Contemporary Christian culture does not know what art is for. C.S. Lewis did. First of all, he understood that Christians should not try to change culture by turning art into propaganda. The first purpose of art is not to be didactic but to be beautiful and provide pleasure and play. It may have secondary purposes – to inspire, to draw us to God – but art cannot achieve these purposes without achieving the first. Secondly, Lewis knew that we should not simply analyze art for its philosophical underpinnings. Though Lewis recognized the need for worldview analysis, this approach devalues play and reduces artistic meanings to mere philosophical statements. But meanings in artistic texts should be received with the imagination as well as the reasoning intellect. Lewis believed in the importance of receiving artistic texts rather than using them, and of perceiving them as representing two distinct communications: logos and poiema. Finally, and with marked contrast, though Lewis was against using art for propaganda, he nevertheless saw its value for moral instruction and inspiration. His ideas on the moral imagination are key to understanding moral truth and motivating moral behavior.
Starr, Charlie W.
"Aesthetics vs. Anesthesia: C.S. Lewis on the Purpose of Art,"
Inklings Forever: Published Colloquium Proceedings 1997-2016: Vol. 7, Article 23.
Available at: https://pillars.taylor.edu/inklings_forever/vol7/iss1/23