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In his 1952 essay “On Three Ways of Writing for Children”, C. S. Lewis discusses three approaches to writing children’s literature and defends “that particular type of children’s story which is dearest to my own taste, the fantasy or fairy tale” from the charge that it is “childish”. In this paper, I define Christian apologetics as “the art and science of persuasively communicating and advocating Christian spirituality across spiritualties, through the responsible use of rhetoric, as being objectively beautiful, good and true/reasonable” and see how Lewis’ advice about the rhetoric of children’s stories can be generalized and applied to the discipline of Christian apologetics. In particular, many atheists charge Christian Spirituality with being childish. For example, British atheist Richard Dawkins says that religious people “have their Bronze Age myths, medieval superstitions and childish wishful thinking” (Dawkins, Scientific American). Describing his own childhood, Dawkins says: “I think I did believe it up to the age of eight or nine, when preachers said if you really, really pray for something it can happen. Even moving mountains, I believed it could really happen... I grew up. I put away childish things.” (Dawkins, “Claims Fairy Tales Are Harmful To Children”) In this paper I explore how the dialectical moves made by Lewis in “On Three Ways of Writing for Children” can shape a rational response to such rhetoric.
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