Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'C. S. Lewis overflow'
Jon Kennedy's latest book is The Everything C.S. Lewis and Narnia Book, due in stores in March 2008, from Adams Media, F&W Publications. This series of articles is thinking inspired by readings in Lewis's work that didn't fit into the book.

A misperception of C. S. Lewis

Though this Jonal is dated May 30, I'm rushing it into cyberspace because at least one reader of the previous Jonal so misconstrued it that I thought it prudent to clarify lest anyone be damned by similar misperceptions. Our correspondent said:

...I love Lewis. I've always felt that most religions apart from Christians had it right...sometimes more right then the Christians did/do. ...But how does Lewis' view on this set with you and how does it relate to scripture where Christ says .."the only way to the Father is through me?" I get into hot water all the time because I feel like Lewis did.

Of course C.S. Lewis did not think any religion can offer salvation or that there is any other way to the Father than through the Son. Salvation is a relationship with God through the man-God, coeternal with the Father, Jesus Christ. I naively thought that by saying Lewis—though often beginning with surprising propositions, always came to orthodox Christian conclusions—covered both him and me.Orthodox Christianity affirms everything the Bible teaches...always has, always will, as when it deviates from that standard it ceases being orthodox, ceases being Christian in any logical sense.

Christians, as the creeds have propounded from St. Paul's time onward, are people who believe in a God who created everything, vested free will in the crown of that creation (mankind) and risked that human race failing to love Him as He wanted to be loved, and saw that freedom overturned in rebellion, sin. The same God sent his coeternal Son to become a man (for "what He did not assume He could not heal") to pay the penalty for sin, death, by "trampling down death by [his own] death" by breaking its bonds in Resurrection.

If this is a true representation of the Creator of the universe and who Jesus was and is, it is no less than blasphemy to say that any "religion" is better at reconciling man to his Creator than the Creator-Son himself is. And conversely, if any religion, or "other religion" has "it right...sometimes more right than the Christians did/do," it would be sheer folly to not join whatever religion that is. As Lewis said many times, nothing else in life is even a fraction as important as finding and living the truth of why we're here and what we should be doing. Jesus himself emphasized that neither parents nor children—the "things" humane people value most highly—nothing means anything in comparison with this "pearl of great price."

Of course the previous Jonal wasn't about salvation, healing sin, getting right with God or getting to heaven. It did propose, with Lewis, that most religions, based on the best efforts of sincere human beings over the ages, have produced good and practical rules of conduct, called ethics, that make life better than if they had never tried to think such matters through. Even as we generally agree that Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, and Mark Twain were great authors, so Hinduism, Taoism, and Mormonism have great religious insights for living, though the writing of the first group and the ethics of the second group are neither salvific or Christian.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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I love to shop after a bad relationship. I don't know. I buy a new outfit and it makes me feel better. It just does. Sometimes I see a really great outfit, I'll break up with someone on purpose.

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Thought for today

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.

C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

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