When I gave a talk recently about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s friendship, someone commented afterwards that they really liked how the two men were able to freely discuss their differences as friends.
Because I enjoy leaning into controversial topics (such as recent article about “atheist” movies), I’ve read a variety of books about people disagreeing about important topics and yet managing to remain friends.
Here are some of my favorite books on the topic:
The Fool and the Heretic by Todd Charles Wood and Darrel R. Falk
What happens if you take two Christians who are both scientists but hold very different views about evolution, and introduce them to each other? This book follows the dialogue and resulting friendship between two such people, and what they learned about Chrsistian fellowship and friendship.
The Faith of Christopher Hitchens by Larry Alex Taunton
Sometimes described as one of “The Four Horsemen of the New Atheism,” Christopher Hitchens built quite a reputation for attacking Christianity. What few people knew is he also maintained friendships with several prominent conservative Christians. Larry Alex Taunton writes about his friendship with Hitchens and the surprising way Hitchens opened up to spiritual discussions before he died.
The Inklings by Humprey Carpenter
The earliest (and still one of the best) books on C.S. Lewis and his circle of friends at Oxford,
From Narnia to A Space Odyssey: The War of Ideas Between Arthur C. Clarke and C.S. Lewis by Ryder W. Miller
In 1943, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote a letter to Lewis criticizing his view of scientists in his novel Perelandra. The letter started a friendship between the two men which lasted until Lewis’s death. This book collects the letters they wrote to each other, along with some of their respective short stories and a few essays about their contrasting worldviews.
Here are several articles that also talk about friendship amidst differences:
“How We Need to Argue as Christians” by G. Connor Salter (The Echo)
“G.K. Chesterton: A Gallery of Beloved Enemies” by Zachry O. Kincaid and Darren Sumner (Christianity Today)
“Chesterton, Shaw, and the Effect of Laughter on Insult” by Mac Barnes (Patheos)