LEWIS THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC 9
CliveStaples Lewis the Christian Apologetic
Introduction – Lewis youth, education, and involvement with religion
The intellectual road is the road to God
The problem of pain – The greatest dilemma of Christianity
Repentance and conversion – Heaven and Hell
The intellectual road to God
The problem of pain
Conversion and repentance
CliveStaples Lewis is widely-known for his philosophical critiques andarguments against religion, which he developed throughout his careeras a lecturer, and a theologian. Lewis had one brother, Jack Warren,and his family was deeply involved with books. It is stated that hishome had books everywhere there were many journal publications inthe cloakroom, in the dining room, in bookcase, books in bedroom, andbooks piled highly in a cistern attic (Cline, 2016). When Lewis movedto Oxford as a student, he remarked that the place [the university]had exceeded his expectations, and for the first time, he felt athome in Oxford. Lewis feeling of belonging in Oxford University wasso strong that when he taught in Magdalene College, CambridgeUniversity from 1955 – 1963, he often travelled to Oxford to meetwith friends. Years later in 1919, he published the first book titledSpiritsin Bondage,and five years later he became a tutor at the Magdalene UniversityCollege with specialty in English and Literature. The second volumeby Lewis was titled Dymer,and it was essentially a collection of poems. Most of the literaturespublished thereafter have a strong emphasis on Christianity, and seemto deviate from popularly accepted Dogmas. For Lewis, it wasimportant for Christians to base faith on reason. He conflicts mostprinciples and values that are championed and endorsed throughout theChristian religion. Indeed, his efforts to create rational thoughtsand ideologies have attracted attention from both religion and theacademic community.
Thispaper seeks to discover research materials from the internet thatcover the arguments put forth by Lewis. The study will writearguments that deviate [or those that agree] with Lewis’ thoughtsabout Christianity. Much of the literature published by Lewisappeases well with atheists and raise deep concern about the truth ofreligion. This study will, therefore, examine the arguments as wellas state whether I agree or disagree with Clive Lewis arguments andanalyses.
The Intellectual Road to God
Inone of the excerpts, Lewis admits the intellectual life is a path toGod. As he writes, ‘the intellectual life is the safest and theonly way to God. Sometimes people find it to be just a pathway, butit can be the path that is promised to us like the followers of God.’(Olsen, 2012). Lewis recognizes the impact of intellectual capacityand reason as parallel to the understanding of faith. Perhaps hismajor concern was to provide a rational thought and a concept thatmade it possible for people to understand faith through reason. Inexamining this argument, the scholar defined two different types offaith the first one was Faith-A which defined God as thePhilosophical God, who was also a cosmic designer, and a morallawgiver. Faith-B, on the other hand, is more of intellectual assent,and it reflects a relationship between the person and the divine.Faith A was seen as a pre-requisite to faith B but did not alwayslead to faith B (Olsen, 2012). This argument, further, held that mostChristians were emotional rather than intellectual – because theydid not react to religion on the basis of reason. Olsen (2012)further argued that Christianity was held on the basis of feelings,imaginations, and expectations that were deeply entrenched – asopposed to those they subjected to reason and critical judgment. Theargument supports that true Christians are those who believe afterexhausting many logics and after becoming convinced that religionbeats logic. However, those who believed on merely abstract ideas didnot meet the thresholds of Christianity.
The Problem of Pain
Thescholar also came up with another conflicting argument. The existenceof pain and suffering in a world made by God, the Almighty God, isperhaps the greatest dilemma of Christianity (Bacz, 1999). Lewisasserts that God did not create the world to be traumatizing, hectic,and agonizing to the humanity, and he strongly doubted theparticipation of God in creating the earth. The analysis of pain andsuffering happened after Lewis lost his wife on the third year oftheir marriage. Perhaps this is the reason his guide, TheProblem of Pain,is seen majorly as an account that challenges God’s goodwill andparticipation in the world. As the author quotes, ‘If God weregood, he would make his creatures feel perfectly happy. And if hewere mighty, he would have the ability to make the world a perfectplace, and to lift pain, and suffering’ (Bacz, 1999). This argumentis based on the fact that there is so much agony and suffering in theworld. Being God’s own creatures, children and the heirs of theworld, there is insignificant sense for people to suffer. The problemof pain is, therefore, built on the idea that God did not exerciselove and goodwill because there were severe cases of pain andsuffering that happen to those who trusted and worshipped God. It isimportant, however, to note that Lewis converted to Christianity in1931 after being inspired by the work of Elizabeth Anscobe, a Britishwriter, debater, and philosopher (Bacz, 1999). Despite acceptingChristianity and abandoning the Atheist faith, Lewis is notparticularly convinced that pain and suffering should occur in aworld that is governed and ruled by God.
