I think my favorite book of all time has to be C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. In fact, if there were ever another book to be considered inspired, I would have to give it my vote. Lewis does a remarkable job of seeing into the hearts and minds of men, and I suspect all of us can see ourselves in one or more of the characters.
Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing Anthony Lawton bring Lewis’ fable to life in an 80-minute one-man dramatization. Lawton did a marvelous job of condensing the story without losing its impact, and of playing all the characters. You can go here to see a 9-minute video clip. Tonite I was amazed not only by Lawton’s performance, but also – again – by the story itself.
The point Lewis is making in the story is that people who end up in hell would rather be there than in Heaven, and to force them to live in Heaven would be an act of cruelty. As Lewis develops his characters, you can see that this in fact would be the case. At the very least, people who end up in hell do so by choice.
I subscribe to a number of atheist blogs, because I’m interested in seeing if anyone has come up with a reasonable reason for not believing in God. So far, even from those who claim to be quite rational and logical, I’ve yet to find one. In fact, I keep coming back to Lewis’ thinking in The Great Divorce. Atheism is essentially a moral choice, not intellectual. I am surprised, actually, at how many times immorality plays in to people’s loss of faith (even though they deny it). For example, it seems that many people just don’t want to be told they require forgiveness.
I was wondering if reading The Great Divorce would have an impact on peoples’ atheism, but I honestly think that most would simply respond as one of the characters in the book. I could be wrong, and hope that I am.