Man and Everyman

Assembling the Fragments

The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis’s masterful critique of the relativism that was as rampant in his day as it is in ours, represented the culmination of the author’s quest for the quintessential meaning of man’s being and purpose.  Always a diligent searcher after truth, Lewis had climbed a long and arduous path from the faithless rationalism of his youth to the pinnacle of perspective from which The Abolition of Man was written.  Following in Lewis’s footprints will enable us to understand not only the arduous path that he had taken but the ardor with which he trod it.

Lewis’s long ascent began from the depths of the valley of doubt into which he had descended following the loss of the lukewarm Christianity of his childhood.  “And so,” he said, in his autobiographical Surprised by Joy, “little by little, with fluctuations which I cannot now trace, I became an apostate, dropping my faith with no sense of loss but with the greatest relief.”  By 1916, he was dismissing all religions with a 17-year-old’s arrogant ignorance, stating superciliously that he believed in no religion because, as he said in correspondence, there was “absolutely no proof for any of them,” adding that his atheism was merely a reflection of “the recognized scientific account of the growth of religions.”  Superstition had always...

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