"C. S. Lewis: From Atheism to Apologetics”
Dr. Pesta offers a moving account of Lewis’s transformation from indifferent atheist to ardent Christian, and the prominent role that J. R. R. Tolkien played in that conversion. From there, the talk considers the startling diversity of Lewis’s Christian writings and their profound impact on generations of readers. Along the way, we examine the philosophical, theological, and artistic origins of Lewis’s Christian apologetics—from the The Chronicles of Narnia through The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce—articulating the many reasons why his writings remain relevant and critical for understanding the dangers posed to contemporary culture by atheism, scientism, and moral relativism.
“Dostoevsky, God, and the Devil”
Dr. Pesta provides an insightful look at one the greatest Christian thinkers and apologists of all time. Known primarily in the West as the author of Crime and Punishment—the powerful Russian novel of sin and redemption—Fyodor Dostoevsky offers some of the most profound reflections on faith, doubt, sin, grace, and salvation ever assembled, all delivered through novels whose characters are funny, tragic, sublime, and altogether human and relatable. Geared to those who have yet to read the books, this talk lays out Dostoevsky’s major themes and ideas in a clear, engaging way, demonstrating through passages of such works as The Brother’s Karamazov that no writer better understood the spiritual and intellectual consequences of atheism. In his works, Dostoevsky anticipated the rise of Communism—with all its horrors—as the logical outcome of the atheism and materialism that had taken hold of nineteenth-century Russia: and—ominously by extension—what awaits us in the United States as we embrace a similar cynical secularism.