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C. S. Lewis and the Christian Worldview$
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Michael L. Peterson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190201111

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190201111.001.0001

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Joy and the Meaning of Life

Joy and the Meaning of Life

(p.31) 3 Joy and the Meaning of Life
C. S. Lewis and the Christian Worldview

Michael L. Peterson

Oxford University Press

Much of Lewis’s prolonged process of sorting through worldviews stemmed from his discovery about each worldview he held: that it was not liveable, could not be put into practice, and did not explain his deep need for joy, meaning, and fulfilment—which the book labels “transcendent desire.” As Lewis progressed through several worldviews, holding and then relinquishing each one in turn, he moved closer to what he later called the Source of Joy, namely, God. Reminiscent of Augustine’s theme of the “restless heart,” which projects the human telos/end/purpose as relationship with God, Lewis pursued Joy as his primary goal. The question of whether Lewis’s conversion was essentially personal and existential, or whether it contained a reasoned argument, or both, is discussed around the topic of an “argument from joy.” The chapter also seeks to reconcile the “argued dialectic” and the “lived dialectic” of Lewis’s search leading to Christian conversion. Essentially, he reasoned to the truth of theism and became a theist without quite seeing that the theistic God is the Christian God in whom infinite Joy, Love, and Peace reside.

Keywords:   desire, joy, meaning, existential search, intellectual search

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