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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. cthulhu78

    Wow. What a huge surprise that a human being had flaws. It never fails to surprise me(although it shouldn't) the number of people who think that just because a person is strong in their faith, that they are flawless in their humanity. They fail to realize that these flaws are exactly what make a person who they are.

    December 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  2. Dan

    One of my favorite things about the bible is that the characters are so flawed. Even the heroes have problems with adultery, alcoholism, murder, doubt, and pride. C.S. Lewis would fit in well with many biblical characters. Even those who put their faith in Jesus have vices, struggles, and pain. It's precisely why they need Jesus.

    December 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • igaftr

      A good therapist would have far better results.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • bostontola

      Dan,
      I don't know any atheists that have an issue with humans being flawed.

      There is one character in the bible I am concerned about, the God character. It approves of slavery, it punishes children and grandchildren for the transgressions of their forefathers. This God character thinks it created the earth before it created stars. It thinks a bat is a bird.

      Humans have flaws, so the humans in the bible are in character. The God character is supposed to be moral and perfect, it is not in character.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Mark

      That's what Gods love is... Jesus..."What you do to the least of these you do to me." The first will be last and the last shall be first.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  3. vinster76

    to those of you on here who do believe Jesus is the Christ, I have a word for you. Please refrain from attempting to defend your faith any longer on here. The Bible says not to cast pearls before swine, nor to try to put a silk purse on a sow's ear. In other words, don't try to defend your faith in the face of the unbelievers on here. They are not interested in anything else but laughing at you. And that's ok. Look what the unregenerate did to the Savior. They killed Him, so you are in good company. Those of us who do believe KNOW we have truth and history on our side. As it says in scripture, " If God is for us, who can be against us". Psalm 14 says, "the fool in his heart says there is no God". There is plenty of evidence out there on the side of our God, He does not need to be defended. It is the unrepentant, pagan heart that scoffs at the truth that there is Someone out there deserving of our praise and worship. So long as you know that, leave the scoffers to themselves......They have a rendezvous with the King of Kings....Ciao,

    December 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Ecal

      Thank you! I'm out also.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • igaftr

      and every Nazi had the words gott mit uns (god with us) on his buckle.

      You claims are nothing new, just more out of your self affirming book.
      Why does a religion that is supposed to teach love for their fellow man call any who do not believe swine and fools?
      Isn't that hypocritical?

      December 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • doobzz

      "the fool in his heart says there is no God".

      Or the golden plates, or the emperor's new clothes. The Courtier's Reply.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      This from the guy who refers to Obama as HNIC – Head Negroe In Charge, but I bet that's not exactly what he says.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So the book that tells you to believe in god tells you are a fool for not believing in god? And you fell for that?

      December 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Mark

      So IG every nazi had that on his knuckles. That's totatally verifiable or you wouldn't say it right!

      December 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • doobzz

        Buckle, knuckle, what's the difference?

        December 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Buckle. As in belt buckle. "Gott Mit Uns" was on the German Wehrmacht or Army uniform buckle in WWII.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I don't find fault with C. S. Lewis, except in that I think he was wrong in his belief in the Standard God. He was flawed, but he led a normal and in some ways admirable life. I'm not surprised that Christians find fault with the article for revealing that Lewis was someone they might ordinarily find fault with. Christianity is a transforming faith, they say. Close inspection of the people it has supposedly transformed shows that they continue to be quite ordinary people. The new life in Christ looks very much like the old one.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      I agree with you that today there is not much difference between the life of an Atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, etc..

      What is the reason why?

      Today one great idol has been established: The Mammon. The Mammon is a demon making us greedy for wealth and riches. Every Dollar or Euro which we use to increase our wealth or riches we can no more use to help people in need. That is the reason why Jesus said that we cannot serve God and the Mammon at the same time. Either we increase our wealth, or we help people in need – these two things cannot be united.

      Today it has become usual to possess a costly car, a house, many electronics, to make costly journeys, to eat costly food, etc. We don't consider this as idolatry but as usual and legitimate. Our Western opinon leaders tell us that would be the usual life-style. However, a life-style which deprives us of any money which we could use for people in need must be bad, and indeed we adore Mammon.

      The idol Mammon belongs to the powers of death, and keeps us away from the Lord, the eternal God who has made heaven and earth. This eternal God want us to care for each other, and not only for ourselves. When we care only for ourselves we keep ourselves away from his life-giving presence, and we degenerate. We will degenerate even if we have the true doctrine. Either we abandon the Mammon, or we will perish.

