by Jeremy James
C S Lewis is well known among born-again Christians as a ‘Christian’ writer, someone whose inclusive religious viewpoint is of particular relevance to the world we live in today. I would hope to show that this perception of Lewis is not only gravely mistaken but that it arose through deliberate misdirection on the part of Lewis himself.
In 2008, after 33 years as an active participant in the New Age movement, I finally came to Christ. As I found my feet and met with other born-again Christians, I discovered that many Evangelicals, as well as Christians the world over, were keen readers of C S Lewis. They revered him as a great Christian author and apologist for true, Bible-believing Christianity. Frankly, this was a great surprise to me because, as a longtime practitioner of the New Age, I knew what C S Lewis was ‘really’ teaching.
Anyone with a deep familiarity with New Age philosophy, or with a grounding in Theosophy or the occult generally, knows that C S Lewis was about as Christian as the Dalai Lama. Religious, yes. Philosophical, yes. But Christian? Never.
Lewis was moulded in the long tradition of high-Anglican British atheism, spiritism and oriental thought. Long before John Dee and Edward Kelly, two high level occultists who advised Queen Elizabeth I, a large segment of the English upper classes was involved in magic and a study of the occult books which started to flow into Europe after the Crusades. The English Reformation was mainly a political movement which, in the long run, had little impact on the religious beliefs of the ruling classes. Their fascination with the occult and the paranormal spread through the Anglican Church and led to a state-sponsored brand of Christianity which was purely ceremonial in nature. The Methodist, Presbyterian, Plymouth Brethren and other Bible-based churches emerged to fill the colossal void left by the established church, most of whose clergy and prelates were either non-believers, theists or spiritualists.
Lewis was a high Anglican with strong leanings toward the Roman Catholic Church. Raised in the Church of Ireland, he worked through an atheistic phase in his youth to become a theist – a believer in a deity, but not yet a Christian. His alleged conversion came in 1931, when he was aged 33 or thereabouts and a tenured academic at Oxford. He then joined the Church of England, even though his close friend, JRR Tolkien, wanted him to enter the Roman Catholic Church.
Many scholars who have studied this phase of Lewis’s life have been unable to identify anything in his conversion which comes remotely close to what a Bible-believing Christian understands by ‘born again’. His own account in Surprised by Joy reads more like the philosophical acceptance of a difficult scientific theory than a life-changing religious experience.
Most Americans are unaware of the extent to which the English academia in the 18th and 19th centuries was steeped in the literature, history and mythology of Greece and Rome. Furthermore, with countless members of the ruling elite and the upper middle class serving in India and the Middle East, they were exposed to, and greatly influenced by, the religious traditions and mythologies of the Orient. This led to the widely-held belief that all religions were fundamentally mythological in character and that, while they served a useful social function, they were either (a) devoid of any absolute truth or (b) expressions of a universal moral truth common to all religions. It was the latter stream from which English Freemasonry drew and from which the spiritual ethos of Oxford and Cambridge was formed.
Theosophy and other eastern occult ideas, as well as mesmerism and spiritualism, took hold within the establishment and had a marked effect on many senior figures, even among the Anglican Church:
…among the clergy of the Church of England proper, there was in the early years of this century [20th] a measurable interest in Theosophy and occult matters. -Webb, p.131
Within the establishment of the Church of England, the classical scholar Dean Inge redirected attention to the Tradition of Plotinus and those Christians who had followed him. The interest aroused by Inge’s lectures at Oxford in 1899…was extensive…[he] admitted that Christian mysticism owed a debt to the Greek Mysteries. -Webb, p.276
The Druidical theories gave birth in the 19th century to a cult known as “Bardism,” whose members professed the articles of faith of the Church of England, while apparently holding to some almost Gnostic tenets and celebrating rites of “a Masonic character.” -Webb, p.231
This was the ethos in which Lewis himself was formed. Unorthodox Christian theology, the mythologies of Greece and Rome, the Scandinavian sagas, the medieval romances, and the ancient lore of Egypt and Babylon provided the bricks from which his religious edifice was constructed. He simply put ‘Christ’ on top, where others put Zeus or Saturn or Apollo.
The C S Lewis version of Christ
What most Christians don’t seem to realise is that this ‘Christ’ – the C S Lewis version of Christ – is not the Messiah Redeemer, but an archetypal figure revered by pagans since ancient times, the perfected man or god-man, the pinnacle of human evolution.
In light of the evidence that I present in this paper, I submit that Lewis chose Christ, rather than Apollo, say, as his god-man archetype because he wished to draw a great many others into his system of belief. While the small circle of committed pagans whom he knew and with whom he met regularly – known as the Inklings – were already in step with his philosophy, there was enormous potential for spreading his ideas by linking them directly to just one ‘mythology,’ that of Judeo-Christianity.
