C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy - Lesson 3

Marks of the Christian Mind of C.S. Lewis (Part 2)

There is a sacred quality to ordinary activities as well as symbolic religious rituals. Whatever is true in any field of study is God’s truth. The world is essentially good, but it’s been damaged. God has taken a great risk in allowing people free choice for good or evil. Evil has become present in many forms in the world and it is anti-creational and anti-human. We are not broken, but we are bent. God’s nature is relational because of the nature of the Trinity, so it makes sense that he would make a universe that is relational. We dwell in God and he dwells in us. As disciples of Christ we all share the single vocation of loving God and others.

Michael L. Peterson
C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy
Lesson 3
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Marks of the Christian Mind of C.S. Lewis (Part 2)

Marks of the Christian Mind of C.S. Lewis (part 2)

I. Marks of the Christian Mind (cont)

A. Sacramental orientation

B. Deep regard for the human person

C. Concept of truth

D. Recognition of evil

E. Sensitivity to the suffering of others

F. Commitment to community

G. Understanding of the concept of vocation

II. C.S. Lewis Movies

A. Lewis and Tolkein

B. C.S. Lewis’s conversion experience

  • The purpose of the class is to directly engage Lewis’s philosophy and theology. He brings a Christian worldview to engage intellectual movements of his day. The trinity created us to bring us into the fellowship that has been going on with God forever. 

  • The mind is the organ of reason, imagination is the organ of understanding. To understand what real truth is, the imagination needs to be a part of that. We are created in the image of God and are immortal beings. Ordinary people are extraordinary. The Christian life is most deeply about being transformed resulting in participation in the divine life. It's more than just having one’s legal status changed. There should be transformation in the culture as well as personal. God is in the process of redeeming a wounded universe, including the whole of knowledge and truth in all subjects. 

  • There is a sacred quality to ordinary activities as well as symbolic religious rituals. Whatever is true in any field of study is God’s truth. The world is essentially good, but it’s been damaged. God has taken a great risk in allowing people free choice for good or evil. Evil has become present in many forms in the world and it is anti-creational and anti-human. We are not broken, but we are bent. God’s nature is relational because of the nature of the Trinity, so it makes sense that he would make a universe that is relational. We dwell in God and he dwells in us. As disciples of Christ we all share the single vocation of loving God and others.

  • Lewis wants to parlay theological doctrines into dynamic insights and track out their implications for intellectual engagement. He does is with a background of philosophical skill and theological understanding of historic orthodoxy. Instead of arguing about preferences, we need to focus on articulating the doctrines that are universal. Lewis’s ideas are expressed so they can be understood by people not formally trained in philosophy or theology but they have merit in the marketplace of ideas. 

  • The probability of morality as we know it in the human community, given that theism is true, is more probable than morality given any other worldview. Morality at the human (finite) level is anchored in morality at the infinite level. Morality has its most natural fitting worldview home in theism. In using the analogy of light shining through boards in a tool shed, Lewis says, “I believe in Christianity, not because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” 

  • In Hinduism, Brahman, the hidden inner essence of everything, is beyond human categories of good and evil. Brahman is the only reality. Everything we see is an illusion. The fundamental human problem is ignorance, not sin. Dualism is the idea that there is good and evil at war in the universe. Explaining morality in a dualistic framework is difficult. Dualism assumes good and evil are equal, so you would need a third element to adjudicate which one to choose, and that would be a higher standard. Otherwise you wouldn’t know which one to choose. Naturalism/materialism says there is no ultimate moral nature to the universe. 

  • Lewis begins by discussing our common moral experience as a triggering point to reason toward theism. Then he reasons for a deity that’s interested in morality that’s also a supreme power. With naturalism, we come from a source that is non-rational, non-moral and non-personal, so it’s difficult to understand how you get beings that are rational, moral and personal.

  • Theism is intellectually at least on par, if not superior to, other conceptions of reality like dualism, pantheism and naturalism. If there is a God that theism describes, only one deity of the living theistic religions said that this God invaded our existence. The question is that in comparison to other alternatives, what is emerging as a reasonable explanation of the reality we face?

  • Our rationality being reliable assumes that we can produce a large preponderance of true beliefs over false ones by using rational faculties like memory, abstract reasoning, perception and the testimony of others. The role of philosophy is to analyze and explain the common sense beliefs of the human race about morality and the external world. 