      I guess today very many people including Christians are not aware of their idolatry, and therefore they don't manage to live a true Christian life – they lack God's or Jesus' delivering power because they serve the Mammon. May God free us from the idol Mammon, from Capitalism and Materialism.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Humans are an aggressive species that have always sought after personal gain. It's one of the reasons our species has succeeded. It's one of the reasons our species will eventually destroy itself. Religion has never changed this. It simply gives believers an excuse for their actions.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Andrew Ironside

      It's an interesting point you bring up – the idea that in Christ people still seem to struggle with the same things they did before. And yet, something is different. In a way I think it is like how a person is changed when they are married. They are still the same person, but they no longer just live for themselves. They struggle with selfishness and pride, but the loving partner encourages them and helps (sometimes forces) them to learn humility and sacrificial love. During their life, the goal is that they become and ever-better husband or wife.
      More importantly, the very heart of the Bible is that Jesus came to save sinners. I love the writings of C.S. Lewis, and find in this article an important reminder that even someone I look up to like that struggled in the ways I do. In the Bible the apostle Paul writes about how he continues to do things he knows are wrong, and he struggles to do what is right. In other words, he doesn't live the way he knows God wants him to.
      Christians ought to be different. God does work in people and transforms them to be more like who he made them to be. And yet, when they (often) struggle, there is grace. This is the hope of Christianity, that God has grace for sinners. It gives me great hope knowing myself and my failures.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        I agree with you that Christianity is a lifelong struggle against the own selfish nature, and up to our last day we will regret our sinfulness. However, despite our intrinsic sinfulness we should never abandon our struggle against our old nature, and set our hope only on God's grace which will forgive us anyway (in fact God will forgive us only if we have kept the struggle).

        Hence let us struggle as if everthing would depend on us but keep in mind that God's forgiveness is yet for free, and we cannot deserve God's forgiveness.

        Why then struggling?

        Bonhoeffer said: As long as we struggle seriously we keep the faith. We all will agree that faith is the basic condition for salvation.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I think that the perception of "salvation" allows christians to forgive themselves for their actions and gives them an excuse to keep doing the exact same thing. After all, all they have to do is pray to be forgiven.

      An adult understands that there is consequences for their actions and that they are the only ones who can change their behaviors. Religion encourages the child mentality: Believe in god and god will take care of everything for you. A bit of a simplification, but where is the impetus to be responsible for yourself if you have god to fall back on?

      December 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        Your perception of Christianity is the distorted evangelical one but not the one of the Early Church and the New Testament. According to St. Paul and Jesus and many others a Christian has to struggle against his bad habits lifelong (struggling itself means to keep the faith). A Christian should never calculate like that: O, Jesus has payed my bill in advance, and now I can sin carelessly. Such an atti-tude will lead someone to hell. A Christian should really avoid the evil, and aspire after love of neighbour and righteousness being aware that he receives the power of redemption or deliverance from Jesus.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Jill

          Rainer Braendlein, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently. So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

          And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  5. Publilius

    I find it amazing that the leftists will NEVER understand Christians. While we see the faults and sins, we only truly look to their faith as being a brother/sister in Christ. Drinking and smoking is not wise, but if you retain your faith, you are a welcome member of the Church of Christ. We all have sins. Every Christian knows this. We can condemn some practices, but it is the faith in Christ that binds us together.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      i find it amazing that people act as if someone of a political leaning cannot have faith just as strongly as they do

      December 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • Publilius

        Leftists by definition place the state over all others, including God. Perhaps you comment would mean something if I had used "liberal" or "Democrat", but I did not. I purposely used leftists.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Jadugara

          OK,...then if that's the "literal definition" of "leftist",...and that's why you purposefully used it, as you say,....how on Earth do you "find it amazing that the leftists will NEVER understand Christians"? Your comments are merely trollish and purposefully inflamatory...

          December 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • Maddy

          Who are you terming leftists?
          What group of people, specifically?

          December 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Kay

          Huh??? "Leftists by definition place the state over all others, including God"???

          Where on earth did you get THAT alleged "definition"??? Are you sure you're not confusing "leftist" with "communist"? Even though they most certainly aren't the same thing. Or perhaps you think that only Christian conservatives can be "true" Christians?

          Regardless, your definition of "leftist" is in error and, as a result, so is your conclusion. And your "amazement".

          December 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      a different political leaning, that is.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      "We all have sins. Every Christian knows this"

      It is amazing how Christians (likely all branches of theists) confuse belief with knowledge

      December 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Publilius

        It is far better to replace knowledge with Faith, than it is to replace knowledge with ignorance. Neither are desired, but ignorance of what is Faith does not make one wise. It is the truth that those without true Faith cannot know what it means to have Faith. there is nothing the Faithful can do or explain it those without Faith. Ignorance of that deep Faith is not knowledge.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          If it is something you can't explain, you should examine and question it. It may not be rational to hold onto it.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • igaftr

          Here we see the exact sort of circular non-logic that so many use to bolster thier belief.

