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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. Asherlil13

    I know some of the details this person writes about and those stated in this article are twisted versions of the truth and more what the writer wants to believe – and wants everyone else to believe. CNN has been my "go to" for news several times a day but this is the end for me. I no longer trust their integrity. Tabloid journalism is all we can expect from CNN.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • bostontola

      This is an opinion blog, not a news article.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Karl Emmericeh

      I agree Asher - CNN's "objectivity" is trashed with an introduction as "...I'm talking of course". (They recently attempted to factualize the single bullet theory so why not desecrate the remainder of what happened the day JFK was killed?) Author John Blake is either making a ploy to a common knowledge pool (i.e., everyone truly knows about a secret life of C.S. Lewis) or he's using the most bitter of sarcasm to personally 'straw-man' attack religion. As Rick Warren says, however, "it's not about us". Christianity is all about blatant fallibility and God's plan for such. I would suggest that John either take Philosophy 101 to adopt a more educated position against the existence of God or otherwise tell me something I didn't already know (like Christian leaders need Salvation, as well).

      December 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        So your opinion (that you tout as fact) is that John could only possibly have two motives for writing as he did? No other possibility than the two reasons you imagine? What logical fallacy is that again?

        December 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  2. bostontola

    The Christian God is inscrutable. It is omnipotent, and wants each human to make a choice to accept it as savior.

    For thousands of years, most humans haven't had that choice. Either they were completely unexposed to the existence of this God, or they were brought up in a family that taught a different God (or both).

    That seems like a contradiction in dogma. Please don't explain it by saying God gives those people a choice after they die, that is clearly a different choice than what all the people in this life get.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  3. Reader

    Poorly done, Mr. Blake.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  4. Bill C

    CNN taking pot shots at Christianity? Now that's unusual.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • doobzz

      It's an editorial piece, not a news article.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Umm, where was the pot shot at christianity?

      December 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Joe

      Agreed. This garbage is typical of CNN. No wonder they're getting destroyed in the ratings war along with NBC.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  5. JM

    So grateful for C.S. Lewis' writing throughout my life.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  6. Puzzled in Peoria

    Not one mention that Lewis was an atheist before he became a Christian. This article and the "biography" connected with it are cheap, unfounded attempts at sensationalism. Unproven, lurid details to knock down a Christian icon.

    Every Christian, especially those of us attacked on this thread for our beliefs, know that the costs of faith are high.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • bostontola

      What are the costs of faith in the US, 2013?

      December 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • George

      And what exactly is that high cost of faith in a country where a majority claim to have that same faith? Stop with the persecution complex, please! If anyone is getting persecuted for their faith (or lack of it) in this country it's the atheists. How many atheists have you heard of in elected office, for example? And how many Christians? And you say Christians have it hard? That's a laugh!

      December 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
      • Anthony

        Christians think being persecuted for their faith is one of the greatest things they can do for their god, so they're always trying to convince themselves that every little slight is persecution so they can feel they're doing their part. What a sad existence.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • Ecal

          A sad existence is to live without ever discovering the true reason why we are here on earth. Thus, without any significant purpose other than to eat, work, poo-poo, and sleep all they way to our graves. That to me is what's really sad.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I guess it's good that any of us can apply faith, then, to construct purpose and meaning within a somewhat consistent philosophy or other. It's not that hard. The Muslims utilize faith for their purpose, the nonbeliever uses faith for his, the Scientologist practices the unique faith with which he holds. Of course, it takes real arrogance to claim that one's personal philosophy MUST be true for all people everywhere-–even though there is ZERO proof for any such philosophy, but that's what most religions do, and that's why their dogma is so detrimental.

