The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis
Some writers are skilled builders, and it is enjoyable just to watch them work, even if you couldn’t care less what they are building. C. S. Lewis is one of those writers, and the book under consideration is one of those books. Consider: how many books you can think of from the twentieth century from which even chapter titles are so poignant that they have passed into general use?
C. S. Lewis and our last author, Richard Weaver, both died the same year (1963). Both were imbued with the Western tradition of literature. Both defended and promoted key conservative ideas. Lewis, however, reached, and continues to reach, far more people than Richard Weaver, in part because Lewis was a storyteller and not a philosopher. This is not to say that Lewis was not a deep thinker—quite the contrary, as this book shows. But he knew how to give his ideas the attire of the common man and how to make them walk where we walk. When you sit on the front porch with his ideas, you will pick up the wisdom of generations gone before as easily as a child picks up stories from his grandparents.
The wisdom in this book is that “certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are.” Lewis shows that modern education attempts to deny the really real. By denying or avoiding first principles it not only renders knowledge impossible, it also destroys humanity. It produces only clever devils who cannot appreciate the good, true, and beautiful (which is to say that they have no piety), and who strive to subdue reality (including other humans) to their own power. This wisdom is sorely needed, and I urge you to read this book.
Now, since this little post is a book recommendation and not a book review, I will not go into the reasons why I believe Lewis’ support of absolute values, which he calls the Tao, is unstable unless built upon the foundation of Christ. But I trust that his book will drive all readers to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus Christ not only saves man from abolition, in union with himself he makes man all that he was meant to be.
About Scott Aniol
Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.