On the His Dark Materials trilogy

God Is in the Stories

By Ned Vizzini

I remember where I was when, as a child, I decided that there wasn’t any God: in church. I wasn’t in the pews, though; I was upstairs, in a sort of well-furnished attic, sitting quietly as the service went on below me. I wasn’t a disorderly child, so I’m not sure why I was up there, unsupervised. Now it would have been grounds for a lawsuit.

In any case, I spent a few moments looking out the window, counted a few cars (this was in New York, by the tram that leads to Roosevelt Island), and decided, in that quick, breezy way that children sometimes do, that God didn’t exist and it was all a sham.

From then on, when I went to church and said the Lord’s Prayer, I always left off the last word of each line:

Our Father, who art in
Hallowed be thy
Thy kingdom
Thy will be. . . .

Clive Staples Lewis had a similar start. His had a more intoxicating preamble–the headmaster of his first school was removed and placed in a mental institution–but then he settled into atheism under the guidance of a private tutor of the rigid, intellectual persuasion. Things stayed that way until he entered Oxford, where he began to take a look at Christian texts in his studies of medieval and Renaissance literature. He found that he quite respected the writing (Jones).

It might seem silly to convert because of good work, but Lewis had some prodding from his colleague at Oxford, a  …

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