This is why I was surprised to learn that millions of Bible-believing Christians in the US were looking to Lewis for guidance and edification. Most members of the New Age, especially those who have read widely and met with representatives of its various branches, know that C S Lewis is simply a vehicle for drawing new converts into paganism and the New Age movement. He does this by the time-honoured method – pretend to be a friend, use the right terminology, and slowly draw your audience in another direction.
I will shortly show how he did this, in his own words. But first I’d like to quote two high-profile, former practitioners of witchcraft – John Todd and David Meyer.
Testimony from Two Former Witches
Todd is a very interesting character. He was born into an Illuminati family (one which practices traditional witchcraft and conducts clandestine, usually illegal, activities with similar families) and was initiated into an advanced level of the occult while still in his teens. He made a series of taped talks in the 1970s after his surprise conversion to Christianity. Fortunately these recordings are still available on the Internet, though Todd himself was silenced shortly thereafter by his ‘family’ for revealing far too much information. On tape 2(b) he warns his audience of born-again Christians as follows:
“How many of you read [books by] C S Lewis? How many of you read [books by] JRR Tolkien? Burn them. I’m going to repeat this – Burn them, burn them! Lewis was supposed to have been once allured [charmed into witchcraft] by Tolkien. Tolkien was supposed to be a Christian. And witches call all those books [i.e. the books of Tolkien and Lewis] their bible. They have to read them before they can be initiated, and it is well known in England and published in occult books that they both belonged to Rothschild’s private coven…They are not Christian books. We have found books that are outside of the Screwtape Letters where Lewis talks of the gods Diana, Kurnous and others as beings, as real gods. C. S. Lewis, who was supposed to be a Christian and his books are sold in Christian stores. Burn ‘em. They’re witchcraft books.”.
David Meyer was also born into a family which practiced traditional witchcraft. According to his own testimony, while still in his teens he opened himself successfully to the demonic entities which operated through his deceased grandmother, who was also a witch. This gave him unusual occult powers which, no doubt, would have led him to a senior position in the American occult hierarchy. However, before this could happen, he was saved by the blood of Christ, became a born-again Christian and, later, a pastor.
Here is how he described the dangers posed by the disguised occult writings of C S Lewis:
“As a former witch, astrologer, and occultist who has been saved by the grace of God, I know that the works of C.S. Lewis are required reading by neophyte witches, especially in the United States and England. This includes The Chronicles of Narnia, because [they] teach neophyte[s], or new witches, the basic mindset of the craft…
“The story of the Narnian Chronicle known as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of clandestine occult mysticism and is not Sunday School material unless your Sunday School is a de facto witch coven…The main character of the book is a lion named Aslan, which is [derived from Arslan] the Turkish word for lion. Aslan the lion is the character that “Christian” teachers say is the Christ figure, but witches know him to be Lucifer. The lion, Aslan, appears in all seven of the books of The Chronicles of Narnia.”
Of course, one could ignore these warnings, possibly by doubting the occult bona fides of their authors. After all, how could someone as “nice” as C S Lewis be involved in anything of this nature. But believe me, some of the “nicest” people you could ever meet are practitioners of the occult. According to their philosophy, they are morally entitled to spread their beliefs in a disguised form, for the greater good of mankind.
Ask yourself the Obvious Question
Ask yourself, why do New Age and occult book stores stock the works of C S Lewis? After all, if they were remotely Christian, they would be banned!
No practitioner of the occult would associate himself (or herself) with anything that genuinely proclaimed, in any sense, the cleansing blood of Christ. It pleases them greatly to see how completely Christians have been taken in by the paganised version of Christianity which Lewis portrays in his occult fantasies. Where Christians see Aslan as a Christ figure, they know that he really represents Lucifer, the glorious sun god of witchcraft. For example, the famous Luciferian, Albert Pike, one of the most respected figures in modern Freemasonry, described Horus, the powerful Egyptian deity – whose ‘eye’ is a well-known symbol in Illuminated Freemasonry – in the following terms: “He is the son of Osiris and Isis; and is represented sitting on a throne supported by lions; the same word, in Egyptian, meaning Lion and Sun.” (Morals and Dogma). He also says that “The Lion was the symbol of Atum-Re, the Great God of Upper Egypt.” This is why the lion figures to prominently in the iconography of British imperialism, representing as it does the sun god and perfected man of Masonry.
The Narnia Chronicles are plain celebrations of white magic and its power to defeat black magic. They are occult throughout. And the number of magical ideas and pagan deities which they portray is quite extraordinary. These are dressed up and presented in such a jolly British fashion, and carefully geared towards the mind of a child, that our critical faculty fails to register the obvious – that the power of white magic and the power of Christ are NOT the same thing. Readers fall into an appalling trap when they confuse the two. However, it is precisely this confusion that Lewis is exploiting.
Perhaps you are thinking that, while the fiction works of C S Lewis can be construed in this way, for whatever reason, his non-fiction writings must surely provide irrefutable evidence that he was Christian to the core? Well, you are in for a big surprise.
