In his article “A Christmas Sermon for Pagans,” C.S. Lewis distinguishes between pagans and post-Christians. Pagans differ from post-Christians in that they are actually religious. “To [the Pagan] the earth was holy, the woods and waters were alive.” Secondly, they “believed in what we now call an ‘Objective’ Right or Wrong,” that is, that “the distinction between pious and impious acts was something which existed independently of human opinions.” Finally, pagans, unlike “post-Christian man,” had “deep sadness” because of their knowledge that they did not obey the moral code perfectly. To compensate for this shortcoming, the pagan developed a wealth of ceremonies to “take away guilt.”
This pagan worldview is precisely the one primed to receive the good news of Christmas. Meanwhile, the post-Christian views nature as a “kind of machine for us to exploit.” The world is no longer enchanted and so old rituals and traditions lose their magic. To a post-Christian, the incarnation is either an impossibility or unimportant.
How do we evangelize our post-Christian world? Lewis provides a solution: “… we shall have to set about becoming true Pagans if only as a preliminary to becoming Christians… For (in a sense) all that Christianity adds to Paganism is the cure. It confirms the old belief that in this universe we are up against Living Power: that there is a real Right and that we have failed to obey it… It adds a wonder of which Paganism had not distinctly heard – that the Mighty One has come down to help us, to remove our guilt, to reconcile us.” During the Season of Advent we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. Part of our preparations should include abandoning the post-Christian view of the world.