By Jeffrey Swindoll
From Aslan’s roar to reading letters from Uncle Screwtape to explaining theology to the common man, C.S. Lewis continues to make a huge impact on children, students and adults alike.
Even 50 years after his death, Lewis is still a popular author for his fiction as well as his theological and philosophical writings.
Baylor’s Institute for Studies in Religion will be hosting a three-day lecture series about Lewis and his impact on Christian thought at multiple locations on campus.
“Lewis was chosen in part because we wanted to commemorate his 50-year memorial anniversary,” said Trent Dougherty, assistant professor of philosophy. “Many of us who teach here were influenced by reading his works in philosophy and literature.”
Dougherty, one of the speakers for the lectures, said the event is something undergraduates should seriously consider attending.
Many of the speakers are teachers students may have had in a class before and hearing what they learned from Lewis is something students would like, Dougherty said.
“I’d say every person on the list of speakers has their own personal story about how Lewis made a contribution to their formation as a person,” Dougherty said.
The lectures will cover various topics, including God’s existence, Lewis’ fictional apologetics and animal suffering.
“I think this event would absolutely be one that even non-Christians would be able to enjoy,” Dougherty said. “In fact, one of the sessions we have on the schedule is a conversation with an atheist.”
Students in every level of education can appreciate and enjoy Lewis’ teachings and thoughts.
“I think one of the great things about Lewis is that he’s a gateway to reading theology and literary criticism,” graduate student and English instructor David Clark said.
In books such as “Mere Christianity” and “The Problem of Pain,” Lewis is well known for his ability to discuss and portray his views of theology and philosophy in concise, easy-to-understand phrases and concepts for readers.
“He writes about very complicated topics in simple, clear language,” Clark said. “A lot of parents think he’s a safe author for their children as well.”
Dougherty and Clark separately said Lewis’ works have not lost any effect or become outdated as the years and generations have passed since his death.
In fact, Dougherty said Lewis maintains the same effect that he had to past and present generations.
“Even though Lewis comes from a British World War II background, he is still able to talk about these things so effectively because he focuses on the human condition,” Dougherty said. “We’re all human, and Lewis speaks directly to the heart and mind of people. He’s not focusing on what is different about us. He’s speaking to what is human, what we have in common.”
Dougherty said undergraduates are missing out if they consider this event not for them because of possible difference in opinion.
“You have to have consider all these people speaking,” Dougherty said. “All these members of the staff at Baylor each have something great to say about C.S. Lewis. You have to have a little bit of trust that there’s something here for you. Baylor doesn’t just have a couple people who are good at what they do. Baylor is filled with great people.”
The lectures are free to Baylor staff and students.