C. S. Lewis quotes, Art quotes. Submit one or more quotes by C. S. Lewis. C. S. Lewis - From the C. S. Lewis - From the Education category: The basic.
The following is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another.
I’ve collected, reorganized, and expanded this material in a book, THE MISQUOTABLE C.S. LEWIS, that is now widely available (Amazon, including the Kindle format, and via Google Books). It examines 75 quotations and so it has information not yet posted online. I’m continuing the series by posting material adapted from the book.
There is an “at a glance” page to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series, which also includes a list of the other quotes I’ve identified as questionable. Also, if you haven’t already, consider reading the INTRODUCTION to this series to gain an understanding of the three main categories (NOT Lewis, ALMOST Lewis and NOT QUITE Lewis quotations).
“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
“A dogmatic belief in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery.”
from The Abolition of Man (Chapter 3)
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defence against false sentiments is to inculcate just sentiments. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes.”
fromThe Abolition of Man(Chapter 1)
The next quote examined is:
“The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature.”
What Lewis NEVER Wrote (Podcast)
Not Quite Lewis – Podcast Version
Not Quite Lewis – Questionable Lewisian Quotations (Conf. Paper)
Even though I have used many of C.S. Lewis's quotes in my blog posts, for some reason I never read any of his books. Strange thing, I know. Maybe because I.
Clive Staples “C.S” Lewis was an English novelist, lecturer, poet, Christian apologist, lay theologian, broadcaster and academic. He is most recognized from his works such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and Space Trilogy.
He is also known for his apologetic writings such as The Problem of Pain, Mere Christianity and many others. The writings of Lewis have been translated into 30 languages, selling millions of copies.
1. “Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.” – C.S Lewis
2. “Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.” – C.S Lewis
3. “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” – C.S Lewis
4. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S Lewis
5. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C.S Lewis
6. “All get what they want; they do not always like it.” – C.S Lewis
7. 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
8. “The Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.” – C.S Lewis
9. “Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.” – C.S Lewis
10. “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” – C.S Lewis
11. “In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s, we do not accept them easily enough.” – C.S Lewis
12. “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
13. “A pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered.” – C.S Lewis
14. “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” – C.S Lewis
15. “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
16. “We do not want merely to see beauty . . . We want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” – C.S Lewis
17. “Forgiveness does not mean excusing” – C.S Lewis
18. “The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.” – C.S Lewis
19. “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” – C.S Lewis
20. “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” – C.S Lewis
21. “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
22. “I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” – C.S Lewis
23. “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.” – C.S Lewis
24. “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
25. “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” – C.S Lewis
26. “God has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. You are as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had ever created.” – C.S Lewis
27. “We’re not doubting that God will do the best for us; we’re wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” – C.S Lewis
28. “Though our feelings come and go, his love for us does not.” – C.S Lewis
29. “We are mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.” – C.S Lewis
30. “If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.” – C.S Lewis
31. “Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.” – C.S Lewis
32. “The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.” – C.S Lewis
33. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S Lewis
34. “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” – C.S Lewis
35. “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you do, and you will presently come to love him.” – C.S Lewis
36. “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C.S Lewis
37. “I sometimes wonder if all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” – C.S Lewis
38. “It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God.” – C.S Lewis
39. “To walk out of His will is to walk into nowhere.” – C.S Lewis
40. “Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth.” – C.S Lewis
41. “‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.” – C.S Lewis
42. “To love at all is to be vulnerable” – C.S Lewis
43. “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” – C.S Lewis
44. “Reality is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect.” – C.S Lewis
45. “One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.” – C.S Lewis
C.S LewisC.S Lewis QuotesC.S Lewis SayingsChronicles of NarniaClive Staples LewisDreamsGodJesusNarniaQuotessayingsTheologyVisions
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Even though I have used many of C.S. Lewis’s quotes in my blog posts, for some reason I never read any of his books. Strange thing, I know. Maybe because I wasn’t yet ready for his teachings. But now, after all the changes I’ve been through in the last two years, and reading all these incredible quotes, quotes that I am going to share with you today as I realized that his books are exactly what I need to read at this moment 🙂
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” ~ C.S. Lewis
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.” ~C.S. Lewis
“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been born in God’s thought, and then made by God is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.” This is a prayer of contentment.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“You doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are.” ~ 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
“The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.” ~ C.S Lewis.
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Don’t shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“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 am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” – C.S. Lewis
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” ― C.S. Lewis
“This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“It is easy to acknowledge, but almost impossible to realize for long, that we are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“If a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred.—like the Moon seen through a dirty telescope.” ~ 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.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“You will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making.” ~ 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
“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“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
“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
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, contentment, or even common sense.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. 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
“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
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” ~ C. S. Lewis
“To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?” ~ C.S. Lewis
“All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Forgiving does not mean excusing.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. ” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”
There are so many life-changing lessons to learn from C.S. Lewis but because I don’t want to make this list longer than it actually is, I’ll stop here. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Do you have a favorite quote from C.S. Lewis? If you do, you can share your comment in the comment section below
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C. S. Lewis on Liberal Arts Education. On Principle, v7n2. April 1999. by Gregory Dunn. When I received my Master of Arts degree, as a gift I was given a T-shirt.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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).
C. S. Lewis quotes, Art quotes. Submit one or more quotes by C. S. Lewis. C. S. Lewis - From the C. S. Lewis - From the Education category: The basic.