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C.S. Lewis

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A Christian friend of mine told me to read C.S. Lewis to get a clear picture of what Christians believe and why it is not irrational to be a Christian. What kind of philosophy can I expect to read about with Lewis? Does he offer any good arguments for Christianity or is it Kantian?

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A Christian friend of mine told me to read C.S. Lewis to get a clear picture of what Christians believe and why it is not irrational to be a Christian. What kind of philosophy can I expect to read about with Lewis? Does he offer any good arguments for Christianity or is it Kantian?

I remember that C.S. Lewis was converted to Christiantiy by G.K. Chesterton, who was essentially a Thomist, so their philosophies are probably similar. I've read some of Lewis' Mere Christianity-- from a logical standpoint, it was disappointing.

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Does he offer any good arguments for Christianity or is it Kantian?

Intellectual Christians have recommended that I too read C. S. Lewis. I have not yet done so.

However, I am puzzled by your question, quoted above. Are you implying that there are "good" (?) arguments in favor of Christianity? Probably not. But what do you mean by that? Persuasive? Plausible? Serious?

Have you read Kant's arguments in favor of Christianity? What problems do you see with them? According to secondary sources I have read, Kant was very effective in inspiring both atheists and religionists (not only Christians).

Based on some study of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and a few other works (to a lesser extent), I would say we should never forget that -- for some individuals -- Kant provided the most persuasive of all arguments for religion: It feels right, and besides, reason is impotent for answering the really big questions about life, so what else can we do but turn to faith (feeling)?

Edited by BurgessLau

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Prior to discovering Ayn Rand, I probably considered C.S. Lewis one of my most influencial thinkers. I've read volumes of his writings, both fiction and non-fiction, and it gave me much insight into an understanding of Christianity from a pro-reason perspective, yet I think his reason was more of the "rationalist" kind. I think C.S. Lewis makes a decent attempt at arguing for theology considering he was a vehement athiest turned Christian (and a devout one too). His previous atheism apparently forced him "kicking and screaming" as he became a religionist. The problem is that Lewis (like all religionists) must still try and convince you of something that you cannot fully grasp with reason. So, in the end, you still face the same dichotomy: faith or reason. I chose the latter after realizing that I could no longer hold the contradiction that "faith and reason can coexist."

I strongly encourage you to see the documentary "The Question of God: Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis." It's done by Dr. Armand Nicholi whom is a professor at Harvard. It will provide you with much interesting material if you care to learn more about C.S. Lewis (and Freud for that matter).

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I just wanted to add after noticing an above post that Lewis does use a tremendous amount of subjectivism in his defence of Christianity. Come to think of it, his material sounds very Kantian. I wonder if he was influenced by him. After reading Ayn Rand, Lewis sounds so very convoluted. I wonder now if I believed his stuff to be true because I wanted it to be true, and not because I could fully understand his premises and their implications.

Edited by drewfactor

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Well I have read The Chronicles of Narnia if that counts, I found them to be immensely enjoyable, of course I was in middle school when I read them so as to there religious connections I can't quite remember. Also I know that the movie for Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is coming out in the winter. Looking forward to that.

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Well I have read The Chronicles of Narnia if that counts, I found them to be immensely enjoyable, of course I was in middle school when I read them so as to there religious connections I can't quite remember. Also I know that the movie for Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is coming out in the winter. Looking forward to that.

I too enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia when I originally read the series (indeed I read it several times over), but was rather disappointed when I learned that Aslan was really a representation of Jesus. As I look back at the plot I can sort of see where that ties in, (when Aslan is killed by the witch and then resurrected) when Lewis describes the enigmatic feline as (not exact words) being the son of someone more powerful residing "across the sea". This kind of spoiled it for me, and I could never read it the same way again. The ending of the last book also has the characters resurrected in some sort of aferlife. Even then it still doesn't detract from the adventuresome spirit which guides and dominates the book. Just read the novels with a healthy dose of sophistry, and you'll be fine. :)

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Well I have read The Chronicles of Narnia if that counts, I found them to be immensely enjoyable, of course I was in middle school when I read them so as to there religious connections I can't quite remember. Also I know that the movie for Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is coming out in the winter. Looking forward to that.

