Ex-atheist CS Lewis was once a ‘vigorous debunker of Christianity.’ Actor reveals what imploded that worldview

cs lewis

Legendary Christian writer and thinker C.S. Lewis went from “vigorous debunker of Christianity” to one of history’s most transformative and apologetic faith voices.

But most people today are much more acquainted with his hit books, like Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia, than the finer details of his compelling faith journey.

Nearly 60 years after Lewis’ death, that spiritual evolution is getting a fresh look through the popular, new film, “The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis.”

Actor Max McLean, who plays Lewis in the movie, recently told Faithwire about the author’s stunning transformation from “hard-boiled atheist” to Christian apologist. Watch McLean explain:

“[Lewis] lost his mother to cancer at the age of 9, [and] he had a terrible relationship with his father. … And he also experienced the butchery of being in the trenches of World War I,” McLean said. “And he came to the conclusion after that that either there’s no God behind the universe, a God who’s indifferent to good and evil — or worse, an evil God.”

But as we know, that was hardly the end of Lewis’ spiritual journey. He eventually came to accept Christ and to formulate some of the best and most compelling arguments for God and the Bible.

McLean said Lewis is, in some ways, a “paradox,” as he was a private man who had so many public proclamations that have spanned decades and transformed lives.

“Not only does he explore things spiritually and emotionally, but he ties it together intellectually so that there’s no bifurcation of the spiritual, the emotional,” he said.

McLean also detailed the impact Lewis’ legacy has had on his own life. The actor said he was an adult convert to Christianity and the legendary author has helped him, through reading and studying his works, to “navigate the Christian faith in a way that’s deep — that’s profound.”

“Lewis helps me to stay on track,” he said.

McLean is in a unique position, as the actor has repeatedly adapted Lewis’ works for the theatrical stage for two decades now, using his acting chops to bring vivid spiritual writings to life.

Considering Lewis’ literary legacy, it should come as no surprise that his story, as told through “The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis,” is resonating.

The movie continues to be extended into 200 theaters across the U.S., and has brought in more than $2.5 million — a stunning showing to say the least.

McLean said the reaction has been a “wonderful surprise,” as the movie was only scheduled to show for one night on Nov. 3. Now, the film will continue in various markets through at least Nov. 25.

Find out more about the movie here.

This story originally appeared on

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