What's an kinder term to describe C.S. Lewis than 'Fundamentalist'?

“Fundamentalist” has a particular connotation, especially in the US of (1). The Bible is literally true, including a supernatural Creation and Flood. (2). Christianity is the only true religion, and all other religions and secular philosophies are misguided or evil. (3). The ultimate society would then be a Christian theocracy; at a minimum, any attempt by secular society to limit or interfere with Christian values should be defeated.

Now based on his writings, Lewis did not agree with most of the above. He did not think it necessary to postulate that the first humans with souls were created supernaturally. He regarded salvation as personal, individual, and uncoercible, and not as the result of any worldly institution. He spent his career addressing the fact that intelligent sincere people could doubt Christianity. I don’t know if Lewis ever had knowledge of or wrote about American fundamentalism; his main concern was a British society already much more athiest than anything imaginable on this side of the Atlantic.

But Lewis believed that Christianity was literally true. That it was the final, indeed the ONLY answer to the human condition. He believed that only the determined actions of good people (ultimately, Christians) kept human society from collapsing into unchecked evil. He even went so far as to say that the problem with medieval society wasn’t that it was too Christian, but that it was not (truly) Christian enough. Without insisting on forcing anything on anyone, Lewis was uncompromisingly Christian. So what can you call Lewis’s stance without making it sound like he was a Bible-thumping backwoods preacher who denounces “Evilution” at revival meetings?

Christian?

I wouldn’t call Lewis fundamentalist. Didn’t he belong to the Church of England?

**What’s an kinder term to describe C.S. Lewis than ‘Fundamentalist’? **

Hmm, how about “noted author”?

The term I usually see used to describe Lewis on book jackets and the like is “Christian apologist”.

“Fundamentalist” is a very specific term that wouldn’t apply to a C of E member like Lewis and doesn’t describe Lewis’ theology.

I’d simply call him Christian.

I would also note that not all the pejorative views of Fundamentalists in the OP are held by all Fundamentlists. A literalist approach to Scripture is clearly a tenet of that movement, but a Christian theocracy would only be supported by a minority of Fundamentalists (although some undefined number of their opponents might erroneously ascribe that belief to the entire movement).

I second that. Baptists are probably the most recognizable Fundamentalist group, yet they have a very strong tradition of separation of church and state.

We’ve got to get away from the flawed equation, Fundamentalist = “any Christian who takes Christianity seriously.” I would guess that most Christians believe Christianity is “literally true.”

Lewis believed in evolution. There is a whole lot more to Christianity than that issue.

He would have like the term “Christian.”

evangelical, traditionalist, orthodox, even catholic

maybe “mere Christian” :smiley:

A frequent phrase I see used in the UK is “committed Christian,” which appears to mean someone who goes to church regularly and takes it seriously, making it a part of their life; as opposed to that majority who are baptised as a child, then avoid any dealing with the church except for the occasional wedding, but would usually put “Christian” in the appropriate box on a census form.

Just a Christian.

How about “asshole”? That, in my opinion, is a kinder term than fundamentalist.

I would take some objection to almost every sentence you wrote there, Lumpy.

> “Fundamentalist” has a particular connotation, especially in the US of (1). The
> Bible is literally true, including a supernatural Creation and Flood.

I don’t particularly want to defend fundamentalism, but I’m not sure the things you attribute to it are specifically characteristic of all or even most of the people who call themselves fundamentalists. I don’t know what you mean by “supernatural Creation,” but if it only means that the universe was created by God, then pretty much all Christians (and all theists) believe that. If it means “no evolution and a relatively young universe,” then it’s more or less true that most fundamentalists believe it. I’m not sure whether the majority of fundamentalists believe in Noah’s Flood.

> (2). Christianity is the only true religion, and all other religions and secular
> philosophies are misguided or evil.

I don’t think most fundamentalists believe that other religions are evil.

> (3). The ultimate society would then be a Christian theocracy; at a minimum,
> any attempt by secular society to limit or interfere with Christian values should
> be defeated.

I think it’s rare for any Christian these days to believe that a theocracy is the best government, even fundamentalists

> Now based on his writings, Lewis did not agree with most of the above.

He specifically said that theocracy was a terrible idea. He specifically said that there were reflections of good in other religions. He didn’t make a big deal about whether evolution was true.

> But Lewis believed that Christianity was literally true.

In some sense, anyone who calls themself a Christian believes that Christianity is true. The question is what they mean by saying that it is true.

> He believed that only the determined actions of good people (ultimately,
> Christians) kept human society from collapsing into unchecked evil.

Cite? I don’t recall him ever saying this.

> He even went so far as to say that the problem with medieval society wasn’t
> that it was too Christian, but that it was not (truly) Christian enough.

Cite? It’s possible that I missed where he said this, but I don’t recall it.

> So what can you call Lewis’s stance without making it sound like he was a Bible-
> thumping backwoods preacher who denounces “Evilution” at revival meetings?

Fundamentalism is so unrelated to Lewis’s beliefs that it’s hard to even compare them. Fundamentalism is an American movement that started about the time that he became a teenager, so it really had no influence on Lewis. As other people in this thread have already said, “evangelical” or “orthodox” are closer to characterizing Lewis’s beliefs.

I think this is Lewis’ self-chosen term.

Regards,
Shodan

I guess “flaming jeezer” probably isn’t any better.

I’ve read many of his books and several biographies. I think that he thought of himself as a writer, story-teller and scholar of English literature. He was an Anglican Christian, which is a long way from a fundamentalist. He did not appear to have thought that all of the bible was the literal truth; in fact, he was persuaded to renew his faith by Tolkien’s argument to him about the validity of myth as a conveyor of deep truths. His use of the word “mere” in the title of “Mere Christianity”, was according to him, a signal that his explanation of Christianity would attempt to describe the essence of the faith without getting into the divisive particulars of dogma the separate various Christian denominations. I agree with others here that the best term for him in the area of his religion would be “Christian”.

I think it’s safe to say that Lewis has been embraced by many different “kinds” of Christians (evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Catholics, etc.) as has no other author of the 20th century.

“Mere Christian” is my answer to the OP’s question, too.

How 'bout devout Christian?

Thats a very insulting term. I’m sure CS Lewis and the majority of other Christians would see Christianity as nothing to apologise for.

That word doesn’t mean what you think it does.

I hope I’m not being whooshed here…

An apologist is someone who defends or presents arguments for a position. There’s nothing derogatory about the term at all.