Walking through Logan International Airport in Boston recently, I heard two people discussing religion and its importance for life. I felt somewhat surprised and wished that I could stop and ask why they were talking about that.

I asked myself why I was surprised. After all, Christians know that making a decision about Christ is the focal point of life. Then I decided that almost everything we read and see, whether on television, in the movies, or in books and magazines, overlooks the importance of Christianity. The media leads us to expect people to ignore Christianity—or at least never seriously think about it. Would I be surprised, I wondered, if I heard two people discussing the merits of lemon fresh Joy or Ban deodorant? If we knew life only from the perspective of film, tape, or print we would never suspect that people long for some kind of religious experience (I am, of course, excluding the recent trend of interest in extra-worldly encounters, which could be short-lived), if not for a surcease of the restless spirit caused in a life without Christ.

Yet there are realistic novels, as contrasted with fantasy, written in this century that take Christianity seriously, though few Christians know of them: in particular, the ambitious eleven-volume series Strangers and Brothers by C. P. Snow. The first novel came out in 1940 and the rest of the volumes were issued periodically for the next twenty or so years. Lewis Eliot, the main character, narrates each of the tales, and though most of the books do not concern him personally, the series is his story.

Snow was educated as a physicist and taught at Cambridge. During World War II he served the British government as advisor on scientific personnel. Eventually he retired from ...

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