  • The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind. Lewis thinks that we now do not have broad social consensus of Christian truth. He challenges individuals to have a more positive affirming attitude toward intellect and academics. In his view, Christians are ambivalent about the value of the life of the mind and using the gift of our intellect to serve him.

  • Premise one: every natural desire corresponds to one real object. Premise two: There exists in us a desire that nothing in the temporal world can satisfy. Conclusion is that there must be more than time, earth and creatures that can satisfy this desire.

  • The Supreme Being, behind the universe as we know it, is a personal being, eternal and the model for how we are to understand our personhood. We can’t understand our own personhood fully, the way it’s supposed to operate, unless we understand what God is, as a personal being. We are not projecting our understanding on God but learning about ourselves by finding out about God. 

  • This is ultimately a book about a clash of worldviews. A worldview offers an explanation of the important features/phenomena of life and the world. In the West, the atheist worldview is often expressed in naturalism. Lewis argues for theism based on what is true internally of us, rather than argument from design. Discussion is not whether a particular miracle has occurred, but in principle, is it a possibility.

  • There is a supernatural power or being that is ontologically distinct from nature (transcendent). It is self-existent. Every world view must propose what is fundamentally real. For the naturalist, it is the physical world. For the theist, it’s a transcendent deity. Everything that is not God is dependent/contingent on God for its being. The theist says that the deity can bring about events that would not have happened by the regular operation of nature. 

  • What’s important to Lewis is freedom of rational thinking, free from physical causes. Naturalism undercuts the power of reason because everything is determined by physical causes. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable for truth is low.

  • If you believe in naturalism as a worldview, miracles are impossible. Since a naturalist worldview says everything is determined and thought is only adaptive, the ability to have free rational thought to logically evaluate naturalism undercuts the naturalist position.

  • Rational thought and moral consciousness are points of entry of the supernatural into the realm of the natural. It involves both. It’s not a dichotomy. Naturalists believe that the nature of human persons is limited to material processes. Substance dualists believe that mind and brain are two separate substances that are mixed for now, but at death one will cease to exist and the other will continue to exist. Emergentist sees the animal form taken to another degree of complexity by the natural realm getting increasingly complex and dualist in function as opposed to substance.

  • Scientific law is economical summary of what experience always reports: regular cause and effect. Laws are regularity based on coincidences. Causality is the basis of law. Hume says that laws are regularities based on coincidences. Hume says that you can only know regularity because that’s all the human mind is capable of. Peterson’s view is that a miracle is not changing a law of nature, it’s changing with the “ceteris paribus” clause – preventing all things from being equal and changing the nature of the item. 

  • There is nothing about nature that makes miracles impossible. The naturalist can’t see nature accurately as a creature, not just an independent fact but it can’t stand or explain itself. The cosmological principle is that only concrete beings, not general things, have causal power. Causal laws don’t make things happen, only the beings acting within the laws.

  • If God is in fact a living determinate being, and is outside the natural system, he might insert events into the natural system. The laws that we observe in the natural system may be a subset of higher laws that govern the universe. What criteria do you use to determine if a miracle has taken place? Evidence plus intrinsic probability. Whether or not an event is a miracle is also part of the discussion of the problem of evil. Why would God intervene in some circumstances but not others? 

  • In philosophy, it’s referred to as the problem of evil. Given a certain understanding of God and a certain understanding of evil, there is a tension explaining why evil exists in the world.

  • If God chooses to create a nature, this signifies a physical system which indicates a relatively independent nature independent from himself, it would make a lot of sense to say he is frequently intervening.  The same laws that make nature a stable environment in which rational soulish life can emerge, are also the same laws that make us vulnerable. Pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf world. He might whisper to us in our pleasures, but he shouts to us in our pain. Question about whether God initiates the pain or he set up a system which results in pain because of the way it’s structured.

  • Lewis describes the story of the Fall as a narrative that has symbolic elements that convey significant truth. The truth in the first couple chapters of Genesis is that we were created by God, sovereign and loving creator, and that our only fulfillment as humans is to center our lives on God. Our proper role as a creature is to rely on God, so when we ignore that and rely on ourselves, our relationship with God is broken. 

  • God is his creation set forth the problem of expressing his goodness through the total drama of a world containing free agents in spite of, and even by means of, their rebellion against him. The risk is for the possibility of relationship. 

