Latent Christianity: It Can be a Good Thing

Here is the quote by C.S. Lewis…

“While we are on the subject of science, let me digress for a moment. I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more good by that than by any directly apologetic work. The difficulty we are up against is this. We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. Every newspaper, film, novel and text book under-mines our work. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy’s line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects – with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics or Astronomy, we found that its implications were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defense of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian.”

(C.S. Lewis on ‘Christian Apologetics’, published in Compelling Reason (1998).

One thought on “Latent Christianity: It Can be a Good Thing

  1. Good work on the video! Your quote on C.S. Lewis and his use of the term latent Christianity is right on. I’m preparing to teach a class this winter on Art & Faith … the focus will be helping artists from multiple disciplines use their creative gifts in healing a broken world. Many of my ideas come from Steve Turner, a poet who strongly encourages artists to do precisely what you describe … letting Christian presuppositions implicitly shape and form the content of our work. I might also add, my class will be taught in a neighborhood church located in the South Bronx, in New york City. Christ is very much alive there using the works of Lewis, Turner and others in preparing His church, wonderfully inspiring communities who more often than not are written off by main stream culture. Thank you for shedding light on what “latent Christianity” should look like, and why it is important to the body of Christ.


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