Learning in War Time

Living in an atomic age


Mere Christianity - It is a timeless classic that is as true today as when it was originally penned by Lewis as a series of talks given in London over the BBC during the challenging days of WW2. One must remember the historical setting when they read through the work. Because this is a compilation of a series of talks, Lewis did not assume that the people who heard his first series of lectures necessarily heard the lectures in the second series. As a result, one might think he is mildly repetitive. As you work through this great book take some time to digest the material in each chapter and reflect upon the material that Lewis covers and the thoroughness of his argument and perspectives. The book is a chronology of the thinking processes Lewis went through as his spiritual journey traveled from atheism and reluctantly to Theism and ultimately to Christianity. It is amazingly refreshing and valid for any reader.

The Weight of Glory - Justin Taylor says that on June 8, 1941, C.S. Lewis ascended the pulpit at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford and delivered “The Weight of Glory,” one of the most insightful sermons of the twentieth century.  Now compiled with several other influential sermons in book format.

The Abolition of Man - has been described as perhaps the best place to begin in understanding the main thrust of his public work. The book is an adaption of a series of lectures Lewis gave at the University of Durham during World War II. The topic of those lectures was modern education. However, the lectures serve as a significant critique of the trends in linguistics in the early Twentieth century, an argument against the rejection of a traditional anthropology, and an apology for natural law.

The Space Trilogy: Is aimed at adult readers and not at children. This Trilogy is deep reflection on what it means to be human in the midst of the struggle between the spiritual forces of darkness and light.  Kathryn Adams has an excellent review of the Trilogy series Click here

     Out of the Silent Planet (1938), set mostly on Mars (Malacandra). In this book, Elwin Ransom voyages to Mars and discovers that Earth is exiled from the rest of the Solar System. ...

     Perelandra (1943), set mostly on Venus. ...

     That Hideous Strength - (1945), set on Earth. That Hideous Strength concludes the Space Trilogy and is a clear departure from the first two books. This is written more like a classical novel, and it has elements of both allegory and satire, in which science is pitted against ethics. In fact, the first half of the book is quite Orwellian in its portrayal of the socio-political aims of the villains.  It is a remarkable presentation of redemption and salvation.

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life is a partial autobiography published by C. S. Lewis in 1955. Specifically, the book describes the author's conversion to Christianity which had taken place 24 years earlier.  In comparing faith alternatives, he came to the conclusion there were only two possibilities: either Hinduism or Christianity.  He rejected Hinduism because [a] there was an easy acceptance of “Paganism,” and [b] it’s historical claims did not have the validity Christianity possessed.

The Problem of Pain.This classic study of suffering has been a source of help for many since it was published in 1940

The Four Loves - The Four Loves is a book by C. S. Lewis which explores the nature of love from a Christian and philosophical perspective through thought experiments. The book was based on a set of radio talks from 1958 which had been criticised in the U.S. at the time for their frankness about sex.

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer - Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer is a book by C.S. Lewis posthumously published in 1964. The book takes the form of a series of letters to a fictional friend, "Malcolm", in which Lewis meditates on prayer as an intimate dialogue between man and God. Beginning with a discussion of "corporate prayer" and the liturgical service, Lewis goes on to consider practical and metaphysical aspects of private prayer, such as when to pray and where, ready-made prayer, petitionary prayer, prayer as worship, penitential prayer, and prayer for the dead. The concluding letter discusses "liberal" Christians, the soul and resurrection.  Letters to Malcolm is generally thought to be one of Lewis's less successful books and differs from his other books on Christianity in that it poses a number of questions which Lewis does not attempt to answer. Lewis moreover shows a reluctance to be as critical of radical theologians such as Alec Vidler and John Robinson as his imaginary friend Malcolm wants

The Great Divorce - The Great Divorce is a theological dream vision by C. S. Lewis, in which he reflects on the Christian conceptions of Heaven and Hell.

Beyond Personality: Beyond Personality: the Christian Idea of God, 1945,  is an attempt to “to put into simple modern language the account of God… to describe what the Christian belief is?”  Lewis' concern is not the historical inquiry rather; he applies the principles of reasoning to construct his case. Through a depth study of the central idea of the Christian belief is, and by analyzing the role of truth regarding the central idea, he allows Christ to render the judgment of that truth in the hearts of man; for it is only God who knows what really lies in the heart of man. For the believer, there is no room for compromise. The depth of one’s Christianity might vary, but the Trinity is indeed the witness to The History of Christianity after all there was and is a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit.

A Grief Observed - Reflections on the experience of bereavement following the death of his wife, Joy Davidman.

The Screwtape Letters - The Screwtape Letters is a Christian apologetic novel by C. S. Lewis and dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien. It is written in a satirical, epistolary style and while it is fictional in format, the plot and characters are used to address Christian theological issues, primarily those to do with temptation and resistance to it.  First published in February 1942, the story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, a Junior Tempter. The uncle's mentorship pertains to the nephew's responsibility in securing the damnation of a British man known only as "the Patient".