Repentance and Conversion
Oneof his fundamental work as a theologian is the GreatDivorcewhich is the Christian conception of both Hell and Heaven. Thecentral thought in the book is that there exist both heaven and hell– the two places where people can choose to belong. The GreyTownis an imagination of Lewis and it is neither hell nor purgatory butdepends on how long a person stays there. The author finds a bus forthe people who belong to the GreyCitybut who would like to travel to a more promising and joyful place.This place later appears to be the foothills of heaven. Throughoutthe book, the author holds the argument that there exist places otherthan heaven, where, through repentance and conversion, a lot of deadpeople can gain entry into heaven (Ward, 2013). This work reflectsLewis’ belief on conversion and supports why he converted fromatheism to Christianity.
The Intellectual Road to God
Froma personal analysis, Lewis concept of intellect and faith ismisaligned, and conflicts some of the most respected truths ofreligion. The author appears to confuse faith as some form ofknowledge, or even a concept that can be understood, interpreted, andadopted by the Christian community. I strongly disagree with Lewissince faith is a concept that should be accepted as truth and shouldnot be subjected to any form of critique The bible has, on manyoccasions, condemned those who tried to doubt faith and in selectedareas, the holy book states that some things are not there to beunderstood, they are there to be accepted. This is because theexistence of selected things is beyond the reason and logic ofhumanity. Lewis attempt to segment faith into two principalcomponents Faith-A and B, is a total misconstruction that deviatesfrom popularly acceptable truths and clouds religion andChristianity.
The Problem of Pain
Itis important to note that pain and suffering are central concepts inreligion, and they have been discussed throughout the bible. However,from a religious lens, the emergence of suffering is sin. Moreclearly, this is seen in the original sin whereby God punished Adamand Eve for their violation and rebellion. The punishment would carryon to the future generations, and this is the reason every childsince inception, inherits the original sin. Pain and suffering areimportant tenets that can be used to strengthen one’s faith in God.I can also be used to open people to experiences what take themcloser to God, and situations that form knowledge to others. Thestory of Job, for instance, is a clear indication of how Satan canuse pain and suffering to test commitment, faith, and belief. Lewisargument on faith and his statement that ‘‘If God were good, hewould make his creatures feel perfectly happy, and if he were mighty,he would have the ability to make the world a perfect place, and tolift pain and suffering from humanity’’ (Sayer, 2012). Above is amisconstruction from an author who has a deep understanding ofChristianity and who should be championing fundamentalsocio-political and religious ideologies. Pain and suffering do notindicate that God did not create the world, neither does it signifyGod’s negligence to his people. Suffering is a way through whichGod creates his true disciplines and advocators, and a mechanism thatis used to spread the word of God. It is pain that sets higherstandards for true Christianity and that which brings humanity closerto the Kingdom.
Conversion and Repentance
Thisis perhaps the greatest truth by Lewis, and a thought which conformsto popularly accepted dogmas of Christianity. For the first time, theauthor demonstrates a unique perspective and acknowledges that anysin can be forgiven, and that humanity can find way in the foothillsof heaven. I strongly concur with Staples Lewis that repentance is aconcept that should be championed throughout the Christian life. Theauthor conceptualizes heaven and hell believing the ability to enterboth depends majorly on the state of sin, and the capacity to repent.Lewis champions the power of penitence and contrition revealing thatthe dead can move from purgatory to heaven. Part of the argument isthat God’s graces are sufficient to those that show compunction andremorse for their misdeeds. Conversion and repentance, therefore,remain important concepts, and fundamental thoughts that I personallyagree with.
Itis important to note that Lewis work is instrumental in understandingthe motivations and the conflicts surrounding religion. His analysisprovides a scope through which Christians understand and exerciseFaith and how they interpret the Christian life. The paper hasexamined three primary thoughts. These include subjecting faith toreason, the problem of pain and suffering, and the significance ofrepentance. The analysis disagrees with Lewis’ perspective on faithand reason. It also conflicts with the author’s ideologies aboutpain and suffering. However, the study concurs and agrees with Lewisfinal thought about conversion and repentance. Where possible, theresearch identifies information from internet sources mostlyChristian official websites and scholarly articles. The aboveanalysis surmises the paper adding knowledge and creating insight onLewis the Christian Apologetic.
Bacz,J. (1999). C.S Lewis: TheProblem of Pain. CatholicEducation Resource Center. Retrieved fromhttp://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/apologetics/c-s-lewis-the-problem-of-pain.html.
Cline,A. (2016). C.SLewis, Christian Apologetic.About Christian Official. Retrieved fromhttp://atheism.about.com/od/cslewisnarnia/a/faithnaturalism.htm.
Olsen.T. (2012). Apologetics:C.S. Lewis.The Christian Today Official. Retrieved fromhttp://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-65/apologetics-cs-lewis.html.
Ward,M. (2013). HowLewis Lit the Way to better Apologetics.The Christian Today Official. Retrieved fromhttp://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/november/cs-lewis-better-apologetics.html.