Two Key Works by C S Lewis
Let’s focus on two works which have long been regarded as exemplary expressions of his enlightened Christian theology – Mere Christianity (1952) and Reflections on the Psalms (1958). The former, I believe, has sold several million copies and is used by many born-again Christians as an evangelical tool. The latter, though less philosophical, will allow us to see how much understanding and respect Lewis had for the Word of God.
There are a number of things about the book, Mere Christianity, which should immediately strike any Christian as exceedingly odd. To begin with, Lewis virtually ignores the Word of God throughout. One looks in vain for a scriptural verse to support even one of his countless philosophical observations. What may seem like an eccentricity of his part in the early part of the book becomes more akin to an antipathy later on, especially when he makes one assertion after another which simply cry out for scriptural support.
Secondly, he makes no attempt whatever to relate his ideas to the work of any other scriptural authority or Bible commentator. Everything he says is suspended in a theological vacuum, supported entirely by the authority of just one individual – Mr Lewis himself. To deflect attention from this, he uses the age-old trick of soft persuasion and common sense as the basis for his many theological conclusions.
Thirdly, he pretends to ‘teach’ the basics of Christianity while all the time assuming that his audience already knows them. This is another literary device, whereby the writer avoids exposing any defects in his argument by inducing his readers to fill in the gaps for themselves.
This quicksilver approach is perfectly suited for his purpose. After all, we would be surprised if the author of The Screwtape Letters – which teach the art of deception – did not himself possess a similar skill. The difference here, however, is that instead of instructing his student (Wormwood), he is leading him into accepting ideas which have no Biblical foundation.
Preparing the Ground
The first twenty-five chapters sketch out a congenial picture of Christianity, one which is so vague and magnanimous, so soft and woolly, that virtually no-one could seriously object to it. These prepare the reader to imbibe just as willingly the toxic brew which he pours into the last eight chapters. Again, we see the consummate salesman at work, neutralising our critical faculty with endless platitudes and then passing off his glazed earthenware as Meissen china.
By the time he has reached the ‘toxic brew’ section of the book, the reader has been lured into accepting, or at least being open to, a host of compromising assumptions: that Christ was mainly a supremely wise and kindly man (“It is quite true that if we took Christ’s advice, we should soon be living in a happier world” – p.155); the possibility of panentheism (“God is not like that. He is inside you as well as outside”– p.149); that human will is central to salvation (“Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will.” – p.132); that modern psychology and psychoanalysis, notably the works of Carl Jung (“great psychologist”), are fully compatible with Christianity (“But psychoanalysis itself…is not in the least contradictory to Christianity.” – p.89); that the main goal of Christianity is moral perfectibility and that hell is the failure to achieve this (“Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are gradually getting worse – so gradually that the increase in seventy years will not be very noticeable. But it might be absolute hell in a million years: in fact, if Christianity is true, Hell is the precisely correct technical term for what it would be.” – p.74); that Christian ordinances have sacramental power (“…this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion.” – p.64); that Christ is substantially present in the communion bread (“…that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names – Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper.” – p.61); that Christ was primarily a step in the evolution of mankind (“People often ask when the next step in evolution – the step to something beyond man – will happen. But on the Christian view, it has happened already. In Christ a new kind of man appeared: and the new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us.” – p.60). And these are just a sample.
All of these propositions are in conflict with Christianity, but they are perfectly compatible with New Age philosophy. Alas, many Christians today are unable to tell the difference.
The Toxic Brew
We can now examine the toxic brew which Lewis serves up in the last eight chapters of the book.
One of the main ideas in these chapters is that the universe is suffused by an invisible spiritual energy. In an earlier part of the book he has already made a distinction between two life energies – Bios, the animating force in living creatures, and Zoe, the eternal spiritual force. “The Spiritual life which is in God from all eternity, and which made the whole natural universe, is Zoe.” (p.159) This is developed later into the notion that both Christ and the Holy Spirit are expressions of this Zoe: “…we must think of the Son always, so to speak, streaming forth from the Father, like light from a lamp, or heat from a fire, or thoughts from a mind. He is the self-expression of the Father – what the Father has to say.” (p.173-174). This is not Christianity, but Gnosticism and Neo-Platonism.
Practitioners of witchcraft call Zoe by another name – The Force. This is the same concept that is eulogised in the Star Wars series of movies (Hollywood is passionately dedicated to the spread of witchcraft and the destruction of Bible-based Christianity).
This energy, he says, pulsates and evolves into more profound expressions of itself: “…in Christianity God is not a static thing – not even a person – but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.” (p.175) This dance is akin to the dance of Shiva, a key concept in Hinduism.
Note carefully – Lewis is saying that the God of Christianity is not even a person, but a pulsating drama.
