Tag Archives: C.S. Lewis

On Trust, Belief and Hope

Princess & the GoblinOur theater company is preparing to perform a stage adaptation of George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin. It is that intense and exhausting period known as “tech week”–today was the day we loaded our massive set into the theater we rent four times a year for our productions. I spent the day painting portable flooring.

The Princess and the Goblin is a delightful fantasy for children. It is also a beautiful story about faith and trust. Believing precedes seeing. Indeed, as one character wisely says, “Seeing is not believing. It is only seeing.”  Irene and her great-great-grandmother embody something of the relationship that Christians have with the Holy Spirit. We are led by an invisible hand, and we trust that we will be led to safety–but we are surprised along the way by some of the places it takes us!

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Education and Character: Learning to See Clearly (part 1)

IBR-1113189“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen.

Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

–C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?”(1945)


My years are beginning to show. I am facing the fact that I can no longer read most print without a pair of reading glasses. A cloudiness in my right eye suggests something more ominous, but I’m ignoring that for the moment.

Unlike the floaters I see in the air, which only appear when I stare at a blank surface, I am seeing connecting threads between many different things I’ve been reading in a variety of rich sources lately. Most of these ideas boil down to truths about learning, about character and about perspective, how we look at the world and how that looking affects us. Continue reading

The Sanctity of Life: Truth or ‘Preference’?


From the 180 Movie Facebook page, this sobering statistic:

Annually Abortions KILL more Children than the entire population of Texas, New York, and Colorado COMBINED.

Almost as disturbing, to me, was this statement:

According to Wikipedia, in the USA an estimated 95% – 98% of Down Syndrome babies are aborted when the condition is detected from a screening.   

Hitler also killed Down Syndrome children.

Right after I read that Facebook post, I picked up Eric MetaxasSocrates in the City (and if you don’t know who he is–check out his website, AND the Socrates in the City website; it’s a treasure trove of thought-provoking material).  This book is a set of transcripts of talks by some of the most important and influential guests to appear at these events held in Manhattan over the past 12 years or so. I’d been reading it, slowly–there is a lot to digest here.  (Try skimming a lecture by Sir John Polkinghorne or Richard John Neuhaus.)  I started the transcript of a talk by Jean Bethke Elshtain, entitled “Who Are We?  C.S. Lewis and the Question of Man,” which she gave in September 2005.  I had no idea who Elshtain is, but I’m a huge C.S. Lewis fan, so I figured it was worth tackling.  Turns out, Dr. Elshtain is a professor of political and social ethics at the University of Chicago.  Her resume is rather impressive (you can click on the link later…your head will spin).

Almost the first thing she said was to reference an issue of New York Times Magazine from June of that year, which printed an article entitled “Euthanasia for babies: is this humane or barbaric?”   Naturally, she had my attention.  On the next page I read the following paragraph, which eerily echoed that Facebook post I mentioned earlier:

For example, so overwhelming is our current animus against the less than perfect that nearly 90 percent of pregnancies that test (positive) for Down Syndrome are aborted in the United States today.

She went on to reference C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man, which appeared in 1944.  Its premise is that there is a “doctrine of objective value–the belief that certain attitudes are really true and others are really false to the kind of things the universe is and the kinds of things we are.” This understanding of universal values is found, says Lewis, in Platonic, Aristotelian, Stoic, Christian, and some Eastern religions.

By contrast, Lewis saw a logical positivism at work in his generation which classified all values as sentiment or emotion, and therefore irrelevant.  This “ghastly simplicity” (as he put it) has reappeared in this generation in the social sciences.  Elshtain tells us that it is called rational choice theory, and that it

trivializes all statements of values.  They have no truth warrant or claim…within this world, everything, in principle, can be commodified.  Everything, in principle, has a price rather than a value.  Any restrictions societies draw on where human preference might take us are really arbitrary–there are no intrinsic goods or evils. Nothing is valued for its own sake.

We’ve come a long, long way from the group of men who could all sign their names to a document which asserted that certain truths are “self-evident”, notably…

“…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In a world where everything is a commodity, including life, and is evaluated based on its utility and on personal preference, rather than objective truth claims…then infanticide, mandatory sterilization, selective abortion for any reason, and euthanasia of the elderly are all possible.

No, not possible.  Let’s not mince words.  All these barbarisms are probable.

Please watch this movie, if you haven’t already.

In fact, even if you’ve already seen it, watch it again. It’s Sunday.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!” says the Lord.  (Isaiah 49:15 NIV)