March 27, 2012

Arthur Greeves

Arthur Greeves was C.S. Lewis' life long best friend. I'm about to start reading a book (a very big book!) of letters they wrote to one another between the years 1914 and 1963. There is very little information about him to be found so I'm hoping the book will shed some light. What I do know is that he was an artist and was deeply religious, practicing orthodox Christianity most of his life and then latter becoming a Quaker. He was also a homosexual, which is fascinating to think that he was surely, in part, responsible for Lewis' conversation to Christianity.

So many Christians throughout America quote Lewis as if he were the 13th apostle. I think there is a lesson to be learned here in how to treat people and also that God will use whomever He pleases. These modern notions that this one sin (if that's indeed what it is -- I do not believe so) is any worse than any other is utter nonsense. Lewis himself said in his autobiography (Surprised By Joy, 1956):

"There is much hypocrisy on this theme. People commonly talk as if every other evil were more tolerable than this. But why? Because those of us who do not share the vice feel for it a certain nausea, as we do, say, for necrophily? I think that of very little relevance to moral judgement."

"Cruelty is surely more evil than lust and the World at least as dangerous as the Flesh. The real reason for all the pother is, in my opinion, neither Christian nor ethical. We attack this vice not because it is the worst but because it is, by adult standards, the most disreputable and unmentionable"

Lewis' view may be a little outdated but I think he was headed in the right direction. Though, one must wonder: now that it isn't disreputable (and legally so in this country) or unmentionable, what is the current reasoning?


  1. I thought I would add my annoying opinion to this. I don't know if people think of it as a sin but maybe they do, in fact as long as humanity exists in a way that doesn't focus on beauty there will always be stupid underdeveloped people that have a certain nausea towards it. The point is they should remember that sexuality is not really an issue to discuss, but belongs to each individual and so they should mind their own business, and they should remember that homosexuality isn't the same as sexual basesness. What is worse and what people should be worried about is the exploitation of sexuality, whether it is women or just people making jokes about it.

  2. Some of that was pretty confusing, sorry.

  3. I hope you agree with the first and not the second one. Reading through it again it is actually pretty bad what Lewis says and saying that it is lustful and a "vice"? How stupid.

  4. Well, yes that is why I also said his views were a little outdated. But of course I'd imagine that someone saying those sorts of things in his time would probably be saying all the right things these days. But even so, if his present followers would adopt his out dated views, everyone would still be better off.

    As far as lust is concerned, well, the definition of lust is simply "very strong sexual desire". The word seems to hold all sorts of negative connotations but the reality of the matter is even a faithful, heterosexual, Christian, married couple would experience lust for one another. It seems to be part of the human condition, and while the world is thrown around a lot when describing sin, I do not believe it, in certain contexts, to be a sin in and of itself.

  5. I remember I was originally going to say something about that instead ofwhat I did say, I had been thinking about the word "lust" and I was thinking that that word should not exist because it is innacurate. I think it is because it seems to mean passion but it also seems to mean debasement and I do not think those things go together, they are completely contradictory. Perhaps the definition is defined by who uses it and the things it is used to describe, it is not right when good connotations get attached to obscene things and obscene connotations get attached to good things. It is just as bad either way.

  6. Yes, of course. But that's language for you!