It is interesting to me that C.S. Lewis’s conversion to Christianity was influenced by great Christian writers such as George Herbert. Lewis, an atheist at the time, discovered that his favorite writers were Christians. He reports details of his conversion in his memoir, Surprised by Joy. Although he prized rationality and deplored the thought of being accountable to a higher power, he was drawn to the work of Christian authors.
Lewis tells us, ”Those writers who did not suffer from religion…all seemed a little thin…the roughness and density of life did not appear in their books. Now that I was reading more English, the paradox began to be aggravated. I was deeply moved by the Dream of the Rood; more deeply still by Langland: intoxicated (for a time) by Donne; deeply and lastingly satisfied by Thomas Browne. But the most alarming of all was George Herbert. Here was a man who seemed to excel all the authors I had ever read in conveying the very quality of life as we actually live it from moment to moment; but the wretched fellow, instead of doing it directly, insisted on mediating it through what I would still have called ‘the Christian mythology.’”
When I thought about this point made by C.S. Lewis, it impacted me in a profound way. His heart began being softened towards Christianity by reading the works of great Christian authors. Although he was still an atheist when he began reading their books, his attitude towards Christianity began to change. Over a period of time, God continued working in C.S. Lewis’s heart until one day he did wholeheartedly accept the gospel. Thankfully, Christian writers had been sowing the seeds in heart that would one day be harvested.
One of the greatest ways to help people begin seeing God is through literature. Of course, there is a type of literature that can be overtly Christian and written for Christians, but there is also a real need for quality literature that has Christian overtones but that is not overly preachy. After reading this passage by Lewis, it reinforced my desire to write novels to create in the hearts of people an openness towards the gospel and Christian people in general.
- C.S. Lewis never disappoints (caritasestveritas.wordpress.com)