C.S. Lewis, Christianity, and the Tao

Those of you who have read The Abolition of Man may remember Lewis’ contention that the modern world is rejecting ancient truths once shared by all cultures and religions, an aspect of natural law, of cosmic order known to all. He called it (for lack of better words) the Tao. This is a conviction I share, deeply, because it was contemplation of natural law which drew me to God in the first place, through Stoicism. I cannot but believe that the spirit of God shines through all cultures as surely as the sun shines upon the whole earth. The problem in attempting to study the commonalities is that the abyss of relativism always looms near. Are there studies of religion and philosophy which reflect on the shared truth of religions and philosophies which do not discount the fact that there is a “The Truth” that can be known, instead of everyone having their own equally valid truth?

Thank you.

Two books I stumbled into in a recent course on modern Christian Philosophy, but haven’t yet finished, are Pope Ben 16’s Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religion, and Montague Brown’s The Quest for Moral Foundations. Both are, to me, very interesting topics but not the easiest reading.
We have two Groups at Ccom that have CS Lewis as a point of focus–I hope you will visit them and comment. Finding Groups here is a bit of a chore–I explained how on your post about book bloggers.
Welcome to Ccom.

I’ve read C.S. Lewis’ children’s series
Chronicles of Narnia, which Marybeth,
mother of a 3-yr old reads to, for bed-time
stories! It is entertaining, yet has good
Christian doctrinal base, altogether a
good foundation for a child’s developing



The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a lot to say about truth. Truth is universal. It’s the natural law. St. Paul goes into this in Romans 1&2. The modern tread to deny there is a universal truth is based on man’s desire to sin as much as he pleases with no consequences–at least he thinks that if he denies universal/natural law, he will have no consequences. This is what has fueled indifferentism–because people don’t want to be told what is right and what is wrong, not even by their own consciences. It’s much easier to embrace indifferentism than to admit we all need to adhere to a common standard of behavior.

The first time I heard the expression, “my truth,” was during a helping skills class in college. I kept countering that expression with the story I learned in elementary school about the five blind men and the elephant. I would not buy into the idea of separate truths. A person may know part of the truth as each man knew part of the elephant, but there remains but one truth. As we learn more, our knowledge of that truth can expand. The tail is no less a part of the elephant than the ears, the legs, or the trunk.

You don’t hear much about religious indifferentism too much nowadays, it’s
more relativism or secularism! Do you think that Catholic indifferentism
has caused people to leave the Church?

I think societal indifferentism has tainted many people in many religious communities of nearly every sort. The ideas of “inclusiveness” and being “non-judgmental” have so gripped our culture that people are numb to the truth because it is too hard for them to accept, especially when fighting against the stream of public opinion. In only 238 years the USA has gone from a country of strong religious values to nearly total secularization. Little by little Western culture has given up on believing in objective truth in favor of relativism. It’s infected all corners of society. This is why we need a new evangelization, as Pope Francis has called for. We need to reintroduce truth to our Western societies that are actually hungry for it, whether they know it or not.

:thumbsup: Amen!

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