In Mere Christianity, Lewis quoted an old army officer who said to him, “… I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal” (119). Lewis answered the old officer by saying that religious doctrines are like maps, and they are indeed like “turning from something real to something less real” (119). And yet, explained Lewis, a map is “based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found” rather than being based on a “single isolated glimpse” (119-120).
Because everyone’s spiritual journey is, in some ways, “single” and “isolated,” many people today might identify with the thinking of the old man. … So, if we hope to mature spiritually, to move beyond just a fleeting assurance that God exists, we’re going to need a map, as Lewis said. … Rather than just chronicling past events, the inspired writers and prophets of scripture are giving voice to a timeless and continuing path of spiritual experience. … Their form and focus help to nourish faith when the way is rugged or unclear. (taken from Living Large, chapt. 33, ©️ 2013)