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Author Topic: How CS Lewis helped you with Orthodoxy.  (Read 1102 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 05, 2011, 12:20:09 AM »

Quote from: Stephanos Nikolaos
C.S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity (though not an Orthodox book) became a good tool for me in some ways to come to accept Orthodoxy.
This is a new thread because I wanted to know more about what he means.

For myself, along with being my general introduction to the intellectual side of Christianity when I was young, Lewis helped me understand the Orthodox view of Atonement and helped ease the scandal of Marian veneration for me a bit with the way he described it.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 12:20:56 AM by Volnutt » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2011, 12:46:56 AM »

Quote from: Stephanos Nikolaos
C.S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity (though not an Orthodox book) became a good tool for me in some ways to come to accept Orthodoxy.
This is a new thread because I wanted to know more about what he means.

For myself, along with being my general introduction to the intellectual side of Christianity when I was young, Lewis helped me understand the Orthodox view of Atonement and helped ease the scandal of Marian veneration for me a bit with the way he described it.

I'm a cradle Orthodox, and ultimately, if anything, there's a lot of people I've read and I've grown up with that helped me.  However, at a time in undergrad when I was struggling a bit with arguments against God and against Christianity, CS Lewis was very helpful. 
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 01:16:36 AM »

I'll start of by saying that C.S. Lewis first and foremost helped me to accept Methodist-Holiness doctrine, which in turn with further deepening of my Methodist faith I came to transition from my Western perspective of Christianity and completely accepted the truths of Orthodoxy.

The very first thing from the book that was helpful is actually in the introduction of the book, quoted in my signature, that the Christian is suppose to not only accept 'mere' Christianity, but is to go on to pray and search for the true Church. This has been very influential for me since I heard it and this idea really pushed me to research the history of Christianity and the theologies of the denominations in order to find the true Church.

Another part that helped me was the whole "The command “Be ye perfect” is not idealistic gas." part of the book helped solidify my belief in Christian Perfection as believed my Wesleyans and from there going even further to come to completely accept Theosis.

His portrayal of Heaven and Hell, while I was at the time viewing his understanding from a Western presumption, after learning about the Orthodox understanding and seeing the comparison of Lewis's views with Orthodoxy made me feel more free to accept the Orthodox views on them.

Also it really helped me understand more fully how to love your neighbor as you love yourself and eventually I discovered that this fullness is in the Orthodox Church when I read about how it deals with sinners within and without the Church.

I could give more examples, but I can't think of them at the moment and do not have the book in order to directly quote, but for the most part as I said in the beginning, Mere Christianity solidified my Methodist leaning beliefs (probably due to the fact that Lewis was Anglican) and for me, the natural conclusion for an orthodox Methodist (which from my understanding includes "Real Presence", the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, Christian Perfection, and a strong Arminian influence) is the Orthodox Church, in a similar way that The Law points to Christ.
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2011, 03:00:30 AM »

Very interesting. Thanks.

There was a time when Lewis bothered me because I was rather an "internet" Calvinist and his emphasis on the possibility of apostasy, etc. made me think he was teaching salvation by works. The basically Holiness environment of my AOG church at the time really helped me see the beauty of his theology in that regard eventually though.
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 06:35:41 AM »

I've never read his books about religion.
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 09:46:51 AM »

Quote from: Stephanos Nikolaos
C.S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity (though not an Orthodox book) became a good tool for me in some ways to come to accept Orthodoxy.
This is a new thread because I wanted to know more about what he means.

For myself, along with being my general introduction to the intellectual side of Christianity when I was young, Lewis helped me understand the Orthodox view of Atonement and helped ease the scandal of Marian veneration for me a bit with the way he described it.

I'm a cradle Orthodox, and ultimately, if anything, there's a lot of people I've read and I've grown up with that helped me.  However, at a time in undergrad when I was struggling a bit with arguments against God and against Christianity, CS Lewis was very helpful. 

