Conversion of intellectuals

The poster for the event 55 Encuentro de Universitarios Católicos (hung at the entrance of my place of work) shows a number of intellectuals who “conversed”: Henry Newman, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, GK Chesterton, and E Stein.

Interestingly, I think only the later would apply, in the sense that is implied (imho) in the poster: conversion from atheism (they are intellectuals!) to Roman catholicism. Newman transfered from one Christian faith to another, it seems Tolkien and Chesterton always were more or less Catholic, and Lewis converted to Anglicanism.

Some extracts from wikipedia to support this follow.

  • The Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was a Roman Catholic priest and cardinal, a convert from Anglicanism in October 1845…
  • Raised in a church-going family in the Church of Ireland, Lewis became an atheist at the age of 15, though he later paradoxically described his young self as being “very angry with God for not existing”… Influenced by arguments with his Oxford colleague and friend J. R. R. Tolkien, and by the book The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton, he slowly rediscovered Christianity. After his conversion to theism in 1929, Lewis converted to Christianity in 1931. Following a long discussion and late-night walk with his close friends Tolkien and Hugo Dyson, he records making a specific commitment to Christian belief while on his way to the zoo with his brother. He became a member of the Church of England — somewhat to the disappointment of Tolkien, who had hoped he would convert to Roman Catholicism.
  • In the last years of his life, Tolkien became greatly disappointed by the reforms and changes implemented after the Second Vatican Council
  • Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an “orthodox” Christian, and came to identify such a position with Catholicism more and more, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton’s “friendly enemy” according to Time, said of him, “He was a man of colossal genius”…
  • Edith Stein Born into an observant Jewish family but an atheist by her teenage years, she converted to Christianity in 1922, was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church and was received into the Discalced Carmelite Order as a postulant in 1934…

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