Comments about ‘C.S. Lewis' writings have profound effect on Latter-day Saints’

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Published: Friday, Nov. 22 2013 9:00 a.m. MST

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morpunkt
Glendora, CA

C.S. Lewis' writings are thought provoking, in particular, for any generation's struggles with atheism vs faith. His writings are needed now, more so than ever.

Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT

“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.”

I relate totally to C.S. Lewis' statement about why he believes as he does. I could say the same thing about my own "spiritual but not religious" beliefs.

I would never call Lewis "deluded" for believing as he does. I honor everyone's own beliefs, as long as no cruelty or exploitation toward others is involved.

But would Lewis have honored mine, even though he didn't share them? Or would he have called me deluded, prideful, thinking I knew better than God? From all I've read by him (and about him), I suspect it would be the latter.

Saddest of all, the God of his beliefs would cast me into eternal torture for simply following my own spiritual guidance (which I believe comes from God), just as Lewis followed his.

My God would be incapable of doing such a thing. Indeed it would be an insult to God to even think it.

And that's one reason why I'm not, nor ever could be, a Christian.

Nayajja
Ephraim, UT

Thank you, Mr. Jardine, for reminding me to read another work of this great man. What I have read has affected me for the good.

Owl
Salt Lake City, UT

Agency is never free, it comes with consequences. Failure to comprehend the Christian faith, however, is not a good or sufficient reason to condemn it. As a former agnostic, C.S. Lewis has been a guiding light in many peoples' personal journey. Reading and re-reading his thoughts offers insights into the true meaning of Christ's teachings. We owe him much.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

To "Free Agency", based on what you wrote, you not only know very little about the true nature of C.S. Lewis, you know even less about the true nature of the Christianity he espoused.

My suggestion to you is to fear less and see more.

Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT

@Owl

I didn't "condemn" the Christian faith, I simply said why I personally could never accept it. If you could tell me in what *specific* way(s) I've "failed to comprehend" the Christian faith, I'd welcome hearing it.

And the fact that Lewis has been a guiding light on some people's personal journey is irrelevant to what I wrote about my own personal journey. Am I not entitled to have my own personal journey, if done with sincerity and integrity (which it has been), respected as much as those journeys which have led people to Christianity?

@samhill

I don't recall mentioning that I was afraid. So your suggestion that I "fear less and see more" makes no sense to me at all.

As for my knowing little-to-nothing about C.S. Lewis and the true nature of Christianity, I'd welcome your *specific" counterpoints to what I wrote. Tell me specifically how I'm misunderstanding these things.

Especially: how am I misunderstanding the Christian doctrine that anyone, no matter how good-hearted and well-meaning, who doesn't become a Christian is condemned by God to eternal, irrevocable torture.

kvnsmnsn
Springville, UT

Free Agency posted:

=Saddest of all, the God of his beliefs would cast me into eternal torture for
=simply following my own spiritual guidance (which I believe comes from God),
=just as Lewis followed his.
=
=My God would be incapable of doing such a thing. Indeed it would be an insult
=to God to even think it.
=
=And that's one reason why I'm not, nor ever could be, a Christian.

Not all Christians believe that God will cast souls into "eternal torture." Seventh-day Adventists don't; neither do Christian Universalists. And the LDS theology I embrace leads me to the belief that those who end up in "eternal torture" cast themselves there; God may have had nothing to do with it. In the LDS view God isn't as much a majestic magistrate as He is a spiritual physician. If God prescribes medicine for tormented consciences, you can't blame the physician if the patient doesn't take her/his medicine.

kvnsmnsn
Springville, UT

I like a lot of what C.S. Lewis has said, but he isn't without his flaws. One of his most famous declarations was what is called his trilemma. Scholars of his day were saying that Jesus was a great teacher, but that he wasn't the divine Son of God. Lewis said that the option of being a great teacher wasn't open for Jesus. Jesus, Lewis said, was either Lord, Liar, or Lunatic. He based that on the things Jesus said. Would a great teacher, Lewis reasoned, say he was the Son of God, the Messiah, etc., if he wasn't really those things?

Not a lot offends me. It's hard to find things that will offend me. But Lewis' trilemma comes closer to offending me than any other idea I have ever heard. Lewis was willing to consider the possibility that Jesus might be a liar, but not the possibility that the Bible itself might be lying when it puts words in Jesus' mouth?

Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT

@kvnsmnsn,

I should have said "traditional Christianity" when referring to Lewis' form of Christianity. Certainly, there are Christian denominations which fall outside the doctrine I mentioned. But, alas, they're a small minority.

I feel the same way as you do re: Lewis' Trilemma, except I'm not so much offended as annoyed, because Lewis is working with "loaded dice" here.

He makes the assumption (as most/all traditional Christians do) that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. And he expects us all to have already agreed to that before giving his Trilemma conclusion that Jesus is Lord.

A conscientious court of law would have called him out on drawing a conclusion based on a belief rather than an established fact. Lewis does that a lot--in truth, most of us do in terms of our own beliefs.

But it's so important to realize they *are* beliefs and not knowable (on Earth) facts. We need our beliefs to keep going. But we must never push them on others as The One and Only Truth. Because we can't prove it--nor were we meant to, here on Earth.

denalilady
ANCHORAGE, AK

I like Mr. C.r. Lewis, but I prefer Dr. Francis S. Collins, father of the Human Genome Project. I loved his book: The Language of God. It really placed God into the creation and how easily he explains even using science as explanation.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

CS Lewis said "An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons--marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.” Amen, CS. Your writings have had effect, but not profound enough.

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