Orson Scott Card wrote a great article today on Mormon Times, highlighting the tremendous influence that Hugh Nibley and C.S. Lewis have had on his “Christian education” over the years, but particularly when he was younger.
I couldn’t agree more with his feelings about the impact that these two scholars have had. I’ve particularly been influenced, even fundamentally changed, by the writings of Hugh Nibley, and I’m just beginning to get into Lewis. Like I’ve said in the past, in a way I’ve felt personally mentored by Nibley through reading his work, a sentiment shared by Orson Scott Card:
It was a joy to spend time in his company, reading what he had to say.
He taught me, as Lewis did, that worldly intellectuals are only able to claim superiority to believers by using the dumbest examples of Christian thinking, and comparing it to the best of science; but the best of Christian (and, more particularly, Mormon) thinking takes all the findings of science and history into account, and finds no contradiction.
One thing that really impressed me, and continues to shape me, about Nibley’s work is that it was always solidly and unquestionably faithful and faith-promoting, but usually did so by placing Mormonism into the larger context of world history and science:
It comes from a rigorous scholar, who never lowers the bar to account for faith. Indeed, it was Nibley who taught me that religion must meet the same standard as science: It has to work in the real world. You have to be able to replicate the results.
I’ve always been a little shocked by how many members of the Church that I run into that have never read any of Nibley’s work, or very litte, something which Orson Scott Card also laments:
Wouldn’t that be a tragic irony if the greatest scholar, explainer and defender of Mormon doctrine in contrast to the philosophies of the world should be forgotten by his own people?
Hugh Nibley continues to be one of the Church’s most “unofficial” profound teachers and defenders of this century:
But it was Hugh Nibley, more than any other person, who actually taught me, not the gospel itself, but how to study the gospel and hold myself to the most rigorous standards as I did…
But our Christianity, the revealed religion, both ancient and modern, is nowhere better explained and applied than in the writings of Hugh Nibley.
Jump on over to Mormon Times to read the whole article.
Have you been influenced by Nibley’s work? How so? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.