          You need to understand...belief in gods springs from ignorance...Why does the ground shake and the mountain is billowing smoke (several gods created on the ignorance of what a volvano is)...must be an angry god. Where does lightening come from? A god makes them when he is angry with us (several gods created to explain lightnening.

          Your god is no different...
          Where does life come from.....from our god, he created everything out of nothing...where did god come from...he has always been. But couldn't everything also have always existed? no...god made everything, and he is getting angry for questioning.....on and on....similar conversations were the beginnings of every god man has ever worshipped.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Kay

          Why on earth would we want to replace knowledge with either one??? Why not just keep the knowledge?

          December 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I find it amazing that you think that your generalizations based on assumed political leanings has any bearing in reality.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  6. Anna

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=360]
    .

    December 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  7. GAW

    And then maybe just maybe Lewis was human just like the rest of us.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • bostontola

      Yup. He was human. But among humans, he was extraordinary.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • igaftr

        Wait...he was extraordinary?

        Ordinary means common, normal, average....so he is extra-average, extra-normal? how does that work?

        December 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • bostontola

          IMO, he had talent well beyond average, he was a thinker well above average, and he contributed to the people around him beyond most.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • igaftr

          Bostontola
          No shot meant...just that word does not mean what it looks like it should mean. Like plain and extraplain.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        But not extraordinary enough to come up with the definitive proof for any god, so at the end of the day, just another delusional believer.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • bostontola

          I disagree Ace, he was delusional, but well beyond the garden variety delusional. Was Newton just another delusional?

          December 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          No, Newton was a fucking brilliant delusional! You're not really suggesting that Lewis is in the same league as Newton are you?

          December 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • bostontola

          No equal to Newton, but he was a brilliant delusional, not just another. He was closer the Newton than to the garden variety delusional.

          December 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • igaftr

          to be fair,some of Newtons greatest discoveries were only verified AFTER his death, such as the return of Haley's comet in 1758 which was solid concrete proof of the calculations on the Theory of gravity. Neither Newton nor Haley were around for this momentous verification of this scientific pricniple.

          December 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • bostontola

          Newton was much nuttier than the average religious person. He was into the occult and alchemy arts. But he was also a crazy genius.

          December 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          OK, I concede Lewis was no ordinary delusional.

          December 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • bostontola

          You are right that sadly, he was delusional.

          December 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  8. Tom

    Wow, I had no idea CNN used atheist's and liberal minded Christians for the "belief" section. Just about every story is anti-christian which reflect's CNN and the low low ratings....Losing to MSNBC every single night. I'll stick to FOX

    December 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Common Sense

      Fox ... because rating = truth. LOL ... yep ... keep watching Faux News ...

      December 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Ted

      Good luck commenting there, loser. Bye.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • igaftr

      yeah...Dana Perino is about a informed as any common household bacteria.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • karl emmerich

      I agree - CNN forgets that (historically, at least) its viewership has been comprised of the religious sector. They're going to lose it by publishing atheistic pieces like this. I've been a registered Democrat - but I'm more of a Fox Republican than an CNN Atheist.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • Maddy

        What us atheistic about C.S. Lewis??

        December 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • karl emmerich

          The author's critique.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • FrmrMrne

      "Atheists and liberal Christians". Now that's a statement. Liberal minded Christians. I like the label. Seems somehow more Christian than some hate filled political/social idea of Christianity that pretends to "love the sinner" while really seeking the elimination of anyone not like the supposed Christian.

      Belief blog is about belief. Not just your belief or mine. But belief. There's only one thing as ridiculous as atheists coming on Belief Blog to argue about the existence of God and that's believers coming on Belief Blog to argue that belief is only about their exact, narrow minded definition of a political Christianity.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        That should be the caption at the top of the page.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So Tom, are you trying to say that being honest about C.S. Lewis' faults is "atheistic" while lying about it and making false claims would be a more christian approach?

      December 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • happyprimate

      Wow Tom, you sound just like a middle-eastern religious fanatic that can't abide a difference of opinion but must run back to its zealot group for comfort and reinforcement. Meanwhile the rational adults will continue to have conversation and discussion that crosses all lines of opinion. In the end, the actual facts should surface and those are what we should consider for taking onboard for our reasoning. Petty beliefs that cannot stand up to scrutiny have no place in the public square for long. The comfort of numbers does nothing for its merit or truth. Remember Galileo stood alone before many who said he was wrong, but in the end they had to recant and publicly acknowledge that he was right. He had facts and evidence on his side, they only had belief based on wishful thinking.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  9. tallulah13

    Actually, I never knew C.S. Lewis at all. I was a baby when he died.