He contends that the Father and the Son dance together and that this dance is such a tangible entity in itself that it produces a third person: “The union between the Father and the Son is such a live concrete thing that this union itself is also a Person.” (p.175) Anyone familiar with oriental philosophy and eastern mysticism will immediately recognise the pagan origin of Lewis’s completely non-Biblical definition of the Holy Trinity.
All of these ideas – Zoe, spiritual light and heat, the divine cosmic dance, pulsating union, evolution and projection – are fundamental to occult philosophy and pervade both New Age thinking and Gnosticism, as well as such paths as Theosophy, Anthroposophy and the higher degrees of Freemasonry.
Lewis develops the cosmic dance idea even further when he says: “The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or (putting it the other way round) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in that dance.” (p.176) There is hardly a Hindu, a Buddhist or a Wiccan anywhere who would not be in complete agreement with this.
He goes on: “There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made…If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire…If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them…They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality.” (p.176) This is precisely the kind of statement one would expect from Deepak Chopra or Shirley MacLaine. It is New Age to the core.
The ‘good infection’
How does Lewis get away with this? Simple – he turns Christ into the match that sets you on fire: “He [Christ] came into this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has – by what I call ‘good infection’. Every Christian is to become a little Christ.” (p.177)
This is such a gross distortion of Christianity that it makes one wonder how any Baptist preacher or Presbyterian minister could ever recommend such heresy to his flock. Lewis has turned Christ into a pagan deity like Apollo or the Hindu god, Krishna – both of whom are associated with music and dance. In fact practitioners of high level witchcraft boast that the figure which Lewis is really depicting here is Lucifer, the Light Bringer (just like Aslan in the Narnia series).
If you find this incredible, please persevere and we’ll examine even more evidence.
Another key concept in paganism is that of the goddess. Even though he should have had no scope whatever to smuggle in this idea, he still managed to do so. Describing the Incarnation of Christ, he says: “The result of this was that you now had one man who really was what all men were intended to be: one man in whom the created life, derived from His Mother, allowed itself to be completely and perfectly turned into the begotten life.” (p.179) Notice the subtlety with which he does this. Christ’s earthly mother becomes “His Mother,” divine vessel of the perfect man.
The next New Age concept follows hot on the heels of these ‘cosmic’ images. A central idea in occult philosophy is that all is one, a grand unified ball of consciousness. Here is how Lewis defines it in his Christianized mythology: “If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, it would not look like a lot of separate things dotted about. It would look like one single growing thing – rather like a very complicated tree. Every individual would appear connected with every other. And not only that. Individuals are not really separate from God any more than from one another.” (p.180) [See the Tree of Zoe on the next page]
The Tree of Life (Zoe) sacred to the Gnostics
…we can say that the set of concepts underlying this “tree” of God’s manifestations is the same as the one used by the Cabalists and in Gnostic circles, and that both Cabalists and Gnostics call it a “tree.”
-Attilio Mastrocinque From Jewish Magic to Gnosticism, 2005, p.103
Here we have the famous New Age ‘everything is connected’ philosophy. What is more, Lewis portrays this cosmic entity as a huge living organism in the process of evolving. Thus, in a few sentences, rather like a stage magician, he manages to pull a whole series of New Age ideas from his mythological hat – evolution, pantheism (or panentheism), the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man.
According to Lewis, Christ came along at a critical stage in this evolutionary process and set a new phase in motion: “…when Christ becomes man it is…as if something which is always affecting the human race begins, at one point, to affect the whole human mass in a new way. From that point [Christ] the effect spreads through all mankind.” (p.180-181) In other words, Christ was a perfect individual who, by the process of “good infection” mentioned earlier (p.177), transmitted his Zoe to the rest of the human race. And this is possible because everything is connected.
Just in case we missed the “good infection” idea, he adds: “One of our own race has this new life: if we get close to Him we shall catch it from Him.” (p.181)
This is all so bizarre, so far removed from Biblical Christianity, that it beggars belief.
Some more Occult Principles
The remainder of the book is a consolidation of these ideas. But even while doing this he can’t resist dropping in a few more occult principles. One of these is the principle universally accepted in both witchcraft and Masonry that everything exists in terms of its opposite. According to Lewis “He [the devil] always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites.” (p.186)
They believe the universe comprises both good and evil in equal measure and that it is the task of the initiate to learn how to balance these two aspects of The Force and thereby create one’s own reality. This concept, that everything exists in pairs of opposites, is not found or even suggested anywhere in the Bible, but it permeates occult philosophy. For example, it is why witchcraft comprises both ‘good’ witches and ‘bad’ witches. Each accepts the need for the other, since The Force must stay in balance.
