Meditations with C. S. Lewis: Insights from a Bottle of Port

C. S. Lewis, best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, was also one of the most profound thinkers of twentieth century Christianity.  Along with J. R. R. Tolkien, he has inspired millions of people, include all of the authors at Lantern Hollow Press.  On Sundays we would like to take a moment to offer up a little Lewis for your consideration.  Enjoy!

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I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.

–C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

Here, Lewis is hitting on one of the very significant mistakes that people make when it comes to religion in general and Christianity in particular.  (He had a knack for that sort of thing.)  Since the rise of theological liberalism in the 19th century, there has been an over-emphasis on the comforting aspects of the faith to the detriment of Christianity as a whole.  This results in the idea of religion as a “crutch” to help us limp through a hard world we fear to face.   That has been reinforced in recent years by the wave of affluence we’ve experienced in the western world since the end of World War II.  Today, no one wants to accept a religion that has hard things to say about them or the way they live their lives.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your position), the Truth of Christianity is far harder than the world around us.  It shows us things about ourselves that no one wants to admit–after all, a real relationship with Christ begins with a knowledge of our own sin and with the admission that “we’re not all OK, myself least of all.”  That is precisely the converse of the message being broadcast by the modern world.  In reality, religion–Christianity–is not simply an easy expedient adopted by the weak to protect themselves from harsh naturalism.  It is the acceptance of the even harder path that leads the weak to become strong through Him.

Christianity isn’t a warm, fuzzy blanket that we wrap ourselves in when we feel the cold of the universe.  It is far more than a get-out-of-Hell-free card.  It is the Universal Sovereign’s attempt to set us back to rights after we have so thoroughly injured ourselves and His creation that He would be justified in simply doing away with it all.  The Truth of Christianity restores us to proper balance with Himself and with His creation as a whole.  That affects our entire life in different ways, some comforting, some hard, but all good.

Just try to balance all that on a simple crutch!

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Click here for the entire run of “Meditations with C. S. Lewis” so far.  Interested in more about C. S. Lewis?  Check out Passing Through the Shadowlands–an extended project where I am blogging through his life in letters, essays, and books.

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About Brian

I am a history professor and author living with my family in the Virginia Mountains. It's hard to improve on a life like this!

Posted on April 15, 2012, in Brian Melton, C. S. Lewis, Christianity, Meditations, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Very astute. One of the things about having faith, as it were, is that in the secular world it is questioned and looked upon as a crutch, when in reality it is a very difficult thing. Faith. to me, needs intelligence and wonder. And you are right–it makes us look at ourselves, and we may see things we do not like.

  2. I’m not a Christian, but I agree with you in that people delude themselves by using religion as a spiritual crutch. Any spiritual practice involves soul searching, which is a painful process. This involves dealing with projections, shadows, self and other judgements, and not to mention self-love, not to be confused with arrogance/self-centeredness.

    My belief about Jesus is controversial in that I don’t believe in sin. I think sin is manmade and does not come from an unconditionally-loving God. Jesus came to the world to wash away the illusion of sin, and to teach that God is in all of us, that we are co-creators of our world and our experiences. If someone wants to grow closer to Jesus, then they would do themselves justice to eliminate this notion of sin from their lives which just leads to guilt, shame, disempowerment and self-loathing. These conditions lead to war, violence, and the very things we consider sin. When are we going to break this viscious cycle? It’s based on fear anyway.

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