  • Aristotle would say that as a rational, moral being you build your character based on the hierarchy of good traits.  From a Christian perspective, our natural destiny should be on the same trajectory as our eternal destiny. The spiritual and theological virtues are faith, hope and love.

  • As long as God chooses a stable physical order, that physical order will run by its own laws. Any system with  have the possibility of pain. Created nature with natural laws provide a framework/structure in which souls can meet. Some pain is produced by the natural system without regard to the desires of the beings. That humans can inflict pain on other humans is a reflection of the permission by God that he permits this. The wide range of freedom makes it possible for great good or terrible evil. 

  • Lewis thinks that God needs to pierce the shield of our ego and we are embodied creatures so pain is what does it by getting our attention by highlighting how frail and in need we are. 

  • For Lewis, heaven is the unending joyous life of God, the life of the Trinity. The only way I can be fulfilled is to find its proper purpose and relation with God. Heaven is the restoration of created personhood, what it was always meant to be. When we are on the trajectory, we begin experiencing it now. Hell is the lack of fulfillment for which we were made. 

  • Discussion of the movie Shadowlands. Discussion of the nature of relationships. Pain and happiness are not necessarily mutually exclusive.                                        

  • Lewis expresses anger toward God as part of his process of grief. Orthodox Christianity denies materialism which believes that your physical body is all you are, but it doesn’t require body-soul dualism where the soul is the real person that inhabits a shell. Whatever damage death completes in the reign of sin in this world will be undone and swallowed up by the resurrection. The restoration of human personhood will come after death. 

  • Heaven and hell are dichotomous. Whether life is heaven or hell depends on your future trajectory. God is true reality, fixed and can’t be altered. In GD, true reality is God. The descriptions are not meant to be literal. Heaven is the Trinitarian life of God. It’s not a place, it’s a state of being in proper relation to the love and joy of the Trinitarian relations. Lewis describes it as a great dance. 

  • Final comments about themes in The Great Divorce.

C. S. Lewis is an extremely good theologian who does his work for the thoughtful lay person.  But his writings reflect his erudite understanding of the great classics of literature, historical theology, philosophy, and other disciplines.  Lewis says in Mere Christianity that theology is like a map.  We may get where we’re going without it, but it is much easier to use the map.  The map of Christian theology is drawn over the early centuries of the church as the believing community interprets the Bible and its experience of God.  

Of course, the ultimate goal of theology, according to Lewis, is practical:  to draw us into the life of God, or St. Gregory of Nazianzus ((329-374 AD), called it, “the Great Dance.”  I know no theme deeper or more pervasive in Lewis than our need to get the steps right, to join the dance once again.  

In “Meditations in a Tool Shed,” Lewis says that there is a distinction between looking at a beam of light and looking along the beam of light.  He is speaking of looking at reason or using reason—a passage that forms part of his great case that presence of rationality argues for the truth of theism.  We will be doing a lot of looking in this course, largely, “looking at” Lewis himself.  But let us also try to “look along” the same line of sight as Lewis, to see things—God, humanity, spiritual life, and a host of other things—as Lewis saw them.  This means attempting to step inside Lewis’s worldview and learning to interpret fundamental realities the way he did and to deploy his distinctive strategies for engaging other worldviews.  In effect, we will learn to think Christianly by learning to think along Christianly with Lewis.

In 2020, Dr. Peterson published the book, C. S. Lewis and the Christian WorldviewIt is essentially his course lectures in written book form--covering Lewis on all key worldview issues--reality, knowledge, creation, trinity, christology, as well as issues of evil, religious pluralism, and the impact of science on faith. You will also see it listed in the Recommended Reading section. 

Dr. Michael Peterson

C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy


Marks of the Christian Mind of C.S. Lewis (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript


Again. My point before break was to just look at some of the elements that I think are crucial to a Christian mind. Formative themes and so on. We talked a minute ago about a creation or outlook and value in creation, this creation that's going to be redeemed. And we seem to be a key aspect of that in God's plans. But we don't I don't think we're exclusivist in that regard that the whole of creation is somehow involved in God's plan of redemption, but not just a creation or outlook affirming positive toward creation, but incarnation and perspective. Knowing that God's truth, God's presence needs to be incarnated in various contexts. So we have an incarnation of religion. And that, again, values embodiment, and it values the materiality that we are intimately connected with. But we are even though, as was mentioned on the film, they use the word immortal, and I don't tend to use that word, but because there's nothing about us that's intrinsically immortal and whatever future destiny we have, whatever bright and shining future hope we have is dependent upon the resurrecting power of God. So if you want to call that immortality, then I'm fine with that. I just don't know. But the point is, is is a good point, and that is that we are destined for life with God. And yet, on the other hand, we're closely connected with matter with the material world. We are inseparably linked to physical bodies, and our immortality is not a separate aspect added to our physical bodies. The bodies will be resurrected somehow, reconstituted somehow, rather than die and go to the grave. And something and something continue on. That's the whole person. The whole person is the entirety of what we are, including our bodily life.