The idea that The Force can be moulded, using will and imagination, to create one’s own reality is central to the occult. A falsehood can become a truth, or a mask a face, if one uses the right techniques. Lewis even provides a platform for this idea when he says: “The other story is about someone who had to wear a mask; a mask which made him look much nicer than he really was. He had to wear it for years. And when he took it off he found his own face had grown to fit it. He was now really beautiful. What had begun as disguise had become a reality.” (p.187)
He then urges the reader to use another, related occult principle, known as the ‘As if’ principle. This states that if an idea is held long enough, and with sufficient feeling and identification, it will eventually become a reality. One is living ‘as if’ the goal had already been achieved. Here is how Lewis employs it in his fake Christianity to distort the Lord’s Prayer: “Its very first words are Our Father. Do you now see what those words mean? They mean quite frankly, that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To put it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ. If you like, you are pretending.” (p.187-188)
He then tries to present this gradual transformation, this evolutionary process, in Biblical terms: “And now we begin to see what it is that the New Testament is always talking about. It talks about Christians ‘being born again’; it talks about them ‘putting on Christ’; about Christ ‘being formed in us’; about coming to ‘have the mind of Christ’.” (p.191)
The man is utterly shameless. The verses he is alluding to have no connection whatever with the occult process he is proposing. There is a vast chasm between the born-again experience of Christianity, as outlined for example in St Paul’s epistles, and the alchemical transmutation which Lewis is describing. But of course, he wants to convince the reader that there is since it would mark a major step in the paganisation of Christianity.
The New Age Ascended Master
How many millions of Christians, having read this toxic brew, have been lured into the embrace of the New Age Christ, the fallen angel who masquerades as Jesus, the Ascended Master, on the ‘inner planes’ and works with the followers of all religions to bring enlightenment, wisdom and love? As St Paul said, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)
Lewis sees this process of transmutation leading all the way to what the New Agers call god-realization, where Christ turns man himself into a god by “killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first, only for moments. Then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.” (p.191-192)
Lest there be any doubt that he does actually mean we are turning into little gods and goddesses, he says:
“He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness.” (p.206).
In the occult such a perfected person is known as a god-man, an adept, a magus, or Illuminatus. He is deemed to be a law unto himself and can travel consciously in the “higher worlds” while still living on earth. Many senior Masons and Rosicrucians, among others, believe they have reached this state. They don’t understand that Satan is able to project his false light into the minds of his victims and deceive them into thinking that something truly spiritual has occurred.
This promise of Mastership or God-Realization is exactly the enticement that Satan used to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is an ancient philosophy, but it’s not Christianity. It is profoundly Luciferian and has been designed by him to lure men to their destruction. Christ warned of this terrible danger when he said: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
As an out-and-out universalist, Lewis does not agree with Jesus. Rather, he believes that everyone will be saved eventually, regardless of whether or not they have found Christ. This idea – that no-one can be lost and that everyone will evolve into a higher state eventually – is common in the occult. They generally believe that can be achieved only through reincarnation, though Lewis stops short of espousing this particular concept.
As a universalist, he believes that ‘Christ’ is gradually drawing people into alignment with himself, thereby enabling them to qualify for salvation: “There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it.” (p.209)
Lewis is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a false prophet who has done untold damage to true Christianity. As a hidden or disguised wolf – lupus occultus – he works his way into the minds and hearts of his readers, many of whom are children, and sows a handful of occult seeds from a bag labelled ‘Christianity.’ And his fleece is so soft and cuddly that no-one would ever suspect he’s a double-agent.
The Process of Evolution
The process of evolution itself will undergo change, according to Lewis. In place of the mechanical evolution which operated in the past, both man and animals will advance into a higher stage as more Zoe comes into the world via the growing number of god-realized individuals that live here and then spreads out to infect others: “…I should expect the next stage in Evolution not to be a stage in Evolution at all: should expect that Evolution itself as a method of producing change will be superseded…Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth. Some, as I have admitted, are still hardly recognisable: but others can be recognised.” (p.220 and 223)
This is actually a core tenet of Masonry, Theosophy and many occult paths. These Adepts, Masters or Supermen are said to be operating incognito, moving quietly among the masses of mankind, dispensing their spiritual blessings and lifting natural man into a higher level of consciousness.
What can one say about all of this? How on earth did Lewis manage pass off all this occult nonsense as Christianity? He clearly knew what he was doing. It is reasonable to surmise that in his regular meetings with his Inkling friends at Oxford, he was testing out his ideas and seeking their opinions. This would enable him to determine just how far he could go without arousing suspicions. These lifelong confidants were all avid students of the occult, especially JRR Tolkien, Charles Williams and Owen Barfield.
Williams had actually been a member of the Golden Dawn, a group dedicated to the study of advanced witchcraft. Its membership included Aleister Crowley, one of the most Satanic black adepts of the 20th century. Lewis was also greatly influenced by Owen Barfield whom he described as “the best and wisest of my unofficial teachers.” Barfield was an internationally recognised authority on Anthroposophy, an occult offshoot of Theosophy founded by the Austrian magus, Rudolph Steiner, in 1912. He even co-authored several books with Steiner. Like Madame Blavatsky, Steiner taught that Lucifer, the Light Bearer, was the true instructor in the divine mysteries.