    I did read the Narnia books. I quite enjoyed them and never once made the connection to christianity . I suspect it's because I had previously read the Lord of the Rings books, and Gandalf had already done the noble sacrifice and resurrection thing. It's a fairly common theme in the fantasy trope.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Maddy

      And soap operas.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      he died the same day as JFK and aldous huxley

      December 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  10. Common Sense

    Another famous Christian whose life is a contradiction of his beliefs? Say it's not so. Nothing is less surprising then a self-contradictory zealot or the faithful zombies who come to this thread to lie,deny and defend. We should feel sorry for these people.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Publilius

      All men sin, including Christians. Every Christian understands this simple fact. Why is it so difficult for non-Christians to understand it?

      December 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • FrmrMrne

        It isn't difficult. But there are atheists in this world who make a religion of their atheism and are every bit as silly about it as the people who use religion as an excuse for their political or social beliefs.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Steve

          There are no FrmrMrnes. Nc a Mrne lwys a Mrne! Smpr Fi! -or- Nt s ln, Nt s mn, Stll a Mrne....

          December 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
      • igaftr

        "Sin" is a construct of religion. I do not believe in that religion, so it is impossible for me to sin, while it is possible to do wrong by the standards of my community.

        Why do YOU think I can sin against a non-existant ( as far as anyone can verify) god?

        December 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Ecal

          And yet whenever you are doing something that you shouldn't somehow you know that you shouldn't be doing it. What's that call? Is called "sin" against the God who gave you the ability to discern such act!

          December 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          ecal.
          No...it is seen in every animal as well, especially in other mammals...they also have morality rules in place...it is an evolved trait...no gods required.

          A rat sees another rat in a trap that the first rat can release easily....It normally will release the trapped rat, even when it is a stranger to it...is that god working or something else? To think it is god unjustifyably throws out all of the other possibilities.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • Common Sense

        Please don't abuse the meaning of "fact" Hint: judgement of what is considered a sin is not a fact. Why are there so many comments here bringing up atheism and liberal and blaming the messenger for reporting actual facts?

        Why are there no retorts that contradict the facts reported in the article?
        Understanding of hard facts can be difficult for the very religious when they challenge their beliefs.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • Kay

        It's actually quite simple. You have to believe in "divine law" to believe in "sin".

        Now, if you simply said "all people screw up at times", then we could all agree.

        December 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Right...

      ...because you've lived a perfect life with no contradictions or mistakes. I wish.

      December 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
  11. Paul

    yeah

    December 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  12. Edwin

    He is far more complicated than I thought. I am sorry he had such a troubled life, but sometimes that produces that most brilliant literature.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  13. bostontola

    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

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

    He had quite a gift with words.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Ecal

      They both can't be true though. If you atheists are right none of us will ever know. In other words, any of us will have anything to lose. If you are not, however, you all will have the rest of your eternal lives to try to come out with a whole new different line of arguments that will not do you any good in front of the Judge who were probably laughing the whole time at your so called intellectuality.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
      • igaftr

        ecal
        You still don't get it. There isn't one or the other...there are an infinite number of possibilities....My, won't you be surprised when you face quatzlcoatl and have been worshipping the wrong god all these years. He will not be very pleased with you.

        You can dance around Pascal's Wager all you want. It is a logical fallacy, so has no merit.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • bostontola

          Well said.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • ME II

        False dichotomy?

        Science and Evolution do not speak to the existence of god(s). If you think that they are mutually exclusive, then you lose; science wins because it works.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Harry Cline

          I can't resist, science only works because of a God. Unless you buy into the pop the magic out of salamander spiel/rap. Even under LSD that's a stretch. What the hell do you people think evolution is. Yeah we crawled out slime but not my accident.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • ME II

          @Harry Cline,
          "I can't resist, science only works because of a God."

          What exactly makes you think that?

          December 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          Harry
          "I can't resist, science only works because of the Matrix. Unless you buy into the pop the magic out of salamander spiel/rap. Even under LSD that's a stretch. What the hell do you people think evolution is. Yeah we crawled out slime but not my accident. It was programmed that way.

          You see, I have just as much evidence as you. See why yours is not logic?

          December 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Ecal,

        What if you are worshipping the wrong god? Then you are just as screwed.

        All religions can't be right....but they can all be wrong.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Ecal

          I know that I'm right because the Christ who lives in me confirms it to me every single day!

          December 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • bostontola

          Ecal,
          Vishnu confirms to Hindus every day.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • ME II

          And if I were to claim that the Invisible Pink Unicorn that lives in me confirms my perceptions, would that not be equally valid?

          December 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Ecal,

          How is that different from the Muslim who says the same thing about Allah?

