The Sordid Den Of Evil

On the 29th November 1898 C.S Lewis was born. Lewis was so much more than a writer of children’s fables, he was an academic and a philosopher who wrote extensively about theology and the challenges of faith in the modern world. His most prodigious period of work was published in the sixties, a decade associated with an almost militant secularism. However his warnings about western societies divesting themselves of their religious and artistic traditions are remarkably prescient.

The cultural vandalism enacted by the sixties radicals has devastated society. Life in the west today literally has no meaning, as the beliefs that once anchored us have been deliberately destroyed. Lewis` prophecy that the forces of individualism, materialism and mechanisation would have a malign and irreversible effect on future generations has been proven correct. In the age of the Internet there is no appreciation or understanding of the sublime, or of beauty in general because no-one has been taught there is value in such things, only pure rationality and function matters.

Consequently there is a distinct lack of humanity in modern discourse. Humanity, in its essence, is flawed, modern commentators insist that our dealings with each other should be dominated by reason but conveniently ignore the fact that we are not wholly reasoned. Human beings are also sentimental creatures, that is a fundamental part of our nature and we cannot change that fact. Political ideologies like socialism attempt to deny or subvert natural law but they always fail because they have an unrealistic expectation of human perfection. It is also false to claim that there is a dichotomy between science and religion because both are theories that have been subject to evolving debate for centuries.

It is more accurate to claim that there is a dichotomy between objective theories of the material world and the subjective experience of the individual. Science and secularism are perceived to be objective and reflect a universal reality, this has come into conflict with art and religion, specifically Christianity.

The artist believes that there is a more profound meaning to human existence beyond the base biological functions of breathing, eating and excreting and seeks to create beauty for its own sake. Similarly the religious believer, the Christian believes that individual life has an inherent value for its own sake, beyond the instrumental values of working or merely reproducing.

Christians do not deny that human beings can be selfish, lazy, greedy and prone to irrational violence because they have enough insight to realise that this is a unique folly of the species, what is important to them is to strive to be better. Unlike the secular or scientific believers, Christians maintain that good and evil are objective realities and are unchangeable and non negotiable. Murder, for example is an evil act, but modern secular people always seem to find excuses for murderers, pointing towards some material evidence that compelled that person`s behaviour.

It is obvious that attitudes like that have fragmented what is left of our civilization. The traditional values that used to cohere us as a community have withered away and life has just been reduced to our economic and material function. It is pitiful to consider how shallow modern existence appears, but at least we can comfort ourselves in the knowledge that our past had a greater merit.

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