- Paperback: 193 pages
- Publisher: Ignatius Press (Dec. 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0898705231
- ISBN-13: 978-0898705232
- Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.5 x 1.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,563,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
C.S.Lewis for the Third Millennium Paperback – 1 Dec 1990
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a collection of six magnificent essays on the third millennium looked from the light of C.S.Lewis thinking. It is a sharp criticism of our times, together with a call for action and a message of hope for better times. Kreeft does research on the thinking of C.S.Lewis and the book is based on one of his best known books (in fact it cites exhaustively many others): "The Abolition of Man". However, and although I think C.S.Lewis was one of the best writers of the (past) century, this book is even clearer and sharper than Lewis. The list of "sicknesses" of our times and counter argumentation given in the third essay should be read by everyone!
A must read!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I think it is a "loose" argument. Lewis in The Abolition of Man says there will be no men left. Natural law ceases to be because man ceases to be. Does that mean that Lewis' position is correct - that the natural law can be abolished? Well, one might argue that if man himself ceases to be a moral agent, he is no longer truly human.
Kreeft holds out the hope that Aquinas is correct, that man will awaken to his danger.
But, in this polity, a society where people decide how to order their lives together, we are facing a powerful tyranny of thought that has granted unto itself the obligation of making those decisions. That power asserts that the belief of "an ethic or morality that transcends human invention" is a "religious" notion - and that religion can play no part - indeed, must not be permitted to play a part - in the life of the polity.
This tyranny of thought is found in the judicial chambers of our government, in the US Supreme Court and its circuit courts. Surely, the reasoning behind many Court decisions over the past 50 years can be found in the list of 20 "heresies" Prof. Kreeft supplies.
This book is a very "uncomfortable" work - reading it, one should be concerned about the erosion of the polity, should be unhappy about it, should be ready to do something about it. That list of 20 failed philosophies is the most important and valuable part of this work, and possibly the most uncomfortable aspect of it: I am sure the reader would recognize many of his or her own personal beliefs (and those that have been presented to him or her in school or church) described somewhere in that list.
We don't stone prophets anymore - the Court just rules them inadmissible.
Both authors are known for their clarity of mind, their prolific literary output, and their commitment to the truths of historic Christianity. And both authors have been known as fearless warriors against the prevailing secularism and relativism of our culture.
Indeed, a major target of Lewis's pen was modernism and all that it entails. The rejection of the sacred and the elevation of the secular was a defining feature of modernism. It meant the exaltation of human reason and the rejection of non-human revelation. Autonomous man, guided only by intellect, could usher in a perfect world, accompanied by science and technology. Such a utopian quest was doomed to failure of course, and many of Lewis's works were directed at this theme.
The Abolition of Man was a classic volume in this regard. So too was the third volume of his space trilogy, That Hideous Strength. The naïve and baseless belief of modernism that fallen reason, aided and abetted by science (really scientism), could create a new man and an earthly paradise has been the cause of more human misery and death than any other worldview.
The Judeo-Christian worldview, which gave rise to Western civilisation, has been repudiated, resulting in a host of heresies that beguile modern man. Kreeft lists twenty "isms" that Lewis waged war against, all the products of the modernist rejection of it transcendent roots. These include subjectivism, cultural relativism, utilitarianism, pragmatism, cynicism, hedonism, and secularism.
These destructive isms plaguing the West today are part of a much bigger sweep of history. Lewis argued that the history of Western civilisation has been characterised by two monumental spiritual revolutions, the first from pre-Christian to Christian, the second from Christian to post-Christian.
He argued that the second revolution was more radical than the first, just "as divorce is more traumatic than marriage". The second change is happening quicker and is more destabilising. As a result, the soul of Western civilisation is dying. The real question is how long and how deep this second revolution will run.
The first revolution however is the permanent one. It may appear to have been eclipsed for now, but our vantage point is limited. True, the new dark ages may continue for quite sometime. Writing six years before the new millennium, Kreeft could argue that we have two options: "Either we will build Gothic cathedrals again, from a restored faith, or we will build the Tower of Babel again, from a restored apostasy".
As a prophetic figure, Lewis could clearly see the stark choice facing the West. He knew that if we rejected the right choice, many more horrors would await us. But if we choose wisely, the new dawn will soon arise.
The six meaty essays in this book offer the way out of the spiritual, cultural and intellectual morass we find ourselves in. The prophetic vision and insight of Lewis needs to be captured again by a new generation. And this book is an ideal means by which that can happen.
Kreeft does a wonderful job of elaboration upon Lewis' ideas of the process of "abolishing" humanity. The central question to Lewis's book is: can we cease to be human by loosing our moral sense? Kreeft's central question is: how does Lewis's writings and thought apply to us in the Third Millenium?
His most haunting chapter is Chapter Four: "Can Natural Law ever be Abolished from the Heart of Man?" He discusses weather or not we can ever lose our moral sense, our conscience. This is an urgent dicussion, when you look at the souless children killing children in the school shootings. We seem to be raising up a generation of moral zombies who are acting like Hannibal Lecter eating each other up.
The Founding Fathers well recognized the necessity of moral law, and that structure in government can only go so far (see Federalist Papers 10 and 51). there needs to be an undergirding morality upon which our government, and every government rests. If not, somthing worse than the dark ages will occur.
(Question: What is the difference between someone without a moral sense, and someone who ignores it? I can't see any difference.)
Kreeft's voice is a voice of warning. But will we listen? And will we care?
Dr. Kreeft has done a great job in making Lewis' work understandable and demonstrates how much foresight Lewis actually had in regards to the problems facing western society. Further, Kreeft expands this thought and details the modern trends of thought without overburdening the reader with "academic" jargon.
The chapters "Darkness At Noon" and "Can Natural Law Be Abolished" are the works strongests arguments for Kreeft's position, which if you want to know what that is, then buy this book. The book is cheap and is an easy read. Kreeft's wit also makes this little book likable and fun.
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