          You statement is not impressive in the least.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • Ecal

          No other religion claims that the God of the universe can actually abides in those who acknowledge their sinfulness through their repentance and acceptance of Him as Savior and Lord. No other religion claims that you have to be born of the Spirit. All the other religions see their god as far as you see Him while doing everything in their own power to reach him. Then again, you could only accept this truth by also repenting and accepting Him. Then you will be fully able to relate with all of us who have the Spirit of God abiding in us!

          December 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • igaftr

          I know I'm right because I walk around in the Matrix all day long, so it must be real.

          And sorry Me II... I know there aren't invisible pink unicorns, since nothing that is invisible would also reflect pink. Invisible is to emit or reflect no visible light frequency, including pink.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • ME II

          @igaftr,
          Ah, that is the miracle of the Unicorn! (kinda like the Trinity, etc.)

          December 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Ecal,

          I could not care less what your religion claims. Just because you think your religion makes original claims doesn't make it actually true. I find the whole idea of rewards and punishments based on belief awful. CHristianity gives us the disease (sin) and then offers the cure (salvation). CHristianity sells snake oil. I wouldn't treat my worst enemy the way you claim your god will treat me. That god is not worthy of worship.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • happyprimate

        One who easily throws out the well known and well criticized Pascal's wager, thinks not of the many other gods and their hells but thinks only that his is the one in question. That same person is also the one who has never been a seeker of truth, never ventured beyond that bubble of indoctrination, one who, in reality, knows little to nothing of where those beliefs originated, what preceded them and of what they are actually made from. That person will reject demonstrable evidence if it is contrary to the warm blanket of delusion as living in reality means giving up cherished and childish make believe.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • Bruno Cruz

        Ecal, there are a couple thousand religions on the planet. The fact that you chose Christianity over atheism isn't, statistically, putting you anywhere closer to the truth because you still have only about a 1 in 2000 chance of being right. I've traveled the world and I can tell you that people who follow other religions believe in theirs just as strongly as you believe in yours. If you were born in Mumbai, it's very unlikely you would be a Christian. You most likely would be Hindu. If you were born in Cambodia, the chance of you being a Christian would be very, very slim. You'd most likely be Buddhist. Religion = culture. What religion you are has everything to do with where you were born in this world. Nothing else. Personally, I read and observe, and my beliefs are based on those observations and scientific facts. That's why I can't accept a faith that is premised upon a book with tales of talking snakes; a boat the size of a football field that somehow could have carried two of every one of the 60 million animal species on the planet (how did kangaroos get from Mt. Arafat to Australia?) and their food and poop; people magically turning into salt; numerous instances where it is implied that the world is flat, etc., etc.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • Bruno Cruz

        Ecal, there are countless Christian denominations. And they all claim their unique beliefs are the result of God speaking to them. I guess God must be schizophrenic.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
      • Bruno Cruz

        Ecal, you should study Zoroastrianism. That faith is about 500 years older than Christianity (and still exists to this day), yet also claims a god and devil, heaven and hell, resurrection and virgin birth. There is very little about Christianity that is unique. There are a number of religions from antiquity that contain aspects that are central to Christianity. There is very little about Christianity that is truly unique and not copied from older religions.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Ecal

          Bruno,

          Who are you trying to convince? I was at your side for most of my adult life. What makes you think that now that I have come to the light and truth I would want to go back to the lies I personally used to follow?

          December 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • Bruno Cruz

          Ecal, your experiences are nothing that I haven't experienced. I used to be an evangelical Christian. I grew up in the South and was surrounded by all that so it was sort of inevitable. I became a born-again Christian when I was 20. And I was planning to become a missionary. But I left that area years ago, traveled the world, and opened my mind up. And I started reading the Bible with an open mind (it's impossible not to become agnostic if you read the Bible with an open mind). And I started researching other religions. I have also seen Christian loved ones have their lives wrecked by unspeakable tragedy (where is their merciful god?). In the end, I have come to the conclusion that I had been brainwashed and it what I believed in so fervently was all made-made mythology by unsophisticated ancient men of the past. You seem like someone who has not ventured far from your faith and has not ever opened your mind to other interpretations of truth, and have not truly sought truth. This got presented to you, so you grabbed onto it and built your whole life belief system around it, so now, like a house of cards you can't give it up because if you do, everything will come tumbling down. In my observation, there are three fundamental reasons a person clings to their faith: intellectual laziness (it's easy to just point to the Bible as an answer to everything rather than to do the actual work of tackling life's difficult questions); to have a clutch to lean on (give it all to God so I don't have to worry about it); and fear of death (it's a lot more comforting to believe I'm going to live forever than to face the reality of death). A fourth possible reason: ego boost. So many Christians I've observed seem to get a big kick out of believing they are in on some secret that makes then superior to those who aren't.

