The Emptiness of Christianity's Folk Intellectuals, With a highlight on C.S. Lewis
Now, I am, by definition a 'heretic'. I teach doctrines that are a profound departure from historic Christianity, and I'm not changing and I'm not repenting either.
But what I tend to see, what I've experienced in my life, what I've experienced learning about others, is that heretics don't feel their beliefs are in error. They feel they are teaching the truth.
I find there are as many definitions of heresies as there are opinions.
I find there are a few basic points most or all Christians agree constitute heresy.
I find that when a Christan confronts what he finds heretical, he responds in varying degrees of discontent, and they go from coolly replying and critiquing your opinion to absolute violence, and I'm not kidding you. They will get extremely violent if they feel you are not rolling over and just accepting what they say.
Nevertheless, I find Christians collectively identify with the heretics, particularly heretics who resonate with them, and sometimes there is a true reverence for one heretic, held in common by Christians universally.
And while I could be talking about a good number of people, I want to bring especial attention to C.S. Lewis.
Now of course, we've been inundated with a diversity teachings in our modern era and some have enjoyed wide acceptance. Various teachers spew one view of prosperity, fairy-tale eschatologies, and hyper-grace election doctrines of salvation. But the one figure I think you all will know immediately to whom I'm referring is C.S. Lewis.
In elementary school and middle school, his epic, The Chronicles of Narnia, were one of the great fantasies that many of the children escaped to. I was also an aficionado of Redwall, though I never read all of them. Some other kids of course were about the Lord of the Rings. As for me, other fantasies I enjoyed were Hugh Lofting's Dr. Doolittle tales and The Secrets of NIMH. I was never a Star Wars or Star Trek geek. On TV, the great fantasy that captured me from 10-14 was Dragon Ball Z.
But enough of that.
I even picture now what a distinction he holds. Kids who read Tolkien or Jacques or the various other authors read other authors as adults. That's because those authors wrote children's books.
But C.S. Lewis was different. He wrote a six volume series on the land of Narnia. But he also wrote a number of adult reads, including several dialogues and allegories. I've known a number of young Christians who read these books voraciously and whose lives and intellects were shaped by his writing and genius.
However, when I looked at his theology, I found him wanting. He was, by all accounts, a radical.
Some of his controversial notions: A person does not have to know Christ to be saved. He appears to acknowledge that the Communion or the Eucharist imparts salvation to communicants. He appears to advocate evolution. He endorses purgatory. He endorses prayers for the dead. He did not believe in a literal, fiery hell. He didn't consider the stories in the Bible as all literal events, but some contained value as symbols. He taught the ransom theory of salvation.
These are only a few.
Why does this matter to me?
My experience as a heretic showed the emptiness of Christian teaching. I have been asked to leave their churches, I have been cast out of their churches, I've been banned in absentia, I've been physically assaulted, I've been stared at and mocked. My beliefs were continually put down. I've been lectured to by one after another who had no desire to know what I believed and openly belittled my beliefs when I expressed them. One pastor insulted me on Sunday morning before a church of hundreds. Pastors have lied straight to my face. They've told me to seek psychological counseling. I could go on but I'm appalled just at that much I've finished.
So it's all fake. This whole 'heresy' thing is a canard. It's like saying, "You're black," "You're gay," "You're a Communist." That's all it means, is 'you're bothering me. I don't want to talk to you. I hate you so much I hope you burn in hell. You're a heretic, heretics burn in hell.'
Yet again, the Christian experience is that they hold heretics among them in high esteem, they are enamored with heresy, and certain heretics like C.S. Lewis are held in high universal esteem.
Why do they affirm the wicked? Why do they uphold false teachings? Why are they schismatics and dissenters?
And why do they crush the good-hearted among them? They chew them up and they spit them out. They rip out their hearts and stomp on them on the ground and then shove them back in. They marry, and they remarry, divorce, and divorce again. They're evildoers and sluts and manwhores, and filthy vultures.
Christians quote C.S. Lewis. But why shouldn't they? It's trendy, everyone does it, and he's made a significant impact on the culture.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
And if it breathes through its mouth, talks incessantly about contradictions like trinities, quotes C.S. Lewis, and blows hot air, it is the modern stupid, profane, and intolerant Christian.
When one actually contrasts Christians' claimed theological pretensions with their folk intellectuals and folk theologians, you see by a wide margin that they prefer heretics, schismatics, and treacherously immoral teachers.