C.S. Lewis Essays Presented Visually
November 9, 2013
Back in May (2013) I told about three “visual” presentations of essays by C.S. Lewis created by a person desiring to make Lewis’s work easier to understand. They are videos freely available on YouTube. I felt it a good time to highlight this excellent work again because he recently added two more videos (see below for a list of all of them). Each are great pieces by Lewis that are often overlooked. As this month is the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death it’s a good time to be reminded of these lesser known shorter writings. The person goes by “C.S. Lewis Doodle” on YouTube and while the style of his presentation varies, the second one is done in an ‘Art Deco’ style that was popular in the 1920-40’s.
The first effort came late last year (2012). The debut essay was “The Grand Miracle” from the God in the Dock book collection of shorter works. On the April 15, 1945 Lewis preached this short sermon at St. Jude on the Hill Church in London. By the end of the month it was found in the April 27th issue of The Guardian. In this message, Lewis notes that Christianity is likely the only religion that cannot be stripped of its miraculous elements. He believed that the greatest miracle was Christ’s birth.
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The follow-up release was “The Laws of Nature” in mid-March of this year. It presents an essay that was first published April 4, 1945 in The Coventry Evening Telegraph. It dealt with the topic of prayer in relation to, or how some people view it, as opposed to the laws of nature. The article opens with a comment made by a friend at the start of a day before Lewis’s first student arrived. The friend expressed disagreement with something another said about her prayers being the reason her son was not killed by a bullet that nearly missed him. Before being interrupted the person concluded it “was simply due to the laws of Nature” and not prayer that it happen that way. Later when Lewis reflected on the matter he developed his argument for why upon careful analysis it isn’t just that simple. You have to consider the source behind these laws, something science is not able to explain. The essay is also available in God in the Dock.
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At the end of April came the third video. The essay present was the last one he wrote and is known as “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness'” in God in the Dock. The YouTube presentation is given the title of “On ‘Sexual’ Morality” by the artist. It was published in the December 21, 1963 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. As you might guess from the titles, Lewis tackles the question of having a right to happiness from the specific angle of sexual expression.
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“On Living in An Atomic Age” is the forth video that was just added late September. It’s an essay I’m not sure I had even read before seeing the video, even though I own a copy of Present Concerns (where you can most easily find the piece). While not the longest essay in Lewis’s cannon, in these fifteen minutes he covers a lot of ground as he helps people essential deal with a fear of death. The piece specifically deals with the threat overtaking individual when the work came out first in 1948 in a journal called Informed Reading. Lewis does an excellent job presenting common reactions or ways of coping before helping you understand why they fall short.
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Just this month (November) another selection was added. “Religion and Science” was written in somewhat of a similar style to the above “The Laws of Nature” piece. This essay first came out on January 3, 1945 in The Coventry Evening Telegraph and can be best found now in God in the Dock. Specifically it addresses the question of miracles via an imaginary dialogue between Lewis and a friend who has a skeptical view of miracles, especially the Virgin Birth. As you will see the artist makes this one almost like a comic strip.