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C. S. Lewis quotes


Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on November 29, 1898. During the first World War, Lewis served with the English army and was sent home after being wounded by shrapnel.

Lewis graduated from Oxford University in literature and classic philosophy. In 1925 he was awarded a fellowship teaching position at Magdalen College. It was here that Lewis joined the group known as “The Inklings”, an informal collection of writers and intellectuals amongst whom were Lewis’s brother, Warren, and J.R.R. Tolkien (famous novelist: The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings.) Through conversations with group members Lewis found himself re-embracing Christianity which he had become disillusioned with in younger years.

During the second World War Lewis transmitted highly popular radio broadcasts on Christianity which won many converts; his speeches were collected into the book “Mere Christianity.” [see some quotes below.]

During the 1950s, Lewis published the seven books that make up “The Chronicles of Narnia”, a children’s series featuring the lion Aslan, a parallel Jesus Christ figure. The series has retained its international popularity since it was published.

Lewis later become renowned for his rich apologist texts, where he explained his Christian spiritual beliefs via platforms of logic and philosophy. Lewis was a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction who wrote dozens of books over the course of his career.

Quotes

”Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

“The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – Mere Christianity [book]

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

“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.”

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

“We are what we believe we are.”

“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 we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” – Mere Christianity [book]

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

“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…”

“I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” ― The Silver Chair [Narnia book]

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ― The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses