Friday, February 25, 2005

His Beliefs

Dear Mr. Fridama,

I was baptised in the Church of Ireland (same as Anglican). My parents were not notably pious but went regularly to church and took me. My mother died when I was a child.

My Xtian faith was first undermined by the attitude taken towards Pagan religion in the notes of modern editors of Latin and Greek poets at school. They always assumed that the ancient religion was pure error: hence, in my mind, the obvious question 'Why shouldn't ours be equally false?' A theosophical Matron at one school helped to break up my early beliefs, and after that a 'Rationalist' tutor to whom I went finished the job. I abandoned all belief in Xtianity at about the age of 14, tho' I pretended to believe for fear of my elders. I thus went thro' the ceremony of Confirmation in total hypocrisy. My beliefs continued to be agnostic, with fluctuation towards pantheism and various other sub-Xtian beliefs, till I was about 29.

I was brought back (a.) By Philosophy. I still think Berkeley is unanswerable. (b.) By increasing knowledge of medieval literature. It became harder and harder to think that all those great poets & philosophers were wrong. (c.) By the strong influence of 2 writers, the Presbyterian George Macdonald and the R.C., G. K. Chesterton. (d.) By argument with an Anthroposophist. He failed to convert me to his own views (a kind of Gnosticism) but his attack on my own presuppositions smashed the ordinary pseudo-'scientific' world-picture forever.

On Calvinism. Both the statement that our final destination is already settled and the view that it still may be either Heaven or Hell, seem to me to imply the ultimate reality of Time, which I don't believe in. The controversy is one I can't join on either side for I think that in the real (Timeless) world it is meaningless. In great haste.

Yours sincerely,
C.S. Lewis
~The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume II, Letter of Feb 15th, 1946


Scholarly link of the day: George Berkeley's "Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713)

2 Comment(s):

At Fri Feb 25, 02:16:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

The juxtaposition of his not believing in Time and then ending 'in great haste' is a laugh-out-loud moment. I wonder if it was deliberate.

At Fri Feb 25, 07:47:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

I think it might have been!

In all the letters in this book, I think that's the first time I've seen him use that closing.


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