50 of the best C.S.Lewis quotes

In recognition of the life of C.S. Lewis, which ended half a century ago ago today, here are 50 of his most witty, insightful, humorous or impacting quotes.

1. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
“Is Theology Poetry?”

2. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
“God in the Dock”

3. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
“On Three Ways of Writing for Children”

4. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.
Out of the Silent Planet

5. Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.
The Problem of Pain

6. Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.
The Problem of Pain

7. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
The Problem of Pain

8. There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
The Screwtape Letters

9. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
The Screwtape Letters

10. The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
The Screwtape Letters

11. The humans live in time but our Enemy (God) destines them for eternity.
The Screwtape Letters

12. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
The Abolition of Man

13. When He died in the Wounded World He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.
Perelandra

14. There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it.
The Great Divorce

15. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows.
The Great Divorce

16. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.
The Great Divorce

17. “They would say,” he answered, “that you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience.”
That Hideous Strength

18. Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.
The Weight of Glory

19. We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
The Weight of Glory

20. 100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.
The Weight of Glory

Reepicheep the Mouse

21. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
The Weight of Glory

22. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
The Weight of Glory

23. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.
The Weight of Glory

24. Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

25. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

26. You doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are.
Prince Caspian

27. “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth.”
Prince Caspian

28. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
 The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

29. Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.
 The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

30. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.
 The Silver Chair

Puddleglum the Marshwiggle

31. “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.
The Silver Chair

32. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.
The Magician’s Nephew

33. All get what they want; they do not always like it.
The Magician’s Nephew

34. All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
The Last Battle

35. Further up and further in!
 The Last Battle

36. We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He has disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed.
Mere Christianity

37. This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.
Mere Christianity

38. Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won’t last forever. We must take it or leave it.
Mere Christianity

39. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Mere Christianity

40. God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself.
Mere Christianity

41. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation. Surprised by Joy

42. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.
Surprised by Joy

43. Nothing is yet in its true form.
Til We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

44. “Are the gods not just?” “Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were?”
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

45. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.
The Four Loves

46. All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.
The Four Loves

47. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
The Four Loves

48. No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
A Grief Observed

49. It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one.
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

50. We do not retreat from reality, we rediscover it. As long as the story lingers in our mind, the real things are more themselves… By dipping them in myth we see them more clearly.
A Review of The Lord of the Rings


Which quote is your favorite? Did I miss one that is especially meaningful to you?

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Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.