Quotes by C. S. Lewis
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Wikipedia Summary for C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British writer and lay theologian. He held academic positions in English literature at both Oxford University (Magdalen College, 1925–1954) and Cambridge University (Magdalene College, 1954–1963). He is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.
Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. They both served on the English faculty at Oxford University and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings. According to Lewis's 1955 memoir Surprised by Joy, he was baptised in the Church of Ireland, but fell away from his faith during adolescence. Lewis returned to Anglicanism at the age of 32, owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, and he became an "ordinary layman of the Church of England". Lewis's faith profoundly affected his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.
Lewis wrote more than 30 books which have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularised on stage, TV, radio, and cinema. His philosophical writings are widely cited by Christian apologists from many denominations.
In 1956, Lewis married American writer Joy Davidman; she died of cancer four years later at the age of 45. Lewis died on 22 November 1963 from kidney failure, one week before his 65th birthday. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis was honoured with a memorial in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.
The assumption that things which have been conjured in the past will always be conjured in the guiding principle not of rational but of animal behavior.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.
We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.
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.
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.
Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say "My tooth is aching” than to say "My heart is broken.
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.
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.
Preparing for Easter is a concise, handy companion for the faithful of all Christian traditions and the curious to help them deepen their knowledge and consideration of this holy season.
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.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
Disobedience to conscience is voluntary; bad poetry, on the other hand, is usually not made on purpose.
There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human's mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.
It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things; but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion.
For the critics who think Chesterton frivolous or 'paradoxical' I have to work hard to feel even pity; sympathy is out of the question.
Language exists to communicate whatever it can communicate. Some things it communicates so badly that we never attempt to communicate them by words if any other medium is available.
In coming to understand anything we are rejecting the facts as they are for us in favour of the facts as they are.
I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, of this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.
No mind is so good that it does not need another mind to counter and equal it, and to save it from conceit and bigotry and folly.
The promise, made when I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love.
The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise to never have a headache or always to feel hungry.
Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues.
Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it; the old Christian rule is, Either marriage, with completely faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.
Nobody who gets enough food and clothing in a world where most are hungry and cold has any business to talk about 'misery.'
If conversion makes no improvements in a man's outward actions then I think his 'conversion' was largely imaginary.
I begin to suspect that the world is divided not only into the happy and the unhappy, but into those who like happiness and those who, odd as it seems, really don't.
If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work.
I'd sooner live among people who don't cheat at cards than among people who are earnest about not cheating at cards.
Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.
Those who cannot conceive of Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend.
To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in you.
Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn't have guessed. That's one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It's a religion you couldn't have guessed.
Kids like us don't often have the chance of meeting a great warrior like you. Would you have a little fencing match with me? It would be frightfully decent.
People talk as if grief were just a feeling -- as if it weren't the continually renewed shock of setting out again and again on familiar roads and being brought up short by the grim frontier post that now blocks them.
Before God closed in on me, I was offered what now appears a moment of wholly free choice. But I feel my decision was not so important. I was the object rather than the subject in this affair.
Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.
Sleeping on a dragon's hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.
I enjoyed my breakfast this morning, and I think that was a good thing and do not think it was condemned by God. But I do not think myself a good man for enjoying it.
God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.
Holiness is irresistible. If even 10% of the world's population had it the whole world would be converted and happy before the year's end.
Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again.
If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don't feel at home there?
Lucy went first, biting her lip and trying not to say all the things she thought of saying to Susan. But she forgot them when she fixed her eyes on Aslan.
Girls aren't very good at keeping maps in their brains, said Edmund, That's because we've got something in them, replied Lucy.
If God were a Kantian, who would not have us till we came to Him from the purest and best motives, who could be saved?
Agnostics talk cheerfully of man's search for God but they might as well talk about the mouse's search for the cat.
I would not know how to advise a man how to write. It is a matter of talent and interest. I believe he must be strongly moved if he is to become a writer.
The only way to drive out bad culture is to create good culture. We need to recognize that artistic talent is a gift from the Lord -- and that developing those talents is the only way to create good culture.
A glimpse is not a vision. But to a man on a mountain road by night, a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon.
The Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.
And that's why, gentleman, if your little girl doesn't come up to scratch, it will be our painful duty to cut all your throats. Merely in a way of business, as you might say, and no offense, I hope.
We were talking of DRAGONS, Tolkien and I
In a Berkshire bar. The big workman
Who had sat silent and sucked his pipe
All the evening, from his empty mug
With gleaming eye glanced towards us:
I seen 'em myself! he said fiercely.
Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense.
The process of living seems to consist in coming to realize truths so ancient and simple that, if stated, they sound like barren platitudes.
If I had really cared as I thought I did about the sorrows of the world I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came- I thought I trusted the rope until it mattered to me whether it would bear me, now it matters and I find I didn't.
Certainly, Lu. Whatever you like,' said Peter unexpectedly. This was encouraging, but as Peter instantly rolled round and went to sleep again it wasn't much use.
All the time the joke is that the word mine in its fully possessive sense cannot be uttered by a human being about anything. In the long run either Satan or God will say mine of each thing that exists, and specially of each man.
That raises a terrible question. How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshiping an imaginary God.
We may not be able to get certainty, but we can get probability, and half a loaf is better than no bread.
I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
You cannot study Pleasure in the moment of the nuptial embrace, nor repentance while repenting, nor analyze the nature of humour while roaring with laughter.
To be in love involves the most irresistible conviction that one will go on being in love until one dies, and that possession of the beloved will confer, not merely frequent ecstasies, but settled, fruitful, deep-rooted, lifelong happiness.
