journey of an atheist 3 -- catching sight of land
2/05/2007 06:41:00 PM
It is admittedly daunting to summarize how such a wonderful, thought provoking story such as Lewis' journey from atheistic thinking to full-fledge Christianity is such a forum as this, but this is an attempt none-the-less. The journey is sign-posted by Lewis in three broad categories, which include the "New Look", his conversion to theism, then his conversion to Christianity. These three stages of the journey reflect the content of the last three chapters of the book, with particular emphasis on the middle of the three.

Lewis' directionless journey caught sight of the island he long for after he came to Oxford. The predominant mode of thinking at the time at Oxford was idealism, which for Lewis created the seedbed of what he calls the "Absolute". Lewis sets up for himself a philosophical system, which is an outgrowth of idealism. Although the Absolute was not God, it was one step closer to God than where Lewis had been before. He describes the Absolute:

The Absolute Mind -- better still the Absolute -- was impersonal, or it knew itself (but not us?) only in us, and it was so absolute that it wasn't really much more like a mind than anything else...Yet there was one really wholesome element in it. The Absolute was 'there' and that 'there' contained the reconciliation of all contraries, the transcendence of all finitude, the hidden glory which was the only perfectly thing there is. In fact, it had much of the quality of Heaven. But it was a Heaven none of us could ever get to. (The New Look)
The Absolute, whatever it may be, was for Lewis more religious than what he had called Christianity. However, his acceptance of the absolute was not full blown theism. It was at least an acceptance of something ethereal or transcendence, but it was still intangible, impersonal, and not a being itself.

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