Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 - 22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland. He is known for both his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy and his nonfiction, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles and The Problem of Pain. - Wikipedia
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.
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire.
Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning...
Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.
The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.
Other than heaven, the only place where one's heart is completely safe from the dangers of love is hell.
Poetry too is a little incarnation, giving body to what had been before invisible and inaudible.
We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin.
The gap between those who worship different gods is not so wide as the gap between those who worship and those who don't.
Mortal lovers must not try to remain at the first step; for lasting passion is the dream of a harlot and from it we wake in despair.
Love, while always forgiving of imperfections and mistakes, can never cease to will their removal.
This moment contains all moments.
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
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.
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.
We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
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 real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
Surely what a man does when he is caught off his guard is the best evidence as to what sort of man he is.
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.
If the universe is so bad...how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?
Our passions are not too strong, they are too weak. We are far too easily pleased.
Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.
No doubt those who really founded modern science were usually those whose love of truth exceeded their love of power.
Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.
Who will take medicine unless he knows he is in the grip of disease?
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right.
Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.
Wherever any precept of traditional morality is simply challenged to produce its credentials, as though the burden of proof lay on it, we have taken the wrong position.
You find out more about God from the Moral Law than from the univerise in general just as you find out more about a man by listening to his conversation than by looking at a house he has built.
A great many of those who 'debunk' traditional...values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process.
You cannot go on 'explaining away' for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on 'seeing through' things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.
Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.
The Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play: our instincts are merely the keys.
Whenever you find a man who says he doesn't believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later.
Badness is only spoiled goodness.
There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on Earth.
Who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?
A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride.
It is in their 'good' characters that novelists make, unawares, the most shocking self-revelations.
Certain things, if not seen as lovely or detestable, are not being correctly seen at all.
We all wish to be judged by our peers, by the men 'after our own heart.' Only they really know our mind and only they judge it by standards we fully acknowledge. Theirs is the praise we really covet and the blame we really dread. The little pockets of early Chrstians survived because they cared exclusively for the love of 'the bretheren' and stopped their ears to the opinion of the Pagan society around them. But a circle of criminals, cranks, or perverts survives in just the same way; by becoming deaf to the opinion of the outer world, by discounting it as the chatter of outsiders who 'don't understand,' of the 'conventional,' the 'bourgeois,' the 'Establishment,' of prigs, prudes, and humbugs.
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it.
In any fairly large and talkative community such as a university there is always the danger that those who think alike should gravitate together where they will henceforth encounter opposition only in the emasculated form of rumour that the outsiders say thus and thus. The absent are easily refuted, complacent dogmatism thrives, and differences of opinion are embittered by the group hostility. Each group hears not the best, but the worst, that the other group can say.
A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.
It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.
Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.
Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn. My God do you learn.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one!'
It was when I was happiest that I longed most...The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing...to find the place where all the beauty came from.
Unless Christianity is wholly false, the perception of ourselves which we have in moments of shame must be the only true one.
Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.
'You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,' said Aslan. 'And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.'
Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst.
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.
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
God is not proud...He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him.
Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won't last forever. We must take it or leave it.
The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which overarches rulers and ruled alike. Subjectivism about values is eternally incompatible with democracy. We and our rulers are of one kind only so long as we are subject to one law. But if there is no Law of Nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators and conditioners; and every creator stands above and outside his own creation.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Experience proves this, or that, or nothing, according to the preconceptions we bring to it.
Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.
If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows...then we must starve eternally.
Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.
Many things--such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly--are done worst when we try hardest to do them.
We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
Art can teach without at all ceasing to be art.
Don't say it was 'delightful'; make us say 'delightful' when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers 'Please, will you do the job for me?'
The more often a man feels without acting, the less he'll be able to act. And in the long run, the less he'll be able to feel.
You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.
If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.
If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don't feel at home there?
If one is only to talk from first-hand experience, conversation would be a very poor business.
Every poem can be considered in two ways--as what the poet has to say, and as a thing which he makes.
Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can't really get rid of it.
Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves.
If God is satisfied with the work, the work may be satisfied with itself.
Reasoning is never, like poetry, judged from the outside at all.
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.
There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes.
When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all.
It still remains true that no justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous.
If we did not bring to the examinations of our instincts a knowledge of their comparative dignity we could never learn it from them.
Unless the religious claims of the Bible are again acknowledged, its literary claims will, I think, be given only 'mouth honour' and that decreasingly.
There will be two kinds of people in the end: Those that will say to God 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God will say 'Thy will be done.'
A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere--'Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,' as Herbert says, 'fine nets and stratagems.' God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.
Dualism is a truncated metaphysic.
Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey 'people.' People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war. Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest.
If, as I can't help suspecting, the dead also feel the pains of separation (and this may be one of their purgatorial sufferings), then for both lovers, and for all pairs of lovers without exception, bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love.
Man's conquest of Nature turns out, in the moment of its consummation, to be Nature's conquest of Man.
Everything except God has some natural superior; everything except unformed matter has some natural inferior.
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.
Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism.
Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.
Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand.
If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation.
Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you.
The surest way of spoiling a pleasure is to start examining your satisfaction.
All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.
Consciousness is either inexplicable illusion, or else revelation.
You play the hand you're dealt. I think the game's worthwhile.
Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.
Thirty was so strange for me. I've really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.
It is hard to have patience with people who say 'There is no death' or 'Death doesn't matter.'' There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn't matter.
A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you.
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.
Those who would most scornfully repudiate Christianity as a mere 'opiate of the people' have a contempt for the rich, that is, for all mankind except the poor.
Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
The absent are easily refuted.
Morality, like numinous awe, is a jump; in it, man goes beyond anything that can be 'given' in the facts of experience.
The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world.
For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men.
Regarding the debate about faith and works: It's like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most important.
Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it.
What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling. For these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when He catches us, as it were, off our guard.
If these holy places, things, and days cease to remind us, if they obliterate our awareness that all ground is holy and every bush (could we but perceive it) a Burning Bush, then the hallows begin to do harm. Hence both the necessity, and the perennial danger, of 'religion.'
There are no variations except for those who know a norm, and no subtleties for those who have not grasped the obvious.
Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good.
No Christian and, indeed, no historian could accept the epigram which defines religion as 'what a man does with his solitude.'
It's so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one.
How incessant and great are the ills with which a prolonged old age is replete.
Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.