A new book about C.S. Lewis aims to guide Christians and non-Christians alike toward wisdom, a deeper understanding of the Christian faith, and a full understanding of the meaning of life.
"Lewis is saying we really need to go beneath the surface of our faith," Alister McGrath, professor of theology, ministry and education at King's College London and author of C.S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, told The Christian Post in an interview on Monday. McGrath announced his new book, If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C.S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life, as a guide for modern Christians and non-Christians to learn the wisdom of the great author.
McGrath explained that his new book involves "letting Lewis help us think through the big questions of life and live better lives." It leads the reader through a series of lunch discussions with Lewis focused on eight different topics: the meaning of life, friendship, the importance of stories, Aslan and the Christian Life, apologetics, education, the problem of pain and the hope of heaven.
"Lewis is someone who has really helped me grow in my faith," McGrath explained, and he wrote this book to help others find the same growth through a relationship with the-late scholar.
Of his eight lunch topics, McGrath told CP he keeps "coming back to the first one: the need for meaning."
He argued that, compared to atheism, Christianity is a better way of looking at life, which explains the meaning behind a greater extent of human experience. "The more meaning a theory can pack in, the more likely it is to be right," McGrath said.
Lewis expressed this truth not through argumentm but in stories, he explained.
"Christianity tells us a true story about the way things are, but it engages the imagination and the reason at the same time," McGrath said, paraphrasing Lewis. "In our culture, where stories really mean a lot to people, I think we could learn a lot from Lewis," he declared.
"Sometimes people get locked into a way of thinking they can't break free from," McGrath said.
He suggested that stories empower people to see the world through another lens.
"Arguments can be a bit dull, but it you tell a story, people will say 'My goodness! I wish it were true!'" Christianity makes sense of the world, but it is more than an appeal to reason, he said.
McGrath also emphasized one of Lewis' key themes – the Christian virtue of hope.
"Lewis is saying to us that we are poised on the brink of something wonderful, and even though we haven't entered it, we have a sense of anticipation because we know there's something bigger ahead," McGrath asserted.
He also touched on Lewis' idea that humans seek a heaven on earth not out of some wishful thinking, but due to an ingrained desire for something the world cannot satisfy, like hunger It tells men not that they will receive it, but that they are made for it.
The author recommended Lewis' well-known sermon The Weight of Glory as his favorite writing on hope.
"I think the main thing is just to say Lewis is really interesting and helpful and if this new book of mine helps people get more out of reading Lewis, I'll be a very happy man," McGrath told CP, emphasizing that his book is for Christians and non-Christians alike, and he invites Christians to give it to their non-Christian friends.