So an incarnation or perspective really gets that. And so, again, very affirming of matter, very affirming of material life. I'm not trying to say anything in the name of spirituality that devalues the materiality. There's no disharmony. It's no offense to God to be connected to materiality. So in the Incarnation, God takes on materiality in the second person and a materiality with an animal pre-history. So that's pretty amazing. With a genome and everything we talked about earlier, it takes that on and now is bonded with that in the. Person of the first century Figure Jesus of Nazareth is bonded with with it all forever. That's pretty me that that's that's a deeply, deeply international insight. Following really the same kind of logic here. I think another element of Christian thinking of a Christian mentality is that it has a sacramental orientation toward life, that there's a way of seeing not just special sacred moments or places or activities as sacramental. The church, of course, has its official sacraments avenues of grace, but the ability to see all of life as having sacramental capability, the giving of a cup of cold water, learning even from a secular offer, learning some interesting truths or new ways of thinking that we can incorporate into our Christian engagement with the world as a form of of receiving grace. So many avenues of grace in a world of sacramental in nature. Basically one way of saying what I'm trying to say is the sacredness of the ordinary. There are high moments, there are symbolic activities and and and so on, such as the Lord's Supper that are sacramental and sanctioned by the church. But there are all sorts of sacramental aspects of living in God's world. And seeing the sacredness of the ordinary, I think is part of what Louis did.


Look at the Narnia creatures in the creation of Narnia. They speak. The speaking language is such a big deal in Narnia and in the initiation of of of Narnia by Aslan. You know, there's a sacredness. There's almost an enchantment that you can't just. It's not an allegory. So I can't just say, well, that is this biblical truth. That's not the way Lewis operated. It was never meant to create an allegory in creating Narnia. But you can see the idea of God's presence, his grace able to come through in ever so many things that would seemingly be ordinary, not churchy. Not official sacraments, but have sacramental value. I think another thing on my list would be a deep regard for the human person. The film kind of covered a lot of that. I'll maybe not say as much, but the idea that the human person is. Central to God's plan for the universe somehow figures prominently into God's purposes for the universe as a target of his love and the target of his invitation to enter the fellowship of the Trinity. Had I had a little more heavy handed, I would have done diplomatically a little more heavy handed role in writing of the script for that documentary. I would see if I could get some of the speakers to nuance just a little better their comments about evolution and chance. And I know what they're trying to say sort of generically, which is, in my view, what they did, that we're not merely products of evolution, but we are products of evolution. But when you look when you look at biological evolution, all we now know mapping of the genome seals the deal. We now know we can even retro dick back to when we had major branching from other primate ancestors and so on.


And it's all quantitative now. So when they say that in the in the in the film, it could give a kind of a dualistic impression that while humanity is as a soul and not to be too identified with the body. Of course, all the things I've said about materiality and Louis as about materiality don't agree with that. So I wouldn't go that direction with with inferring meaning from what was literally stated. The other the other inference one could make, which Louis would not go with, would be that that evolution is false. So there's a competition between whether God created humanity or whether or whether we're products of evolution. Like, that's a dichotomy. I thought that might have even been the stronger suggestion, the possible inference people could take away from two or three of the comments. And Louis would not say that Louis has a lot more nuance than that. And so if it turns out to be true biologically that we're products of evolution, that's not a problem for God. He intended that there become rational beings, intimate, who are capable of personal relational life with him and with others who are intimately related to the material world. That material world has an evolution. I'm not trying to stress this overly much at this time. I don't think it comes up much in in future things that we do. So I'm just hitting it right now in regard to the point about the human person. So what is a human person? It's a rational, personal soul ish. Animal. But our animality is not incidental. It's essential to what it means to be a human person. Hence, in the great incarnation, as Lewis calls later in miracles, the Grand Miracle. It's all taken up into the Godhead in the second person.


