Tuesday, May 13, 2014

C. S. Lewis rejects idealism

A tutor must make things clear. Now the Absolute cannot be made clear. Do you mean Nobody-knows-what, or do you mean a superhuman mind and therefore (we may as well admit) a Person? After all, did Hegel and Bradley and all the rest of them ever do more than add mystifications to the simple, workable, theistic idealism of Berkeley? I thought not. And didn't Berkeley's "God" do all the same work as the Absolute, with the added advantage that we had at least some notion of what we meant by Him? I thought He did. So I was driven back into something like Berkeleyanism; but Berkeleyanism with a few top dressings of my own. I distinguished this philosophical "God" very sharply (or so I said) from "the God of popular religion." There was, I explained, no possibility of being in a personal relation with Him. For I thought He projected us as a dramatist projects his characters, and I could no more "meet" Him, than Hamlet could meet Shakespeare. I didn't call Him "God" either; I called Him "Spirit." One fights for one's remaining comforts.

3 comments:

RD Miksa said...

Dear Dr. Reppert,

As someone who leans strongly towards Berkelian idealism, I can definitely appreciate Lewis' point here. Do you, by chance, have the source for this quote?

Thank you in advance.

RD Miksa
www.idontgiveadamnapologetics.blogspot.com

Victor Reppert said...

It's from chapter 14 of Surprised by Joy.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/ownwords/joy.html

RD Miksa said...

Dear Dr Reppert,

Thank you very much for the link. Its been a while since I read that particular work of Lewis.

Take care,

RD Miksa
www.idontgiveadamnapologetics.blogspot.com