As some of you may know, I am slightly obsessed with writings by C.S. Lewis. When I read what he’s written, I literally end up underlying every single sentence. He was an articulate man of incredible intelligence and faith, who was born into a Christian family, became an atheist, and later slowly converted back to religion and subsequently Christianity, which is not unlike myself.
Many years ago when I was turning back to Christianity but still questioning a lot about the religion, I read his book Mere Christianity. That did it….I was hooked. Up until that point, I had been feeling God’s presence and starting to believe again based on prayer and personal experiences, but I still needed some sort of well-thought out explanation regarding the rational behind and the foundation for Christianity. It is my nature to question things, and all of my years of training in a science/health field have taught me to analyze things. Everyone’s different, but for me, handing me a free bible on the street, telling me some dude up in heaven whom I’ve never seen before loves me, and then expecting me to fall to my knees in gratitude will do nothing but scare me away and make me think you’re crazy, as I imagine it has for a lot of people.
So reading stuff by C.S. Lewis (mostly Mere Christianity), learning about the questions he struggled with as an atheist and then evolving theist, and understanding his well-thought out analytical arguments for his belief system, had a profound effect on me.
SOME QUOTES BY CS LEWIS THAT I HAVE COLLECTED
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.” ~The Collected Works of C.S. Lewis
“I have learned now that while those who speak about ones miseries usually hurt, but those who keep silence hurt more. “
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.”
“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”
“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.” ~The Four Loves
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” ~The Four Loves
“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”
“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.”
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. 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.” ~Mere Christianity
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
“A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.” ~Mere Christianity
“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” ~Mere Christianity
“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”
“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” ~Mere Christianity
“Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” ~Mere Christianity
I could go on and on and on, but I will stop here with all the C.S. Lewis quotes. : )