          Easy solution. No worries.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • igaftr

          ecal
          a "sad existance" for not realizing the "true purpose" of why we are here?
          What makes you think there is a purpose? Why do you think there is a reason? Not sad, but is rather delusional to search for and then claim a reason when there likely is none. I am quite happy yet do not believe in a reason for everything.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • sybaris

      Please elaborate on the costs of the christian faith in a country where most of the population are christian.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • sybaris

      Let's see in the U.S. we have:

      Bibles in every motel room
      God on our money
      Prayer before public events
      Christian cable networks 24/7
      Discounts on insurance for being christian
      Churches every 6 blocks in every city over 100,000
      Laws that prevent non-christians from holding public office
      Christian bookstores in every town over 12,000
      God in the Pledge of Allegiance
      Televangelists 24/7
      Christian billboards along the highway advertising Vacation Bible School and “Repent or go to He.ll”
      Federally recognized christian holiday
      Radioevangelists 24/7
      Religious organizations are tax free
      75% of the population claims to be christian
      National day of prayer
      God in the National Anthem
      Weekday christian education for elementary students.
      Christian clergy led prayer at Presidential inaugurations

      Please, take the persecuted christian whine line somewhere else.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      What has your faith cost you?

      December 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Oh, people disagree with your religious opinions? You poor thing.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  7. Messy Marvin

    Why is it listed under the heading "he had a horrible personal life" that he had a friend who was gay and made it clear he had no problem with that, though. He didn't share his sentiments?
    It seems that you started with that heading and then went hunting for content. Is there something horrible about having a gay friend or having a private relationship that is nones business with a woman who is mother to your dead war buddy?
    At least Lewis could write. I'm not going to bother to see what half assed blogger put this crap together for CNN where the worst of the world is brought to you by Snapple.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • ErnieK

      I'm guessing the author meant "horrible" in regards to how the evangelicals would view such habits and relationships.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • messy marvin

        Why should you have to guess at the author's intention? That's not at all what's written or even infered here. He simply states "he had a horrible personal life" and listed examples, of which the plain fact of having a gay friend was one.
        And I'm not accusing CNN of any bias here. I'm not religious or gay. CNN isn't the middle. they're the nothing and they will exploit ANY strands of hatred to fill out their pointless click-bait.

        December 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  8. Steve Lovell

    It seems that over the course of the last decade, as a society , we,ve taken to undermining the reputations of many of the more accomplished men in history. Quite often by using nothing more than heresy and innuendo. We'd do well to turn our attention inward and question our reasons for seeking to undermine the reputations of our predessors. Seriously...dig deeply and consider both our motives, our words, and the resulting erosion of altruism and ethics within our society.

    No thanks to this author for leading the reader....with little more than unprovable rumors from the days long past.

    Please join me and so many others in demanding that if a journalist cannot provide clear historic proof to back their claims, they must label their work as....Fiction!

    December 1, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • doobzz

      "Please join me and so many others in demanding that if a journalist cannot provide clear historic proof to back their claims, they must label their work as....Fiction!"

      Please apply the same standards to the bible.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • Steve Lovell

        bzz, you're changing the subject my friend. What is at issue here is the accuracy of this journalist's claims, not the accuracy ofthe bible.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • doobzz

          What is at issue is the accuracy and integrity of the written word. If you demand it in this instance, why don't you demand it from the book you base your beliefs on?

          December 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • yikesboy

      Steve, interesting that you misspelled "hearsay" above and ended up with "heresy". Perhaps showing your zealot colors...? I would argue the opposite – investigative writing such as this is important to avoid the inevitable attribution of almost supernatural powers to historical figures. JFK is another example of a man who doesn't deserve the sainthood that we all wanted to bestow upon him. I think that there's absolutely nothing wrong with removing the myth from the man so that we all can understand that great things can be accomplished by complex, and yes very human, figures.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Steve Lovell

        yikes, aside from the zealot accusation, and criticism of my typos on my mini ipad. I greatly appreciate your pespective. Mine is simply a call to question so many LOOSE "facts' that get presented as absolute truths. Have a great day myfriend.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Yes. Label it "fiction" or "opinion." Oh........wait.......it is labeled "OPINION."

      Your bad.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  9. Reality # 2

    And all for naught, as there was no resurrection nor will there be any resurrections !! Added details available.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Silmaril

      How wonderful it is that you know everything!!!

      December 1, 2013 at 11:56 am |
      • doobzz

        You don't have to be a member of Mensa to know that dead people don't come back to life.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • Steve Lovell

          I am a member of Mensa and I am fully prepped for the coming zombie apocolypse.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • doobzz

          I paid the dues for one year, but didn't keep it up. Can I have a can of Dinty Moore anyway?

