Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lewis on Fairy Tales & True Myth

Fairy Tales
I saw how (fairy) stories could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralysed much of my own religion in childhood.

Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ?

I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze things. And reverence itself did harm.

The whole subject was associated with lowered voices; almost as if it were something medical.

But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency?
- C.S. Lewis, in an essay called "Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said"

True Myth
Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God's myth where the others are men's myths: i.e. the Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the mind of poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing himself through what we call "real things."
- The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves

Thanks to the Denver Post for rounding up these quotations.

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