Book Reviews

 Thursday, December 23, 2010

I have seen so many Christians lately talking about letting their children read books by C.S. Lewis, that it makes me wonder, What do you know about this man? Here is a short excerpt from a REVIEW I've read on him.

*****

The name "C. S. Lewis" usually brings forth a number of accolades customarily used to describe him— "Brilliant, great Christian, great mind, great apologist, greatest lay champion in the 20th century." His book sales, still today, remain over two million dollars annually, half of which come from the sales of his famous fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia.

Who is this man, and what were his beliefs that he should be touted as such a monumental Christian? C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was a college professor, and author, and had his own radio broadcast for many years. He was an atheist, who converted to theism, and later professed Christianity. His most notable work, for which he has won much acclaim, is Mere Christianity. The author basically describes the book’s intent as an effort to set forth the fundamentals that form the basis of Christianity, excluding all doctrines and opinions that are not integral to Christianity (or, at least his definition of Christianity), thus, the name Mere Christianity. The exclusion of all such doctrines allows for the inclusion of all faiths.


Something else that is very disturbing is that C. S. Lewis was not only quite familiar, by his own words, with the occult, but he even said that he had to get into the devil’s mind to write the Screwtape Letters, a book in which he describes the devil’s thinking and strategy. Although, such practices might be used by someone who proves God’s existence by logic, they are not the kind of activities and study that would be engaged in by someone who knows Jesus. Great Christian minds have no part with occult phenomena.

So, here we have a man who argues the existence of God, is involved in the occult, and writes occult books for children. Should we be surprised? "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." James 2:19.

Let’s look at some of those books for children. Lewis’s most famous fictional series for children, is the Chronicles of Narnia. Although adults are often discerning when they read, children seldom are. Hence, fictional children’s books can be a very dangerous commodity. When there are poisonous philosophies in a book, they are generally woven into an exciting story. The child is enthralled with the story and swallows the philosophies without knowing that they are even there. If you are trying to rear good children, and you are seeing atypical results, check what your children are reading. It is there that you will usually find the problem.

The Chronicles of Narnia is a collection of seven fantasy stories. The jacket cover says, "Here is your passport to a most extraordinary excursion into magical lands and enchanted happenings. If you’ve never been to Narnia, you can enter it for the first time with any of the books below . . ."

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first in this "Christian" series of occult books for children. The title, itself, should be a tip off to a discerning Christian. How can a Christian book have such an occult label?

The story involves four children who step through a magic wardrobe into the occult land of Narnia. Narnia is populated by talking animals who have equal status with humans. (Sounds like New Age?) The land of Narnia is ruled by the White Witch who makes the land always to be winter. The land is populated with ghouls, werewolves and all manner of evil creatures siding with the witch. The witch has powerful magical powers and is able to turn all of her enemies into stone. The wicked witch tricks one of the children into coming over to her side, and the other children must rescue him.

Aslan, a huge lion and the son of the great emperor of the north, is the only one who can set things right in Narnia. He negotiates with the witch for the salvation of one of the children. He must die to save the child. However, he does not stay dead, he has a resurrection and saves the day. Aslan responds to the question of what it all means with, "It means that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know." Eventually, the White Witch is destroyed and spring returns to Narnia.

Obviously, there is a salvation message in all of that, but is it the message of Jesus Christ? Obviously not. It is the salvation message of an occult, New Age lion that has, not only more powers than a human, but enough power to rival our Savior in the eyes of young readers.

Besides all the very apparent evil in the book—witches, magic, spells, demons, and more, there are several serious problems which can and will cause damage to our children.

A child reading the book, is, as advertised, "stepping into another world"—a world of fantasy. Lewis, like Disney, was a New Ager. He built entire surrealistic worlds for our children to escape into—escape from reality and from real life. These worlds invariably contain creatures of every sort endearing our children, performing heroic feats, and displaying often greater powers than our Savior displayed when He was on earth. Who will our children most readily identify as having awesome power—Lewis characters, Disney characters, some time-space traveling hero, or the almighty Jesus? Is it any wonder that we have a very difficult time convincing our children to give their all to Someone so far down the totem pole of their experience? Why should we cloud our children’s minds with meaningless fantasies which can, at their very best, only result in doubts and confusions about real spiritual things, and more seriously, open the floodgates of their minds to the advancing waves of captivating fantasies designed to introduce them to the world of Satan and the occult.

