There is much here that encapsulates and reiterates some of what I have been talking about and also speaks, I hope, to many of the comments. C.S. Lewis certainly told it “slant” when we think about the poem by Emily Dickinson. He told stories. Even in his expressly theological or spiritual writings, he still made use of imagination and caused the reader to use theirs as well. He rarely, if ever, said, “Follow my logical and deductive argument and you should arrive where I do…” but, rather, it was more along the lines of, “Have you ever thought about looking at it like this?” And then he would tell a story or provide a metaphor. Good stuff.
“Lewis helps us to appreciate that apologetics need not take the form of deductive argument. It can be presented as an invitation to step into the Christian way of seeing things, and explore how things look when seen from its standpoint – “Try seeing things this way!” If worldviews or metanarratives can be compared to lenses, which of them brings things into sharpest focus? This is not an irrational retreat from reason. Rather, it is about grasping a deeper order of things which is more easily accessed by the imagination than by reason. Yet once seen, its intrinsic rationality can be appreciated.
Lewis’s explicit appeal to reason thus involves an implicit appeal to the imagination. Perhaps this helps us understand why Lewis appeals to both modern and postmodern people. Lewis gives us a synoptikon which bridges the great divide between modernity and postmodernity, insisting that each outlook has its strengths because it is part of a greater whole. Their weaknesses arise when they pretend to offer the full picture, when they really offer only part of the whole. Once the “big picture” is seen, they are both seen in their proper light.
Lewis enriches our vision of apologetics, allowing us to affirm that Christianity makes sense, without limiting it to the “glib and shallow” rationalism that he himself once knew as an atheist. Reason and imagination are woven together, using a rich concept of truth which emphasizes how we come to see things properly, and grasp their inner coherence. Truth, beauty and goodness all have their part to play in Lewis’s apologetics.
Such an “imaginative apologetics” allows us to affirm the reasonableness of faith, while at the same time displaying its power to captivate the imagination…”