I too enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia when I originally read the series (indeed I read it several times over), but was rather disappointed when I learned that Aslan was really a representation of Jesus. As I look back at the plot I can sort of see where that ties in, (when Aslan is killed by the witch and then resurrected) when Lewis describes the enigmatic feline as (not exact words) being the son of someone more powerful residing "across the sea". This kind of spoiled it for me, and I could never read it the same way again. The ending of the last book a

Edit: This and the below post somehow was mistakenly transmitted. Disregard.

Edited by Myself

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Well I have read The Chronicles of Narnia if that counts, I found them to be immensely enjoyable, of course I was in middle school when I read them so as to there religious connections I can't quite remember. Also I know that the movie for Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is coming out in the winter. Looking forward to that.

I too enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia when I originally read the series (indeed I read it several times over), but was rather disappointed when I learned that Aslan was really a representation of Jesus. As I look back at the plot I can sort of see where that ties in, (when Aslan is killed by the witch and then resurrected) when Lewis describes the enigmatic feline as (not exact words) being the son of someone more powerful residing "across the sea". This kind of spoiled it for me, and I could never read it the same way again. The ending of the last book als

Edit: This and the above post somehow was mistakenly transmitted. Disregard.

Edited by Myself

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I loved the Narnia series as a kid. I never 'got' the Christian allegories though, but I probably should have since I was brought up a Catholic and had familiarity with the Bible. I keep meaning to go back and reread them, but I havent got round to it yet.

Edited by Hal

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I read part of "Till We Have Faces" a couple months ago. All I could think for the 150 or so pages that I read was "What is this fantasy world ridiculous shit!? I can't believe I'm wasting my time with this!"

Finally I put the book down not even half way through. Went and picked up some non-fiction on psychology- had a blast.

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I too enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia when I originally read the series (indeed I read it several times over), but was rather disappointed when I learned that Aslan was really a representation of Jesus. As I look back at the plot I can sort of see where that ties in, (when Aslan is killed by the witch and then resurrected) when Lewis describes the enigmatic feline as (not exact words) being the son of someone more powerful residing "across the sea". This kind of spoiled it for me, and I could never read it the same way again. The ending of the last book also has the characters resurrected in some sort of aferlife. Even then it still doesn't detract from the adventuresome spirit which guides and dominates the book. Just read the novels with a healthy dose of sophistry, and you'll be fine. :D

Ha I'm glad I didn't get that far as a kid then. I read most of them but never got to where Aslan died. They were interesting to read as a kid but I did not pick up on the religious agenda. Now they are a vague a recollection of images in the back of my mind.

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Burgess,

Kant's philosophy is rejected by historical, Thomistic Christianity. Thus his "defense" of Christianity is rightly rejected by orthodox Christians, who would disagree with your assessment that "Kant provided the most persuasive of all arguments for religion".

Nor is Nate quite correct when he says that C.S. Lewis was converted to Christiantiy by G.K. Chesterton. It is true that G.K. Chesterton's "The Everlasting Man" was very influential to Lewis, as it gave him an intellectual foundation for Christianity. But he was also greatly influenced by his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, who (like Chesterton) was a devout, orthodox Catholic. Though both Chesterton and Tolkien were Thomistic in the sense that they were influenced by Thomism (being part and parcel of Catholicism), I don't think you could say that, as a result of these influences, C.S. Lewis was a Thomist.

Edited by AqAd

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One of the interesting things about Lewis is that he was one of the few people besides Ayn Rand to attempt to use the word "objectivism" to describe philosophical ideas (not related to the philosophy of Ayn Rand). There are notes that Ayn Rand wrote in the margins of Lewis' The Abolition of Man that have been published in Ayn Rand's Marginalia, but I haven't gotten to read that yet.

Lewis is not strong philosophically at all, but there is one quote from him that I've always liked: "No man would find an abiding strangeness on the Moon unless he were the sort of man who could find it in his own back garden." I got that from the preface to The Dark Tower and Other Stories.

A lot of his fiction seems (from what I remember) to project a relatively benevolent sense of life, but I was just a little kid when I read most of it.

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C.S. Lewis is represented in the modern day christian apologetics with such books as "Handbook of Christian Apologetics" by Peter Kreeft, who constantly cite him in the book. The book is a strange mix of frustration (they use lots of false dilemmas and intimidation such as "either the world was entirely insane or jesus is telling the truth, which is most likely?") and don't seem to understand that Randian Objectivism exists (they spend 99% of the time refuting skepticism and subjectivism).