Same here. Back in my high school days (especially junior year), I was bombarded with anti-God and anti-religion rhetoric (on a political and ethical factor) when surfing the web at times. This was actually my first actual brush with atheism and I really disturbed. It led to reevaluate my faith (even at some points today) but CS Lewis was helpful for me. I even own a copy of Mere Christianity and I'm thinking about re-reading it again sometime.
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 10:10:14 AM »

I found the Great Divorce and the Abolition of Man most helpful. If I fail to excel in evangelism, I can still use writings like these as helps for sobriety, perception, & understanding of salvation when praying in ongoing self repentance, for salvation of others, non judgementalism, & keeping the fear of the Lord. The Great Divorce helps with commitment to personal faith & non judgementalism and the Abolition.. with knowing the natural law of the conscience to have hope for potentially anyone but also how the conscience continually unravels to greater & dangerous levels of subjective detachment in humanity. I found Lewis' attitude from these to be exemplified in the Last Battle from the childrens' Narnia series.
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2011, 01:19:03 PM »

Didn't enjoy the Narnia books as a child. However, I read Mere Christianity several years ago, and I don't know why, but his discussion of pride as the greatest sin hit me like a ton of bricks. I sure hadn't heard it in my church for years. "Pride in Christ" was to be celebrated, and if you expressed humility in any moment, you would get shut down. (Seriously.)

That certainly was one of the many things that set my inner wheels turning.
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2011, 01:47:01 PM »

He hasn't as such. Mere is about as compelling as watered down Thomism.

I hate repeating myself and I am low on time:

A Grief Observed.

Two incredibly painful losses some months ago, perhaps longer now, I am not great with time.

That book had been on my shelf for a while.

Perhaps I enjoyed it simply out of vanity or pride, because so much of what he had written I so acutely and precisely thought and felt.

I stared at the book for a long time before reading it. Never been much of a C.S. Lewis fan. I think he is a poor fiction writer and a lukewarm apologist or evangelist.

Honestly Mere Christianity would not stand up to the analysis of a moderately bright college sophomore.

But Grief written with a concision only a Brit could muster rang so true in its most self-centered, angry, and joyful moments. Absolutely, brilliant.

If his any of his other works are of a more personal nature let me know. His generosity with his pain and its ebb and flow were a greater testament to his faith and the truth of the Cross than any of the other words of his I have read.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,30881.msg497705.html#msg497705
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2011, 02:26:21 PM »

I've read about a half dozen of his books, plus the Chronicles of Narnia, but I don't know how much he has helped me. From what I remember... when I read the Chronicles I liked some of the metaphors (mostly in The Last Battle), and thought The Screwtape Letters was an interesting way of looking at sin and temptation and whatnot.
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2011, 02:29:32 PM »

I would say for myself that there was no one Lewis book that moved me closer to Orthodoxy (save insofar as he helped in not rejecting Christianity as I got older) as much as the entirety of his writings helped me in realizing that many of my more Evangelical views were mere preconception as opposed to proven doctrine.
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2011, 02:43:32 PM »

I've always rated Chesterton as the best Christian apologist. Lewis' introduction to On the Incarnation is great, but most of his works I don't like too much.
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2011, 02:45:03 PM »

I've always rated Chesterton as the best Christian apologist.

Well, I'll admit that he has a gift with words, and he does a fine job preaching to the choir...  angel
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2011, 02:50:23 PM »

He can turn a whole worldview on its head with just a short paradox or phrase, and in comical fashion. That man was a genius and greatly missed.
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2011, 02:55:24 PM »

I've always rated Chesterton as the best Christian apologist.

Well, I'll admit that he has a gift with words, and he does a fine job preaching to the choir...  angel

Well put.
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2011, 03:12:57 PM »

Honestly, I'm still attempting to digest and formulate just how his work helped me to become Christian/Orthodox, but I know that it greatly influenced me.

For some reason, his writings were the first Christian ones to ever resonate with me on a personal level.  Confessions, City of God Against the Pagans, Milton, Dante, Thomistic stuff, etc. were fascinating, but they didn't challenge how I lived or what I believed.  I had a noticeable aversion to the boiled down message contained in Mere Christianity, which led me to acknowledge that there might be a certain truth behind it.

I understand your (Orthonorm's) view on Mere Christianity, but I think it somewhat misses the point.  He didn't intend to write an exhaustive or definitive theological work capable of standing up to scrutiny.  Rather, he just explained how Christianity finally made sense to him: an intelligent, skeptical, highly educated atheist.  Presenting this work as a series of radio talks to a war torn Britain of waning faith underlines its actual purpose.  You're right that it shouldn't be put forth as an exemplary apologetic, but some of the simplicity was what made it compelling to me.  Ultimately, I'm not sure Christianity is meant to be able to stand up to forms of critical analysis, but that's a different topic (and I always welcome reading suggestions).  I think that's what Thomism attempted and failed to do.