Some people will scoff that these fantasies are "not hurting anything or anyone".

Let me begin with the great "Christian" lie about The Chronicles of Narnia. Over the years we have often received correspondence asking how we can write a review of C. S. Lewis and be so ignorant as to not know that "scholars" have said that The Chronicles of Narnia is a Christian allegory. Well, we do know that "scholars" have said as much. However, even though we stated it in our original review, we will state it again here. C. S. Lewis, himself, denied that this was so. Our question to any such "scholars" is, Why are they promoting this falsehood? We do notice that this idea emanates generally from ecumenical sources, and therefore assume that they feel that it helps their cause of bringing Christians back under the papacy. The following quotes sum up the feelings of C. S. Lewis about the allegorical status of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Lewis was a member of a literary group called The Inklings. The following quote is from The Inklings Handbook, a historical/biographical work by a couple of fellows enchanted by the Inklings. "CSL [Lewis], however, argued strongly that the Chronicles of Narnia should not be viewed as an allegory like Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, though he acknowledged the intentional parallels between the main features of Christian teaching and the Chronicles, not least in the unambigously supernatural Christ-symbol, Aslan the Lion."

Again from The Inklings Handbook—"The earliest hints of Narnia come very early in CSL’s life, long before he became a Christian; the common assumption that he wrote the whole series as an extended allegory of the Christian faith, with a strong evangelistic motive, is one that CSL always denied and which is not borne out by the facts."

So, who are we to believe—scholars who wish to justify their untenable positions favoring exploration into occultism, or the author himself? By the way, there is very good reason for Lewis’ denial. That is why our original review speaks to this argument on the basis of the content in question. We have already examined the passage regarding the servant of Tash (Satan) being in paradise and its explanation—its idea being that just because God turns the works of His enemies to His own advantage, He will also warmly receive those enemies into heaven. It is quite easy to expose this as neither scriptural nor Christian to anyone who has ever spent any time in the Bible.

Lewis knew that the work was no where near parallel to sound theology, and he knew that in that day people were not so willing to accept such surreal imaginations as "Christian." He knew that it was much too early to present his New Age, miracle-working animals as actual doctrine, such as they are being hailed today. Aslan and Tash are obvious New Age manifestations, even without being placed within any context of religion. Aslan is not a Christ as the authors of The Inklings Handbook would too eagerly suggest. He is a hermaphrodite image—an intangible copy—designed to capture hearts and minds—the hearts that God says He wants to be captured only by Himself.

The Screwtape Letters is a book written by Lewis and idealized as an instructional work about how the devil thinks and works in the lives of men. It is set in a series of letters from one demon, Uncle Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood. Wormwood’s charge is a human who has become a Christian. The letters contain Screwtape’s instructions on how to return the human to the devil’s camp and ownership. Though it is billed as an instructional work for the Christian, it seems much more an instructional work for the New Age ecumenical echelons of this generation.

Consider the following advice from Screwtape to his nephew. "I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologixe their [humans] science to such an extent that what is in effect, a belief in us [demons] (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy [Christ]. The ‘Life Force’, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls ‘Forces’ while denying the existence of ‘spirits’—then the end of the war will be in sight." Lewis is saying that the strategy involved here in bringing Christians under the control of the devil is to get them enthused about ‘forces’ while not recognizing these ‘forces’ as demonic spirits or ideas.

Is not this exactly what is being done right now through the movie versions of the works of Lewis and Tolkien. Was it not also accomplished with their books. Is not further cover given to this strategy by "scholars" who help hide the truth about this spiritual attack by calling it "Christian allegory"? And have not Lewis’ own works been used in this very way? Have not the works of Lewis and Tolkien simply paved the way to the widespread acceptance of all things Harry Potter? Is it not even more ludicrous that some "scholars" would warn us about the demonism and witchcraft of Harry Potter, and inform us that the demonism and witchcraft of Lewis and Tolkien can be made an integral part of our Christian faith? Notice how the idea of ‘forces’ and morphodites has descended from the works of the Inklings into an entire culture of Star Wars imaginative nonsense.

