Scripts are not easier to understand than C code because the language is clearer - you are right the Bourne shell is too old and sucks.
Scripts are easier to understand than C code because they're using a higher level language which means comparable things are done in code several times smaller. They are also "faster" to understand because you don't need to find and download the right source code version. They are also faster to understand because, when you are not sure, you can add traces and more generally hack and experiment with them in the blink of an eye with a simple editor (everyone around my cube is able to do that while few people can do similar things in C).
Yes system V init scripts suck in so many ways, yes Bourne shell is the oldest and ugliest of scripting languages, but as a high-level and interpreted language it has a number of desirable features that C - a fantastic but extremely low level language - will never have.
I can't believe I have to explain the most basic characteristics of scripting languages in a forum like this...