The C. S. Lewis Society Newsletter
C.S. Lewis Society Book and Film Club of the Bay Area: Meetings are held bi-weekly at 7:30 p.m. to read and discuss books by C. S. Lewis and others. To attend or inquire with questions, please phone 510-635-6892 or email to email@example.com. 2018 Schedule.
Wednesday, March 7 and 21: Bearing False Witness, by Rodney Stark; leader/moderator, Andrew Dósa, Esq.
According to the "conventional wisdom," the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history, Pope Pius XII was anti-Semitic and “Hitler’s Pope,” the Dark Ages were a stunting of the progress of knowledge to be redeemed only by the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the religious Crusades were an early example of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and power. But what if these long held beliefs are all wrong?
In this stunning, powerful, and utterly incisive book, Rodney Stark, one of the most highly regarded sociologists of religion and bestselling author of The Rise of Christianity argues that some of our most firmly held ideas about history, ideas that paint the Catholic Church in the least positive light are, in fact, profound fiction. Why have we held these wrongheaded ideas so strongly and for so long? And if our beliefs are wrong, what, in fact, is the truth?
In each chapter of Bearing False Witness, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic myth, gives a fascinating history of how each myth became the conventional wisdom, and presents a startling picture of the real truth. For example,
Readers will not only have a more accurate history of the Catholic Church, they will come to understand why it became unfairly maligned for so long, Bearing False Witness is a compelling and sobering account of how egotism and ideology often work together to give us a false truth.
- Instead of the Spanish Inquisition being an anomaly of torture and murder of innocent people persecuted for “imaginary” crimes such as witchcraft and blasphemy, Stark argues that not only did the Spanish Inquisition spill very little blood, but it was a major force in support of moderation and justice.
- Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or even helpful to the Nazi movement, such as to merit the title, “Hitler’s Pope,” Stark shows that the campaign to link Pope Pius XII to Hitler was initiated by the Soviet Union, presumably in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post-World War II affairs. Pope Pius XII was widely praised for his vigorous and devoted efforts to saving Jewish lives during the war.
- Instead of the Dark Ages being understood as a millennium of ignorance and backwardness inspired by the Catholic Church’s power, Stark argues that the whole notion of the “Dark Ages” was an act of pride perpetuated by anti-religious intellectuals who were determined to claim that theirs was the era of “Enlightenment.”
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About C. S. Lewis:
In its November 7, 2005 issue, Time magazine noted the following about the world-renowned Oxford/Cambridge scholar and best-selling author C.S. Lewis:
“In 1947, a Time cover story hailed Lewis as ‘one of the most influential spokesmen for Christianity in the English-speaking world.’ Now, 58 years later (and 42 years after his death, in 1963), he could arguably be called the hottest theologian.”
Indeed, C. S. Lewis’s books sell at an astounding rate worldwide, and in his extensive and immensely popular work, he very effectively champions objective truth, goodness, natural law, literary excellence, reason, science, individual liberty, personal responsibility, and Christian faith. In his professional writings, Lewis was a literary critic, novelist, poet, essayist, and man of letters. His work captures a grandeur, precision, wit, imagination and insight seldom matched by others, and in the process, he articulately critiques the materialism, reductionism, scientism, collectivism, nihilism, statism, and de-humanization of the modern era.
C. S. Lewis Graphics
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Books, Films, CDs and More:
Of his many works, Lewis is probably best known for his book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, which have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and are now the subject of a major new series of films. With the enormous success of the first three Narnia films, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair is scheduled for release in 2015. In addition, other novels by Lewis are being made into films, including The Screwtape Letters which is underway, and efforts are being pursued for a film based on The Great Divorce.
And with the significant increase in sales for Lewis’s books (many of which are also available on CD)which were already selling 6 millions copies annuallymany people are discovering Lewis for the first time while others are rediscovering the unique magic and relevance of his work.
The scope of Lewis’s work is quite remarkable, including philosophy and theologyThe Abolition of Man, Christian Reflections, Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, The Problem of Pain, Miracles; literary history and criticismThe Discarded Image, The Allegory of Love, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century; fictionThe Screwtape Letters, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, The Great Divorce, Till We Have Faces; autobiographySurprised by Joy, A Grief Observed; current affairsGod in the Dock, Present Concerns; poetryNarrative Poems, Poems; and much more.
Your Invitation to Join the C. S. Lewis Society of California:
As a result, we welcome those who may be interested in C.S. Lewis to become a Member and participate in the program of the C. S. Lewis Society of California. The Society is interested in events, articles, interviews, publications, and other developments that advance deeper understanding of the life, works, and ideas of C. S. Lewis and others who are addressing the enduring philosophical, cultural, historical, literary, theological, social, and economic issues of mankind.
“For the last thirty years of his life no other Christian writer in this century had such an influence on the general reading public as C.S. Lewis.”The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Lewis gives us permission to admit our own doubts, our own angers and anguishes, and to know that they are part of the soul’s growth.”Madeleine L’Engle, author, A Wrinkle in Time and other books
“I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiration.”John Updike, novelist and poet
"C.S. Lewis, the greatest Christian apologist of the twentieth century . . . The Screwtape Letters. I love it."Harper Lee, author, To Kill a Mockingbird
“Rarely is so much learning displayed with so much grace and charm.” “Lewis combines a novelist’s insights into motives with a profound religious understanding.”The New York Times Book Review
“Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.”Los Angeles Times
"C. S. Lewis was a genius."Thomas S. Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, State University of New York Upstate Health Science Center
“Lewis’s words appear often in my Mitford storieswhere would the Christian thinker be without Lewis? He is pivotal.”Jan Karon, author of The Mitford books
“Lucid, urbane, modest, and humorous. . . Lewis writing on the aspect of fiction called Story has to be listened to, since he was himself a superb story-teller.”Anthony Burgess, author, playwright, and composer
“If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels.”The New Yorker
“A powerful, discriminating and poetic mind, great learning, startling wit, and overwhelming imagination. ”Saturday Review
“Somebody pointed me towards C.S. Lewis's little book called Mere Christianity, which took all of my arguments that I thought were so airtight about the fact that faith is just irrational, and proved them totally full of holes. And in fact, turned them around the other way, and convinced me that the choice to believe is actually the most rational conclusion when you look at the evidence around you. That was a shocking sort of revelation, and one that I fought bitterly for about a year and then finally decided to accept.”Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Human Genome Research Institute; author, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
“Learned, brilliant and lively, Lewis was always an artist with words, whether as a professional academic writing for colleagues in his own field; as an author of novels, fantasies and tales for children; or as a composer of didactic expositions, apologetic discussions, and journal and newspaper articles by the bushel, all seeking to commend and consolidate Christian faith. He was fastidious and fair-minded (while sometimes satirical), probing and thoughtful, logical and magisterial, orthodox and arresting, and clear and compelling. . . . In short, he was never less than a first-class read. . . . The two lobes of our brain, left for the logical and linear and right for the romantic and imaginative, were both thoroughly developed in Lewis, so that he was as strong in fantasy and fiction as he was in analysis and argument. There is always a didactic dimension to his spiritual-life writing, just as there is always a visionary dimension to his apologetics. The combination made him in his day, and makes him still, a powerful and haunting communicator in both departments.”J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College