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Cs lewis if christianity is true
November 13, 2018 Anniversary Wishes For Parents 4 comments

C.S. Lewis — 'Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is moderately important.'.

Hello, readers! I have one blog post yet to write about my holiday in Spain, but inertia has kicked in so pardon the brief interruption for a little bit of an opinion column.

C.S. Lewis has joined Twitter from the dead, thanks to a devoted admirer, and is posting a daily thought copied from one of his books or other writings. He can be found here. Today, I happened to see his “tweet for the day,” which is as follows:

Christianity if false is of no importance & if true is of infinite importance but it can’t be moderately important-CSLewis

This is a classic example of a Lewisism, because Lewis’ trademark rhetorical device is the false dilemma. His writings are littered with false dilemmas in which the reader is asked to choose between the “Christian answer” to something, and a totally absurd alternative.

That’s what we have here. If Christianity is true, it is of “infinite importance,” which is a pretty obvious consequence. But if Christianity is “false,” then it “is of no importance.”

Lewis had good reason for thinking this was a deep thought, and no doubt so do his many followers; for what it is standing in for, what it is pretending to be, is this: “Christianity, if false, should be rejected; if true, it should be followed.” That’s so obvious it’s dumb; by changing “should be rejected” to “is of no importance,” he makes the insight obvious but clever-sounding.

It’s also totally wrong. In fact, it sounds like a joke. Christianity, if false, still dominated western society for millennia, had an incalculable impact on European, African, and American art, culture, and politics, informed the mindsets of thousands of historical figures and hundreds of important philosophers, was responsible for many innovations, inspirations, and acts of great moral courage, and was equally responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Christianity, if false, arguably changed history more than any other religious movement despite that falsehood.

Obviously Lewis has done something typically Lewisian: committed a logical fallacy. This can be plainly seen by working backwards: (1) The King James Bible is of literary importance; (2) The King James Bible is a product of Christianity; (3) “Christianity if false is of no importance & if true is of infinite importance”; (4) since the King James Bible is not of no importance, as a product of Christianity it must be of infinite importance; (5) therefore, Christianity is true.

Voila! I have just proved Jesus was God by noticing that Barack Obama quotes the Bible. The proper response to C.S. Lewis’ assertion is probably: “What? That’s just silly.”

Unfortunately, “that’s just silly” also characterizes my responses to many of the C.S. Lewis quotes on this Twitter account:

We’re half-hearted creatures fooling with drink & sex & ambition when infinite joy is offered us. We’re too easily pleased. This generalization says more about Lewis’ youth than it does about the state of humanity as a whole. For example, I drink little, sex less, and am going into academia, but do everything I do with a fully-devoted heart.

Every uncorrected error & unrepented sin is, in its own right, a fountain of fresh error & fresh sin flowing on to the end of time. This is the kind of crushing, demoralizing thing which makes people collapse in self-doubt. It’s okay to make mistakes. How the hell else do you plan on being alive? Don’t make the same mistake more than twice, though. You should feel remorse when you have wronged people, and you should try to right your mistakes, but if you feel that each misstep you make will be “flowing on to the end of time,” you’ll make Woody Allen look like a Hallmark card.

And all that is just from the last week. C.S. Lewis was an immensely talented writer with a gift for putting things clearly. That’s sad, because it means that he’s hugely popular. The trouble is, see, that nearly every time he wanted to say something clearly, he reduced it to a simplistic thought that is patently wrong. This is as true of his full-length books as of his tweets, for in the books he tries to summarize his argument in tweet-length snippets as a rhetorical device. This is a mistake, for the simpler Lewis puts an idea, the easier it is to see why his idea is wrong.

Friendship is unnecessary, it has no survival value; but it’s one of those things that gives value to survival. Of course friendship is necessary! But Lewis is using this “aphorism” to argue against evolutionary theories that “survival value” is our primary motivator. To which I would kindly point out that you are much more likely to survive if you have friends than if you have enemies!

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any topic could be relied upon to wreck a book about "mere" Christianity—if any .. If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must.