No offense, no incompatibility. Really interesting stuff. But the comments were made. But I would kill her dead. But the narrator, my good friend Greg Bandy, who's one of Chuck Colson, Centurions, these select people who annually get together and speak about engage in culture. Colson I thought they both talked the same lingo because Greg is in his thing and so lacks nuance by making any sense. Okay, well, so but so that's what a human person is. And that's the kind of thing for which I'm saying the Christian mind has deep regard and but not in a dualistic way that emphasizes the non material over the material. There's a holism there, a unity there. That's one kind of thing. It's not just an embodied soul. Okay. And Lewis Lewis can seem a little ambiguous on that point occasionally. Depends. It depends on what literature is you read. But if you go with the Nicene Orthodoxy, that's that's driving this. I think you have to see the unity of what it means to be human. Incurred so bodily life becomes, again, sacred. Not incompatible with God. That's for Gnostics and also to some other heretics to worry about. Not us. Right. Okay. A concept of truth and a truth that's not number one confined to theological and religious and spiritual truth in terms of of of the realm of truth. There's a lot of truth about a lot of things in God's world and various disciplines of knowledge investigate those truths, and they're all God, whatever turns out to be true. Truth is God's truth. In terms of sources of truth, the only source of truth is not the Bible. And the other source of truth. Look to me like God has given us capabilities outside. The explicit reference or credit we give to the Bible or Christian faith by virtue of creation, we have capabilities to know stuff.


At the level of common sense, common experience by virtue of being as creatures made in his image, and without always tying everything explicitly to a biblical point of reference. Likewise, in more academic disciplines, more sophisticated methodologies. Truth is truth. It's all gods. And so the concept of truth, it seems to me, is is very broad. If it's going to be properly, universally Christian and part of the Christian mind, the framework of Christian thinking. Recognition of evil would be another point I would make the recognition of evil that the world is essentially good but has been damaged. And the great risk that God took in giving human beings is one reason we're so precious and we're so valuable is he gave us these amazing powers of personal relational life, and that involves free choice for good and for evil. It's quite a risk I took. And so we we experienced the downside of the risk. We didn't have to. We did, but we didn't have to. And evil has become present in many forms in the world. And it's all anti creation. It's all anti-human. And so the sensitivity to evil and the forms of damage in creation, I think are also part of the of the Christian mind. But it's evil of a good gone wrong. It's evil of something good that's been warped. But as he says, late in Christianity. We're not broken into. We're not all torn up to pieces. As human beings, we are bent as the castle again. That is still castle. We're still in God's image. And what a thing it will be to be fully restored. I think another thing that is a very important element of Christian thinking, Christian mind is sensitivity to the suffering of others, a world of suffering.


And I look at things like jobs, friends who thought, Hey, if you're suffering, somehow you deserve it. It's probably the way the universe plays out based on your moral merit. And you can find all sorts of different versions of that kind of view. But I think just the sort of non-judgmental sensitivity to the many different ways in which human beings made God's image suffer would be another aspect of the Christian mind. I'm going to hurry here a little bit. Commitment to community. That's another point I've got on my list here. Commitment to a community that the Triune God, if you think about it, when classical Christianity tells us that God is a trinity, that implies he's inherently in his own self relational and that it makes perfect sense that he would make a universe that is deeply relational, that the creation would exhibit relationality in ever so many different ways. So our whole idea of community is not just that it's a voluntary association and so on. Those are all nice approaches to the deeper idea of community. But the deepest Christian idea of community is that we are penetrated and inhabited by God. We might even say it's a peer critic universe. I mean, think of John, a Gospel of John chapters 14 through 17, where the Greek word crisis is used so much. If I abide in you, if you abide in me, I abide in the father. You know, all of those all those remarks that Jesus makes and you think, well, it gets translated sometimes, abide in mutual abiding, dwell in in some translations, mutual indwelling. The idea that that personal beings at the deepest level form community not just by sort of like voluntary or or utilitarian association with each other, basically considered as atoms, individual atoms, but at a deep level, relational beings, personal beings, mutually in dwell one another.