Is this business about allegories really good counsel? It comes from the right sources and movements. These people are pro-life. They are conservatives. They are in the "Christian government" movements. However, here is what Screwtape says. "Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours—and the more ‘religious’ (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here." And again, "On the other hand, we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything—even social justice. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy [God] demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice."

This is very interesting. It reads like a playbook for sending people to a lost eternity. Just keep them busy with movements, causes and "scholars." Then interest them in adventure and occultism masquerading as "forces." And, finally, to put the icing on the cake, add some mental justification. Interest and involve them in social just and "Christian" government as much or more than they are interested in real Christianity (which does not involve the other two at all, even according to Lewis). After all, it is so easy to ignore the sin of not daily, even hourly, living for God, when we can make ourselves constantly aware of some good thing that we see ourselves doing.

Can we not speculate that this playbook has been followed religiously with an adverse spiritual effect on those in our society? Have we not been inundated with Lewis-Tolkien type fantasy from the heathen-owned publishing industry? Has not Hollywood reproduced many of them in a more captivating medium of film? Has it not followed up with unnumbered versions of Star Wars type creatures, Terminators, and the like? And have not social issues and "Christian" government become the causes celebres of today’s churches and Christian circles. Even the nation’s first politicians are being made over into Christians. These things all make us feel quite righteous about our "stand," but our nation continues to spiral downward. Could it be that Screwtape’s creator has penned a plan to convince us to replace our concern for personal holiness with a concern for national righteousness?

But maybe we should evaluate what we view and what we read when we think about our righteousness. Psalms 101:3 says, "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me." Does Hollywood love the Lord Jesus Christ, or do they turn aside? Should we view those works and let those images cleave to our minds? What about the witches, demons, and fantasy creatures in books? Should those images cleave to us? If C. S. Lewis thinks that these things are not good for us, why did he write them for our children? Could it be that the people who understand him know that he is instructing in the ways of corruption? Are the children of the world wiser than the children of light in this matter also?

It is truly baffling that any real Christian should think that Lewis was a Christian. It seems that most have only heard the advertising rhetoric, but few have taken the time to read the works that expose his personal views or biographical works chronicling his habits. Lewis did not consider all of the Bible the inerrant Word of God (Reflections on the Psalms). He did not believe that faith in Jesus Christ was all that was necessary for salvation (Screwtape Letters). He believed that one could lose one’s faith in a moment through commission of a mortal sin (Screwtape Letters). He believed in Limbo as a place (neither heaven nor hell) of temporary punishment (Screwtape Letters). He believed that church sacraments are part of salvation (Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters). He believed that pagans may belong to Christ without knowing it (Mere Christianity). He had a participating interest in the occult (The Inklings Handbook). And, regardless of his reputation and his "great swelling words," his outlook on death was not that of a Christian. This from C. S. Lewis, A Biography: "Like many (most?) religious people, Lewis was profoundly afraid of death. His dread of it, when in the midst of life, had been almost pathological and obsessive. Physical extinction was a perpetual nightmare to him and, whatever his theological convictions and hopes, he was unable, before his wife’s death, to reconcile himself to the transition which death must inevitably entail."

The idea of Lewis as a "great Christian mind" has been thoroughly impressed upon so many for so long that he has become a very real "angel of light." It was Hitler who said, "If you tell a lie often enough and long enough, the people will believe it." So, now that we know what The Chronicles of Narnia is not (a Christian allegory), what is it? The concept of God’s enemies going to heaven is not theologically sound, and is by no means Christian. It is theosophical. Theology is the study of relating to God. Theosophy is the study of relating to God’s opposite or archenemy. The Chronicles is full of theosophical beliefs. The idea that God’s enemies go to heaven is a distinct theosophical tenet. This only makes sense. Those who serve and worship the devil do not expect to spend eternity in hellfire and brimstone for doing so.

