were close friends and Lewis had input on much of Tolkien's work as did other find writers in their "club".

    December 1, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Charm Quark

      Morning AB.
      I wonder what Tolkien would make of the LOR movies and the up coming Hobbit. There have been so many advancement in science and tech since Lewis, perhaps his beliefs would have evolved.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  12. hearties

    The article paints him as becoming a total failure as time goes on, then ends with "We see ourselves".

    Maybe YOU see yourself as such, but not everyone sees that. When your pal is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, it's different, a lot different. It's not difficult to fall in love with God, and when you love God, it's not failure, it's all there is. God created the universe and fills it. He's a univeral sized love, more love than anyone can imagine. That's not even close to failure.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • igaftr

      one problem with your statement. We do not know if there are any gods or what "created" the universe, so presumption fail.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:06 am |
      • Mark

        You may not, but don't generalize, it is so common.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:33 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Well since you seem to be the blog genius, tell us the answers and please don't say god, at least not without proving your god exists.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:35 am |
        • igaftr

          generalize Mark?
          There is not one single person on the planet that knows if there is a god or not. There are many who believe in this god or that god...not one of them has any verifiable evidence...not one.
          That is why there is faith, you know , that thing people claim to use when logic and reason need to be completely ignored.
          You either have faith OR you know, and we all know you do not know.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:39 am |
        • Mark

          Ig do you have hope? And BTW Jesus walked earth as the Son of God, don't need more proof than that. Go ahead persecute me, Jesus said you would.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:49 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Some alleged desert dweller allegedly the son of some alleged god allegedly said something for which there is no actual evidence.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • igaftr

          You said it all when you said "don't need more proof than that"

          Got it...you want to believe so you do...not because of any logic or reason, but you WANT to.
          You should REQUIRE more proof than that, but you would rather remian blissfully and willfully ignorant.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • Mark

          Ig you don;t know me, but you just pretended to, just like what you say we do with God, don't be such a hypocrite.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:46 am |
      • JustAScientist

        Doesn't presumption only fail when the presumption has been proven to be wrong? In the absence of proof, there is only presumption.
        So, please tell me how it has been "proven" to be wrong. You can make a claim all you want, but without support, then your claim is no more presumptive than the post you were replying to.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:43 am |
        • igaftr

          You are no scientist.
          No. Presumption is NOT considered true...it is speculation...it is therefore NOT used as if it were true. One can presume it to be true to examine other ideas, but the moment you start thinking a presumption is true, you have jumped off the logic train.

          Since there are an infinite number of other possibilities, it is a fool who claims that any one is true.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  13. Eric

    GRACE

    December 1, 2013 at 8:01 am |
  14. Juanito

    The Lord does amazing work through those who are typically thrown in the 'scratch and dent' pile of society.

    No one person is perfect, as is our fallen nature, and C. S. Lewis shows that. If this arictle is correct, then his greatest fear, poverty, still couldn't dissuade him from reneging his promise on giving the money away to Christian donations. And while he was deeply troubled, Lewis still didn't turn from his faith, and finished strong.

    Even after Lewis' death, the glory of Christ shines through Lewis' works today,

    The Lord bless all those, believers and non-believers, reading this today!

    In His love, Juanito

    December 1, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • igaftr

      and may the Great Pumpkin look favorably on your pumpkin patch.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:07 am |
      • Mark

        Remedial

        December 1, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • geno marcello

      Juanito, I love your post and your name. If you are from south of the border or one of my other favorite nations where pulque or mescal is sipped, more power and God's love to you.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  15. James

    What a marvelous blessing it is to know that our sins can be for forgiven by faith in Christ Jesus who gave His life and rose from the dead so that all mankind can saved from their sins. The story of Immanuel is eternal. His name mean God is with us. God sent His only son to die for us. A man who knew no sin died and rose from the dead to save us from our sins. God reached out to man to touch man and save man from himself. You can know God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. It is simple. All that it takes is faith.

    Lord God Almighty, I confess to You I am a sinner, and I repent of my sins. I believe Your son, Jesus gave His life for me on the cross for my sins, and I believe my sins are forgiven. I believe in His resurrection from the dead. I accept Jesus as my savior and the lord of my life. I pledge my allegiance and my life to You the Father, to your son Jesus, and Your Holy Spirit today. Amen!

    December 1, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • sam stone

      what an amazing burden to believe you need to repent from anything

      December 1, 2013 at 8:18 am |
      • Mark

        Yeah if you don't have a true conscience(soul)I can see why you would say that.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:35 am |
        • G to the T

          And you know the hearts of all atheists?

          December 1, 2013 at 9:24 am |
        • Mark

          No, just responding to one.

          December 1, 2013 at 9:25 am |
      • truthprevails1

        Religion teaching one they are broken...giving the disease and the magic cure-gotta keep those sheeple in line!

        December 1, 2013 at 8:49 am |
        • Mark

          Truth don't equate religion with belief, it reeks of simplicity in your argument, and is very common to your group.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      Thank You.
      Christ has loves us totally and unconditionally. He chose us, we belong to Him.
      I pray we all come to a knowledge and understanding of this marvelous love and freely accept by faith what he has freely given to us.
      Will we believe that we are accepted by Him? I pray yes.
      Will we accept Him? I pray yes.

      God Bless.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      Thank You.
      Christ loves us totally and unconditionally. He chose us, we belong to Him. (For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life).
      I pray we all come to a knowledge and understanding of this marvelous love and freely accept by faith what he has freely given to us.
      Will we believe that we are accepted by Him? I pray yes.
      Will we accept Him? I pray yes.

