C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion

I just read the revised and updated edition of John Beversluis’s C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion. Very interesting.

I confess I hadn’t paid much attention to C.S. Lewis’s apologetics before. Oh, it’s impossible not to know about his books, since they’re so popular among conservative Christians. I’ve every gone through a couple. But his arguments generally struck me as, well, so weak as not to be worth spending time on.

Beversluis’s book surprised me. Not because of his criticism of C.S. Lewis’s apologetics; as I said, I took it for granted that these were very poor arguments. I figured it would be good for a philosopher to take the time to go over them properly, but I saw it as the equivalent of a physicist spending time explaining what goes wrong with “free energy” schemes. Someone’s got to do it, but it really doesn’t interest me. But Beversluis convinced me that there’s actually something to be learned by a detailed examination of Lewis’s thought.

Anyway, it’s well worth reading, especially if you’re in an environment where C.S. Lewis’s kind of arguments are popular.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    Thanks, Taner, for the post on the second edition of John Beversluis’s C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion. I was in regular contact with John as he was doing the second edition, and I know how hard he worked on it. In fact, the second edition is so extensively revised that it is, in effect, a new book. Unfortunately, the new edition has not sold well, so I’m sure the endorsement will be appreciated. As an apologist, Lewis was intellectually third-rate. I’d rank him lower than William Lane Craig and higher than Josh McDowell. Lewis’s literary gifts, pellucid style, and his humanity, which Beversluis appreciates, make him uniquely appealing among the Christian apologists. He avoided the tone of hectoring self-righteousness heard too often from other apologists. Lewis’s affability and charm, and his engaging style–and the efforts of his myriad devoted fans–have given life to arguments which, had they issued from a less appealing and popular author, would have long ago died a natural death. The infamous “lord, lunatic, or liar” trilemma is a case in point. Beversluis treats these arguments with more respect and attention than they deserve, and along the way imparts many valuable philosophical lessons.