Monday, April 25, 2016

The pagan maiden and the apostate adultress

I thought of titling this post: "Why apostates are so much more worse off than unevangelized pagans." But then I thought of the words above, whose meaning should soon become apparent.

This is a familiar theme among Chesterton readers who know, for example, his quote wherein he declares: "Paganism was the biggest thing in the world, and Christianity was bigger and everything since has been comparatively small." It was a big theme in his book, The Everlasting Man.

It's not surprising that C.S. Lewis also addresses the issue, as one of my students recently pointed out in a term paper. Quoting from C.S. Lewis and Don Giovanni Calibria, The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis (South Bend, IN: St. Augustin's Press, 2009), p. 90, he writes (first in the Latin, then the English translation):
Hinc status pejor quam illum statum quem habuimus ante fidem receptam. Nemo enim ex Christianismo redit in statum quem habuit ante Christianismum, sed in pejorem: tantum distat inter paganum et apostatam quantum innuptam ed adulteram. Nam fides perficit naturam sed fides amissa corrumpit naturam.

This [present] state is worse than that state which we had before the faith [was] received. For no one from Christianity returns into the state which he had before Christianity, but into a worse one: pagans and apostates differ as much as an unmarried [woman] and an adultress. For faith perfects nature, but faith lost corrupts nature.
Related: Peter Kreeft, "Comparing Christianity & The New Paganism" (

1 comment:

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Matt 12: The unclean spirit, which has possessed a man and then goes out of him, walks about the desert looking for a resting-place, and finds none; 44 and it says, I will go back to my own dwelling, from which I came out. And it comes back, to find that dwelling empty, and swept out, and neatly set in order. 45 Thereupon, it goes away, and brings in seven other spirits more wicked than itself to bear it company, and together they enter in and settle down there; so that the last state of that man is worse than the first. So it shall fare with this wicked generation