C. S. Lewis’ Apologetics Are Vastly Overrated [Edit].

[Edit: I wrote this blog on about 2 hours of sleep and the half of the conversation I was quoting was that attributed to tolkien, and the conversation is fictional.  I have thought for years Lewis’ apologetics were fluff though, but this blog does not illustrate that point so much as illustrate that the people promoting his apologetics today are using a rolodex of logical fallacies to do so.]

I just left this comment on someone’s blog in response to a big long conversation posted between CS lewis and JRR tolkien:

“Oh, Jack, myths are not lies! In fact, they are the very opposite of a lie. Myths convey the essential truth, the primal reality of life itself.”

This is the only statement I actually agree with in this entire thing, but I think that myths convey deeper truths when not taken literally.  Everything I’ve read of CS Lewis’ apologetics sounds like empty hot air and illogical statements to me.  For instance, I’ll give some quotes and list the logical fallacies:

“Most emphatically not! Jack, the four walls of materialism are the four walls of a prison, and the materialists are our jailers! Don’t you see? They’ve put us in a prison, a prison of four walls.”


“But what you don’t understand is that we make things by the law in which we are made. We create because we are created. Creativity, imagination, is God’s imageness in us. We tell stories because God is a storyteller. In fact, He is the Storyteller. We tell our stories with words. He tells His story with history. The facts of history are His words, and Providence is His storyline.”

Affirming the consequent, circular reasoning, begging the question and so on.

“…and yet it is this true story that makes sense of all the other stories. It is the archetype. It is the story in which all the other stories have their source, and the story to which all the other stories point.”

This is the same fallacies above rolled into one with a dash of ethnocentrism sprinkled in for seasoning.  The idea that christianity is the first story to have a major plot reversal or be about failure and redemption etc is just ignorant nonsense.  Bear in mind I’m skipping over the many areas where he repeats the same fallacies, particularly circular reasoning and affirming the consequent.

“There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true…”

Wishful thinking.

“…and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits.”

Appeal to popularity.

“And to reject this leads either to darkness or to wrath.”

Appeal to consequences, slippery slope.

“And in my own life it has led me from darkness to Light.”

Anedcotal evidence.

If I listed every fallacy line by line including the repeats of the same fallacies, virtually everything he said is a fallacy.

About agnophilo

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5 Responses to C. S. Lewis’ Apologetics Are Vastly Overrated [Edit].

  1. TheSutraDude says:

    When I was a kid I enjoyed reading his space trilogy but apart from those books I called him Siesta Lewis. 

  2. Your quotations are from a dramatic re-enactment (made up) of a conversation supposed to have happened between C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. Even in the dramatic re-enactment, you’re mostly quoting Tolkien’s lines. (btw, the whole script sounds over-dramatic to me.) You haven’t yet engaged with C.S. Lewis’ apologetics. I suggest reading “Miracles” or “The Abolition of Man” for a taste of his reasoning, before you dismiss C.S. Lewis’ actual work based on a fictional conversation. abolition of man: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/lewis/abolition1.htm

  3. agnophilo says:

    @TheSutraDude – Siesta Lewis?  Heh.  @nyclegodesi24 – I’m sorry, that was a glaring mistake.  I wrote this blog at 7:30am after having been up since 2:30am.  I will amend it.  I have never been impressed by lewis’ apologetics though, and the link you gave doesn’t appear to contain any.

  4. @agnophilo – Understood. I like C.S. Lewis a lot, but he’s the sort of thinker that introduces me to a way of thinking rather than being the sort of thinker that really convinces me of his ideas, partly because he left much of his own ideas less than clearly defined. That Abolition of Man book is a book about, among other things, the objectivity of moral truths and the consequences of rejecting it. 

  5. Mere Christianity and a few of his other books were written as radio scripts before and during WWII. One thing that bothered me is that he goes around the subject so many times before getting to the heart of the issue. I’ve tried to read his works more than once and never got very far. I did read an abridged version of The Chronicles of Narnia, though. 

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