          December 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Ecal

          You probably though to have become a born again Christian at the age of 20, but more likely if you stay in the path that you are in, you were never born of the Spirit, you were simply a professing Christian. I'm a 43 year old man who came to faith only five years ago. I was at the other side for most of my life and as a result I was an empty vessel just as many of you are here. Christ has completely changed my entire being and thus worldview. This change did not come from any type childhood dogma since I didn't come from a Christian family, but from Christ Himself. As for you, I feel sorry about your current rejection after tasting some of His truth. I just hope that you are in fact a born again Christian, because if you are, you are still one of His. If so, be also prepare to be brought back to Him in ways that would catch you by surprise. God bless!

          December 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • Bruno Cruz

          These three (or possibly four) reasons, for me, do not legitimize forsaking reality. I believe something because I know it to be true, not because I just want to feel comfortable or not to have to think for myself.

          December 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Bruno Cruz

          Oh, and another reason fled Christianity: Christians. Not only all they hypocrisy I've seen (such as the evangelical minister at my church who embezzled a huge sum of money and skipped town), but because of the responses I've gotten when I've posed legitimate questions about things in the Bible that don't reconcile with reality. Answers like, "Oh, there are some things God doesn't want us to know the answer to right now; we'll learn the answers when we die," or "Just accept the Bible and don't think about those questions." Absolute cop-outs. I can't accept cop-outs. Those are the responses of intellectually lazy and deluded people who are content to remain deluded.

          December 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • tallulah13

          So, Ecal, what exactly do you mean by "empty vessel"?

          December 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • Ecal

          tallulah13,

          All of your comments in this blog would give you the answer to your question.

          December 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Kay

          Ecal – your comment to Tallulah was rude. She asked you a serious question after you yourself described yourself as having been an "empty vessel".

          Why not simply answer her question about what you meant when you used the phrase to describe you?

          December 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • Ecal

          Kay,

          When someone's heart is as hardened as his or hers, sometimes the best way to answer their questions is by simply allowing them to reflect in the condition of their own hearts through the words the communicate. It was never meant to be an insult.

          December 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • Ecal

          It sound to me, that you are the one trying to cope out from the poor decision you have made. Just because Christians do not have all the answers, that does not make them of any less value. Yes, there are a lot of Christians who fall short behaving as such, but we must also remember that living in the Spirit comes with a dose of struggle against, sin, the world, and the enemy. Apparently you have let them get the best of you. Besides, if many Christians do not meet your standard of expectation, that is not Christ's fault!

          December 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • Bruno Cruz

          Ecal wrote this: "When someone's heart is as hardened as his or hers . . . ." This statement is illustrative of the fourth possible reason I gave of why a person willfully suspends their critical thinking to embrace religion: it's an ego booster: "I've got something that you don't." It's rather arrogant to claim the reason a person doesn't accept your personal religious beliefs is simply because "their heart is hardened." No, there is a very long list of reasons why a person might find your religious beliefs implausible,and many of those reasons have been laid out in this thread and rather than address them all, you ignore them and make a simplistic statement like that. The issue is not that a person's heart is hardened if they don't believe as you do; it's that your mind, Ecal, is narrow.

          December 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • Ecal

          Cruz,

          What I said in regards to the hardness of hearts is simply what the Word says in this respect. I guess you probably are a perfect example of what the author of Hebrews claimed 2,000 years ago, "For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame." And yet you claim Scriptures to be not true now. Sad though.

          December 1, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    I am a fan of C. S. Lewis though I am a German (my hero should be Bonhoeffer). According to my taste Lewis' most impressive work are "The Chronicles of Narnia." I suppose that many people only know the volume "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." In order to get the whole Christian message of "The Chronicles of Narnia" I consider it as necessary to know all volumes of The Chronicles.

    I want to emphasize that Lewis never rejected the ecclesiastical sacraments, and therefore he actually is not the hero of the evangelicals (the evangelicals deny the sacral character of baptism and the Lord's Supper). In the volume "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" a boy called Eustace converts to Christianity (in the Narnia-World he joins Aslan). Eustace had been a stinker. Aslan (Jesus in our world) had to educate him. In Narnia Eustace suffered a very accident (but that belonged to Aslan's plan for him) – by bad magic he was transformed into a dragon having a ring at one of his legs which was too small, and caused him much pain. Furthermore he was very lonley as a dragon. His suffering led him to repentance. In Lewis' book repenting Eustace is sent into a pool of water by Aslan where he is re-transformed into a boy (kind boy). This pool depicts the Holy Sacramental Baptism where a sinner gets new life in Christ. Regretably in the latest movie this scene is depicted wrongly so that the viewer doesn't get any hint on baptism – but that was what Lewis intended on.

    Eustace, the stinker, became a kind boy through faith in Aslan (Jesus) and sacramental baptism (sacramental power of our world is Aslan's magic power in Narnia).

