The Relevance of C.S. Lewis

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On November 22, 1963, the same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, C.S. Lewis died*. Lewis is one of my favorite authors. Oh, who am I kidding, he is my favorite author. I love it all, I quote him to the point of annoying people. I’d call my dog Jack if I had a dog.

Most people know him from The Chronicles of Narnia, a few more from Mere Christianity. But I think the most relevant for us today are two books that are companions: the non-fiction The Abolition of Man and the concepts of that book worked out in fiction, That Hideous Strength.


The Abolition of Man purports to be about education, but it is also a philosophical defense of morality and absolutes. That Hideous Strength paints a world where those who’ve rid themselves of absolute morality are seeking to be the rulers of a Brave New World and make men into their own image. When men aren’t ruled from within by a common morality, they will be ruled from without by those who impose their own desires and ideals.

As a character in That Hideous Strength puts it,
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“Man has got to take charge of Man. That means, remember, that some men have got to take charge of the rest–which is another reason for cashing in on it as soon as one can. You and I want to be the people who do the taking charge, not the ones who are taken charge of.”

It all seems frightening familiar as the so-called “experts” seek to extend control over every aspect of our lives, doesn’t it?

Lewis paints the dangers of bureaucracy and the effects of bad (and good) company,particularly on those without a moral center, like the protagonists Mark and Jane Studdock. In Belbury, Mark is finding the easy path of “go along to get along.”

“This was the first thing Mark had been asked to do which he himself, before he did it, clearly knew to be criminal. . . But the moment of his consent almost escaped his notice. . . it all slipped past in a chatter of laughter, of that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make mendo very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men.”

C.S.Lewis gave us so to think about, mull over and contend with. I’m very thankful that he lived and thought and shared his thoughts through such fascinating books.

Now off to find my copy of The Abolition of Man.

* Peter Kreeft wrote an interesting apologetic work called Between Heaven and Hell, featuring Lewis, Kennedy and Aldous Huxley, who also died that day. It’s an interesting read.

One response to “The Relevance of C.S. Lewis”

  1. […] people who do the taking charge, not the ones who are taken charge of.” (Yes, I tend to quote that bit a lot. It’s […]

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