      God Bless.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  16. baldwink1

    Matthew 16:26-27 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?

    December 1, 2013 at 7:53 am |
  17. Pearls of Wisdom

    I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
    C. S. Lewis

    December 1, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • Pearls of Wisdom

      Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
      C. S. Lewis

      December 1, 2013 at 7:38 am |
      • Colin

        Hinduism, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.

        Judaism, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.

        Islam, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.

        etc., etc., etc.

        December 1, 2013 at 9:01 am |
      • Milan

        Why is Christianity of 'Infinite' importance?

        December 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Todd Bleu

          Christianity is of infinite importance because, there is salvation in no one else other than Jesus Christ. God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Pearls of Wisdom

      A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.
      C. S. Lewis

      December 1, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • George

      "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
      Stephen F Roberts

      December 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • geno marcello

      Thank you, C.S. Lewis, for saying the words that reflect my own faith. And thank you, whoever you are, for posting these words.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  18. Steven Hackbarth

    Yes, a shocking contrast. Almost like what said about the Devil working hardest on those seen as threat. Mere Christianity remains for me a strong foundation for my faith.

    December 1, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • Juanito

      Amen, my brother.

      Non believers are tormented, but believers are attacked. The adversary, knowing our weaknesses, will go after them to trip us up. He'll use pride and lies against everyone, but Discouragement is his weapon of choice against Christians, and he'll use it against us with all severity.

      The Lord bless you, amigo!

      In His love, Juanito.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:10 am |
      • igaftr

        I am an atheist but I am not tormented. I'm quite happy.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:13 am |
        • Juanito

          Happy is a good thing. Its hard to be happy when you can wake up in the morning and have your feet hit the floor. Two steps in the right direction, if you ask me!

          But no one person can be nonstop happy. You have already, or will, experience loss(pet, family, friend, job, money, keys, etc), and the news of this fallen world(wars, disasters, crime, etc) makes it difficult to keep the smile of anyone who cares about themselves or others.

          And don't think the adversary won't use contentment against you as well. If there is no disturbance of complacency, there is little need for change.

          All of that still doesn't change the fact that God didn't make any accidents, and you are more loved by Him than anyone born can ever love you, and that you have an awesome purpose and an eternal reward if you allow Jesus in your life.

          Answer His call, friend. I never regretted it, and He promises you won't, either!

          In His love, Juanito.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:33 am |
        • George

          Juanito – So nobody can be non-stop happy, what's your point? This view that atheists must be tormented is just brainless. How about Hindus, or members of any of the thousands of other religions? They don't believe in your god either, so are they also tormented? Believing that only those who believe as you do can possibly be happy is the viewpoint of a simpleton.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • mjbrin

        non believers and believers are attacked throughout this discussion! I am shocked you haven't seen it! certain ones are attacking each other often.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • Juanito

          @ MJ:

          Attacks come to those opposed to the lies of Satan. As believers in Christ, we acknowledge the existance of Lucifer, so the veil is lifted. There is no need for him to hide so much anymore. He stills wants to tear us down and ruin our ministry and will attack believers where we most vulnerable(fears of loss of loved ones, income, our own doubts, you name it).

          Satan's biggest lie is that he doesn't exist, and those who don't believe in God, Jesus, or Satan, well, he won that fight. There's no need to fight if there is no opposition.

          It's not to say that non believers won't feel pain, loss, etc(everyone does) but the torment is from the uncertainty that those experiences typically accompany.

          I can only speak for myself as my losses and experiences from which were not light by any means, but I am comforted by the fact that it is a part of God's plan, even if I don't know the whole picture. That's where faith comes into play.

          As for Satan's plan, he know there's plenty of slip between the cup and the lip, and will try everything he can to persuade believers from committing fully to Christ.

          For those who really dont believe in God, their hearts and minds should be content that the supposed randomness of all the happens in this universe has and always will be accidental and without consequence, and there is nothing that can be done about it.

          If this is you, then why are you wasting the limited time you have here arguing with those who believe?

          In His love, Juaninto.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  19. Charm Quark

    So C.S. Lewis set the table for the likes of
    Tony Alamo
    Jim Baker
    Fred Phelps
    L. Ron Hubbard
    William Kamm
    Joel Osteen
    Barry Minkow
    Benny Hinn
    and dozens of other criminals or scam artists and we also have the modern day apologists like William Lane Craig, pedlars of the same old myths. Amusing that a hero of the evangelists would be a sadist and a drunk, mind you these modern guys keep every penny they rake in, no poverty amongst that crowd.

    December 1, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Uh, nice try. The clowns you posted are nothing near Lewis or his theology.
      But again, nice try with the broad brush.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:19 am |
      • Charm Quark

        EC
        Totally agree but most of the later apologist stand on C.S. Lewis shoulders to make their scams look holy. The broad brush is far wider than I portrayed. Not a lot of priests, ministers, pastors, TV hustlers living the poor life, great jobs if you are too lazy to work for a living. BTW Lewis received a salary from his University, so he just couldn't handle money well, just like god, he always needs more.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Juanito

      @ Quark:
      According to the article, Lewis was rather poor, especially when compared to alot of others on your list here.

      Hubbard and Phelps are not Christians(Phelps claims to be but preaching hate and condemnation is not what Jesus did), and I have my own concerns about some of the others on your list, money not being being of them.

      It still doesn't change the fact the God's glory can not be diminished by any person's shortcomings(and we ALL have shortcomings). If their message is false, the messenger will answer for it before the Most High.

      And how are you doing? What brings you to this place of discussions about faith?

      December 1, 2013 at 8:20 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.