Many of you are saddened by the questions we have raised about this
beloved author. But we would be disobedient to our Lord if we
failed to test Lewis' messages against God's Word.
Much of what C. S. Lewis writes sounds logical and true. But when
the truths are mixed with error, the
latter corrupts the whole message. In fact, the truths make the errors
all the more deceptive!
Lewis, Tolkien and
Barfield explore reincarnation and theosophy
Book 1 - (first
of the four parts combined in Mere Christianity).
Lewis seems to
see a common law of human nature that remains the same everywhere,
regardless of whether people know
God and His ways or not. In his book,
The Abolition of Man,
Lewis calls this supposed universal Law, The Tao, based on the
ancient Chinese religions, Taoism, symbolized by the yin-yang. The
following excerpts are from pages 5-6 in Mere Christianity:
"...taking the race as a whole, they [people] thought that the human
idea of decent behavior was obvious to every one. And I believe they
were right.... I know that some people say the
idea of a Law of Nature or decent behavior known to all men is
unsound, because different civilizations and different ages have had
quite different moralities. But this is not true. There have been
differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted
to anything like
a total difference.
[Chpt. 1, page
"If anyone will take the
trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient
Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what
will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other
and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together in
the appendix of another book called
The Abolition of
[Chpt. 1, page
Book III - Christian Behavior
"I must talk in this chapter about what
the Christians call Faith. Roughly speaking, the word Faith seems to
be used by Christians in two senses or on two levels, and I will
take them in turn. In the first sense it means simply Belief --
accepting or regarding as true the doctrines of Christianity. That
is fairly simple. But what does puzzle people—at least it used to
puzzle me—is the fact that Christians regard faith in this sense as
a virtue.... Obviously, I used to say, a sane man accepts or rejects
any statement, not because he wants to or does not want to, but
because the evidence seems to him good or bad....
think I still take that view. But what I did not see then—and a good
many people do not see still—was this. I was assuming that if the
human mind once accepts a thing as true it will automatically go on
regarding it as true..." [Ch. 11, page
"Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word,
is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted,
in spite of your changing moods."
[Ch. 11, page
"...Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods
‘where they get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or
even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro....
Consequently one must train the habit of Faith. The first step is to
recognise the fact that your moods change."
"The next is to make sure that, if you
have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines
shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day.
That is why daily prayers and religious readings and
church-going are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to
be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor
any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be
you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in
Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been
reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply
"Now I must turn to Faith in the
second or higher sense: and this is the most difficult thing I
have tackled yet. I want to approach it by going back to the subject
of Humility. You may remember I said that the first step towards
humility was to realise that one is proud. I want to add now that
the next step is to make some serious attempt to practise the
Christian virtues. A week is not enough."
[Ch. 11, page
"Faith in this sense arises after a
man has tried his level best to practise the Christian virtues, and
found that he fails, and seen that even if he could he would only be
giving back to God what was already God’s own. In other words, he
discovers his bankruptcy.... What he [God] cares about is
that we should be creatures of a certain kind or quality—the
kind of creatures He intended us to be—creatures related to Himself
in a certain way. I do not add ‘and related to one another in a
certain way’, because that is included: if you are right with Him
you will inevitably be right with all your fellow-creatures."[Ch. 12, page
"The Bible really seems to clinch the
matter when it puts the two things together into one amazing
sentence. The first half is, ‘Work out your own salvation with fear
and trembling’— which looks as if everything depended on us and our
good actions: but the second half goes on, ‘For it is God who
worketh in you’—which looks as if God did everything and we nothing.
I am afraid that is the sort of thing we come up against in
Christianity. I am puzzled, but I am not surprised....
"I think all Christians would agree with me if I
said that though Christianity seems at the first to be all about
morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it
leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a
glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except
perhaps as a joke." [Ch. 12, page
Book IV - Beyond Personality
"Theology is practical: especially now. In the old days, when there
was less education and discussion,
perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideas about
God. But it is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently,
if you do not listen to
Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about
God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad,
muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas
about God which are trotted out as novelties today are simply
the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and
rejected. To believe in the popular religion of modern England
is retrogression -- like believing the earth is flat."
"For when you get down to it, is not the popular idea of
Christianity simply this: that Jesus Christ was a great moral
teacher and that if only we took His advice we might be able
to establish a better social order and avoid another war? Now...
that's quite true. But it tells you much less than the whole truth
"It is quite true that if we took Christ’s advice we should soon
be living in a happier world. You need not even go as far as Christ.
