4 C. S. Lewis Quotes That Will Convince You He Owned a Time Machine

It's like he peered straight into the future.


Frank V.


In 21st century Christian circles, the name C. S. Lewis is commonplace, teetering on the edge of cliché. One cannot go far without seeing his words quoted, pinned, and tweeted.

But not without good reason.

Lewis has earned his renown due to volumes of insightful and relatable thoughts on God and the Christian life. Whether through fiction such as The Chronicles of Narnia or through apologetic works like Mere Christianity and The Great Divorce, Lewis had a knack for simplifying complex Christian theology and philosophy. Believe me, that's hard to do.

Nevertheless what astounds me most about Lewis is how forward thinking his writing is. If you remember my 2019 reading list, you know I read a collection Lewis's sermons and speeches called The Weight of Glory.[1] The latest of these he gave in 1956, nearly 70 years ago as I write this, and yet certain passages make it seem as if he were peering into the future and speaking directly to the situation as it stands today.

Let me show you just four of these, and you'll see what I mean. Note: All of the following come from The Weight of Glory, but one could just as easily pick up Mere Christianity or any of his other books and probably find many more to add to this list.


Sex. Because It's Popular. Why Else?


I wonder whether, in ages of promiscuity, many a virginity has not been lost less in obedience to Venus than in obedience to the lure of the caucus. For, of course, when promiscuity is the fashion, the chaste are the outsiders. [2]

Is this not a perfect pegging of Western culture today? Hollywood and television (among other entities) have normalized promiscuity, and as a result too many have believed the lie that they are isolated, abnormal, and unpopular if they don't engage in premarital sex. Therefore sex becomes a crime of fashion, not passion.


How to Treat Anti-Vaxxers


People are constantly claiming this unarguable and unanswerable status for moral judgments which are not really intuitions at all but remote consequences or particular applications of them, eminently open to discussion since the consequences may be illogically drawn or the application falsely made. . . nothing is to be treated as an intuition unless it is such that no good man has ever dreamed of doubting. The man who "just feels" that total abstinence from drink or marriage is obligatory is to be treated like the man who "just feels sure" that Henry VIII is not by Shakespeare or that vaccination does no good. [3]

Is it possible Lewis was so forward thinking as to have anticipated the slew of anti-vaxxers who have infected public discourse? Or is it merely irony that he chose something he believed is so iron-clad that no sane person would question it?

Whether intentional or not, Lewis would probably say that many are opposed to vaccinations because of specific, individual consequences of a vaccination, for example someone they are related to had an adverse reaction once. Because one child had an adverse reaction to a vaccine does not prove therefore that vaccination has no value to society.

Since opposition to vaccinations goes against scientific findings and application (e.g. the eradication of Smallpox), this line of argumentation would be akin to saying Shakespeare did not write Henry VIII; the burden of proof is on the opposer. Despite what anti-vaxxers want you to believe, their position is not axiomatic.


Getting Woke


[The modern undergraduate] lives in a crowd; caucus has replaced friendship. And this tendency not only exists both within and without the university, but is often approved. There is a crowd of busybodies, self-appointed masters of ceremonies, whose life is devoted to destroying solitude wherever solitude still exists. They call it "taking the young people out of themselves," or "waking them up," or "overcoming their apathy." . . . If a really good home, such as the home of Alcinous and Arete in the Odyssey or the Rostovs in War and Peace or any of Charlotte M. Yonge's families, existed today, it would be denounced as bourgeois and every engine of destruction would be levelled against it. And even where the planners fail and someone is left physically by himself, the wireless has seen to it that he will be ... never less alone than when alone. [4]

When I read the line about university students and social groups' goal of "waking them up," I couldn't help but draw a connection to the social media trend of getting "woke."

The content of the application isn't a one to one correspondence, but the methodology is the same: destruction of the conventional, groupthink, and social pressure to conform to a certain way of thinking. Lewis bemoans the lack of individuality and permission for one to think for herself.

In other words, as I saw on Twitter recently, "Your opinion doesn't matter if you aint woke!"

Perhaps the most interesting part is the last sentence in which Lewis wrote about "the wireless" which assures that someone can never be "less alone than when alone." Lewis is referring to the radio, but he could just have easily been talking about social media or Fox News. These outlets assure that people know how they should think about any given issue at any given time. There's no need to think through tough issues today when we have Instagrammers and 24-hour news channel anchors to tell us what to believe!



You May Be Religious When You Are Alone

When the modern world says to us aloud, "You may be religious when you are alone," it adds under its breath, "and I will see to it that you never are alone." To make Christianity a private affair while banishing all privacy is to relegate it to the rainbow's end or the Greek calends. [5]

By relegating religion to the privacy of one's home, opponents of said religion are hoping belief will fade away. So the world makes it taboo to discuss faith in public. The irony, of course, is that every human is religious, but certain religions like humanism and naturalism are perfectly permissible in the public sphere. But start taking about a power greater than the homo sapien or mother nature, and then suddenly you are in the wrong.


Ahead of His Time

If you didn't already know it, these quotations demonstrate just how forward thinking Lewis was. Well, that, or he really did figure out time travel.

Before you go: if you're interested in developing a closer relationship with God, the best way I know of is to spend more time with him. But if you, like me, have struggled with consistency in prayer and Bible time, might I direct you to my free guide called, How to Establish a Habit of Daily Quiet Time with God?



This is the method I used to transform my devotion time into an automatic habit, and I still use variations of this method every day in an attempt to grow closer to God day by day.

It's yours free if you're interested. Just enter your email address below:


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Notes:

1. Affiliate link.
2. C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 149, Kindle.
3. Ibid, 70, 71.
4. Ibid, 160, 161.
5. Ibid, 161.

2 comments:

  1. heyjude616@hotmail.co.nzJuly 14, 2020 at 4:49 PM

    Thanks for sharing this. I don't always understand all the words Lewis uses, or some of what he says but I get the meaning! And of course absolutely love Narnia

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I had to read a couple of these essays twice to grasp their meanings! Worth the time though!

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