His face had become very red and his mouth and fingers were sticky. He did not look either clever or handsome, whatever the Queen might say.
The birth of Christ is the central event in the history of the earth -- the very thing the whole story has been about.
There are no variations except for those who know a norm, and no subtleties for those who have not grasped the obvious.
Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.
The very lack of evidence is thus treated as evidence; the absence of smoke proves that the fire is very carefully hidden...A belief in invisible cats cannot be logically disproved although it does tell us a good deal about those who hold it.
The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he 'likes' them: the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds him liking more and more people as he goes on -- including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning.
Our temptation is to look eagerly for the minimum that will be accepted. We are in fact very like honest but reluctant taxpayers.
All these toys were never intended to possess my heart. My true good is in another world, and my only real treasure is Christ.
Any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people's minds under the cover of fiction without their knowing it.
If you don't listen to theology, that won't mean you have no ideas about God, it will mean you have a lot of wrong ones.
The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world.
If you simply try to tell the truth you will, nine times out of ten, be original without ever having noticed it.
To love at all is to be vulnerable.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung.
If you find that the reader of popular romances -- however uneducated a reader, however bad the romances -- goes back to his old favourites again and again, then you have pretty good evidence that they are to him a sort of poetry.
All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.
Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one.
Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don't implement promises, but keep them.
Everywhere, except in theology, there has been a vigorous growth of skepticism about skepticism itself.
All possible knowledge, then, depends on the validity of reasoning...Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.
The value given to the testimony of any feeling must depend on our whole philosophy, not our whole philosophy on a feeling.
We were made to be neither cerebral men nor visceral men, but Men. Not beasts nor angels but Men -- things at once rational and animal.
No emotion is, in itself, a judgement; in that sense all emotions and sentiments are alogical. but they can be reasonable or unreasonable as they conform to Reason or fail to conform. The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.
It is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.
We have discovered that the scheme of 'outlawing war' has made war more like an outlaw without making it less frequent and that to banish the knight does not alleviate the suffering of the peasant.
But he always licked to get visitors alone in the billiard room and tell them stories about a mysterious lady, a foreign royalty, with whom he had driven about London. 'A devilish temper she had,' he would say. 'But she was a dem fine woman, sir, a dem fine woman.
A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is alright. This is common sense really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not well you are sleeping.
One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give it up.
I am suffering incessant temptations to uncharitable thoughts at present; one of those black moods in which nearly all one's friends seem to be selfish or even false. And how terrible that there should be even a kind of pleasure in thinking evil.
Goodness is, so to speak, itself; badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled.
When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less.
If the Church is not Making Disciples, then all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible, are a waste of time.
The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author's mind.
The first fact in the history of Christendom is a number of people who say they have seen the Resurrection.
The whole journey was odd and dream-like -- the roaring stream, the wet grey grass, the glimmering cliffs which they were approaching, and always the glorious, silently pacing beast ahead.
Christianity thinks of human individuals not as mere members of a group or items in a list, but as organs in a body-different from one another and each contributing what no other could.
If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilised morality to savage morality.
Do you not know how bashful friendship is? Friends -- comrades -- do not look at each other. Friendship would be ashamed.
Anyone who endeavors to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened. You are embarking on something that is going to take the whole of you, brains and all.
For every one pupil who needs to be guarded against a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.
In God's dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube.
But Pride always means enmity -- it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.
There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.
Pure, spiritual, intellectual love shot form their faces like barbedlightning. It was so unlike the love we experience that its expressioncould easily be mistaken for ferocity.
Every object you see before you at this moment -the walls, ceiling, and furniture, the book, your own washed hands and cut fingernails, bears witness to the colonization of Nature of Reason.
I fancy that most people who think at all have done a great deal of their thinking in the first fourteen years.
I have been suspected of being what is called a Fundamentalist. That is because I never regard any narrative as unhistorical simply on the ground that it includes the miraculous.
Satan always sends error into the world in pairs that are opposites. His great hope is that you will get so upset about one of his errors, that you'll react into the opposite one, and he's got you.
Humanity does not pass through phases as a train passes through stations: being alive, it has the privilege of always moving yet never leaving anything behind. Whatever we have been, in some sort we are still.
If devils exist, their first aim is to give you an anesthetic -- to put you off your guard. Only if that fails, do you become aware of them.
If we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a wandering to find home, why should we not look forward to the arrival?
If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, also we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another 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.
You can't lay down any pattern for God. There are many different ways of bringing people into his Kingdom, even some ways that I specially dislike! I have therefore learned to be cautious in my judgment.
Be confident small immortals. You are not the only voice that all things utter, nor is there eternal silence in the places where you cannot come.
Even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam -- he is only nourishing or protecting a life he could never have acquired by his own efforts.
In the truest sense, Christian pilgrims have the best of both worlds. We have joy whenever this world reminds us of the next, and we take solace whenever it does not.
Have you not seen that in our days
Of any whose story, song or art
Delights us, our sincerest praise
Means, when all's said, 'You break my heart?'
When God becomes a Man and lives as a creature among His own creatures in Palestine, then indeed His life is one of supreme self-sacrifice and leads to Calvary.
Like a good chess player, Satan is always trying to maneuver you into a position where you can save your castle only by losing your bishop.
Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves.
Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religious. The scientific point of view cannot fit any of these things, not even science itself.
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?
All men alike stand condemned, not by alien codes of ethics, but by their own, and all men therefore are conscious of guilt.