That's a secret of God's universe and by shape each other mutually. We dwell in God as those amazing passages you say, and He dwells in us as those amazing passages in the Gospel of John suggest. What does that mean? It's either just sort of sentimental lingo or is saying something very theologically profound about why this reality reflects an infinitely relational reality. So this is taking taking Christian Orthodox ideas and not just saying, I get those memorized, thank you, but give me my exam and let me get my great blessing. These things have a life. These things move. These things are dynamic ideas that have implications. And just to learn how to do that. I think Lewis Lewis had that amazing gift he saw. Why don't you stand within the framework that is Christian orthodoxy, develop a Christian mind, The richness, the the the outflowing of application to all situations is is amazing. And the last point that I have on my list, I'm sure we could extend this list, but again, features of characteristics of Christian mind. The less what I have on this list is understanding of the concept of vocation. It depends on what Latin word you want to use. What cathio meaning I call woke hora. Meaning to call is the infinitive part of the verb. We have brought this into the Christian tradition from time immemorial. The idea that God calls us to in various ways. And there's in a sense the the general call, or you might say life's single vocation. We all share exactly the same single vocation. Love God with all your mind and heart and soul and strength. We all share that in one's neighbor as oneself. We all share that single vocation sort of designated by Jesus in the two great commandments.


And then we also talk about our individual callings, where our energies are passions, our skills and talents intersect with opportunities in the world, and we begin to take steps in that direction, see, see how that unfolds. And we get a sense of fulfillment. And this is what God would have me to do, and I would go down that path, not staying in a single path forever. Some people change. So I need to take a little different direction of what I thought earlier. This seems to have been productive, but now I'm taking another turn. All those things are possible in the pursuit and following of our individual callings, you know, So that's that's, I think, a very key concept, the idea of calling or a vocation, which is universal at one level among all Christians, we all share the same. And then there's that individual is calling the specific things we do as we live out our life before God and make our contribution. So those are just things that I see in Lewis because look at look at him. I mean, he was highly educated Oxford. I mean, technically he's prepared to be a. Medieval and Renaissance literature, actually. Poetry scholar. And that's all great. But around that technical education, which was targeted to specific academic job descriptions, so to speak, he built a whole life. He said, My talents, my energies seemed to be playing out this way once he was converted, and he began to rethink and reshape the great change, as we said in the movie or the documentary. His great change was taking place first, coming from atheism to Christianity, which was a process. It's very interesting and surprised by joy, his autobiography. But then seeing what is my Christianity now mean for I've already been educated, I'm already prepared for this kind of academic path and so on and so forth.


I live in this time in history, you know, and when all the things get crunched together, that's how one individual life with its skills and opportunities played out. Amazing calling that we all now are deeply grateful for. But we all have the same thing our lives where we are, all the ingredients that go to our recipe, our opportunities, the things that are intersecting our path. But it's not so much always about, Oh, let's just talk about Lewis, but use all these points to reflect on our own lives. Where are we in respect for persons seeing, seeing life as a calling and so on those elements? I'm just suggesting that the more we embody, the more the way we own them, I think the richer we will be as well. And the church will be as well. How are we doing? We're not doing badly. A few of you had the I guess it was in the break time. We're asking about movies as well. I thought I can make a couple comments. I don't I'm not real up to date on the Lewis movies, so I will do that in a minute if you like. I think I know a few things that are going on, but are there any discussion points on what I've just gone through? I think it's just helpful to see the list and kind of talk your way through a list like this and see Lewis as a good representative of a Christian mind and good model. Well, during the break, people ask if I knew anything about the Narnia movies where they stand. I know just a little. We were involved when I was across the street at the university, involved with mostly with Walden Media, who did all of them, all three.


Apparently the deal is somebody has to produce and somebody has to distribute. And Disney did the first distribution. I don't know if they did the second, I don't remember. I think Fox Family films had already taken over. I think Disney was unhappy for a variety of reasons and partly because there's a lot of family values and faith and value type things that became more obvious to them. They made a boatload of money on On The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe movie. But so So Walden kept producing and Fox Family films, I guess, did either the second two or at least the last one of the three. So at some point there was that transition to distribute. Um, I've heard that they, they just can't get the energy and the funding to go ahead at this time and that the children are now, you know, advanced in age. And so you have a whole new, whole new strategy for, for casting things like that. So I really don't know if you'll ever see another one. I'd love to love to see it. When the light of the Western world was done circulating all the theaters it was going to circulate in Disney, thought they could help, number one, make more money and get people prep to attend the second movie. If they put put it on the road and took all the paraphernalia. The ice throne shields. I can't think of all that to prepare for that. They want to put on an exhibition at children's museums around the country. And so Bandy, who did the narration, and I were called Phenix by the Becker Group. The Becker group was hired by Disney to put this this museum display together. I forget how many thousands of square feet you walk through.


