Thursday, September 5, 2019

"Smarter than we thought we were"

Joseph Pearce on why C.S. Lewis is so convincing to many of us:
Some time ago, during an interview, I was asked to encapsulate, in a solitary word, the genius of C.S. Lewis. After a moment’s thought, I gave my answer. “Clarity,” I said. “The one word that encapsulates Lewis is ‘clarity.’”

Today, considering the reply I had given, I still think that this one word captures the genius of Lewis. He had an uncanny ability to explain the most abstract points of philosophy and theology with a succinct brilliance. He could make the most difficult of philosophical or theological questions utterly comprehensible to the average reader, regardless of his reader’s lack of formal training in philosophy or theology. It’s not that he makes us smarter than we are, though he does, it’s that he makes us see that we were smarter than we thought we were. There is no reason, for example, for anyone, after reading Lewis, to feel that metaphysics is beyond his grasp. The easy didacticism with which Lewis unlocks and unpacks the central doctrines of the Christian faith in a book such as Mere Christianity is a case in point.

Lewis teaches us with such a natural and unassuming skill that we almost don’t realize that we are being taught at all. He makes the truth seem so obvious and so inescapable that we feel that we must already have known what he shows us, and that we must always have known it, at least subconsciously. We feel that Lewis is simply reminding us of what we already knew, even though, when we think about it honestly, we know that we had been too blind in the past to see the obvious truth which is now staring us in the face. .... (more)

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