Monday, December 02, 2013

And here is where Lewis had a breakthrough. He understood that the story recounted in the Gospels—rather than the outworking of that story in the Epistles—was the essence of Christianity. Christianity was a "true myth" (myth here meaning a story about ultimate things, not a falsehood), whereas pagan myths were "men's myths." In paganism, God expressed himself in a general way through the images that humans created in order to make sense of the world. But the story of Christ is "God's myth." God's myth is the story of God revealing himself through a real, historical life of a particular man, in a particular time, in a particular place—Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, crucified under Pontius Pilate outside Jerusalem, circa A.D. 33.

Pagan stories were meaningful but not true. The Christ story is both meaningful and true. Christianity is the true myth, the "myth become fact," as Lewis would come to call it.

A couple of weeks after his conversation with Tolkien and Dyson, Lewis became certain that Christianity was true. But it's important to note: Before he could accept the truth of Christianity, he had to clear an imaginative hurdle. His "organ of meaning" had to be satisfied. Rational assent to Christianity cannot occur unless there is meaningful content to which the higher faculty of reason may assent. Reason can't operatewithout imagination.

And in this, Lewis, who called himself a "dinosaur" in his inaugural lecture at Cambridge, is in many ways closer to our postmodern contemporaries than he was to his own.

Read it all.

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