Given that he was inviting high level occult practitioners into his personal circle, and that they in turn were closely associated with some of the most Lucifer-imbued people of the 20th century, there can be no doubt that Lewis himself was heavily exposed to demonic influences.
He would have found it hard to resist these dark influences even if he had wanted to. A fascination with the occult had taken hold of him in his childhood and, by his own admission, had stayed with him throughout his life:
“And that started in me something with which, on and off, I have had plenty of trouble since – the desire for the preternatural, simply as such, the passion for the Occult. Not everyone has this disease; those who have will know what I mean…I once tried to describe it in a novel. It is a spiritual lust; and like the lust of the body it has the fatal power of making everything else in the world seem uninteresting while it lasts.” (Surprised by Joy, C S Lewis, Harcourt Brace, 1955, pages 58-60.).
Reflections on the Psalms
The second non-fiction work that I propose to examine is Reflections on the Psalms. Lewis published this in 1958, just five years before his death. He really let his fleece slip when writing this work. Again and again he makes statements which, had they been made earlier in his career, would have revealed his true antipathy to Christianity. Perhaps he felt so secure in his reputation that he saw no need for the clever misdirection which he had used to such good effect in Mere Christianity.
One of the first things that strikes the reader is the extraordinary arrogance of his tone when discussing the Psalms. When one thinks of the great Bible commentators like Matthew Henry, C H Spurgeon, Arthur Pink, Matthew Poole, and others, who speak with undiminished reverence for these wonderful works, it is extraordinary to see how disrespectful Lewis proves to be. Even though I already knew his ‘game,’ I found his flippancy quite breathtaking.
He starts with the ‘imprecatory’ Psalms, namely those in which the Psalmist asks the LORD to deal firmly with his enemies. Lewis regards these Psalms as clear evidence that the authors were not nearly as enlightened or as spiritual as we are today:
“The reaction of the Psalmists to injury, though profoundly natural, is profoundly wrong. One may try to excuse it on the ground that they were not Christians and knew no better.” (p.22).
Lest we imagine that this was just an isolated instance of his spleen, he also says:
“Still more in the Psalmists’ tendency to chew over and over the cud of some injury, to dwell in a kind of self-torture on every circumstance that aggravates it, most of us can recognise something we have met in ourselves. We are, after all, blood-brothers of these ferocious, self-pitying, barbaric men.” (p.20).
Regarding verse 5 of Psalm 23 (“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies”), he says:
“This may not be so diabolical as the passages I have quoted above; but the pettiness and vulgarity of it, especially in such surroundings, are hard to endure. One way of dealing with these terrible (dare we say?) contemptible Psalms is simply to leave them alone.” (p.18).
Remember, he is speaking here about Psalm 23, one of the best-loved of all the Psalms.
Note the number of derogatory terms he employs to express his utter disregard for the Word of God – diabolical, pettiness, vulgarity, terrible, contemptible. What is more, he says that, in his opinion, some of the Psalms are even more “diabolical”.
But he doesn’t stop there:
“At the outset I felt sure, and I feel sure still, that we must not either try to explain them away or to yield for one moment to the idea that, because it comes in the Bible, all this vindictive hatred must somehow be good and pious. We must face both facts squarely. The hatred is there – festering, gloating, undisguised – and also we should be wicked if we in any way condoned or approved it…” (p.19).
This is quite incredible. As my daughters might say, This guy has really lost it. He is dismissing the authors of the ‘imprecatory’ Psalms – who must have included David – as men consumed by “vindictive hatred” – “festering, gloating, undisguised.”
Speaking of pagan writers from the same era, he says:
“I can find in them lasciviousness, much brutal insensibility, cold cruelties taken for granted, but not this fury or luxury of hatred…One’s first impression is that the Jews were much more vindictive and vitriolic than the Pagans.” (p.23).
Is this is the kind of pseudo-Christian material which Baptist, Presbyterian and Evangelical pastors, among others, are recommending to their churches? Sadly, yes.
The Pharisaic Psalmists
Even when he leaves the ‘imprecatory’ Psalms, he is relentless in his mission to highlight what he perceives as the self-righteousness, even wickedness, of the Psalmists:
“…an extremely dangerous, almost a fatal, game. It leads straight to ‘Pharisaism’ in the sense which Our Lord’s own teaching has given to that word. It leads not only to the wickedness but to the absurdity of those who in later times came to be called the ‘unco guid’ [i.e. the rigidly righteous]. This I assume from the outset, and I think that even in the Psalms this evil is already at work.” (p.56-57).
Lewis does not accept that the Psalms, or even the Bible itself, is the directly inspired Word of God. It can only be said to be the Word of God to the extent that it happens to culminate, after a long process of evolution through earlier pagan cultures, in the myth known as Christianity.
