Lewis’ books popularized the Christian message
Two recent letters call for a response.
The first letter defends C.S. Lewis (“The Chronicles of Narnia”) against several charges. The letter did contain one inaccuracy. Supporting Lewis, it stated that he was influential in the Christian conversion of his friend, J.R.R. Tolkien (“The Lord of the Rings”). Actually, it was the other way around. Tolkien, a committed Catholic, was instrumental in Lewis becoming a Christian.
A second letter approves those ridiculing Lewis for using fanciful fiction “rather than logic” in his works. This second letter alleges that, unlike Christian authors such as Lewis, it is atheists who rightfully “appeal to reason rather than fairy tales when considering beliefs and concepts to live by.”
In reply, the writer should be reminded that history is replete with Christian authors employing logic and reason in their writings. Examples abound: St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Karl Rahner, Karl Barth.
As for works of fantasy, many great literary classics have clothed their serious messages in imaginative fiction, e.g., Homer’s “The Odyssey” and Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” in addition to the satirical “Gulliver’s Travels” of Jonathan Swift and “Animal Farm” of George Orwell.
Lewis’ denigrators, cited approvingly in the second letter, derisively deny that he was a great philosopher. However, this was not his gift. His legacy is that of a superbly eloquent popularizer of the Christian message in both sober nonfiction and fanciful fiction.
The Rev. Charles Amico, Ph.D.
Christ the King Seminary