"Mere Christianity"

cs lewis if christianity is true

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite
importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
(“Christian Apologetics” from God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics)

I think about the utter truth of this statement quite often. It describes a true dichotomy, yet many live within an imaginary middle space where Christian faith is occasionally claimed but rarely, if ever, holds primacy.

The outright rebellion of atheism makes more sense to me than such casual “faith.” The former is at least comprehensible based on the fact that the unbeliever is in purposeful denial of God, usually claiming some brand of [pseudo]intellectualism for their disbelief. But the person who verbally claims Christianity whenever it’s convenient to do so, yet opposes it in words, deeds, and an utter lack of any outward sign of allegiance to their Creator… that’s the person I struggle to comprehend. Content to ignore God in their day-to-day life, they are nevertheless quick to ask for prayer when they meet a life struggle. It hurts my heart, and I know it must hurt the heart of God infinitely more.

Consider Revelation 3:15-17. (God is addressing the church at Laodicea, but the account is included in our Scripture because of the lesson it provides to ALL churches.)

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy, and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.

In our era, the word “rich” in the passage above could be interchanged with “educated” or “self-sufficient.” To be sure, this is sometimes indication of a corrupt, unrepentant heart, though the individual has deluded themselves into a comfort zone where the “God issue” is concerned. Some are ignorant of the solid reasons that exist for trusting the truth-claims of Christianity, so they view the faith as being only possibly or partially true. I think there are many who have simply never paused to consider how their life belies the “Christian” label they enjoy using from time to time.

Note that I am not talking about the imperfections all Christians spend their lives struggling to overcome. We all fail God utterly and frequently. I’m talking about the person who, though occasionally claiming faith in Christ, is apparently unconcerned with living out that faith. For them, it is only a label of convenience, one less important than political correctness, personal pride, or the pursuit of sensory pleasure.

The holy God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be justified in ending His declaration with verse 17 of Revelation chapter 3 (above). He does not. Instead, He extends the opportunity for grace, mercy, and a rich, victorious life in Him:

I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, and white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed  and repent.  Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.  The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev. 3:18-21)

No, Christianity could NEVER be moderately important.

In this Christmas season, may we all be reminded of God’s gift to mankind and give Him glory and honor by acknowledging, in every possible way, the infinite importance of Jesus Christ.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming!!!

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10 times C.S. Lewis made the case for Christ

cs lewis if christianity is true

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963), former Oxford Professor, Christian apologist, lay theologian of now legendary status. His apologetic work Mere Christianityremains a top 5 apologetic for the Christian faith, while his children’s books The Chronicles of Narnia continue to teach the Christian faith in a powerful way.

Last year marked the 50th year of his death, and in honor of C.S. Lewis’s legacy and I thought I would share some of his best quotes from his most famous works, along with some extended excerpts compiled from my personal reading and online research.

If I missed a great quote, be sure to leave it in a comment!

C.S. Lewis Quotes on God, Jesus Christ, and Christianity

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
― C.S. Lewis

“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.”
― C.S. Lewis

“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.”
― C.S. Lewis

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
― C.S. Lewis

“[God] will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of heaven as a shortcut to the nearest chemist’s shop.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“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

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”
― C.S. Lewis

“He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.”
― C.S. Lewis

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
― C.S. Lewis

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”
― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
― C.S. Lewis

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
― C.S. Lewis

“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
― C.S. Lewis

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.” —C.S. Lewis

“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
—C.S. Lewis

“Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted—i.e., keep fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk—don’t keep on looking at it.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis

“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
― C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

“The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go God’s love for us does not.”
― C.S. Lewis

“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Now we cannot…discover our failure to keep God’s law except by trying our very hardest (and then failing). Unless we really try, whatever we say there will always be at the back of our minds the idea that if we try harder next time we shall succeed in being completely good. Thus, in one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, “You must do this. I can’t.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“[Repentance] means unlearning all the self-conceit and self -will that we have been training ourselves into… It means killing part of yourself, under-going a kind of death.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The stamp of the Saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.”
― C.S. Lewis

“For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.”
― C.S. Lewis

“It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man’s actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. …I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life — namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.”
― C.S. Lewis

