I think it’s natural that Lewis would object to the sort of “science of man” that drove fascist and communist leaders to re-engineer society with no concern for individual human lives.
Similarly, the “science” of a generation before had suggested that certain races were inherently more fit to lead than others. In the face of these sorts of “sciences”, humanists stand for human dignity and individual worth, and I think that is what Lewis was doing.
But Lewis also consistently stood for a sort of transhumanism which held that all should rise together, that the power and dignity of the individual was unlimited. Though he describes it in religious language, he definitely believed that this is something which we work for, over years or millennia, through our choices, our actions, our efforts.
“He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less.”
By Micah Redding on Feb 09, 2013 at 8:20am
I think the quote you provided (taken from Lewis’ book Mere Christianity) is meant to be read in a fuller context. He uses the common idea of evolution to express the idea of God leading his followers to perfection. The “next step” as he calls it, has already happened with the arrival of Jesus Christ. With him came new life, and all who come to know him share in this new life. When we do this, our mind is to become his mind, and our will freely conforms to his.
By Daniel on Feb 09, 2013 at 3:52pm
Always a grain of truth in what a CS Lewis writes. Even Ted Kaczynski had a valid message. The dehumanisation of tech cheapens what it means to be a person—yet we don’t have to please everyone. Marx wrote that capitalism destroyed profound religious happiness—and it did. Modernity has ruined the beauty of the old life of 12-16 hour workdays in hideous factories and on plantations picking cotton for Master; the times before anesthetics when the honesty of excruciating pain would put the fear of God into a fellow.
But you can’t have Everything.
By Alan Brooks on Feb 11, 2013 at 9:15pm
...mentioned Marx because though his political theories weren’t realistic, he was a great philosopher (or great sociologist). He knew that our religious past was glorious, profound, poignant—but ultimately futile. Try living on love and you wind up as a Jain with your stomach growling ever louder until you bloat.
I know many homeless who are spiritual until it’s nightfall and below zero outside. Then spirituality becomes less appealing to them.
By Alan Brooks on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:25pm