Kreeft's book has an entire chapter in the back of this book called "Objectivism" (he obviously in context means it in the little 'o' usage) that is essentially a lesson plan for some weird mix of Randian-Thomism, as nearly as I can describe it. It seems bizarrely familiar in some places as though Kreeft were cribbing from Objectivism, as the major technique in this chapter is make sure that christian apologetics do not engage in the stolen concept fallacy, and understand the importance of the hierarchy of concepts as a basic debate technique (something I was delighted to see, since I have read of few that realize the importance of these). The major arguments against subjectivism consist mainly in the use of self-refutation (skepticism applies to itself, or 'how do you know you know? I know because I wouldn't otherwise know to know" comeback to the validity of the senses.

All in all, fascinating and frustrating and little creepy to see, but in a few debates I had over philosophy, these apologetics would end up agreeing with me more often than anyone else entirely due to the fact we were the only ones that knew of these fallacies and avoided them, or used them against our opponents. Anyone else ever had that experience?

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Based on some study of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and a few other works (to a lesser extent), I would say we should never forget that -- for some individuals -- Kant provided the most persuasive of all arguments for religion: It feels right, and besides, reason is impotent for answering the really big questions about life, so what else can we do but turn to faith (feeling)?

You must have misunderstood Kant, because Kant never said anything about using "feeling" as a means to achieve a metaphysical truth. You should perhaps re-read Critique of Pure Reason.

Prior to discovering Ayn Rand, I probably considered C.S. Lewis one of my most influencial thinkers. I've read volumes of his writings, both fiction and non-fiction, and it gave me much insight into an understanding of Christianity from a pro-reason perspective, yet I think his reason was more of the "rationalist" kind. I think C.S. Lewis makes a decent attempt at arguing for theology considering he was a vehement athiest turned Christian (and a devout one too). His previous atheism apparently forced him "kicking and screaming" as he became a religionist. The problem is that Lewis (like all religionists) must still try and convince you of something that you cannot fully grasp with reason. So, in the end, you still face the same dichotomy: faith or reason. I chose the latter after realizing that I could no longer hold the contradiction that "faith and reason can coexist."

C.S. Lewis is a horrible philosopher, his "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic" argument is perhaps the biggest laughing stock of serious academic pursuits. He routinely turns to false dichotomies in attempt to blur the lines between reason and faith, and in order to show that a Creator is necessary.

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Based on some study of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and a few other works (to a lesser extent), I would say we should never forget that -- for some individuals -- Kant provided the most persuasive of all arguments for religion: It feels right, and besides, reason is impotent for answering the really big questions about life, so what else can we do but turn to faith (feeling)?

You must have misunderstood Kant, because Kant never said anything about using "feeling" as a means to achieve a metaphysical truth. You should perhaps re-read Critique of Pure Reason.

Prior to discovering Ayn Rand, I probably considered C.S. Lewis one of my most influencial thinkers. I've read volumes of his writings, both fiction and non-fiction, and it gave me much insight into an understanding of Christianity from a pro-reason perspective, yet I think his reason was more of the "rationalist" kind. I think C.S. Lewis makes a decent attempt at arguing for theology considering he was a vehement athiest turned Christian (and a devout one too). His previous atheism apparently forced him "kicking and screaming" as he became a religionist. The problem is that Lewis (like all religionists) must still try and convince you of something that you cannot fully grasp with reason. So, in the end, you still face the same dichotomy: faith or reason. I chose the latter after realizing that I could no longer hold the contradiction that "faith and reason can coexist."

C.S. Lewis is a horrible philosopher, his "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic" argument is perhaps the biggest laughing stock of serious academic pursuits. He routinely turns to false dichotomies in attempt to blur the lines between reason and faith, and in order to show that a Creator is necessary.

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I found his writing entertaining, nothing more. I read some of his religious works in my teens and all his Narnia books when I was in elementary school.

Because I read very fast I can afford to read everything I can get my hands on. I also make it a point to not just read things by thinkers I agree with.

For someone whose reading time is limited I'd recommend something that can be taken more seriously.

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