Thursday, November 10, 2005

More anti-Lewis gossip mongering

This is a link to a Sunday Times article that is critical of Lewis. The following is my response:

I pick up a technique in Lewis-bashing which strikes me as troublesome: you argue against people who suppose that Lewis was a plaster saint, argue that he wasn't and then sneak in all sorts of negative stuff about him, with the implication that if you disagree you are just one of those devotees who can't see anything negative in their hero. Has anyone found the cult of the perpetually virginal C. S. Lewis, except maybe Walter Hooper (and he has retracted the shameful unconsummated marriage claim)? Any card-carrying members in your acquaintance? Anybody deny that Lewis drank alcohol? Anybody try to argue that the beer in "Beer and Beowulf" was really O'Doul's non-alcoholic beer? As for Mrs. Moore, there is some inductive evidence to suggest there had been an intimate relationship. But Lewis his pre-conversion life with no belief in chastity so what do you expect. Though we can't be sure, unless Lewis comes back from the dead and tells us "I did not (or did) have sexual relations with that woman, Mrs. Moore."

And will people get it through their heads: Susan Pevensie did not go to hell! There's no reason to believe that she was permanently cut off from Narnia, or heaven, because she became a little too fond of lipstick in her late adolescence.

If you don't like C. S. Lewis, that's no excuse for writing nonsense about him.


Anonymous said...

A very perceptive view of Lewis and the Narnia books can be found here:


Victor Reppert said...

What makes you think that essay perceptive? It sounds like someone else who has bought into A. N. Wilson's brand of nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Gee, he makes a brief, positive reference to Wilsons's biography in the rather long article and all you can do is focus on that?
The biography is not perfect but then I haven't found any biography of anybody to be so. I still think it the best we have of Lewis. And it made him appear more interesting and human than the shallow plaster-saint portraits one encounters all too often.
I liked the comment in the article about how strange it is to use a lion to represent christ in the narnia series. I agree with him that a donkey would have been more appropriate.
Not to mention his highlighting the positive impact of Lewis' healthy sexual relationship with Joy. One can only hope that it helped him, at least a little, to put to rest the psychological scarring of his boyhood experiences.

Victor Reppert said...

Anyone who thinks that Wilson has written a good review of Lewis should read John Beversluis's "Surprised by Freud." Beversluis is anything but a Lewis partisan; he wrote a full-length critique of Lewis's apologetics in 1985. But he has no use for the kind of psycholoanalyzing Wilson indulges in. Unfortunately, it's not online. Or you can read Gilbert Meilaender's critique of Wilson,

or this by Kay Lindskoog.

And what do we make of a comment like "Lewis never stops to ask very hard why this faith rather than some other," and again "He is never troubled by the funny coincidence that thsi one staggering cosmic truth happens to be the established religioin of his own tribe, supported by every institution of the state, and reinforced by the university he works in, the "God-fearing and Gid-supporting university of Oxford."

Really. Isn't that where Richard Dawkins hangs out these days. And wasn't he refused a full-professor position at Oxford because of his open espousal of Christianity? And he wrote at some length about why this faith and no other, and it was "Mere Christianity," not some sectarian doctrine, that he spent his life defending.

Again we get the "C. S. Lewis cult" gambit. Lewis has a "cult following," therefore anything his supporters say about him must be bunk; we have the more realistic portrait here." I don't deny the existence of misguided devotion to Lewis; what I deny is the implied Bulverization of anyone who rejects some negative characterization in particular.