J.R.R. Tolkien challenged skeptic C.S. Lewis
By David Yount
It is no coincidence that two of the most celebrated storytellers of the last century were intimate friends. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both of whom taught English literature at Oxford University, were fellow members of a small group of writers who called themselves the Inklings.
Every Thursday evening during school term, the tiny band of storytellers repaired to the Eagle and Child pub across from campus, where each member read aloud to the others what he had written since their last meeting.
Although they were careful scholars, Tolkien and Lewis were drawn to crafting tales of fanciful persons and creatures and imaginary times and places — literary adventures in which good wrestled with evil, demanding courage to secure redemption.
Today Tolkien is celebrated worldwide by adults and children alike for his Lord of the Rings and Lewis for his Narnia tales. The friends' stories live on not only in books but also in spectacularly successful motion pictures.
In their personal lives, Tolkien was a cradle Christian, whereas Lewis had been raised without faith. Deeply skeptical of religion, Lewis nevertheless longed to believe. To that end, he studied the philosophers and scripture, seeking God with scientific certainty, but remained unsatisfied.
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