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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The C.S Lewis-Anscombe Debate Revised

It's been referenced here at the Reform Club and is often mentioned here and there in the literature. C.S. Lewis was well known as an unbeatable debater until he ran up against Elizabeth Anscombe. The history of the event is that Anscombe won the debate and that C.S. Lewis abandoned apologetics (reasoned defense of Christianity) for other things like children's literature. Victor Reppert, who has written his own book about Lewis, disagrees vigorously with the idea that Lewis abandoned apologetics after the Anscombe debate. Read about it here.

In addition, I think the general thought is that Anscombe beating Lewis in debate represented some triumph of the non-Christian over the Christian. She was actually a serious Catholic who was later in life arrested for pro-life activities in England similar to what Operation Rescue did in the United States. More about her and a confirmation of Victor Reppert's report on Lewis's continued interest in apologetics here at First Things.


Michael Simpson said...

A good rule of thumb: A.N. Wilson is a very good writer, but never believe anything he says about Christians or Christianity, at least not without independent confirmation.

Alan Jacobs has a bit on this in his latest book (though I can't quite locate it at the moment to give you the citations).

Tom Van Dyke said...

Thanks for this, HB. I enjoyed it. It might be precise to say that after losing the debate, Lewis abandoned playing anywhere but on his own field, as his arguments didn't do well on the road.

Ms. Anscombe was quite a remarkable figure of the 20th century. Had she chosen unbelief (and leftist politics), I have no doubt she'd be recognized for the giant she was.