The Problem of Pain & the Conversion of a Sinner

He became a Christian shortly after debating C.S. Lewis at the Socratic Club. It’s likely he spent the night at Lewis’ home, as Lewis was known for hosting the guest speakers. C.E.M. Joad, a prolific English philosopher, was famous for his war time appearances on the BBC. C.S. Lewis also made a name for himself on the BBC during this same time frame, but for very different reasons. Joad spoke freely of his agnosticism. Lewis preached the gospel.

In 1953, a year after Lewis’ talks were published as Mere Christianity, C.E.M. Joad died of cancer. But more importantly, he died a Christian. Lewis’ influence on Joad’s conversion isn’t difficult to discover. Joad leaves very a clear trail of intellectual bread crumbs leading back to the Kilns.

Joad’s book God and Evil, which he and Lewis debated at the Socratic, references Lewis over fifty times. There are undeniable influences from Lewis’s The Problem of Pain throughout. Joad later cited Lewis’s The Abolition of Man as one of the greatest influences upon his conversion to the Christian faith.

In The Recovery of Belief: A Restatement of Christian Philosophy, Joad’s final published work before his death, Joad writes, “The following book is an account, of some of the reasons which have converted me to the religious view of the universe in its Christian version.” Joel Heck, in his delightful article on Joad and Lewis, summarizes it well:

“Joad was a philosopher and scallywag, to be sure, and he had a lot in common with Lewis, but the one thing that most united C.E.M. Joad with C.S. Lewis, and ultimately eliminated the reputation of scallywag by the grace of God, was the Christian faith.”