Meditations with C. S. Lewis: The Cosmic Grandfather
Posted by Brian
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.
We want not so much a Father but a grandfather in heaven, a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’
–C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain
This is indeed symptomatic not only of modern Christianity, but of humanity in general. From the very beginning of recorded history, we see that as a race we care first and foremost about getting what we want instead of doing what is right and best. All too often, we project that demand directly back onto our expectations of God.
The examples are too many to examine in so short a space. Consider only a sampling:
- In the political realm, there is the battle between secular capitalism and socialism. On the one hand, I demand the ability to work all things around me for my own good–even other people’s lives. On the other, I demand that the government forcibly take from someone else to insure that I can have what I want.
- In deism and atheism we see worldviews that demand people be absolute sovereign of their own destiny and morality. Not only can I have what I want, but no one–least of all a non-existent or irrelevant God–has grounds to even express disapproval. I am only held accountable to myself and a standard of natural law that rarely, if ever, enforces itself.
- Moral relativism takes it even a step farther and declares that there is no standard by which what I want can be measured at all. Since nothing is “right,” everything is. It is, perhaps, the ultimate example of the grandfatherly indulgence that humanity has come to expect and demand.
The problem has only gotten worse since Lewis first wrote about it. The idea of “grandfatherly Christianity” has spread like wildfire through western churches. We long ago abandoned the idea of “meeting people in their need” (a good thing) to “giving people what they want” (a much more questionable proposition). The end result is a castrated faith that, in many ways, bears a pale resemblance to what the world it imitates looked like five to ten years before.
And we wonder why people don’t respect the modern church?
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.
About BrianI 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 May 27, 2012, in Brian Melton, C. S. Lewis, Christianity, Meditations, Philosophy and tagged atheism, C. S. Lewis, capitalism, Christianity, CS Lewis, deism, judgment, life, Religion, selfishness, socialism, success, truth. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.