Why C. S. Lewis is a Must-Read


Sophia Kyba

Whether you’re a baptized Christian, a theist considering Jesus, or an ardent atheist, C.S. Lewis is a must-read. Clive Staples Lewis was one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century. Though raised a Christian, Lewis rejected Christ as a young man, and was an avid atheist for much of his young adult life. In many of his books, Lewis describes the mental acrobatics he practiced to push the possibility of God away until he found that he could run from Jesus Christ no longer. Many of his fellow intellectuals helped him on this journey, including one of his closest friends, J.R.R. Tolkein. 

The first reason you ought to read Lewis’ books is he is a fantastic writer. No matter the content of the book, you will find that you just cannot put it down because Lewis manages to be engaging, fun, and elegant all at once. In many instances, the words on the page feel more like a conversation. Lewis never fails to include wit and humor in his works. So, if you get nothing else from reading the book (which I highly doubt), at the very least, it will be a good read.

In addition, Lewis’ portrayal of subjects and themes is incredibly thoughtful. He can take an impossibly complex subject and find multiple ways to explain it simply all while emphasizing its intricacy. Clearly, Lewis has deeply contemplated each subject, and you will leave each chapter feeling more learned than before. His arguments for Christianity become even more compelling perhaps because he was an ardent atheist himself. Lewis makes an example out of his own prior beliefs and the talk points that contemporary atheists use to explain away simple truths. He counters these with streamlined logic, not hesitating to reprimand false positions for their incoherency. Lewis writes with clarity, confidence, and great love.

Lewis’ insights are precious, profound, and intelligent, but the way he presents these insights are perhaps even better. Every several pages I feel compelled to read a paragraph aloud to whoever is nearby so that we can marvel together at his words. For example, one of my favorite quotes of his (which you may have already heard) comes from his book Mere Christianity: “When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world”. Lewis has many insights like this that are so marvelous you need to put the book down to meditate on the words. Reading his works gives me a reason to contemplate God deeply, thus rejuvenating my spiritual life.

I hope these sentences have given you a reason to pick up one of C.S. Lewis’ books and crack it open. If you aren’t sure where to begin, I suggest starting with Mere Christianity. It gives a lovely, thorough overview of what Christians believe. Perhaps you struggle to understand why a “loving” God allows suffering. In this case, I suggest reading The Problem of Pain. If you haven’t yet read the Chronicles of Narnia (which is an allegory for Christ) I would also highly recommend it. All in all, it doesn’t matter where you choose to begin, as you will certainly not regret starting your C.S. Lewis journey.