You know, here's this. There's this in hand. Kids can put their hands on it and you can actually fire the catapult into a net. I don't know. You know, I'm saying. So Phenix was going to be there at this children's museum downtown and was going to be their first display. And then I forget where else they were going to go to London, England. And they had various cities, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Annapolis. They were all on the list eventually to get the display. And they said, We want you guys to come out and make sure it's optimized. So we did. And they put up a hotel and then we went through the display, had comments to make, made notes, and we're going to talk to your name just as well. I can't think of her name. Nora. Nora is who was the the Becker promo Company advertising company representative. So she went through with us and then we had, you know, several hours with her saying how we would change a couple of things, but they just didn't care to have any advice, really. The secularization had already taken place. It was 118 degrees in Phenix that day. I remember very well. I mean, you couldn't get from the parking lot. We were parked a rental car just to get in without just whoa, whoa. You know, so when you go through a very nice you know, the display is technical, it's weaponry and things like that and coats of arms and shields and but we came to the ice throne. From the white queen. And you can sit on it. You can fire the catapult when you do that. So I just sat down and it had refrigerator coils in the seat. It really was cool.


And and and we were the first ones because the Hitler children. Yeah. I'm sitting there just after being in the parking lot. It just felt so good. And pretty soon, one of the attorneys to the museum tapped me on the shoulder and said, Mr. Peterson, you said there are a lot of children once in that chair, if you wouldn't mind moving along and. Oh, okay. You know. Okay. Oh, those are good. So we went on through and they had a book display at the end of the of those of the other display and in glass cases, Lewis's various books. And we were Nora and looking at mere Christianity here in his various space trilogy books on one shelf and she's commenting as we go and we got to the great divorce. This is like 20 minutes before we ultimately sat down with her for a couple of hours and said, Here's our notes, here's what we suggest. And she got to the gate where she looked at that and it was kind of like a light shining on it. And she goes, The great divorce. She goes, Oh, no, Was he divorced? And I thought I looked at Greg and we thought, this is probably not going to go well. They don't know a lick about what this is about. They just put together the catapult. And, you know, so when we talked with her, we said, You haven't got anything here for the faith based audience. And let me tell you, they were most of the people who put down the dollars at the movie. And who do you think you're get different audience or you don't need this core audience, the faith based, the values based. It was really just a useless conversation.


So we went through a variety of ways she could do that. They didn't change a thing, and I think it did go to several cities. I got the impression it petered out after a while and I just quit following. You know, I think I went to Philly and I quit following. So somewhere in that whole period of time it transition away from Disney. Disney just didn't get it and we'll deal with it. I don't know when that was. And so now, now I don't know. Michael Flaherty. We interviewed him, so he wasn't sure where it was going either. So you only be hopeful. I guess this is kind of an open secret. The Templeton Foundation in Philadelphia, their charter makes them interested in several things the science, religion, dialog in our culture, capitalism and free enterprise types of things. And interestingly, studies of spirituality and morality. Those are about the four things they fund and they have a lot of money. Well, one my one of my good friends is clearly they're one of the most influential vice presidents and talked to him two years ago. He flew here actually to get us to do more science, religion stuff. And he they think it's so cool that a seminary is open to do science, religion stuff, which we are and offers funding, but means I have to write for six months of a grant, but I just don't know if I have the energy. And so I so I don't think I'll probably be doing that. But it's very kind of them to say you're in a favorite position, you know, We'll see if that ever happens. But he told me kind of confidentially, he says, we have purchased the rights to the great divorce.


I said, Really? The Gresham owns all the other rights. And but I was aware that Ken Wales in Hollywood owned the rights to the Great Divorce and Kim thought he would produce. He's, you know, he produced Christie. It's a little bit of a yesteryear thing, but Christie, the Christian movie. I don't know anything about it. My wife is one of five sisters. They all know Christie, that movie. So a Presbyterian church in Atlanta years ago, I forget the date for like a couple hundred bucks. Had purchased the rights to the great divorce and somehow had just given it to Ken in the last ten or 15 years. They didn't want to do with it how many decades they'd held this contract. The one that Doug couldn't get. So they're not anxious to encounter Doug about this. He's quite has quite ill the resources at his disposal. And he says, we've already got script writers and so on on the job, and we're funding the Great Divorce as a movie. I have no idea how to envision how to do the Great Divorce, but it'll be really fun to see what they do. So it's the only media project that I currently know anything about, and that was about a year and a half ago. Mike Murray told me about that, and I know it takes a while when Ken will still have the contract. We did three different screenplays for it. It was Devin Brown across the street, who's Louis Golla and Brian Marshall, who is Asbury Seminary grad, and he's the head of the Christian Student Fellowship at UK. Very creative person. And so the idea is you you write these different takes on how you could do the great divorce. And we gave them all to Ken Wales when he went back.


