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. Angelina



    December 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  2. Vic

    I believe C. S. Lewis embodied the true nature of our human reality of believing in God while sinners (no offense atheists,) which the Bible clearly emphasizes all across and God's greatest provision in saving humanity from the wages of sin, that is the Gift Of Salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    December 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Helen

      I agree...which makes C.S. Lewis all the more endearing...we are flawed, imperfect , and sometimes messed up; but "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,"...it takes off all the pressure to try to be something we cannot except by His power and grace working through us on a daily basis.

      December 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  3. vinster76

    believe it or not, there was actually some female kook who tried to kick-start a movement that Jesus of Nazareth never existed. She went on interviews all over, many jumped at the chance to begin screaming "see, I told you so, there never was a Jesus!!". Thankfully, she and her ilk have been thoroughly discredited, that in fact He did exist. You don't hear anything from them anymore......Which leaves me to this question.....Why is it so important to them to allege He never existed??? What are they afraid of?

    December 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      Why do you think they are afraid of anything? Why does questioning the existence equal to being afraid in your eyes?

      December 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • vinster76

        I will answer with a question as to why they may be afraid Jesus is real? If he is real, and they ignore His admonition to repent and be saved, what becomes of them once they meet Him face to face? What excuse do they give? Answering "duhhhh, I didn't know ", is probably not gonna cut it, seeing how it cost the Son of God His life in order to ransom them........food for thought

        December 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Very big if. Allegedly cost.

          December 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • George

          How did it cost him his life? He was gone for a few days, and he's still supposed to be around, right? What was the big cost?

          December 7, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      There's no evidence that he was the son of a god – which is effectively the same thing as far as christianity goes.

      December 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • vinster76

        Sorry- there is plenty of historical evidence – too much to go into here at this point. I would merely advise you to look into one of a myriad of books that attest to the veracity of that evidence. Here are several written by lay people ( I haven't even gotten into the theologians who have written – you don't want to get me started on that!): Who Moved the Stone. The Case for Christ. Reasonable Faith. On Guard.....OMG, the list is sooo long.......Google a couple of the books, order them, read them.......then call me back......I'll be waiting

        December 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • Street Epistemologist In Training

          You won't list evidence because there is no verifiable evidence to support a divine Jesus. We cannot list what does not exist. You must provide verifiable evidence or admit that you only have faith that a divine Jesus existed, or in other words, you are pretending to know despite having no verifiable evidence to support your claim.

          December 7, 2013 at 2:17 am |
        • George

          The books you mention contain speculation, not evidence–big difference.

          December 7, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • George

          Everybody likes to talk about all this evidence they know regarding Jesus, yet nobody posts one real bit of it. Why is that?

          December 9, 2013 at 7:26 am |
        • badgirls

          dodo wrote,
          After being raised with a Christian faith steeped in dogma and ritual (Catholicism) and traveling overseas to Islamic middle-eastern locations for periods of my upbringing, I have formed the logical deducuction that Jesus was an admirable person with valuable compassion and wisdom.
          unfortunately, you do what many have done. you select portions of scripture and combine them with your personal background and experiences, concluding jesus was cool.

          dodo, no religion, moron tom, alqeada, - they r all interchangeable

          December 9, 2013 at 7:55 am |
  4. 5 facts about C.S Lewis you never knew:

    1) He was a high-church Anglican
    2) He took long walks.
    3) He was a romantic.
    4) He was converted to Christianity by J.R.R. Tolkien.
    5) He was haunted by an elusive joy all his life.


    December 5, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Roy

      Good to know!

      December 5, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Lisa

      Tolkien was working on converting him to his Catholicism, but Lewis simply reverted to the Anglicanism of his childhood. His famous atheism was a mere youthful phase in his life.

      One of Lewis's less favored arguments within Christian circles is that he not only recognized the parallels between the story of Jesus and pagan myth, but that he even called the story of Jesus actual myth "that just happens to be true".