          December 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Added details as requested:

        Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

        From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

        Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

        To wit;

        From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

        "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
        Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

        Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

        Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

        The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

        Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

        The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

        "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
        http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

        The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

        With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

        An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

        p.4

        "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

        p.168. by Ted Peters:

        Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

        So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  10. doobzz

    What a great morning. Beautiful, sunny, warm weather here. I'm sure enjoying the explosions of Christian rationalization with my espresso.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  11. J P Williams

    I think what this article ignores is that some of these proclivities; i.e. toward sadomasochism, changed when he became the most reluctant convert in England. Furthermore; culturally speaking, Christians in the UK (and those outside of 'evangelicalism') have less concern with consuming alcohol and smoking than those in the US. In other words, aside from his appearance, and his 'hermit-like' digs, I'm not so sure he was all that ghastly.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • doobzz

      Christians routinely dismiss Christopher Hitchens because he used tobacco and alcohol. Why don't the same standards apply here?

      Does your god have different rules for christians from Europe because of their cultural differences?

      December 1, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • Silmaril

        If Christians reject Christopher Hitchens on the basis of his tobacco and drinking habits, then then are in the good company of the atheists and agnostics who reject Hitchens on the basis of his arrogant, pompous, propagandist tone that lacks intellectual subtlety and substance.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • doobzz

          Nice dodge, but you didn't answer the question.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • Silmaril

          Since I am not a Christian, I had no interest in your question. I do, however, have an interest in your hero-worship of a blatant anti-intellectual fundamentalist. I personally despise all forms of fundamentalism and find them abhorrent and obstructive to human progress. But that's just me.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • doobzz

          Could you point out anything in my post that indicates hero-worship? I simply asked why one person is dismissed by Christians for personal habits, but another person who indulges in the same personal habits is not.

          If you're not interested in answering that question, that's just fine and dandy. Do you have a point other than you don't like Hitchens and that you like to jump to unfounded conclusions?

          December 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • Silmaril

          My original comment was a casual observation of a reality. But if I had a "point", it would be that to bring Hitchens into the conversation referentially is to give a strong hint to your own brand of fundamentalist evangelicalism.

          Do you enjoy being a fundamentalist evangelical? Never mind. Of course you do. All evangelicals find evangelicalism deeply satisfying. It takes a far stronger stomach to walk away from black/white dichotomies in all their forms.

          December 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • doobzz

          You're making assumptions about me. I merely observed a double standard. I wasn't even addressing you at the time, but there's no law against you stating your opinions. However, you went on to misrepresent me. You chose to misuse the term "hero worship".

          December 1, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • AnotherPerson

        First, you're making a generalization and we all know where generalizations lead. All Christians don't feel the way you do and, in fact you probably have no idea the number of "Christians' who feel the way you do.
        I was actually just talking about this with my wife yesterday. For us, smoking isn't a sin in and of itself. Neither is drinking. There is nothing in the Bible that says, "Do no smoke". In fact, what Paul said was, " 'All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be dominated by anything." What he says is important here. Now, I'm not saying that he is saying that you can do whatever you want...he was using what others were saying at the time as a starting point. He is saying, "Do not let something become an addiction."
        So, is smoking a sin, no. Is drinking a sin, no. I drinking in excess a sin...well, that is in the Bible and it is. Is having an addiction to smoking a sin? Well, by I Cor. 6, yes it is. Is giving in to alcoholism a sin, yes.
        But, here's the thing. I don't know why someone is doing something or where there heart is. I also am not perfect and therefore cannot judge someone else for their sins. I have my own just like every other Christian. Some Christians' sins are that they judge others and try to make themselves higher than others by telling others that what their doing is wrong...even if it isn't. I know there are Christians out there who would say that smoking is a sin. I don't deny that. But it doesn't make them right anymore than what I am saying makes me right.
        So, those that would dismiss Hitchens for smoking and drinking should dismiss Lewis. But, the fact that they dismiss Hitchens for those reasons doesn't make them right and by all means, point that out to them when they do it. To me, your argument is nothing more than a straw man. The OP didn't bring up Hitchens...you did. That is the definition of a straw man argument...refuting a position that the OP didn't make to show the OP's position as wrong.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:39 am |
        • doobzz

          I am making an observation based on how many times I've seen CH's quotes dismissed with "Christopher Hitchens was a drunk and killed himself with cigarettes".