Most theosophy is thrust upon the world today as its opposite—theology. The reason is obvious. Most people would not accept it for what is at face value, but disguised as religion, church, faith, etc, it is readily acceptable to those who have less care for being discerning. The American Theosophical Society met in 1901 to discuss how to plan and implement the goal of propagating theosophy throughout this nation and the world. The conclusion drafted at that convention stated that such propagation was only possible through the churches—that theosophical values must be disguised as Christian or religious to be accepted popularly. So what are we being taught by these scholars that tell us that all this theosophy is actually Christian?

And what about Lewis? Are we still not ready to believe his connection to the occult? Why? It is public fact. The following excerpt from a letter to a religious magazine.

"Kudos to Roberta green for deftly summarizing the trouble with Harry Potter. C. S. Lewis himself experienced the dangers of "crossing the line" into obsession with the occult. In Surprised by Joy, he writes that, partly because of a school matron who dabbled in the occult, "for the first time, there burst upon me the idea that there might be real marvels all about us, that the visible world might be only a curtain to conceal huge realms uncharted by my very simple theology. And that started in me something with which, on and off, I have had plenty of trouble since—the desire for the preternatural, simply as such the passion for the Occult. Not everyone has this disease; those who have it will know what I mean. It is a spiritual lust; and like the lust of the body it has the fatal power of making everything else in the wold seem uninteresting while it lasts."

How about something even more public? In the Screwtape Letters, Lewis admittedly takes his reader on a tour of the devil’s mind. This is an area of study strictly forbidden by the Bible. This is a study that no Christian mind, even a mind as "great" as that of C. S. Lewis is allowed to make in the service of God. Pray tell, is this a trip theological or theosophical? Will God condone such a trip as long as "scholars" tell us that it came from a "great Christian mind"?

Should there be any doubt about Lewis’ theosophism or his activity in occultism? Consider the company he kept. He was a star member of The Inklings. The Inklings was a literary group that met in taverns to trade ideas and discuss how their work should impact society. Many had theosophical affiliations, not the least of which was Aleister Crowley, member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, who called himself "The Great Beast" and "the wickedest man alive." Charles Williams also became deeply involved in witchcraft and theosophy because he was intrigued by its power. Author after author in the group was fascinated by pre-Christian paganism, and they credit the ideas they find in pre-Christian paganism as the source of much of the thought expressed in their works. Isn’t this a little strange for Christian authors? There was plenty of pre-Christian theism available to be learned. There are plenty of good thoughts and ideas in the Old Testament, and I have seen many of them used as sources for some very good reading material. Of course, none of them has been as mesmerizing (nor as confusing) as the works of the Inklings, especially those of Lewis and Tolkien. For much more information on the Inklings, see our review on Tolkien.

Think about this for a moment. In Mere Christianity Lewis tells us Christians recognize each other, but he speaks about them—not in an inclusive manner, but more as those people—not including himself among them. He also published a considerable amount of fantasy full of occult overtones, topped off with a major theosophical doctrine. Knowing that he denied that his fantasy was Christian allegory, and realizing that theosophists can also recognize each other by their own beliefs and works, was Lewis getting across who he was to the people familiar with this stuff? Also, is it any wonder that we receive so many reports of young children having continual nightmares and demonic type experiences after viewing one Lewis’ "allegorical" works? Lewis’ work has been compared as "white magic" to Harry Potter’s "black magic." Is there any white magic to God? What does His Word say about all magic? Are Lewis’ magic, demons, ogres, monsters, curses, gods, fairies and illusions really pointing people toward God? The Bible says, "I will put no evil thing before mine eye." What are we doing reading and watching such things? What is worse, what are we doing to our children?

As an aside, J. R. Tolkein was a contemporary of Lewis, and received considerable mentoring from him. Tolkein’s works are so similar to those of Lewis that, if they had all been published under the same name, few would ever know the difference. They are filled with the same occultism, black magic, and theosophist views. They also were never purported to be allegorical by their author. Tolkein was a Catholic, so he knew of no salvation by faith in Christ. Having been Catholic, I can attest through my own experience as well as by the last papal encyclical, that the Catholic church teaches of no salvation other than through itself. So much for scholars and their allegories.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." The theosophist’s game is not original. It has been around as long as man. And the admonishment of Jesus in Luke 16:8 is as good for today as it was for the day when He said, ". . . for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."



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