“Every good teacher, within Judaism as without, has anticipated Him [Jesus]. The whole religious history of the pre-Christian world, on its better side, anticipates Him. It could not be otherwise. The Light which has lightened every man from the beginning may shine more clearly but cannot change.” (p.23).
Lewis believes that the light which shone through Jesus was already in the world in pagan times, operating through pagan cultures and belief systems, but in an attenuated form. Gradually, over time it evolved to the point where it could find full expression in one particular culture, the Jewish culture, but it could just as easily have reached that stage in another culture had circumstances been a little different.
He claims that the Egyptian Hymn to the Sun, written by the Pharaoh Amenhetep IV (also known as Akhenaten) in the 14th century BC “provides a fairly close parallel to Psalm 104”:
“Whatever was true in Akhenaten’s creed came to him, in some mode or other, as all truth comes to all men, from God. There is no reason why traditions descending from Akhenaten should not have been among the instruments which God used in making Himself known to Moses.” (p.73-74).
He hints at the possibility, but says it would be rash to assume, that “if only the priests and people of Egypt had accepted it [Akhenaten’s monotheism], God could have dispensed with Israel altogether and revealed Himself to us henceforward through a long line of Egyptian prophets.” (p.75)
These remarks display such a flagrant misunderstanding of the Bible and God’s plan of Redemption, such a fundamental ignorance of all that the LORD sought to achieve through the children of Israel, that they take one’s breath away.
Jesus said he was the Light of the world – “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12). There is no other supernatural light – none whatever – except the false light of Lucifer, the so-called Light Bearer. Jesus warned of the dangers posed by this false light when he said:
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23).
Lewis wants us to believe that the Light of Christ was evident in the ‘true’ elements of pagan religions. But this is not what the Bible teaches. Rather it states clearly and repeatedly that all pagan religions are false and that the children of Israel were to have no association with them whatever. They weren’t even to acquire a theoretical knowledge of their precepts and practices.
He claims that this ‘light’ informed the minds and hearts of pagan cultures and enabled them to identify disparate elements of Biblical truth. These truth-bearing stories were told and re-told over and over again, changing along the way in response to “pressure from God,” and then appropriated and recorded by the Hebrew prophets:
“I have therefore no difficulty in accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical.” (p.95)“What the teller, or last re-teller, of Genesis would have said if we had asked him why he brought…[a particular] episode in or where he had got it from, I do not know. I think, as I have explained, that a pressure from God lay upon these tellings and re-tellings.” (p.106-107)
“Generalising thus, I take it that the whole Old Testament consists of the same sort of material as any other literature…[chronicles, poems, diatribes, romances] … but all taken into the service of God’s word.” (p.96)
We should pause here for a moment and reflect on the precise implications of what he is saying. The inspiration of the Hebrew prophets and the light which filled their understanding was exactly the same inspiration and the same light which shaped the myths and stories of pagan cultures. The only distinctive contribution made by the Hebrew prophets was the providential role they played in fitting all of these truths into a coherent religious framework. Thus the Bible is not the unique Word of God but merely a work of literature that happens to function in “the service of God’s word.”
Lewis rejects Biblical Prophecy
Lewis is clearly rejecting both the inerrancy and the unconditional authority of the Bible. He has already attacked some of the Psalms as “diabolical” and “contemptible.” A more damning dismissal of divine inspiration would hardly seem possible, but he doesn’t stop there. Since the prophetic power of the Bible has been cited from time immemorial as clear proof of its uniquely divine origin, he proceeds to attack this aspect as well.
For example, Isaiah 53 is universally regarded among Christians as a truly wonderful prophecy about the Messiah, yet in a patronising parenthetical comment he compares it to the work of J W Dunne, a modern psychic:
“(Our ancestors would have thought that Isaiah consciously foresaw the sufferings of Christ as people see the future in the sort of dreams recorded by Mr Dunne. Modern scholars would say, that on the conscious level, he was referring to Israel itself, the whole nation personified. I do not see that it matters which view we take.)” (p.102).
He then goes on to suggest that whenever Jesus identified himself with the Messiah foretold in the supposedly prophetic passages in the Old Testament, he is merely exploiting an incidental similarity for educational purposes. The passages themselves were not actually prophetic, merely useful. He even suggests that this holds for “the sufferer in Psalm 22” (p.102).
He berates modern Christians who use the Psalms to find allegorical meanings, like the Incarnation, the Passion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Redemption of man:
“All the Old Testament has been treated in the same way. The full significance of what the writers are saying is, on this view, apparent only in the light of events which happened after they were dead. Such a doctrine, not without reason, arouses deep distrust in a modern mind. Because, as we know, almost anything can be read into any book if you are determined enough. This will be especially impressed on anyone who has read fantastic fiction.” (p.85)
His sweeping dismissal of Biblical prophecy is almost triumphant in tone.