          It was a simple question of why there seems to be a double standard. I made no judgement of either man. Nothing more, nothing less. Don't make it out to be more than that.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • J P Williams

        The Bible (which granted has more weight for me) is clear that *drunkenness is a sin, but does not disallow drinking alcohol. So, I would say that "the rules" are the same across the board; but the way people interpret the boundaries differ. In N. America, the Christian tradition tends to be to stay as far away from a potential moral failure as possible (hence the tendency for some believers to avoid drinking altogether). I'd also suggest that if Lewis had any idea how harmful tobacco could be, he would not have smoked. In his day however, there were cases where cigarettes were prescribed as a treatment for asthma (http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200502-257OE).

        December 2, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • doobzz

          As I have pointed out many times, I merely asked a question based on the many times I've seen CH dismissed simply because he smoked and drank alcohol. There seems to be a double standard.

          I made no judgement about either man. It was a simple question, it doesn't need to be over analyzed.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  12. achepotle

    Must be xmas...another BS story to toss to the guns and bibles crowd.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  13. TurboBeagle

    He was a human being. Plain and simple. He understood and accepted the Grace of God. His books are the story of the parable of God's grace. Grace is a gift which we don't deserve. Not a single one of us.
    And this article makes it appear that this is new information. It's not.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  14. bostontola

    Why am I an atheist? It boils down to a simple thing.

    I prefer the joy of satisfying my curiosity of the natural universe as we learn more and more, to the comfort of certainty in dogma.

    Different people have different preferences, I can accept a person that prefers dogma. Why does it make me an immoral person because I have my preferences? Many religious people say it doesn't. But there are many who assume an atheist is immoral just because the atheist doesn't believe in their religion. They ask, where do your morals come from, as if there is only 1 valid set of morals. The same question could be asked of Jews by Christians. They have similar but different moral priorities. Same thing for atheists.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Ecal

      I do not think that many people would think of Atheists as being any more immoral than the rest of humanity. What most people think of Atheists is that they are delusional. To conclude that there is no God requires more faith than any other believe. If I throw a bunch of parts of a watch on a table, I do not care how many millions of years may go by, those individual parts would never become a functional watch without someone putting it together. What makes anyone think that the universe did just that?

      December 1, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • doobzz

        Your example makes as much sense as the idea that man is made of mud and fairy spit, and woman was made from the mud man's rib.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • Ecal

          That could only make sense if one begins with the presupposition that God is the Creator of all things. If so, what would be so hard for Him to make a human being out of a matter that He Himself had created?

          December 1, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • doobzz

          Exactly. Presupposition. You nailed it. Congratulations.

          Now, be brave and apply that to the rest of the pages.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:50 am |
      • bostontola

        Ecal,
        I have personally met many people that think atheists are immoral just because they don't believe in god. As to your other assertion regarding your watch analogy, the analogy is fallacious. A watch is designed by intelligent agents, humans. All science (not atheism) points to natural evolutionary processes advancing matter and life. Atheists didn't invent these notions, mostly it was believers in god that did. Most scientists have been religious.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:45 am |
        • Ecal

          And who made humans to be intelligent agents? A mere accident of evolution? A what point of our evolutionary process did we become intelligent enough to be even thinking whether or not there is a God? Evolution theory is also fallacious since it can't answer the question of morality, self conciseness, justice, and the human desire to be immortal. From where did we get our sense of morality, justice and ability to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the animals? At what part of our evolutionary process did that happen? You see, there is a lot of questions that we do not have the answers readily available, so we can opt the easy route and claim that there is no God, or we can wrestle and eventually admit the most obvious idea, which is that there is a God whom we all are ultimately accountable to. After all, that what it comes down to. Our intimate desire not to be accountable to no one.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • bostontola

          Ecal,
          You avoided my point, atheists didn't create and advance the science of evolution, religious people did. Even if there were a creator, many others with different gods than yours, lay claim to it. They have equally spiritual conviction in that.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
        • igaftr

          ecal
          "there is a lot of questions that we do not have the answers readily available, so we can opt the easy route and claim that there is no God, or we can wrestle and eventually admit the most obvious idea, which is that there is a God whom we all are ultimately accountable to"

          Really? how about this
          "there is a lot of questions that we do not have the answers readily available, so we can opt the easy route and claim that there is God, or we can wrestle and eventually admit the most obvious idea, which is that there is a matrix we all are ultimately accountable to"

          or that we are all figments of our own imagination, or we are inside a dust spec, being held in the trunk of an elephant named horton....you see there is NO OBVIOUS IDEA, there are an infinite number of ideas, some include gods, some not, but it is plain that it IS NOT OBVIOUS.

