Professor and author, C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) grew up in church. During his schooling, he became an atheist. He converted to Christianity at the age of 32. Through his speaking and writing he winsomely helped (and continues to help) countless people discover or rediscover the treasures of the Christian faith.
He has nonfiction writing, most famously, Mere Christianity, that persuasively answers common objections to the faith–helping folks overcome intellectual hurdles.
Later, he turned to fiction, and helped multitudes by awakening imaginations. Portraying how Christian truth can play out in alternate worlds helps us see those truths anew in our world.
You’ve heard it said that “truth is stranger than fiction.” I tell you Lewis’s fiction is truer than a lot of nonfiction.
Someone else said that apologetics (or arguments that are built to defend Christianity) is more seduction than argument. Seduction is a provocative term, isn’t it? We use it almost exclusively negatively to refer to being tempted to and falling for evil–of being “taken in” by a pack of lies, only to be sold into ruin. But there is a more positive connotation–that of being “taken in” by Truth. A Truth that reveals the true nature of the deception we’ve been living in. This type of wooing toward Christianity is much less about philosophical argumentation (though that is included) and much more about appeal, imagination, beauty, goodness, and love. Lewis seeks to get to the head through the heart–appealing to those reasons of the heart–“reasons, whereof reason knows nothing.”
In a powerful metaphor Lewis speaks of stories that can “steal past watchful dragons,” by which he refers to our internal baggage that inhibits our imaginations and actually makes it harder for us to believe.
“Stories [like The Chronicles of Narnia] could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralysed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about the sufferings of Christ? I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings….But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and and Sunday School associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could.”C.S. Lewis, Letters to Children, 6.