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Billy HallowellJan 3, 2023 12:00:00 AM3 min read

Ex-Atheist C.S. Lewis Was Once a ‘Vigorous Debunker of Christianity.’ Actor Reveals What Imploded That Worldview

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 film, “The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis."

WATCH NOW: "THE MOST RELUCTANT CONVERT: THE UNTOLD STORY OF C.S. LEWIS" IS NOW AVAILABLE ON PURE FLIX! Here's the synopsis: Experience C.S. Lewis’ profound journey from vigorous debunker of Christianity to become, as he said, “the most reluctant convert in all England.” Through Max McLean’s detailed and masterful performance, Lewis’ story of grief, loss and redemption comes to life on screen in his own magnificent words. 

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 McClean explain:


“[Lewis] lost his mother to cancer at the age of so of 9, he had a terrible relationship with his father. … and he also experienced a butchery of being in the trenches of World War I,” McClean 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. 

McClean 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.

McClean 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 America, and has brought in more than $2.5 million — a stunning showing to say the least.

McClean said the reaction has been a “wonderful surprise,” as the movie was only scheduled to show for one night when it originally aired in theaters.

This story originally appeared on

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Billy Hallowell

Billy Hallowell has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite and on, among other outlets. Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.