          Also, some claim there are no gods, which also we do not know for certain, what is certain is the description that people use to claim gods, are likely far from the truth if there are gods in the first place.
          You presume WAY TOO much.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • Ecal

          Who develop the theory of evolution is irrelevant to the point. So what if Christians did? They are still fallible human beings. As to your other point, at least they recognize the fact that somewhere out there there is a greater being than themselves.

          I know that your attack is gear toward Christianity since we seem to you as being intolerant toward any other form of religion. The reality is that we are not, we just proclaim the truth that so many, like yourself, are trying to suppress. When you look at Christianity, it is the only religion that actually change the direction of people lives based on a extraordinary and many times inexplicable series of events. The rest of religions are based on cultural following rather than on truth. One day, whether we like it or not, we all will bow down before Christ and proclaim Him as Lord. Might as well be now rather than later when is too late.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ Ecal

          Pascal's Wager? Really?

          December 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          ecal: fail

          Plenty of various religions, cults, stamp-collecting clubs, bird watching events, and sundry other hobbies have changed people's lives for the better or worse. Christianity has no special claim to turning around the direction of people's lives. How utterly asinine.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • bostontola

          Ecal,
          Those fallible scientists don't rely on their opinions. Other scientists test their ideas and put in every effort to disprove them. That is a key difference between science and religion. Scientists admit they don't know, test ideas and try as hard as they can to disprove them. After they can't disprove an idea, it is accepted. Religion tries as hard as it can to rationalize dogma.

          As to your assertion that I try to suppress your truth, I can't and don't try. I believe all should be able to believe what they want. I am discussing the inconsistencies as I see them. What is wrong with that?

          December 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • Ecal

          You still can't answer all the above questions regarding morality, justice and so on...can you? Neither can scientists!

          December 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          ecal
          You say that scientist can't answer....maybe so but you forgot yet.
          Why, since no one can answer to your satisfaction, do you then leap to the unjustifyable goddidit. There is no evidence of that at all.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • bostontola

          Ecal,
          Of course we can't answer all questions, no one can. Your particular questions don't uniquely lead to a conclusion of a God. Man had many questions over history that the answer was God. Science has eclipsed many of them. None of the remaining questions is well answered by the Christian God.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • Ecal

          "Christian God?" There is no such a thing, nor will you ever find any Christian making a distinction between the so called Christian God and any other gods because there is only one and true God. His name is Yahweh. The only and true God who decided to send His only Son Jesus Christ, who is also Yahweh, to die for people who reject Him and could care less for Him, like you and also me at one point of my life. Something that none of us would ever consider doing, let alone for anyone who is not deserving of such love and grace. What a great God you also have. That's right, whether you accept Him as being God or not, He is also your God since ultimately you will have to render your accounts solely to Him.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • bostontola

          Ecal,
          Open questions in no way lead to the God you believe in.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • mcore

        The watch metaphor is old and silly. It's also a very poor metaphor as watch parts are nothing like molecules. Next time, try formulating your own argument instead of relying on one fabricated by someone else.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  15. Abril

    There's not one shred of evidence–as the accuser himself points out: “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.”–that C.S. Lewis ever had a physical relationship with Janie Moore. On the contrary, virtually every source of information about Lewis's life notes that he fulfilled his promise to a dying friend, at great sacrifice to himself, financially and otherwise, without receiving anything in return.

    This article is laughable in its leaps from sketchy "evidence" (he read the Marquis de Sade) to outlandish conclusions (he was obsessed with S & M). As Harold Bloom remarked about modern Shakespeare theorists, their speculations reveal more about the theorists themselves than about their subject. Maybe it's hard for such cynics to appreciate, or even believe in, a human being of true moral integrity. Sad commentary on them.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • wspencer

      Very sensible, Abril. Totally agree. Want to say 'Amen.'