He was here for like ten days. They worked on this stuff and went back. We never heard another thing until I saw Mike just 18 months ago and he said, We bought it. We put our own screenwriters. So there you go. So I will see Mike In about a month, I'd be in New York City on a science religion conference, and I'm going to ask him. We're talking about this. I'm going to ask him where that stands. Because fun to know. Yeah, there is a bill in the works that's going to focus on the relationship of C.S. Lewis and Tobey. Oh, that'd be fun. Wouldn't it be? Yeah. I'm glad you said that, actually. See, we don't just have an uninvolved cameraman. Okay. I just added that in this class. Oh, did you? Oh, good. Super. Why not? You're going to be putting in your time. I mean, honestly. But you think about this here. Lewis is an atheist. He has an intellectual journey. He goes through different forms of idealism. Can't get into all that right now. He's clearly an atheist. He was a marxist at a time. And so. But anyway, think about encountering when he gets to Oxford and gets that academic post encounters Tolkien, he's got all these objections to Christianity. Right. It's it's mythology. It's just wish fulfillment. It's. This is that. And you encounter a Catholic who actually understands his Catholicism intellectually. You can beat on him all you want. You can't make a dent. It's not possible. And there are other factors, you know. Yeah. In Lewis's turn to Christianity, there are other personalities, but just using Tolkien. Since you brought Tolkien up, what are you going to do? Say something that's threatening, intellectually threatening to his universal Christian outlook and his scope.


If he understands the faith and has a Christian mind, you really are at a great disadvantage if you're C.S. Lewis. Serious disadvantage. And then he found himself that way. Well, you guys are anti materialist. No, we're not. Well, listen that you don't get it. So you get that kind of a an ability to represent Christian theological understanding in intellectually respectable way to a person who's outside the faith like Lewis. But he's bright, he's engaged, and you begin to have an intellectual conversion, which kind of leads the way to the whole life conversion. But it'd just be hilarious to think, you know, that he said anything threatening or puzzling or Tolkien because Tolkien has a Christian mind with all these elements operative. I took that walk. It started raining. But you know the walk. Where? Model in college where Lewis taught. There's a woods and a lake and a walking path around. Over to the side. All these medieval. I mean, when you go to actually have it. What century was that built? All. You know what? Oh, really? 13. Okay. 15. Okay. So I don't know. When model in college was built, a beautiful medieval, you know, structure model in college. And they've got the red geranium in the one window where Louis had his office. So, you know, tourists can see, oh, that's where Louis was, because we're going to be asking everybody, drive me crazy, right? Where was Louis? Just put the red geranium. But we took the walk because he says on that walk, it was Tolkien. It was all night walk. Lewis was pounding on them. It was a Hugo Dyson. But there were three of them. And they walk this lake and talk about Lewis. His idea was to talk about why Christianity was not believable, you know, And he says, when I began the walk, I didn't believe I was not a Christian.


But by the time I we ended the walk, it's kind of like all night thing. But they were kind enough and engaged enough. Keep talking with me and working with me and I felt I could be a Christian at the end. And so that's a piece of the whole story of his conversion narrative. But it started raining. I couldn't get couldn't get around the whole path. We had to get out of the ring. But again, I was talking and he's just pouring his thoughts out. And you get these people who are intellectually Christian, not just Christians, but they were intellectually converted and they're able to handle this brilliant person throwing all the darts he wanted. And it wasn't they who were dissuaded from their position. It ultimately was was Lewis. I just think it's really, really interesting and conversions happen a million or as you say, uncountable in many different ways. But Louis his conversion has those kinds of intellectual elements, very prominent questions, comments, parting shots. I think we brought this puppy right in on time at 345. I mean, just what kind of professionalism is on display here? Check the syllabus, do the assignments for next time, and we'll start near Christianity and we'll see you next week.