For decades, famed author and theologian C.S. Lewis' written works have entertained and inspired millions across the globe, but what some might not know about the Christian figure is that he was actually once an ardent atheist -- one who saw the world as a dreary and painful place.
And as the world focuses on the 50th anniversary of of the JFK assassination, Lewis' own death anniversary on Nov. 22 is being relegated to many back pages. "C.S. Lewis & Intelligent Design," a new documentary released on YouTube and airing on NRB Network is trying to change that as it commemorates 50 years since Lewis' death. It's a fascinating look at the author's life-long struggle to grapple with pain and suffering.
"C.S. Lewis is well-known for defending the existence of God, but he actually struggled for much of his life to see purpose in a universe that often seemed cold and heartless," explained author Dr. John West in a press release announcing the documentary.
Inspired by "The Magician's Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society," a book West edited, the new documentary shows viewers how Lewis' worldview was transformed and how he became convinced that intelligent design is real.
It also highlights how the theologian's once "angry" atheism was tempered and how he came to not only believe in the Almighty, but to inspire others to do the same.
The film begins by looking at Lewis' life after he enlisted in the British army and fought in World War I. At the age of 20, he came home from the war and published his first written work "Spirits in Bondage," a collection of poems.
The documentary describes the book's opening poem "Satan Speaks" as a grim portrait that doesn't remotely reflect the ideology inherent in his latter writings.
Some of the lines of that selection read, "I am the flower and the dewdrop fresh, I am the lust in your itching flesh, I am the battle's filth and strain, I am the widow's empty pain. I am the sea to smother your breath, I am the bomb, the falling death."
The divergent tone when compared to his latter works isn't entirely surprising, considering that Lewis was an atheist at the time and had published his book just months after returning from the war.
Credit: Harper San Francisco
Before his conversion to Christianity, the film proclaims that Lewis subscribed to what he called the "argument from undersign" -- "the idea that nature's cruelty and waste supplies the best evidence against the belief in a benevolent creator."
But after exploring the world and becoming a Christian, though he struggled, he came to believe that intelligent design was a more viable worldview. In the end, Lewis embraced the notion that "an effect could not be greater than its original cause," thus making the case for God's hand in creation.
He also embraced the notion that having a standard of evil or cruelty means that there must be an originator of that standard; the same goes for theories of right and wrong. And Lewis said that scientists moving away from belief in a higher power and in intelligent design was actually not a beneficial development in society.
"According to Lewis, the fact that many modern scientists reject intelligent design is what should concern us." West explained in the film. "If they no longer believe in a law giver behind nature, why should they continue to expect nature to react reasonable or to be able to find regularities in nature?"
Watch the documentary below:
The conservative Discovery Institute, a group that advocates for intelligent design, created this documentary. "C.S. Lewis & Intelligent Design" is one of three short documentaries based on West's book.
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