Lewis has taught me a style of approach that I try to follow in my own writings. To quote William James, “… in the metaphysical and religious sphere, articulate reasons are cogent for us only when our inarticulate feelings of reality have already been impressed in favor of the same conclusion.” In other words, we rarely accept a logical argument unless it fits an intuitive sense of reality. The writer’s challenge is to nurture that intuitive sense — as Lewis had done for me with his space trilogy before I encountered his apologetics. Lewis himself converted to Christianity only after sensing that it corresponded to his deepest longings, his Sehnsucht.
Lewis’s background of atheism and doubt gave him a lifelong understanding of and compassion for readers who would not accept his words. He had engaged in a gallant tug of war with God, only to find that the God on the other end of the rope was entirely different from what he had imagined. Likewise, I had to overcome an image of God marred by an angry and legalistic church. I fought hard against a cosmic bully only to discover a God of grace and mercy.