C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity Part XVI, Lewis on Faith

In these last chapters of Lewis’ Mere Christianity, there are two discussions on faith. According to Lewis:

Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. 1

Lewis does not seem to develop this very much, therefore, we can make a few limited remarks concerning his definition:
1) The idea of treating faith as an art does not originate in the Scriptures. Art comes from man’s work and does not give proper credit to the “author” and “perfecter” of our faith.2

2) Even if Lewis is referring to “art” as “ability,” he is still indebted to tell us where the faith comes from.

3) What does it mean to hold on to something that reason once accepted? What can reason accept apart from God’s work? Reason accepts only what the mind can see. According to Romans 8, the covenant-breaker cannot see the things of God, much less hold on to something he cannot see.

4) This entire definition is flawed from beginning to end. What Lewis appears to be defining is the garden-variety type of faith that any human is able to act. This is certainly not Biblical faith. This concept of faith Lewis proposes can just as easily be paralleled to teenage love.3

5) The definition of faith is already given to us in Scriptures. Contrary to Lewis, faith is not something you hold on that your reason has once accepted, but rather it is the assurance and conviction of things you have never seen.4 Can reason see the unseen? Notice how the author of Hebrews assumes that faith is not human-made or manipulated by human ability, rather it assumes that what we see is not made by visible hands.5

  1. Mere Christianity, pg. 126 [ back]
  2. Hebrews 12:2 [ back]
  3. For example, continue to hold on to that love, regardless of what other feelings you may have. [ back]
  4. Hebrews 11:1-2 [ back]
  5. So that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. [ back]
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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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2 Responses to C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity Part XVI, Lewis on Faith

  1. lambfollowdove says:

    Apologies, but I believe this post has perfected the art of missing the point. There are seasons where our faith is strongest, when we can “see” God at work and His effects on our lives and the world around us, and then there are times when He seems further than the very moon, and it is at those times when we as believers would do well to remember the works he has done and what our “reason has once accepted” as true. In context, if you know that C.S. Lewis came to faith through reason, as an atheist who was trying to disprove God to himself and ended up ‘proving’ Him all the same, his quote makes perfect sense.

  2. Rob Wade says:

    I agree with the above From Lambfollowdove.. Why Apologize first? The post above is a narrow view from a specific indoctrinated form of Faith… Faith in Mans Teaching, Faith in Creeds. Amazing how reason is described as only what the mind can see.. REALLY.. what does that mean? MR. URI Brito calls himself a Pastor. My understanding of a pastor, is an Elder, Shepard, Bishop, overseer of the flock according to The word of God. and to be in obedience to the Word there must be multiple Elders of any particular congregation.. Is the writer of the post above this? Or is he the evangelist,priest, preacher of his denomination.. We should do a study on the something tangible.. getting the terminology correct is a good first step.. Rather than target a statement from folks you disagree with and pick apart there words as seen above.. it’s like watching CNN or FOX news on the same subject.. Give em the exact same info and they will give you Opposite view points. We are to be of the same Mind are we not… ?

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