A Scholar’s Atheist

“I was at this time living, like so many atheists…in a whirl of contradictions.  I maintained that God did NOT exist.  I was very angry with God for NOT existing.  I was equally angry with Him for creating a world.”  CS Lewis was entirely knackered by the myth of Christianity.  He was an Oxford scholar, a respected teacher with profound things to say. He held two degrees from his university and also taught at Cambridge. CS prized the creative imagination and as an academic, his lectures stimulated reason and much thought among his students. He was a literary critic, a tremendous historian and a satirical humorist who was fun to hang out with. “The things that I assert most rigorously and with such vigor, are the very things that I resisted long and accepted late.”  His highly intelligent argumentative skills allotted him frequent triumph in verbal debates. CS was a complex man who was gravely affected by his mother’s battle with cancer and early death.  At the age of nine, the tragic loss of his mother stiffened his heart against belief in a benevolent God.  CS believed that there was no God worthy of praise because of all the unnecessary cruelty, agony and pain contained by humans affected by war and death. His unanswered prayer for his mother’s life proved that billions of weeping prayers were pointlessly directed to the absolute void of a merciful, loving God.  CS Lewis was born on November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  His boyhood library shelves were filled with fantastical books of mythology. After romps with his brother through the rich green landscape of Ireland, CS would retire to his room to draw pictures that matched his fantasy characters. At the young age of 19 … CS found himself in France on the front lines of World War 1. Many men under his command were blown to bits and his best friend was killed in a fierce combat.  Resolved to keep his promise, CS took care of his deceased friends mother and sister after the war. His mind was filled with the haunting question of WHY? Is life and death so random?  After his father died in 1929, CS purchased a home in Britain.  His alcoholic brother came to live with him shortly after he moved into his new country home. CS walked a brisk 3 miles to the Oxford Campus where he worked.  For 30 years CS taught, lectured and67445immensely enjoyed his walks and talks with other outstanding intellects. He loved the life of the mind and became close friends with J.R.R. Tolkien. Together over a pint at the local university pub called the “Eagle and Child”, CS and Tolkien agreed that as there was massive amounts of inadequately fulfilling literature at the university, that they would begin to write things that would satisfy their souls. They initiated a club called the “Inklings” and their members included prolific intellects such as Owen Barfield, Neville Calkhill, and Hugo Deisen. They both began to write mythical fantasy with a morality beyond prejudices commonly held by opposing beliefs regarding religion and politics.  They met weekly at the pub, or in their respective homes to drink, socialize and read aloud samplings with welcomed and revered criticism.  The process of honing their written words among the great minds of the day, enabled the finished work of CS and Tolkien to appeal to a wide range of peoples.  Fifty years later, their inspired writings have touched the hearts of young and old.  Millions of copies of their books have been sold and both became legends at the box office by movie goers across the globe.  “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” and ” The Lord of the Rings” are indeed timeless works of great literature gone viral. To be infected by their highly contagious virus of hope for more, the series entitled “The Chronicles of Narnia” and sequels of hits for more of “The Lord of the Rings” is a testament to the thirst of the soul for knowledge that good prevails over evil.  People do celebrate the victory in these wonder filled visual triumphs. After years of believing that Christianity was a beautifully spun lie, at the wise age of 33, CS was introduced to a book entitled “Everlasting Man” by Chesterson. He had long resisted believing in Jesus and after many hours debating with Tolkien, CS became a believer because of his identification of God in the glorious theater of nature, in science and in his innate compulsion to know the truth. His c041691c06d75950c65140bf6c308977satirical account of letters between the author of evil and his earthbound helper became an over night sensation.  “The Screwtape Letters” became a best-seller.  A revolutionary book in the 1920’s, it rattled the souls of his peers and became the most talked about writing among his students, and eventually it was a worldwide must read. Screwtape (the devil) gives Wormwood detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith in people while promoting healthy pleasures. In Screwtape’s advice, individual benefit and greed are seen as the greatest good. Because CS Lewis served on the faculty at Oxford University, and as his published works caused such a scandal, the University board was unable to convince him to be silent about his faith, so they simply denied this literary giant the title of Professor.   CS Lewis was baptized at birth in the Church of Ireland, but denied Jesus for 32 years.  God used his close friend Tolkien to water the seed of faith and CS became a ordinary layman of the Church of England.  CS credits the Holy Spirit for the content and impact of his children’s books.  His wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him worldwide acclaim. Later CS published a book entitled “Mere Christianity” which was a compilation of his popular radio broadcasts. In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Davidman, 17 years his junior. Joy 4c3cb281972d6ff8a9624432b1c17237died at the age of 45, just four years after they were married.  Lewis died three years after his wife, from renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday on November 22,1963, in the same hour that President John F Kennedy was assassinated.  When it comes to faith in God, it is an ongoing personal choice to be made.  It is a relationship with a very real and unseen Supreme Being. Only God can aptly answer the question of why?  His ways are not our ways, and History, is indeed His story. When we are faced with the harshest of realities here on earth, we must pay careful attention to who and what we are listening to.  Intellectuals live in their minds, but a relationship with God requires trust, it requires faith in the unknown, in the unseen department of the heart.  If you have suffered great loss, or a prolonged illness, read the book of John in the Bible, then read CS Lewis book entitled “The Problem of Pain”. Herein a picture of his beloved wife Joy. Joy’s son, Douglas Gresham has written a memoir of his childhood called, “Lenten Lands: My Childhood With Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis” — We choose to listen to the voice of indisputable Truth or the voice of the great Liar”  CS Lewis challenged the miracles of Jesus “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.”  Who do we trust?  “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture….the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming…If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm….I was young, now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken….Wait for the Lord and keep His way…The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble.” The book of psalms was written by a young musician who trusted in God and became King.  Psalm 37

via Daily Prompt: Knackered

2 thoughts on “A Scholar’s Atheist

  1. Pingback: FAM BAM MEMORIES | Living Abroad

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