      December 5, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  5. Walt

    It's admirable that C.S. Lewis donated his earnings from his religious books. However, because of said subject matter, how can his endeavors be seen as anything other than purely commercial?

    December 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  6. Grant Fitz

    Yes, never knew that C.S Lewis books made him poor, that he thought of himself as a poor communicator or that he had a horrible personal life. It didn't matter if he was until yesterday and it doesn't matter today.

    His writing will live on and 99.99% of people reading his works will be more fascinated by his writings that his personal life!

    December 4, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Lisa

      So "Do as I say, not as I do" is that popular in the Christian world?

      December 5, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Yes, never knew that C.S Lewis books made him poor, that he thought of himself as a poor communicator or that he had a horrible personal life. It didn't matter if he was until yesterday and it doesn't matter today.'

      but now you know and it helps to round out the picture of the man. Whether you in particular find it interesting or not is really irrelevant though.

      December 5, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Would u please delete powerful, accurate, damning posts much quicker, please. Some may not realize how utterly corrupt u r otherwise. Thank u.

      December 6, 2013 at 5:01 am |
  7. David

    Good Read

    December 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Jane

      Awesome comment. Deep!

      December 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  8. Anna


    December 4, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Pop yawnni

      The first hit song with a few chords was OK. Taking the same chords and spinning them for a bunch of other songs is boring.

      December 4, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  9. eu

    is this blog fair?

    December 4, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • ru serious

      it is a joke

      December 4, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • no way

        As a christian, I'm very pleased that CNN offers this place to discuss the great issues of the day. I applaud them.

        December 4, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      As an Egyptian atheist, I think CNN and dodo are very fair to donkey puncher.

      December 6, 2013 at 7:10 am |
      • oo oo

        I think everyone would agree, CNN encourages believers to stand up to the lies of athies.

        December 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • oo oo

          it is thru their published contractual T.O.S. that we are building one prong of a multi-billion dollar action.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  10. Ecal

    I have a question for all the people in this blog who thinks that there is no God. Do you have any kids? I have a couple of 8 months old twins, and every time I look at them I can't help but to thank God for them. There is no way that such beauties are simple a random act. There is no way that they are simply dust on their way to dust. Dust by itself could have not come out with such a beautiful idea. They are beings that matter because they matter to their Creator. So are you!

    There is in fact plenty evidence of God, just look around you. May the Lord bless you all!

    December 3, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      If it makes you feel better to believe, have at it.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Ecal..while looking at your children marvel in the fact that most of the elements that make up their bodies,along with yours and mine were forged in the heart of long dead stars. There is indeed beauty in life and the real mechanism is far more wonderful than the boring alien myth.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Kay

      We're babysitting our wonderful 3 year old great-grandson overnight and feel absolutely no need to even think about some deity. Our focus is on this incredible little boy whom we love with all our hearts.

      But, as Sam Stone says, "If it makes you feel better to believe, have at it". It's just that belief in a deity is simply not necessary for us in order to adore this little boy.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
      • bootyfunk


        December 4, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • that doesnt make sense

      They simply accept Occam's Razor as an article of faith.

      And not only that, but a version of the Razor that presumes materialism.

      There's no use pointing out any evidence. They have decided that only certain types of evidence count, and their starting assumptions presuppose the outcome.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Yep. That doesn't make sense.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Re: evidence, yes, we have standards – unbiased, transparent standards (the scientific method and judicial system's rules of evidence, for example) that religion has never, ever been able to meet. But do content yourself with whatever form of voodoo you prefer.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
        • faux faux maddy faix faux observer meredith s.

          Hot air created everything. Very good science!

          December 4, 2013 at 4:25 am |
        • AE

          A lot of people have opinions about science and religion. Here is what an actual scientist says:

          “A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

          –Joseph H. Taylor, Jr., who received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the first known binary pulsar, and for his work which supported the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe.

          December 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • AE

          “Those who have magnified more recent controversies about the relations of science and religion, and who have projected them back into historical time, simply perpetuate a historical myth. The myth of a perennial conflict between science and religion is one to which no historian of science would subscribe.”

