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  • Writer's pictureJohn Stackhouse

C. S. Lewis on Avoiding God

Blaise Pascal, of course, offers classic observations in his Pensées on how industriously we avoid God and ultimate issues such as virtue and death by insulating ourselves with wraps of comfort and insurance while diverting ourselves with entertainments and gossip.

I came across a passage in a little-known essay of C. S. Lewis that makes the same point regarding avoiding God in Lewis’s inimitably arresting way (the ironical tone has a whiff of Screwtapean brimstone about it). I am going to radically change its typography, however, in order to give you, as it gives me, frequent pause for thought—and repentance:

=======

The avoiding, in many times and places, has proved so difficult that a very large part of the human race failed to achieve it. But in our own time and place it is extremely easy.

Avoid silence,

avoid solitude,

avoid any train of thought that leads off the beaten track.

Concentrate on money,

sex,

status,

health

and (above all)

on your own grievances.

Keep the radio on.

Live in a crowd.

Use plenty of sedation.

If you must read books, select them very carefully. But you’d be safer to stick to the papers. You’ll find the advertisements helpful;

especially those with a sexy or a snobbish appeal.

=======

Hmm.

I should stop typing now. I feel a violent urge to get on the Internet/watch TV/pour a drink/go shopping.

Ouch.

The quoted passage is in “The Seeing Eye,” a paper collected in Christian Reflections, ed. Walter Hooper (Eerdmans, 1976), 168-69.

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