If we did all that Plato or Aristotle or Confucius told us,
we should get on a great deal better than we do. And so what?" [Ch. 1, page
"But as soon as you look at any
real Christian writings,
[not the Bible?]
find that they are talking about something quite different
from this popular religion. They say that Christ is the Son of
God (whatever that means). They say that those who give
Him their confidence can also become Sons of God (whatever
that means). They say that His death saved us from our sins
(whatever that means)."
is no good complaining that these statements are difficult. Christianity claims to be telling us about another
world, about something behind the world we can touch and
hear and see. You may think the claim false, but if it were true,
what it tells us would be bound to be difficult—at least as difficult as modern Physics, and for the same reason."
"Now the point in Christianity which gives us the greatest
shock is the statement that by attaching ourselves to Christ,
we can ‘become Sons of God’. One asks ‘Aren’t we Sons of
God already? Surely the fatherhood of God is one of the main
Christian ideas?’ Well, in a certain sense, no doubt we are sons
of God already. I mean, God has brought us into existence and loves
us and looks after us, and in that way is like a father. But
when the Bible talks of our ‘becoming’ Sons of God, obviously it must mean something different. And that brings us up
against the very centre of Theology."
[Ch. 1, page
God begets is God; just as what man begets is man."
[Ch. 1, page
"When we come to man, the highest of the animals, we get the
completest resemblance to God which we know of. (There
may be creatures in other worlds who are more like God than
man is, but we do not know about them.) Man not only lives,
but loves and reasons: biological life reaches its highest known
level in him."
"But what man, in his natural condition, has not got, is
Spiritual life—the higher and different sort of life that exists in
[Ch. 1, page
"And that is how Theology started. People
already knew about God in a vague way. Then came a man who claimed
to be God; and yet He was not the sort of man you could dismiss as a
lunatic. He made them believe Him. They met Him again after they had
seen Him killed. And then, after they had been formed into a little
society or community, they found God somehow inside them as
well: directing them, making them able to do things they could not’
do before. And when they
worked it all out they found they had arrived at the Christian
definition of the three-personal God."[Ch.
"God can show Himself as He really is only to real men.
And that means not simply to men who are individually good, but
to men who are united together in a body, loving one another,
helping one another....
"Consequently, the one really adequate
instrument for learning about God is the whole Christian community,
waiting for Him together. Christian brotherhood is, so to speak, the
technical equipment for this science—the laboratory outfit." [Ch.
"He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or
goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all
through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot
now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God
perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own
boundless power and delight and goodness." [Ch.
"The world does not consist
of 100 percent Christians and 100 percent non-Christians. There
are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be
Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them
"There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though
they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not
accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so
strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense
than they themselves understand."
"There are people in other religions who are being
led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their
religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus
belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist
of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist
teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he
might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other
Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been
in this position. And always, of course, there are a great many
people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent
beliefs all jumbled up together. Consequently, it is not much use
trying to make judgments about Christians and non-Christians in the
"Niceness'--wholesome, integrated personality--is as
excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational,
economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where
as many people as possible grow up 'nice.'...''
[Ch. 10, 215]
"In the last chapter I compared
Christ’s work of making New Men to the process of turning a horse
into a winged creature. I used that extreme example in order to
emphasise the point that it is not mere improvement but
Transformation. The nearest parallel to it in the world of nature is
to be found in the remarkable transformations we can make in insects
by applying certain rays to them.
think this is how Evolution worked. The alterations in
creatures on which it all depends may have been produced by rays
coming from outer space.... Perhaps a modern man can understand the
Christian idea best if he takes it in connection with Evolution.
Everyone now knows about Evolution (though, of course, some educated
people disbelieve it): everyone has been told that man has evolved
from lower types of life. Consequently, people often wonder ‘What is
the next step? When is the thing beyond man going to appear?’
Imaginative writers try sometimes to picture this next step—the
‘Superman’ as they call him...."
[Ch. 11, 218]
"..now the critical moment has
arrived. Century by century God has guided nature up to the point
of producing creatures which can (if they will) be taken right out
of nature, turned into 'gods'. Will they allow themselves to be
taken? In a way, it is like the crisis of birth. Until we rise and
follow Christ we are still parts of Nature, still in the womb of our
great mother. Her pregnancy has been long and painful and anxious,
but it has reached its climax. The great moment has come. Everything
is ready. The Doctor has arrived. Will the birth 'go off all
[Ch. 11, 222]