      December 1, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  16. Jeebusss

    He basically re-wrote the Bible parables as a fairy tale, which is interestingly fitting. In a way he revealed them for what they really are. They say great fiction inspires more great fiction.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • JJ

      Although the bible is fiction it's not great fiction. Also, it plagiarized previous myths as well.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • Gregg

        It is not fiction as science and archaeology have proven over and over....

        December 1, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • Colin

          Such as......

          December 1, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • igaftr

          that's funny gregg considering how a lot of the bible has been disproven by science.

          Where has science proven that a mixture of holy water and dust from the floor will show a wifes infidelity, like in Numbers, or that you can breed striped goats by having the mating goats stare at striped objects as in Genesis?

          Ridiculous.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • Gregg

          There are tons of evidences for Biblical accuracy. Those who don't believe so are learning from the Internet, not Science. Those who don't believe have to ignore even believe basic sciences such as Archaeology....a shame. Why persist in these false beliefs?

          December 1, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • doobzz

          Such as?

          Atlanta, GA exists. There was a big war there a long time ago, and there's a book that tells all about it. A beautiful young girl lived there and worked in the hospitals taking care of wounded Confederate soldiers. Lots of people knew her and saw her. That proves Scarlett O'Hara was a real person, too. It's in the book.

          Egypt exists, so the Moses stories must be true. The Sea of Galilee exists, so Jesus must have walked across it. Mount Olympus exists, so Zeus is a real deity.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Oreagano

          If you truly care about the substantial scientific and archaeological evidence that supports the Bible, read Evidence that Demands a Verdict or another similar book that spells out that evidence in great detail. If you don't care, then might I suggest you stop demanding people provide you such evidence on a CNN comment board.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • Paul

          I know this is what you have been taught by your church or your favorite Christian author. However, you have been sold a book of lies. It is indeed true that there is some legitimate history in the Bible. Some of the kings really existed. Some of the places really existed. But, on the other hand, much has been disproved by archeology. For example, there was no Exodus. You might refer to The Bible Unearthed, written by Jewish archeologists. Take Homer, for example. Places and people in The Illiad and The Oddyssey actually existed. But that doesn't mean the books are factual.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Relictus

          @Gregg

          You are misrepresenting your viewpoint by presenting it so poorly. I encourage Christians to learn the basics of formal Logic so that you can better represent your views.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Ecal

          Paul,

          You are wrong! There a lot of archeological findings out there, but yet there hasn't been any that can disprove anything in the Bible. If so, would you please tell me what? Because, without question, if you have any such findings you could actually make the CNN headline!

          December 1, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • doobzz

          @ Oreagano

          I have read that book. It's the handbook of Christian apologetics and logical fallacies.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:45 am |
        • A Frayed Knot

          Gregg,

          The fact that places mentioned in the Bible have been verified archeologically has no bearing on the veracity of the supernatural stories put forth in that book.

          Mount Olympus (and many other places mentioned in their legends and myths) really exists in Greece. Does that mean that 12 gods really live there? Dickens' "The Christmas Carol" fairly accurately portrays the places and conditions of 19th century England. Does that mean that the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come were real? All sorts of fiction and fantasy stories are set in real places.

          The Bible is a book which includes *some* history of primitive Hebrew culture, and *some* good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior, but mostly it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.

          The NT is a collection of the writings of various 1st century evangelists who were promoting their new offshoot religion.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • G to the T

          Your apparent understanding of current archeological thinking is sadly mistaken. If anything, more and more archeological evidence (the Ugaritic site for example) that are showing us that the "Exodus" never happened (at least in the way and/or the scale presented in the bible). What we ARE finding is that tribes from southern Canaan who worshiped "El" (Isra-EL) combined with the southern tribes who worshipped Yahweh (Judah). While it's possible that a band of escaped slaves from Egypt was incorporated into their population, what we aren't finding is any evidence of conquest. Instead we're finding evidence of nomadic tribes slowly transitioning to a more sedintary lifestyle.

          December 2, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Gregg

      "Those who believe the Bible is fiction are they themselves condemned to live a life of fiction until the end" As God says "Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from[d] the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish."