    The evangelicals have reduced Holy Baptism to a mere symbolic act, and an act of obedience and public confession of faith after conversion. Yet, actually baptism is much more than a symbolic act, or a public confession of faith. Baptism is sacral or sacramental, that means at Holy Baptism somebody dies for the sin, and enters Christ in a spiritual way. Through daily remembrance of being dead for the sin, and being in Christ through baptism one can overcome his degenerated nature which he has inherited from the fallen Adam. Therefore faith together with baptism is the only way to become a loving man overcoming his egoism.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    Reepicheep, the brave mouse, and servant of Aslan: If we don't have the faith, we have nothing at all.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Jill

      Rainer Braendlein, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

      Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Edwin

      I am not a believer, but I am an admirer if that series of books. Perhaps I appreciated them in spite of their Christian references; regardless, I recognize the quality if the writing. He was brilliant.

      I am reading the first book to my daughter now, in installments. Good literature can be appreciated by those of many different faiths and backgrounds.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        In "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" Aslan sacrifices himself for Edmund.

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BhC02JDNYA&w=640&h=360]

        December 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpsdcj3pFtQ&w=640&h=360]

          December 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  15. blursd

    No agenda here ... nothing to see ... move along :s

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

      Funny, this writer really really hates Christians.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • Publilius

        Hate? I dunno about that. Does not understand Faith of all Christians? that is clear. Why do they always write about things they do not even begin to understand?

        December 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  16. bibleverse1

    Meh

    December 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  17. A Frayed Knot

    Gee, I'm going to have to remember this article the next time I hear a Christian diss Christopher Hitchens for smoking and drinking.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • doobzz

      I mentioned that on the previous page and someone responded "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."

      Typical dishonesty when addressing their own hypocrisy.

      December 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • A Frayed Knot

        doobzz,

        Good one. Sorry I didn't read back before posting...

        December 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • doobzz

          No problem, it's hard to plow through the pages of posts.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Silmaril

        "Typical dishonesty when addressing their own hypocrisy."

        Who is the "they" in this sentence, exactly? Making a few blatant assumptions, eh?

        No serious intellectual atheist would be caught dead touting Hitchens, because he's a raving propagandist and overly emotional idiot who gives atheists a bad name.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • doobzz

          The "they" is actually you. You didn't answer my question but tried to deflect the conversation to put me on the defensive.

          I never said I "touted" Hitchens, so you're the one making assumptions. I simply pointed out that Christians dismiss him for personal habits that you made excuses for with Lewis.

          Answer the questions or be called out as a dishonest hypocrite.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Silmaril

          I thought that "they" was supposed to be Christians? Your assumption is that I am one, in which you are spectacularly wrong. Nor do I subscribe to any other religion. I guess your circuits are completely blown now.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • doobzz

          Well, you thought wrong. Can you point out where I said you are a Christian? I didn't.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Silmaril

          Oh, so "they" was not referencing [hypocritical] Christians? Riiiiggggghhhhht. Because for some reason I thought you were attempting to highlight the hypocrisy of Christians, and not only Christians, but specifically Christians who attack Christopher Hitchens on the basis of his smoking and drinking.

          Since I am A) not a Christian and B) certainly did not attack Hitchens on the basis of his smoking and drinking, I would say that the overall lack of comprehension is most certainly not on my end. But you just keep on preachin', Brother Doobz!!!!

          December 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
      • Silmaril

        The point, which you have so neatly missed, is not that Christians are hypocritical for dismissing someone (anyone!) on the basis of smoking and drinking. Of course it is hypocritical. (This goes without saying but I guess you need it spelled out.)

        Just as anyone who espouses Christopher Hitchens as being some sort of hero is a hypocrite for subscribing to the pompous fundamentalist emotionalism of an anti-intellectual narcissist. He is an embarrassment to atheism and to intellectual discourse in general.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • doobzz

          Please point out where I espouse Hitchens. I merely pointed out that the standards for personal habits seem different for him and for Lewis, according to Christians. One allows for complete dismissal of anything he said, while the other just proves his "humanity".

          Answer my questions or be called out as a coward.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Silmaril

          I can't really answer a question that is a directed at a Christian, since I am not a Christian, which was obvious and inherent in my first comment.

          But observation is clearly not your strongpoint.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • tallulah13

          I liked Hitchens. I enjoyed his journalism and thought him an interesting person. I am not at all embarrassed to consider him a fellow atheist.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • doobzz

          Can you point out where I said you are a Christian? Reading comprehension is clearly not your strong point.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Silmaril

          You made comments regarding the hypocrisy of Christians who criticize Hitchens for smoking and drinking while supporting Lewis. "...their hypocrisy", etc. etc.

