Thursday, April 17, 2014

C. S. Lewis's Rejection of Soteriological Exclusivism

But Lewis was no soteriological exclusivist. This is from Man or Rabbit.
The question before each of us is not “Can someone lead a good life without Christianity?” The question is, “Can I?” We all know there have been good men who were not Christians; men like Socrates and Confucius who had never heard of it, or men like J. S. Mill who quite honestly couldn’t believe it. Supposing Christianity to be true, these men were in a state of honest ignorance or honest error. If there intentions were as good as I suppose them to have been (for of course I can’t read their secret hearts) I hope and believe that the skill and mercy of God will remedy the evils which their ignorance, left to itself, would naturally produce both for them and for those whom they influenced.
I would have to admit that had I felt that I had to be an exclusivist, it would have been a lot more difficult for me to remain a Christian. Lewis and others convinced me that I could reject exclusivism and still remain a Christian.

7 comments:

unkleE said...

Me too!

BeingItself said...

So, God thinks like you. Big surprise. The versions of Christianity is exactly equal to the number of Christians.

BenYachov said...

He also thinks like St Justin Martyr, Alexander XIII, Pius IX, Pius XII etc....

In fact even one Calvinist Synod whose name escapes me said "God will not fail to save any one of His Elect even if he fails to call them to visible membership in the Church".

It's not hard.

oozzielionel said...

"I would have to admit that had I felt that I had to be an exclusivist, it would have been a lot more difficult for me to remain a Christian. Lewis and others convinced me that I could reject exclusivism and still remain a Christian."

This seems quite dangerous to only follow Christ on your own terms. Are you following or leading?

Victor Reppert said...

I would have had a lot of issues to deal with about the coherence of God's character if I had thought that exclusivism was the only way to be a consistent Christian.

In virtue of what do we follow Christ? If we just follow Christ because we think that power is on his side, is that following Christ?

I'm very reticent to say what I would do if I reassessed the evidence in a certain way. Atheists are fond of asking "Well, if I could convince you of this or that, would you deconvert? What would it take?" It's kind of like asking "Would you divorce your wife if she had an affair?," when she isn't having one and I have no reason to believe that she will have one.

Papalinton said...

Soteriological exclusivism is sooooo out of fashion these days, isn't it?

Eu Phoric said...

"I'm very reticent to say what I would do if I reassessed the evidence in a certain way. Atheists are fond of asking "Well, if I could convince you of this or that, would you deconvert? What would it take?" It's kind of like asking "Would you divorce your wife if she had an affair?," when she isn't having one and I have no reason to believe that she will have one."

The great thing is that this fondness doesn't escape the theist as well. I love this quote.