“If we wish to be rational, not now and then, but constantly, we must pray for the gift of Faith, for the power to go on believing not in the teeth of reason but in the teeth of lust and terror and jealousy and boredom and indifference that which reason, authority, or experience, or all three, have once delivered to us for truth.”

-C.S. Lewis, “Religion: Reality or Substitute?

14 thoughts on “

  1. I’m not entirely sure of what Mr Lewis is trying to say here but, reading the broader article, it is apparently something to do with the ‘unnatural’ nature of lust.
    I make no secret about the fact that I view lust as being entirely natural and healthy. The expression of lust may not always be so, however. But I’m not sure how humanity would get by without a bit of lust, to be honest.

    Further to that, the great C.S. seems to be suggesting that the act of rationality is something that we might ‘wish’ for in defiance of ‘faith’ and yet there seems little doubt that, at our core, we are rational creatures prone to occasional bouts of irrationality (possibly promoted by unrealistic and lustful desires!).
    The call to ‘faith’, it seems to me, is a call to believe the unbelievable and to deny the obvious. It is a call for irrationality that is somehow viewed as noble and honourable.
    Paradoxically, I can sometimes imagine God looking down upon us and thinking, “I gave them a brain with a dash of common sense – why do they refuse to use it?”

    Faith is not wanting to face the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting points, particularly since
      I made a similar observation to yours to my son in a discussion earlier today -about faith vs. reason, not about lust. Knowing Mr. Lewis in the limited way I do, I imagine he would expect faith to be a letting-go of rationality. I also expect his views to be complex and developed beyond what records we have of his views…

      When I read this quote, I appreciated the perspective given to my mind concerning vices we often write off as entirely bad. I took the excerpt to imply that their bite teaches us more than reason does; that we will need them to learn.


  2. One of the greatest Christian apologists. Timothy Keller is another contemporary one. His books The Prodigal God and The Reason for God are great.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kierkegaard espouses a different view called fideism where he says that faith is independent of reason and must be obtained by ‘grasping the abstract’ as he puts it. A lot of theologians have criticised that view.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.