C.S. Lewis: “Christianity is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up”

Chris —  July 27, 2012

Image of C.S. LewisC.S. Lewis said that one of the reasons that he believes Christianity is that it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. In Mere Christianity, he wrote:

Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion that you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let us leave behind all thee boys’ philosophies – – these over simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book II, chapter 2, “The Invasion,” page 36).

C.S. Lewis made a similar point in The Silver Chair through his character Puddleglum. When Puddleglum is giving his apologetic to the Queen of the Underland he says:

“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – -trees and grass and sun and moon and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up seem a good deal more real than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world that licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live on like a Narnian as I long as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”

Nowhere is Lewis’ observation more true than with grace. Made up religions always rely, one  way or another, on works. There is something which must be done in order to achieve the goal. But the idea that salvation is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9) is the heart of the Christian message and not the sort of thing anyone would have made up.

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6 responses to C.S. Lewis: “Christianity is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up”

  1. Thanks for posting. It’s good to be reminded that we serve a real God.

  2. Thanks for that post Chris. Puddlegum’s last sentence in that excerpt is interesting:

    “I’m going to live on like a Narnian as I long as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”

    I’ve heard Christians say something similar. But I wonder how that squares up with what the Apostle Paul has to say?

    “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” – 1 Cor. 15:14

    Obviously the great thing about what Paul is saying here is that this stuff which you couldn’t have imagined (or guessed) actually did happen. Jesus really did die and rise again on the third day. A miraculous historic fact that Paul, at one time in his life did not want to believe, until the risen Jesus met him and transformed him!

    I’ve been greatly blessed by that verse recently. It’s the life source – the power, as Paul refers to it in Romans – of the Gospel. It’s certainly blessed Annie and I as we traverse through the valley of the shadow of death: whatever happens, however difficult it gets, however painful the suffering, however hard it is to pray sometimes…Jesus really did rise from the dead and that fact changes everything! It’s helped us in moments where we don’t know or dread ‘What next?’; we’re able to look back to that fact and face the reality of ‘What next?’ with more courage, more faith, more hope, more assurance, more joy.

    I think it’s important as Christians that the reality of the resurrection of Jesus is evidenced in us and witnessed as another source of the reality of God, His love, His power and His Kingdom.

    Our love and blessings to you and your family, Chris

    Ry and Annie

  3. Those are wonderful thoughts on your part Ryan. It’s interesting. I felt a bit of a tension with that quote myself at the end.

    1 Corinthians 15 is such an incredible chapter. Amazing.

    Paul was right. If Christ wasn’t resurrected, then we are to be pitied above all people. But in fact Christ was resurrected.

    In the world of cancer, it’s also so encouraging to think that we will have new resurrection bodies with no more cancer.

    I pray that the Lord will give you and Annie and your whole church family tremendous grace and strength. We love you. I so wish I could have coffee with you all. Or, I guess you would prefer tea!

  4. Tell me the old old story! It has been such a blessing today. How HE has proved Himself or and or.
    Thanks Chris for the spiritual food and thanks for that personal testimony by Ryan

  5. It is so short sighted, arrogant and selfish to think that only your own religion is the truth!
    It means that you don’t have any respect for people who believe in other fairy tales than the big christianity fabrication.

  6. Hans,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    It strikes me as a bit short and arrogant that you think I am dogmatic. How could you be so narrow-minded about your opinion of me?

    If you hold your position consistently, then you doubtless think I am arrogant and selfish to believe that I truly am the father of my children and that 2+2=4.