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Die before you die, there is no chance after.”
― C.S. Lewis

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.”
― C.S. Lewis

“There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

“To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that-and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison-you do not know God at all. ”
― C.S. Lewis

“Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Joyful Christian

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis the Apologist: Quotes about Apologetics and Atheism

“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
― C.S. Lewis

“When you argue against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let us leave behind all these boys’ philosophies–these over simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”
― C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
― C.S. Lewis

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
― C.S. Lewis

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
― C.S. Lewis

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

C.S. Lewis Quotes on Love and Friendship

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
― C.S. Lewis

“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Better to be miserable with her than happy without her. Let our hearts break provided they break together. If the voice within us does not say this it is not the voice of Eros.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
― C.S. Lewis

.”..Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

C.S. Lewis Quotes on Pain and Suffering

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.”
― C.S. Lewis

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
― C.S. Lewis

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”
― C.S. Lewis

“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”
― C.S. Lewis

“I once read the sentence ‘I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache and about lying awake.’ That’s true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis Quotes about Education

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
― C.S. Lewis

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
― C.S. Lewis

“God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than He is of any other slacker.”
― C.S. Lewis

Random Quotes from the Famous C.S. Lewis

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”
― C.S. Lewis

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia

“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“But one of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”
― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

“It is a very funny thing that the sleepier you are, the longer you take about getting to bed.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

“But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

“Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!”
― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“Do not dare not to dare.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

“He’ll be coming and going” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Here is a C.S. Lewis Doodle on a portion of Mere Christianity

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C.S. Lewis Quotes on God, Jesus Christ, and Christianity .. “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only.

The 100 Best C.S. Lewis Quotes

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C. S. Lewis, described by some as the “patron saint of American evangelicals,” is a very quotable writer, and evangelical Christians love to invoke him in sermons, social media posts, and casual conversation. However, you cannot always believe what you read. Expressions credited to him on social media or through google searches aren’t always actually found in his writings. Over the last several years, William O’Flaherty has collected a growing list (over 70 at last count) of quotations attributed to Lewis that will be the focus of an upcoming book, The Misquotable C.S. Lewis, to be published by Wipf and Stock in mid-2018. While uncovering the questionable quotations, he discovered not all of them are the same type of misquote. While most are sayings falsely attributed to Lewis, a few are very close to what he actually said but are worded incorrectly and some are simply removed from their context, leading to misunderstanding.

These are O’Flaherty’s ten most common Lewis misquotes:

10. "Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars—let go to move forward.”

This is one of those motivational quotations that encourages a person to keep going despite his or her circumstances. Presently it is not known who created it. A variation is referenced in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible. That version reads, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” In the book, it is credited to “Author Unknown.” Having Lewis’s name associated with this expression likely makes it more noticeable. After all, if someone as great as Lewis said it, then you might be more likely to read it and/or believe it. Trouble is, you cannot find Lewis ever using the words “monkey bars” in any of his published writings.

9. “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

Part of “doing the right thing” should be checking sources of quotations. For this particular expression, there are several similar sayings, but nothing in Lewis. “Do the right thing when no one is looking.” is part of the title of a blog post from 2015 from Vickie Milazzo, who is the president of an organization that does legal nurse consulting. Another possible origin for this phrase is a 2003 book from Charles Marshall entitled Shattering the Glass Slipper, where you find two statements: “Integrity is doing the right thing when you don’t have to—when no one else is looking or will ever know—when there will be no congratulations or recognition for having done so.” Then a little later Marshall succinctly writes, “Integrity is doing the right thing no matter what it costs you.” Marshall does not state that he is referring to another author for either statement, indicating the words are Marshall’s not Lewis’s. A third possible origin for this misquote comes from a speech that was given by J. C. Watts at the 1996 Republican National Convention. A transcript of it reports he said, “I’ve got a pretty simple definition of character. It’s simply doing what’s right when nobody’s looking. For too long, for too long, for too long we’ve gotten by in a society that says the only thing right is to get by, and the only thing wrong is to get caught.”

8.“Experience that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God, do you learn.”