          –Former Oxford University Professor of Science and Religion Peter Harrison.

          December 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • AE

          “Let me say that I don’t see any conflict between science and religion. I go to church as many other scientists do. I share with most religious people a sense of mystery and wonder at the universe and I want to participate in religious ritual and practices because they’re something that all humans can share.”

          –Sir Martin Rees, the British cosmologist and astrophysicist who has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and was the president of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. Rees is the winner of the Crafoord Prize (which is the most prestigious award in astronomy), amongst many other awards.

          December 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • AE

          “But the context of religion is a great background for doing science. In the words of Psalm 19, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork’. Thus scientific research is a worshipful act, in that it reveals more of the wonders of God’s creation.”

          –Arthur L. Schawlow, Professor of Physics at Stanford University and winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics.

          December 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          No one claimed that all scientists are atheists or that scientists cannot be believers.

          All of the gentlemen quoted have expressed their opinion on the relationship between science and religion. An opinion – not scientific evidence.

          December 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • AE

          Actually some people do state that science, logic and reason only leads to atheism. But that opinion is not true in my experiences.

          December 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Science shows that the creation story of all religions is incorrect – the universe and life were not created as described in the religious lore. If the creation story is incorrect, then that religion has no foundation. Therefore there is no basis for belief in the personal god of those stories. Seems to me that science, logic, and reason do lead to atheism." or if you feel that is not logical, do explain why.

          On a related topic, when your eponymous software does not work as expected, do you attribute it to user error or software defect or do you accept that it must be an act of god?

          December 4, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • AE


          I think the or.ig.in story in The Bible reveals truths. It is not a science guide to life. It doesn't seem like it was intended to be. But it sure does explain truths about the relationship between human beings and their world for me.

          Science hasn't proven that false. Science, like what many actual scientists testify, can strengthen faith in God.

          So.ft.w.are does not work? I blame the I.T. guy at my work.

          December 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
      • Sara(swati)

        The overuse of Occam's Razor is a problem, but it's not uniquely atheist. Occam was a theist and many a Christian calls on the same principle.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Occam's razor cannot establish truth or compel something to be true. It is useful to weight choices by parsimony, but mainly because complicated propositions can often be reduced to something simpler. In practice this is so often true that the razor seems to have qualities like a law, but it is not one.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Sara(swati)

      I just someone today whose son is in jail for murder. I'm quite sure he's not thanking god. I know another whose husband left because their son had an intellectual disability...not thanking god. I know parents who have watched their child born with most of the brain missing, forced to stay "alive" artificially. Not thanking god. I have met a woman whose son, a problem from birth, is in jail for ra ping her daughter...

      It's easy to thank a god when kids turn out as little angels that bring happiness.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  11. Fast & Furious

    'He had a "horrible" personal life'

    –You can't hold his "horrible" personal life against him.

    The man was simply brilliant in his writings and could communicate tough emotions such as 'pain' and 'suffering' eloquently; which had he not gone through himself would not have been so brilliantly reflected in his writings.

    A faith that has never been tested can never be proved, it was probably this test in his life that made his faith in God grow deeper and the case for God stronger.

    In spite of a "horrible" personal life his brilliance shines through in all his work.

    C.S Lewis-Writer extraordinaire!

    December 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Lisa

      Posts seem to be disappearing, so I'll try again. Lewis's failings could be argued to show that his philosophy isn't practical in the real world.

      Thanks everyone, it's been pleasant. Talk to you all again soon.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
      • Fast & Furious

        Sort of like how your failings show your philosophies are not practical in the real world? Or in a different way?

        December 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • Lisa

          Which failings of mine are you referring to? All you know of me is that I am a woman and I am arguing against Christians, one of whom is most likely male. That a problem with you?

          December 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
      • that doesnt make sense

        Susan Sontag's death was apparently very unpleasant: life for an atheist is presumably only worth living when things are going well.