God in the Dock - Essays on Theology and Ethics. This is a collection of essays by Lewis, all on religious topics or related to it. “Dock” is not a shipyard, but court of justice.  Unlike his more unified apologetics, this book includes discussions about hymns, whether the purpose of punishment (for crimes) is desert or remedial, all sorts of things. Some of the essays are less interesting than others, but all are packed with his wisdom and compact style. Like his take on the language evangelism should use: he makes the point that if a minister cannot explain anything in the Bible in simple language that he probably doesn't understand it well enough himself. He goes on to call for seminarians to be tested on their ability to put complex biblical themes or theological subtleties into "vulgar" language, much as we would expect them to learn to speak Bantu before ministering to the Bantu people.

A Preface to Paradise Lost: "An essential work in understanding both the literary approach of C.S. Lewis and the theological assumptions of Paradise Lost. Unparalleled in its conciseness."—I.S. Maclean, James Madison University

"Still the most lucid, useful, entertaining introduction to Milton's poem anyone has contrived to write. Traditional literary criticism at its best."—Lance E. Wilcox, Elmhurst College

Experiment in Criticism: Lewis proposes that the quality of books should be measured not by how they are written, but by how they are read. To do this, the author describes two kinds of readers. One is what he calls the "unliterary", and the other the "literary". He proceeds to outline some of the differences between these two types of readers. For example, one characterization of an unliterary reader is that the argument "I've read it before" is a conclusive reason not to read a book. In contrast, literary readers reread books many times, savoring certain passages, and attempting to glean more from subsequent readings.

The Discarded Image: A portrayal of the medieval conception of a "model" of the world. This model formed "the medieval synthesis itself, the whole organization of their theology, science and history into a single, complex, harmonious mental model of the universe."

The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition:  For lovers of medieval literature/poetry and romance allegory, this is a must-read. The first two chapters of the book discuss primarily the theory of Courtly Love and Allegory. The chapters following discuss the poems from the Romance of the Rose, Chaucer, Gower, some of the lesser poets, and Spencer’s The Faerie Queene. Fully footnoted using original Old and Middle English, Latin, Greek, and French text in poetry and notes, Lewis sticks to the academic methodology and attempts to show how the idea of love changed from pre-Courtly Love through post-Spenser. Lewis has a deep knowledge of the literature and the ideas and is able to explain them well to the reader.

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by British author C. S. Lewis. Illustrated by Pauline Baynes and originally published between 1950 and 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted for radio, television, the stage, film and computer games. The series is set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts and talking animals. It narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the Narnian world.

     The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: (1950)

       Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)

         The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

           The Silver Chair (1953)

             The Horse and His Boy (1954)

               The Magician's Nephew (1955)

                 The Last Battle (1956)



There are well over fifty of the fascinating C.S. Lewis Doodles.  Using animated illustrations of Lewis’ philosophical and theological writing, the artist behind the videos brings Lewis’ words to life by adding a compelling visual element to his writing. These “Doodles” are animated talks.  You simply have to watch 1 minute to be hooked into watching the entire series.  Here are few to get you started:

Meditation in a Toolshed by C.S. Lewis Doodle

The Grand Miracle by C.S. Lewis Doodle (Part 1 of 2)

The Grand Miracle by C.S. Lewis Doodle (Part 2 of 2)

The Laws of Nature by C.S. Lewis Doodle

On 'Sexual' Morality by C.S. Lewis Doodle

On Living in An Atomic Age by C.S. Lewis Doodle

‘Right & Wrong’ – A Clue to the Meaning of the Universe

The Reality of the Moral Law by C.S. Lewis Doodle  

The Meaning of the Universe by C.S. Lewis Doodle (BBC Talk 1/Chapter 1)

What Lies Behind the Moral Law by C.S. Lewis Doodle

We Have Cause to be Uneasy by C.S. LewisDoodle

Doodle Video’s by Jack Lewis

Seth Campbell on the Doodles

The Gospel Coalition on Lewis

Apologetics Org - Sponsored by C. S. Lewis Society and the Trinity College of Florida.

C.S. Lewis Foundation - Check out the great links

Into the Wardrobe - A web site dedicated to C.S. Lewis, and maintained by Douglas Gresham, step-son of C. S. Lewis

The C.S. Lewis Institute - The C.S. Lewis Institute was founded in 1976 in the legacy of its namesake as an organization which endeavors to challenge, educate, and disciple those who will, like Lewis, articulate, defend, and live faith in Christ through personal and public life.

Dr. Robert C. Stroud. Author, Historian, retired Lutheran pastor who served 24 years as an Air Force chaplain. This is a delightful website by a scholar who blogs about C.S. Lewis.

C.S. Lewis