Thursday, October 23, 2014

A View the Crises that Shaped C. S. Lewis' Writing

During his early life, C. S. Lewis was a confirmed atheist. While at Oxford he struggled with the problems of materialism, meaninglessness and anomie. Eventually, after much soul searching he became in his words a reluctant convert to Christianity. From this beginning, and probably because of it, he became one of the foremost apologists in the twentieth century, one who uses rational argument to defend Christianity.

His works such as Mere Christianity, and Surprised by Joy still bring many readers to the Christian faith, the author being one of them. He attributes his embrace of the Christianity, eventually becoming a pastor to reading C. S. Lewis while he was a student at UC Berkley.

Lewis' scholarly works are not the only ones that bring people to Christianity. Cootsona points out that Lewis turned to writing fiction, primarily the Chronicles of Narnia, because he
believed that other scholars were more capable of making academic arguments. Engaging the imagination was another way to continue the apologetic task. From the number of people who love the Chronicles of Narnia, he seems to have been correct.

This is an excellent overview of Lewis' life and writing. The first chapters are the most philosophical and somewhat difficult to follow, but Cootsona intersperses Lewis' philosophical writings with his own reactions. This makes the book very readable and gives the reader insight into how Lewis' arguments affected the author's embrace of Christianity.

If you're unfamiliar with Lewis' writing, this is a good place to start. If you've already read him extensively, this overview will help to put the whole body of his work into perspective. I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.