        Christianity does not promise that things will be easy. It does however have the power to help people through tough times, even if it does shake the person's faith. I think the same could be said for many (I won't say most) other religions.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
        • Kay

          You aren't seriously claiming that atheists are more likely to kill themselves than people of faith, are you?

          December 3, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
        • Lisa

          Christians die of leukaemia too, don't they?

          December 4, 2013 at 10:15 am |
      • Daniel

        That's what I fear this article is trying to do: discredit one of the greatest apologists of our time by attacking his character. Unfortunately, even if the assertions in this article were true which is not verified, an ad hominem fallacy isn't sound nor valid and can by no means discredit the philosophy or arguments Lewis put forth. Let's examine the merits of his philosophy rather than the man himself to really test the practicality and soundness of what he supported.

        December 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
        • Lisa

          The man's smoking and drinking alone would get him labeled as not a "real" Christian in many circles. One could argue that he talked the talk, but didn't walk the walk and, if he couldn't follow his own teaching, was it practical to begin with?

          December 5, 2013 at 12:47 am |
        • Daniel

          Lisa –

          I hear your points, but they still hold no validity nor soundness to the practicality of what Lewis taught. For just as many christian hypocrites that are living, there are that many people that live the christian life victoriously.

          Also, might I add that human beings aren't perfect and we all have our weaknesses and mistakes. Just because you're not a "perfect" atheist or skeptic or whatever you are, doesn't mean I question the practicality or viability of the views you put forth. Unless of course, you do view yourself as perfect which would then require another discussion entirely.


          December 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Hollingsworth

      Good observation.

      Some clown seems to have found some fascination with your moniker and is amusing itself with posts above. 😉

      December 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  12. Reality # 2

    As good students, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls (including C.S. Lewis') of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

    December 3, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Mark

      You sound bitter and unhappy. Are you taking your medication faithfully?

      December 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • taffylinden

      You, of course, have been brainwashed as well, but if it makes you feel superior, well, then, I hope you revel in your illusory superiority. It's clearly all you have.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        For those interested in reading more about the "fems" of Christianity:

        o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

        2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
        – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

        30-60 CE Passion Narrative
        40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
        50-60 1 Thessalonians
        50-60 Philippians
        50-60 Galatians
        50-60 1 Corinthians
        50-60 2 Corinthians
        50-60 Romans
        50-60 Philemon
        50-80 Colossians
        50-90 Signs Gospel
        50-95 Book of Hebrews
        50-120 Didache
        50-140 Gospel of Thomas
        50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
        50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
        65-80 Gospel of Mark
        70-100 Epistle of James
        70-120 Egerton Gospel
        70-160 Gospel of Peter
        70-160 Secret Mark
        70-200 Fayyum Fragment
        70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
        73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
        80-100 2 Thessalonians
        80-100 Ephesians
        80-100 Gospel of Matthew
        80-110 1 Peter
        80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
        80-130 Gospel of Luke
        80-130 Acts of the Apostles
        80-140 1 Clement
        80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
        80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
        80-250 Christian Sibyllines
        90-95 Apocalypse of John
        90-120 Gospel of John
        90-120 1 John
        90-120 2 John
        90-120 3 John
        90-120 Epistle of Jude
        93 Flavius Josephus
        100-150 1 Timothy
        100-150 2 Timothy
        100-150 T-itus
        100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
        100-150 Secret Book of James
        100-150 Preaching of Peter
        100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
        100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
        100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
        100-160 2 Peter

         4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
        5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
        6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
        7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
        8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
        9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
        (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
        by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
        10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
        Presented on March 18, 1994
        11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
        12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
        13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
        13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
        14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
        15. D-iseases in the Bible:

        16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
        theologians, ethics, etc.

         17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
        18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
        19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
        20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
        21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
        22. NT and beyond time line:
        23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
        24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
        25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
        27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
        28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
        29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

        Later, as I have to make sure my holiday light timers are working.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
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.