      December 1, 2013 at 11:19 am |
      • Anthony

        Quoting from the source of your delusion is not going to be persuasive to anyone who is not already deluded.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • Gregg

          It is the Word of God.......

          December 1, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • doobzz

          @ Gregg

          Written by men. Revised over and over by men. Used by men to control people, and gain power and wealth.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Anthony

          There's lot's of religions with their own words of their own gods, you know. I guess all the others are wrong and yours is the only right one, right?

          December 1, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Relictus

          Believers like Gregg are taking shortcuts in reasoning. I doubt that Gregg can see an issue with what he is doing. Gregg is not going to find critical thinking skills on his own without our help.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:42 am |
      • sybaris

        Quoting bible passages is like an 8 year old stabbing at you with their Star Wars light saber........... cute and ineffective.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  17. bostontola

    C. S. Lewis is strong evidence that intelligence and belief are independent processes in the human brain. Reading his work, I always felt a rare intellect. His ability to apply logic to a foundationaly illogical (not in a bad sense) enterprise, religion, was amazing. He had an extraordinary vision into human nature, and could describe complex human contradictions in an almost impossibly concise way.

    If a person of his intellect can be infected with imaginary notions, almost anyone can. It indicates that between emotion and intellect, emotion wins in many minds.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Ecal

      Bostontola,

      "If a person of his intellect can be infected with imaginary notions, almost anyone can. It indicates that between emotion and intellect, emotion wins in many minds."

      These imaginary notions that Lewis was infected with, as you call it, come from the Spirit of God. That is the only way to believe. Intellectuality or lack thereof has nothing to do with believing spiritual matters nor does emotions. What it may seem to you as being foundational illogical, for anyone who is born again from the Spirit of God makes all the sense in the world. Please read 1 Corinthians 2: 1-16.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • bostontola

        Ecal,
        What you said is almost exactly what I said. Many people of other religions have a similar spiritual experience as you do. Either they are imagining it, you are imagining it, or both.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Ecal
        I have to go along with bostontola. By spirit of god, what do you mean exactly, only the Christian god? You do realize that your spirit of god is very incompetent if it can only reach about a third of the people on earth. As a Deist, I have to reject god as a spirit, it missed me also, clumsy god.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • bostontola

          Hey Charm,
          I am glad you were spot on regarding that Patriots/Broncos game. That was the best regular season game in memory.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Hi bostontola.
          Great game could not believe they scored that many points in the cold but 11 fumbles probably helped. I think Brady might be the greatest of all time giving Staubach a run for his money. DEN @ KC could be interesting, no prediction.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • bostontola

          I agree, the Den KC game should be the game of the week. 50 degrees will seem balmy to Manning and he won't want to lose 2 in a row.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:58 am |
  18. sybaris

    The difference between me and your god is if I saw a baby being ra.ped I would try to stop it

    December 1, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Gregg

      And I wouldn't? This just shows how warped your thinking is suggesting that you know the mind of God or my mind....Repent for the kingdom of God is near....

      December 1, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • doobzz

        Really? Jesus said he'd return within the generation he lived in. He's either a liar or he's dead.

        If you believe in such things.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • sam stone

        that is exactly what you are doing, gregg

        December 1, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Ecal

      The difference between you and God is that you are not God!

      December 1, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • sybaris

        which god?

        December 1, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • doobzz

        Exactly. A decent person would help the baby, while your god just watches and says, "I'm going to punish you when you finish raping that baby. After you die, that is. Unless you grovel enough before me, then you'll get a big heavenly party."

        December 1, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Ecal

          Doobzz,

          God is not a person.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • doobzz

          Exactly. A human would do something to help a child who is being hurt. Your god watches and does nothing.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • sybaris

        The same as I am not you however another difference is I can give you my address and you can provide evidence that you have seen me, actually spoken to me, even take my picture and I'll give you a strand of hair to prove it. As yet your god nor any others have provided any evidence of their existence.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Ecal

          Look around you! There is no enough evidence for you? By the way, He has indeed revealed Himself to us, through His Word and Christ!