Lewis rejects the Praise of the LORD
Lewis also has great difficulty with the strong scriptural emphasis on praising the LORD. He found it both “especially troublesome” and “extremely distressing”:
“The Psalms were especially troublesome in this way…Worse still was the statement put into God’s own mouth, ‘whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me’ (50:23). It was hideously like saying, ‘What I most want is to be told that I am good and great.’…More than once the Psalmists seemed to be saying, ‘You like praise. Do this for me, and you shall have some.’… It was extremely distressing. It made one think what one least wanted to think. Gratitude to God, reverence to Him, obedience to Him, I thought I could understand; not this perpetual eulogy.” (p.77-78).
This is an extraordinary claim by Lewis. He is virtually accusing the Psalmists of idol worship. In fact he calls it “…the very silliest Pagan bargaining, that of the savage who makes offerings to his idol…” (p.78)
The idea that man should be obliged in any sense to praise God is extremely offensive to Lewis. He proceeds to come up with a solution to this “problem” by saying that it can only be legitimate when it is conducted on a par with the admiration one has for a work of art or an object found in nature:
“…many objects both in Nature and in Art may be said to deserve, or merit, or demand, admiration. It was from this end, which will seem to some irreverent, that I found it best to approach the idea that God ‘demands’ praise.” (p.79).
He then goes on to define God as “the supremely beautiful and all-satisfying Object.” (p.79). In other words, God is to be “admired” in the same way that a person admires one of His creations. Incredibly, Lewis himself is advocating idolatry – the giving of praise to any created thing which ought to be given only to God.
And when the Psalmists tell everyone to praise God, according to Lewis, they are really doing what any atheist does when he speaks highly of something he admires or cares about. This is true even when they claim to delight in the Law, for which he accuses them of spiritual pride – in addition to the pedantry and conceit that were already evident:
“The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.” (p.81)“…what an ancient Jew meant when he said he ‘delighted in the Law’ was very like what one of us would mean if he said that somebody ‘loved’ history, or physics, or archaeology…the danger of spiritual pride is added to that of mere ordinary pedantry and conceit.” (p.48)
Some Closing Heresies
His extraordinary attack upon the sovereignty of God is consistent with the pagan view that God is in some sense still evolving, just like His creation. Even the things that God has created are somehow deficient and must “evolve” in order to reach their intended perfection. Man is still an animal, a primate striving to transcend his earthly limitations:
“On the ordinary biological view (what difficulties I have about evolution are not religious) one of the primates is changed so that he becomes a man; but he remains still a primate and an animal.” (p.99-100).
How should one reconcile this with the atoning blood of Christ which removed all condemnation from the believer in the eyes of the Father? It turns out that Lewis does not believe in the atoning blood of Christ. For him, the death and resurrection constituted a Jungian archetype, the fulfilment of an ancient pre-Christian myth in which all mankind participates and draws benefit:
“If Christ ‘tasted death for all men’, became the archetypal sufferer, then the expressions of all who ever suffered in the world are, from the very nature of things, related to His.” (p.110).
This use of Christianity as merely a means of bringing ancient pagan truths into fulfilment, a kind of capstone on a pagan pyramid as it were, is further exemplified in the way he turns the marriage of the Bridegroom (Christ) with His bride (the Church) into the archetypal pagan union of the god and the goddess:
“…the god as bridegroom, his ‘holy marriage’ with the goddess, is a recurrent theme and a recurrent ritual in many forms of Paganism…Christ, in transcending, and thus abrogating, also fulfils, both Paganism and Judaism…” (p.112).
It should be fairly obvious that C S Lewis was never a Christian, that, like most pagans, he harboured a deep animosity towards true Christianity, and furthermore, that he sought to undermine it by stealthily presenting it in a paganised form.
The table above shows how wide a chasm exists between the occult views of C S Lewis and the beliefs held to be essential by a born-again Christian. The table may not even be complete since there are many other areas where Lewis departs from true Biblical theology. For example, in his essay, The Abolition of Man, he argues at length that all morality is founded in the Tao, an ancient Chinese concept denoting the dualistic harmony of the universe. Also, there are numerous Christian concepts and beliefs which Lewis does not address in any meaningful way, perhaps because, if he had, his real agenda would have become apparent.
Even if one managed to amass enough evidence from the total corpus of his writings to contest two or three of the 25 beliefs set out in the table, one is still left with ample proof that Lewis was not a Christian and never had been.
The next step should also be obvious – none of the books by C S Lewis should be sold in Christian bookstores, no born-again pastor or preacher should ever again endorse this apostate writer, and all churches which have hitherto endorsed his writings should hasten to warn their flocks.
Finally, I have one word for all those Christian pastors and preachers who have strongly endorsed this apostate, pseudo-Christian writer – Shame.
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Copyright Jeremy James 2010
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Lupus-Occultus: The Paganised Christianity of C. S. Lewis as a PDF document