In my quest to read every book in the universe this year (perhaps I’m exaggerating, perhaps not), I’ve been reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Sometimes I wonder why certain books and authors remain favorites over the course of decades or centuries. But the answer really isn’t that difficult to discern. The reason that certain books are just as relevant today as they were when they were written is they are full of timeless truth. C.S. Lewis’ works, particularly his theological writings like Mere Christianity, address humanity’s state before, and relationship with, God in a way that is no less frank today than it was more than 60 years ago when first penned.
Take these words on human sexuality, for example:
…you and I, for the last twenty years, have been fed all day long on good solid lies about sex. We have been told, till one is sick of hearing it, that sexual desire is in the same state as any of our other natural desires and that if only we abandon the silly Victorian idea of hushing it up, everything in the garden will be lovely. It is not true. The moment you look at the facts, and away from the propaganda, you see that it is not.
They tell you sex has become a mess because it was hushed up. But for the last twenty years it has not been. It has been chattered about all day long. Yet it is still a mess. If hushing up had been the cause of the trouble, ventilation would have set it right. But it has not…
Modern people are always saying “Sex is nothing to be ashamed of.” They may mean “There is nothing to be ashamed of in the fact that the human race reproduces itself in a certain way, nor in the fact that it gives pleasure.” If they mean that, they are right. Christianity says the same… But, of course, when people say, “Sex is nothing to be ashamed of,” they may mean “the state into which the sexual instinct has now got is nothing to be ashamed of.”
If they mean that, I think they are wrong.
Mere Christianity, pp 85-86 (The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics edition)
Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Lewis wrote about the hyper-sexualizing of society in his day with the same terms that are used today. More than ever, sex is talked about, depicted and championed to the point that you can’t turn on your T.V. or go to eat a sandwich without getting hit in the face with something overtly sexual. I can’t even go to the mall anymore without keeping my eyes firmly on the floor, because I don’t want to see 9 ft wide images of ladies wearing next to nothing advertising a sale! Has our society gotten any better in the last twenty years of over-stimulation? We are seeing more marriages and families than ever devastated by pornography—by adultery. Today, you can run a billboard saying, “Life is short, have an affair;” you can advertise a service that allows you to cheat on your spouse and no one even blinks. Today social activism groups, such as NAMBLA, seek to normalize homosexual pedophilia.
The list goes on and on ad infinitum, and Lewis’ words have never been more relevant than they are right now.
Timeless truth—truth that is rooted in the source of all truth, Jesus Christ and His Word—never goes out of style. It never passes away.
It only grows in urgency the longer it goes unheeded.
That’s why books like Mere Christianity still matter today. Perhaps it’s time we rediscovered the wisdom of generations past—and maybe even heed their warnings.