Maybe you can close your eyes and picture Lewis saying these words? Unfortunately, it is not Lewis, but Anthony Hopkins, reading his line from the script of the 1993 movie Shadowlands. But even that is not quite right. The version usually found online (as given in this list) actually does not quote the movie correctly. The “real” fake quotation is “Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn. My God, you learn.” The misquotations don’t end there. In early 2017 this line was misquoted yet again. The fictional character Mike Baxter (played by Tim Allen) in Last Man Standing says, “C. S. Lewis said, ‘Experience is a brutal teacher. But you'll learn, by God, you'll learn.’” Not Lewis and not even the right wording.

7.“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

Some might disagree that this quotation should be on the list since it is actually very, very close to what Lewis did write. Removing the words, “far, far,” from the above quotation matches what Lewis originally wrote in a letter to Mary Willis Shelburne on June 17, 1963. However, what Lewis meant when he wrote these words is not apparent when taken out of context. Those not familiar with the letter might think Lewis is telling us to not worry about present difficulties and look to the future. However, if you read the entire letter you find Lewis is challenging Miss Shelburne about her fear of dying, “Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer?” At the close of the same paragraph, he states, “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret?” followed immediately by the quoted (or misquoted) expression.

6.“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

Early in Lewis’s life, before he wrote Narnia, he admitted that he did not like children (in a letter to his friend Arthur Greeves). While there don’t seem to be any later comments that say he changed his mind, he did reply back to kids who wrote to him about his Narnia stories. Whatever his thoughts on children, Lewis is not the author of the above statement. You can occasionally find the real author, John Trainer, credited in a few places. in late December 2012, Trainer confirmed via Facebook that he first came up with this expression.

5. “Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves…”

Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is a perennial favorite that has spawned many imitators. This quotation (and there is more to it) begins with the words, “My Dear Wormwood.” However, you will not find this material in The Screwtape Letters. It seems some well-meaning person was a fan of the book and tried to write something in honor of Lewis and did not want to take credit.

4.“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”

Associating Lewis with this quote might be from the mistaken belief that Lewis only became famous later in life, after The Chronicles of Narnia were published. However, you will not locate these words in any of his writings. Lewis was already famous because of the bestselling The Screwtape Letters from about ten years prior to the first children’s story. In fact, he landed on the cover of Time five years after Screwtape was published. This expression comes from Les Brown, a motivational speaker whose website claims he is the author of the saying.

3.“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”

People usually attribute this expression to Mere Christianity. Lewis did address the topic of humility within that title, but he did not write anything quite so pithy. These exact words are actually found in Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, in the material from Day 19 on “Cultivating Community” (from the 2002 edition). In that chapter, Warren does not mention Lewis, even though he does in other places. So, while this does summarize Lewis’s thoughts from Mere Christianity, Warren never even suggests they are adapted from it.

2. “You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

Lewis never wrote those words, but he did admire the person who originally wrote them—or at least something very similar. George MacDonald penned a close variation of this saying in Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood (1867). In the 28th chapter, we find a comment about “the great mistake of teaching children that they have souls.” It goes on to say that “they ought to be taught that they have bodies, and that their bodies die; while they themselves live on.” Years later, in 1892, an article appeared in The British Friend where MacDonald is quoted as saying, “Never tell a child … you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.”

1. “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun. Not because I can see it, but by it, I can see everything else.”

The most misquoted line from Lewis. These are certainly great words, but they aren’t quite what Lewis actually wrote. They are close though. Not including punctuation, there are eight differences between this and Lewis’s original. The correct version comes from an essay entitled “Is Theology Poetry?” found in The Weight of Glory. The actual statement Lewis wrote is, “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.”

William O’Flaherty is an in-home family therapist, author, and owner of the website essentialcslewis.com. His latest book is C.S. Lewis Goes to Hell: A Companion and Study Guide to The Screwtape Letters (Winged Lion Press, 2016).

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: The True Myth: Seeing Christianity through the Eyes of CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien & GK Chesterton

C.S. Lewis said that one of the reasons that he believes Christianity is that it is not the If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel Nowhere is Lewis' observation more true than with grace.

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