C.S. Lewis’s Journey from Atheist to Apologist with Dr. Hal Poe

We’re thrilled to welcome back Dr. Hal Poe, an esteemed scholar who has delved deep into the life and faith of C.S. Lewis. The conversion of Lewis, a towering figure in the English-speaking world, serves as the centerpiece of our discussion today. We embark on an exploration of his spiritual journey, a voyage that saw him transition from agnosticism to belief, a transformation beautifully detailed in his seminal work ‘Mere Christianity’. Together, we also dissect his three-part biography, paying particular attention to the pivotal middle years where his faith truly took root.

Our discussion takes a turn down the lanes of Lewis’s childhood, where the seeds of his eventual conversion were sown. We argue that his early church-going habits, coupled with his deep-dive into Latin and classical literature, played a formidable role in his spiritual development. We also take a moment to reflect on the profound influence of his teacher Kirk Patrick, a staunch materialist, and the overwhelming grief he experienced with the loss of his mother at a tender age.

Closing our conversation, we marvel at the profound impact of literature on Lewis’s faith. His scholarship in courtly tradition, gallantry, and chivalry, as gleaned from the pages of classical literature, led him to perceive the Christian story in a fresh light, paving the way for his conversion. In a world increasingly convinced of the alleged conflict between faith and science, we analyze Lewis’s counter-argument using his essays and books, such as The Abolition of Man and That Hideous Strength. As we wrap up, we ponder on what Lewis might have to say about our modern era and how his voice continues to resonate with relevance today. Join us for this enlightening journey into the life and faith of C.S. Lewis.

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Biography: Hal Poe

Hal Poe is the Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture at Union University, has completed the most extensive C.S. Lewis biography published. 

His three-part “Becoming C.S. Lewis” series begins with Lewis’ early childhood, middle years and then third… and ends with his death in 1963.  The first volume, which we are discussing in this episode, is an in-depth look at the author’s early life that, although critical to his works and conversion to Christianity later in life, is largely overlooked in biographies of Lewis. While the project took him about five years to complete, Poe has been teaching a Christian studies class at Union University on Lewis’ life and works for over 20 years.