Favorite C. S. Lewis Quote

Well, “favorite” might be a strong word, but it is the Lewis quote that has affected me the most.

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.”

C. S. Lewis

I feel I saw what C. S. Lewis was speaking of during my time teaching high school.  I was amazed how powerful the sense was among too many of my students that there really is no true, objective right and wrong in the world.  Then, when the leadership of my school decided that we really did need to teach some sort of core ethical values, I saw a number of teachers balk, claiming that teaching even one single value (I exaggerate not) would be a violation of church and state separation.

I do not know how things turned out.  That was the end of the school year, and God — in various ways — was moving me to seek different employment so that we could accommodate the birth of our first child and so that my wife could quit working outside of the home.

But it struck me then, and it strikes me still…  In a day when the ethics of our CEOs and Board Chairmen are questioned — a day when we are appalled at the occasional Enron-style scandal, and we pass laws like Sarbanes-Oxley, desperate to “ramp up” the ethical obligation felt by our business and political leaders — the generations we are now preparing to sit in those chairs and on those boards are not being equipped in any way to be so stirred by such considerations.  We truly do castrate and bid the geldings to be fruitful.

As God says of our time…

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

Ezekiel 22:30

Searching for a man to stand in the gap, He finds only men without chests.

6 thoughts on “Favorite C. S. Lewis Quote

  1. Hi Mr. Smith,

    You know, there is a deep irony in all of this…maybe more than one.

    It is certainly true that Thomas Jefferson et al. never intended to keep religion and ethics out of public life. It is commonly acknowledged (except perhaps by historical revisionists) that if one wants to understand the First Amendment’s intent, one needs to go first to Jefferson’s earlier Bill for Religious Freedom in Virginia (and if you have time, then I recommend you look that up on the Net if you haven’t already). What Jefferson wanted was to block the formation of a state church, not to keep sectarian Christianity (which he supported in general) out of the state’s workings — and he was the most skeptical of the Founding Fathers, rivaled only by Ben Franklin. Jefferson moreover was naive enough (in his Rationalistic context) to believe that the truth of “our religion” would win out over error if only it were given a fair chance to be heard — and he considered that this would be done only if the state stayed out of the way of public discourse on the matter.

    Half of the problem in the situation you describe is that the Founding Fathers sought to establish a nation based on Christian ethics apart from Christian government. It is not enough to have an ethical standard based on the Ten Commandments, imperfectly understood though they were. These are the legal foundation, not of a republic, but of a theocracy — the one thing the Founding Fathers (especially Jefferson) wanted to avoid. They saw that man and his “divine right of kings” could neither establish nor impose the truth, but they did not see that God could do both if they only let Him. The other half is that no matter what the State does or does not do, *someone’s* code of ethics — and relativism is such a code, even if an empty one — will be imposed on its citizens. There is no such thing as metaphysical neutrality, and those who push for a radical “separation of church and state” are either blind to this or else “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” on the subject so they can have their own way.

  2. P.S.: It would be hard to give my favorite C.S. Lewis quote, but probably it’s what he said about courage in his *The Screwtape Letters*. I can’t take the time to look it up or to write it out in full from memory; I leave that as “an exercise for the student”. 🙂

  3. fma7

    It was the children who found no one proves 80,000 native aborigonal survivors after the church scandal in Canada documenting murder,rape, torture, sodomy, ritual abuse, child-sex for visiting church officals in Native Residental Schools .A Horrid and discusting Chtistian legacy. Religous leaders must
    stay away from our children. Multi-generational epidemics of sanctioned and church protected pedophilia proves religion and children should not mix

    Church officals stay out of our bedrooms. Work on correcting your own dysfunctional sexual urges

  4. Howdy, fma7, and thanks for writing.

    Let me see if I get your logic: Many have used religion as a cover for their horrific sexual abuse of children, therefore religion and children should be kept separate.

    Well, by the same logic, millions of children through the years have been destroyed by pogroms directed by the atheistic and irreligious, so I guess we’re stuck.

    Of course, we’re not stuck, but the solution is not apparent until we jettison your bad reasoning. I am not denying your assertion that horrible things have been committed by those hiding under the name of Christ, but those people are liars. Jesus Christ warns us that many will come in His name who are not truly His followers (Matt. 24:5). Jesus’ followers obey His commands (John 14:23-24), and Christ condemns sexual immorality and the abuse of children — the weakest among us, whom He held as very precious (e.g., Matt. 19:13-15).

    These crimes against children have NOT been perpetrated by the true followers of Christ. They may have been people who claimed to be “religious,” but it was not the true religion that they followed (cf. James 1:27). And if not the true religion — not truly a part of Christ and of His Spirit — then, like the godless and the atheist, they were of the “religion” of Satan the Devil and *his* spirit, *his* world, and *his* way.

    The problem of ongoing horrific crimes against children isn’t “religion.” It’s sin. And it is the pure and undefiled religion of God and of Jesus Christ — the *real* Jesus Christ — and the Kingdom that they will one day bring, as well as the laws of that Kingdom which we can abide in *now*, that provide the only solution. May God speed the day when that solution arrives.

    I hope this helps you, fma7.

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

  5. Deano

    Or perhaps, searching for a man to stand in the gap He finds only men without legs with which to even carry themselves to the gap let alone stand once they are put there.

    Swim hard after we tie your arms and legs up good and tight-here’s OUR life jacket.

    To fma7: Too often God and His Word are labeled – guilty by association – because of the actions of those that the Bible calls, “Satan’s ministers” who are transformed as the ministers of righteousness, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, who really don’t adhere to God or His Word at all, although they do twist Scripture to their liking. And because of THAT they SEEM to be associated to God’s Word.

    That being said, any decent secular book on leadership teaches the necessity of values. Our educational system is ludicrous! How can it possibly teach what really needs to be taught? A single value would be a violation of Church and State separation? These folks are teaching our children? Un. Be. Lievabull. to kinda borrow a phrase … LOL

    My two cents anyways …

  6. Byron Mace

    Mere Christianity (Signature Classics, complete C. S. Lewis Collection, p. 59)
    “…the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-Life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, BUT that God will make us good because He loves us. …”( Emphasis, mine.)

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