Also in defense, Mere Christianity is a great primer (if one is needed) for The Screwtape Letters.

The Great Divorce stuck with me as well.  I don't want to overemphasize the similarities, but I think the concept presented was somewhat compatible with certain Orthodox perspectives.

Another way in which Lewis' work helped guide me into the Orthodox faith was through his illumination of Spiritual Warfare in modern, applicable settings. The conflict described in The Screwtape Letters and the one detailed in St. John of the Ladder's great work, particularly within sections of the 15th Step, strongly resemble each other.  Again, I somehow recognized these works as truthfully representing our struggle.

Alas, I'm unable to accurately determine the level in which C.S. Lewis' writings helped, and how much the Holy Spirit prepared me to receive the message of Christianity and Orthodoxy through his and other authors' work.
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« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2011, 04:00:17 PM »

I've always rated Chesterton as the best Christian apologist.

Well, I'll admit that he has a gift with words, and he does a fine job preaching to the choir...  angel
Apologetics is always more for the edification of the believer than convincing the sceptic imo.
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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2011, 04:02:34 PM »

Quote from: Stephanos Nikolaos
C.S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity (though not an Orthodox book) became a good tool for me in some ways to come to accept Orthodoxy.
This is a new thread because I wanted to know more about what he means.

For myself, along with being my general introduction to the intellectual side of Christianity when I was young, Lewis helped me understand the Orthodox view of Atonement and helped ease the scandal of Marian veneration for me a bit with the way he described it.

I'm a cradle Orthodox, and ultimately, if anything, there's a lot of people I've read and I've grown up with that helped me.  However, at a time in undergrad when I was struggling a bit with arguments against God and against Christianity, CS Lewis was very helpful. 

Same here. Back in my high school days (especially junior year), I was bombarded with anti-God and anti-religion rhetoric (on a political and ethical factor) when surfing the web at times. This was actually my first actual brush with atheism and I really disturbed. It led to reevaluate my faith (even at some points today) but CS Lewis was helpful for me. I even own a copy of Mere Christianity and I'm thinking about re-reading it again sometime.
Internet atheism can be painful, I know. The rhetoric cuts like a knife when you aren't used to it and schools do a chinsey job of teaching logic, or at least mine did.
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2011, 04:48:00 PM »

Quote from: Stephanos Nikolaos
C.S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity (though not an Orthodox book) became a good tool for me in some ways to come to accept Orthodoxy.
This is a new thread because I wanted to know more about what he means.

For myself, along with being my general introduction to the intellectual side of Christianity when I was young, Lewis helped me understand the Orthodox view of Atonement and helped ease the scandal of Marian veneration for me a bit with the way he described it.

I'm a cradle Orthodox, and ultimately, if anything, there's a lot of people I've read and I've grown up with that helped me.  However, at a time in undergrad when I was struggling a bit with arguments against God and against Christianity, CS Lewis was very helpful. 

Same here. Back in my high school days (especially junior year), I was bombarded with anti-God and anti-religion rhetoric (on a political and ethical factor) when surfing the web at times. This was actually my first actual brush with atheism and I really disturbed. It led to reevaluate my faith (even at some points today) but CS Lewis was helpful for me. I even own a copy of Mere Christianity and I'm thinking about re-reading it again sometime.
Internet atheism can be painful, I know. The rhetoric cuts like a knife when you aren't used to it and schools do a chinsey job of teaching logic, or at least mine did.
Well the internet is the only place where anyone would be willing to listen to the atheists.
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« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2011, 06:17:53 PM »

Or in college classrooms where they have a captive audience.
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« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2011, 06:40:13 PM »

Well the internet is the only place where anyone would be willing to listen to the atheists.

I think this is how political movements with a strong atheistic flavor caught on in the early 20th century. Tongue

Or in college classrooms where they have a captive audience.

Fwiw, I've been back in school now since Jan. of 2010, and aside from classes like math, chemistry, etc., most of the teachers I've had encourage discussion and even disagreement.
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« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2011, 07:25:29 PM »

A little. In my experience, they kind of look at theists like they have two heads though. It creates a coercive atmosphere... or maybe I'm just insecure.
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