          When asked who "they" referred to, you said: "The "they" is actually you." Are you saying that you were not inferring that I am a Christian by your statement of "the "they" is actually you"? Because why, if I am not a Christian, and also not criticizing Hitchens for drinking and smoking, would you include me in the "they" (Christians who criticize Htichens for drinking and smoking)? Hmmmmmm?

          Or are you somehow stating that I am hypocritical, even while A) not being a Christian and B) not attacking Hitchens for smoking and drinking? If this is indeed the case, would you care to actually state the reason why? Hitherto you have given none.

          Welp, this has been fun.

          December 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • doobzz

          Again, I simply asked why there is a double standard with respect to both Hitchens and Lewis smoking and drinking. I didn't even ask YOU that question, I asked someone else. You claim I "hero worship" Hitchens on the basis of that. You claim that I declared you a Christian when I didn't. But whatever, you certainly act like one, misrepresenting what other say to discredit them.

          December 1, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  18. C NI

    This writer, who thinks the Belfast born and raised Lewis was "English," may be equally inaccurate in other assertions—to readers of any religious belief or unbelief. Get your basic facts right.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Lewis was "English" to the degree that anyone is. Ident!ty is more than birthplace and childhood. Heee-eee-eeee-eee is an Eng......lish.....MANNNNN!!!

      December 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    I am a fan of C. S. Lewis though I am a German (my hero should be Bonhoeffer). According to my taste Lewis' most impressive work are "The Chronicles of Narnia." I suppose that many people only know the volume "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." In order to get the whole Christian message of "The Chronicles of Narnia" I consider it as necessary to know all volumes of The Chronicles.

    I want to emphasize that Lewis never rejected the ecclesiastical sacraments, and therefore he actually is not the hero of the evangelicals (the evangelicals deny the sacral character of baptism and the Lord's Supper). In the volume "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" a boy called Eustace converts to Christianity (in the Narnia-World he joins Aslan). Eustace had been a stinker. Aslan (Jesus in our world) had to educate him. In Narnia Eustace suffered a very accident (but that belonged to Aslan's plan for him) – by bad magic he was transformed into a dragon having a ring at one of his legs which was too small, and caused him much pain. Furthermore he was very lonley as a dragon. His suffering led him to repentance. In Lewis' book repenting Eustace is sent into a pool of water by Aslan where he is re-transformed into a boy (kind boy). This pool depicts the Holy Sacramental Baptism where a sinner gets new life in Christ. Regretably in the latest movie this scene is depicted wrongly so that the viewer doesn't get any hint on baptism – but that was what Lewis intended on.

    Eustace, the stinker, became a kind boy through faith in Aslan (Jesus) and sacramental baptism (sacramental power of our world is Aslan's magic power in Narnia).

    The evangelicals have reduced Holy Baptism to a mere symbolic act, and an act of obedience and public confession of faith after conversion. Yet, actually baptism is much more than a symbolic act, or a public confession of faith. Baptism is sacral or sacramental, that means at Holy Baptism somebody dies for the sin, and enters Christ in a spiritual way. Through daily remembrance of being dead for the sin, and being in Christ through baptism one can overcome his degenerated nature which he has inherited from the fallen Adam. Therefore faith together with baptism is the only way to become a loving man overcoming his egoism.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    December 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Maddy

      Stop stealing free advertising. How is that in any way a Christian value, when you're breaking the 8th Commandment?

      December 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        My website is not commercial. When I advertise via CNN that means spreading the Gospel. Is that bad?

        December 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • atavisms

          It is not that god may not exist but that there is no reason to postulate its existence solely by virtue of the fact that we have a universe with a creation in it. Because of that were true then we would need a creator for itself, -whom surely is more complex than the creation it is credited with giving rise to.. And yet in the minds of religious folks, 'God has always existed.' is good enough an 'explanation.' This is absurd in the extreme. Ask yourselves: why, how,, it could be that if the universe requires a creator, why would'nt god? And if god doesnt require a creator, why does the universe require one?

          December 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          Please write a comment having any reference to the article above. Everything else is boring.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Maddy

          So.... You are not advertising your website here? You're not spamming? Yes. Yes you are.
          That you try to ratio nixie your thievery by saying your site isn't commercial is telling.
          At least you are not playing the "no true Scotsman" game today.
          And you calling anyone else's posts "boring" is the height of irony.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
        • Maddy

          *rationalize.
          DYAC.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • sam stone

          yes it is, rainy

          December 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          That's all we needed!

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

      And RB's Lutheranism continues to ooze out of all of his comments.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's a shame Jesus didn't command people to brush their teeth and floss in remembrance of him, something useful that helps bring about good health. Instead there is only the not-too satisfying symbolic eating and drinking of the body and blood.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        Apparently you belong to the people taking care only of themselves.

        One day your teeth will become dust again – but what about your soul?

        December 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
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About this blog

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.