C.S. Lewis

Emile Signot_S. Luigi IX (1839)

The “Strong Money” of Good King Saint Louis

Speaking with a friend recently, we chanced to talk about money and coins. He is a coin collector and had just visited a coin shop nearby. I mentioned my own studies of medieval economy and its coinage. Much to my surprise and delight, he reached into his inner coat pocket and pulled out a gros [...]

Laudato Si’ and the Selling of Body Parts

The recent revelations surrounding the selling of fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood highlight a crisis in contemporary society depicted in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’. With uncanny insight, Pope Francis had written, “the culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects…. Is [...]

“Mere Marriage”

In his recent essay, A Thicker Kind of Mere, Timothy George reminded us that the kind of faith C.S. Lewis argued for in the last century is not necessarily the same thing suggested by similar terminology today. As George noted, Lewis borrowed his famous phrase from Richard Baxter, a Puritan minister who preceded Lewis by [...]

Society Suffers when Means Become Ends

Several years ago, a friend of mine told me a story about an interaction he had with his father one night after playing in a high school basketball game. In that game, my friend’s team was losing badly and he committed a lazy foul, scowled at the referee as if he hadn’t done anything, then [...]

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Till We Have Faces takes up with shocking clarity a grim problem as old as Job: man’s complaint against a seemingly inscrutable God. Oft forgotten amid the fanfare for The Chronicles of Narnia and his sci-fi trilogy, C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces was the last novel he wrote; and it is an unforgettable fiction that feels, in some ways, a [...]

Why Atheists Don’t Really Exist

Confirmation bias is the tendency to ascribe greater significance to information that supports our pre-existing theories and lesser significance to information that contradicts those theories. We often do this subconsciously. For example you get a new car, and now you notice that same type of car on the road with a much greater frequency than [...]

C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce

One can be a ghost or a spirit. One can dwell in a Grey City and restlessly move constantly to new neighborhoods or abide in the Bright World and enjoy everlasting peace. One can confine pleasure to cinemas and fish and chips or delight in abounding spiritual joy. One can live in the shadowy grayness [...]

The Sarcastic Soul

Every era has its own brand of humor. Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas were the toast of Victorian London; the Marx Brothers’ buffoonery left 1930s audiences roaring with laughter in their theater seats, and Brian Regan’s honest, contagious humor has entertained us for nearly two decades. Satire, that darker strain of humor, is almost always [...]

Two Noble Ends of an Authentic Education

The Oracle of Delphi foretold countless fortunes, futures, prophecies and mysteries over many centuries and is the same ancient fount of wisdom who declared Socrates to be the wisest man in the world. A great sign above the entrance to the Temple at Delphi exhorts all who enter her sacred halls to “know thyself,” for [...]

The World Beyond the Wardrobe

On the day C.S. Lewis died—November 22, 1963—the world was hardly in a position to take notice.  The assassination of an American President, after all, had clearly and shockingly co-opted everything that day, including even the ending of a life unsurpassed for its sheer breath catching lucidity in defense of ordinary Christian belief.  But history, [...]

A Case of Mistaken (Sexual) Identity

My favorite novel of mistaken identity has always been C. S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy. It’s the perfect fairy tale, beginning with a miserable young boy, Shasta, growing up in Calormen, treated like a slave by Arsheesh, the man who he assumes is his father. When one of the lords of Calormen, a [...]

Why We Should Respect Someone Else’s Conscience

The scene is from C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.  The callow young sociology professor, Mark Studdock, an atheist and a social climber, has been detained in a cubicle deliberately fashioned with odd annoying angles and not-quite-right pictures on the wall.  His detainers aim to break down in him any last sense of the inner [...]

Whither the Idea of God?

The trouble with atheists, some wag once wrote, is that they are always talking about God.  How endlessly they obsess about him!  And what strikes one straightaway about the sheer mind-numbing attention they pay to God, including especially the problems posed by us benighted folk who persist in believing in him, is that it so [...]

House Shopping

Football season is upon us! And football season for my family means … perusing the catalog from Notre Dame's Hammes Bookstore! No actual books, of course, but lots and lots of merchandise—t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats, umbrellas. How about a pair of Notre Dame sandals? Despite the internet and Amazon, actual physical catalogs keep showing up [...]

A Catholic Curiosity: The Life of Sir Jeffrey Hudson

Shakespeare’s Henry V offers this advice: “This story shall the good man teach his son…." Such counsel is urgent today, when children will learn little reliably of their history in schools, and so are all the more dependent on good souls at home who will teach them.  Children being children, will especially be fascinated by [...]

C.S. Lewis on Christmas

It's a sad irony that Charles Dickens, who most likely did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, is the English writer most identified with Christmas, while C.S. Lewis who is one of the most articulate literary proponents of the orthodox faith in his century, has left behind almost no contribution to the literature [...]

In Aeternum: The England that Never Changes

Recent posts about the United States and England, and especially those concerned with the decline, decay and ultimate disintegration of England have prompted my musings on the mutability of nations and cultures. Is everything subject to change? If so, is there any permanent value attached to these mutable things? Why bother about the USA or [...]