          December 1, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • sybaris

          A tree is evidence of............. a tree to suggest that it is evidence of a supernatural being is patently dishonest.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • doobzz

          "Look around you! There is no enough evidence for you?"

          I don't think you're clear on what "evidence" means. I see the moon, but I see no evidence that your god created it.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  19. Caleb Boone

    Dear Colin:

    I read your letter carefully.

    God is Love.

    God extends unlimited forgiveness and salvation in Jesus' Name, to all people.

    God also extends perfect blessings of peace, prosperity, faith, healing, wholeness, Scriptural knowledge, inspiration, enlightenment, joy, fellowship and power to all Christians, in Jesus' Name,

    God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the One and Only Propitiation for our sins.

    God cannot look on sin. God is absolutely Good and Perfect. God is omnipresent and omniscient.

    God desires to be in perfect fellowship and union with all humanity.

    God's Holy Spirit, which is God with us, was breathed into the disciples by Jesus.

    The Holy Spirit empowers Christians to accomplish any and all miraculous acts which Jesus did and more, through faith in His Name.

    All of the above must be accepted on faith.

    One must confess and repent of his sins, accept Jesus as his one and only exclusive personal Saviour, and accept and believe that Jesus died as the One and Only, Exclusive, Perfect Sacrifice for his sins, and finally acknowledge, confess and receive Jesus as Lord over his life and receive the in-filling of the Holy Spirit with all the accompanying gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

    All of these acts must be acts of faith in the Name of Jesus.

    I understand that you very well may have read many things which cause you to feel that you must disagree with Christianity.

    I must reply that I disagree with all of them because I have accepted Jesus as my Saviour, the Holy Spirit as my Guide and Daily Inspiration and the Word of God as my Complete Instruction.

    I ask you to accept the perfect Love, Joy and Peace of Jesus.

    I wish you a Blessed Christmas.

    Sincerely yours,
    Caleb Boone.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • George

      "All of the above must be accepted on faith."

      This is not unique to your religion, and is, of course, the primary problem with all of them.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Gregg

      Caleb; good but one change. The Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost after Jesus left the earth....from John 16 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you AND also John 15 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:11 am |
      • AnotherPerson

        Greg, The Holy Spirit did come to the Apostles on Pentecost and all Christians are promised an indwelling by the Holy Spirit. But, first, I'm not sure what change you are making. I didn't see anything that was wrong in the OP you were replying to.
        Second, the Holy Spirit didn't come to people for the first time on Pentecost. Read Luke 1...particularly verses 41 and 67 were it says that John the Baptist's mother and father were both filled with the Holy Spirit before Jesus had even been born.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  20. Andrew

    What Christianity teaches us is that none of us are perfect. Neither was CS Lewis, but that doesn't take anything away from the messages that he delivered.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • igaftr

      Life teaches that we are not perfect.

      Christianity teaches that you are a sinning imperfect wretch that needs salvation, and only by doing an immoral act ( allowing someone else to take your punishment) can you be "saved" from the threat your own god created.
      Kind of like the schoolyard bully...he doesn't want to make you punch yourself, he HAS to since you won't give him your lunch money.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:53 am |
      • Gregg

        Since when are you in any position to judge what is immoral you immoral being? Only God can set right and wrong...

        December 1, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • George

          You're wrong. You are aware of the existence of many other religions, I presume? So there are lots of "gods" that do that.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • igaftr

          Men choose what is right and wrong. Men create laws ( and your religion).
          In this country we go out of our way to NOT punish the innocent, to make sure we get our man....WE consider it immoral for one to allow another to take their punishment. If someone commits a crime, we want THAT individual to pay for the crime, not a stand in.
          It is not MY morality, it is mans.
          Why do you think it is moral for someone else to takje YOUR punishment? Why do you not consider that immoral? It isn't like the veterans who lost their lives defending our freedoms...we don't get a say in that, but YOU have the choice, and take the immoral choice rather than accept YOUR punishment.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • sam stone

          how is that any different than you are doing, gregg?

          by what standard do you, as an immoral being, judge god?

          December 1, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • George

      Does ANY philosophy teach that we ARE perfect?

      December 1, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • ErnieK

        Not that I know of, but there are a few out there at least that allow for perfection to be achieved, which is more than most montheism allows for.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
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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.