Unsettling Turns

Read anything by C.S. Lewis and experience the fog lift from your brain. Or, so I thought most people knew. Our Catholic men’s book reading club, gathered by the amazing and inspirational Martin Nussbaum (I’ll explain in a minute), embarks at our April meeting into the pages of the Abolition of Man by Lewis. 

Type into Google, “Abolition of Man,” and you’ll find a collection of Ayn Rand vitriolic epithets noting her hatred for the man and his Christ-influenced mind. A recently printed work by the late author has just been published. The collection of her memoirs covers her comments on more than 20 authors. She is especially critical of Lewis. 

Fans of Lewis are surely aghast, struggling to understand such anger. I have always been a fan of Rand’s work, but not prepared for her troubling anger at someone disagreeing with her world view. 

The shock of Rand’s despicable opinion of a certain saint (whether Rome ultimately agrees or not, because Lewis remained an Anglican his entire life) blew a large patch of black cloud into my enjoyment of reading Rand. She specifically calls upon Lewis’ Abolition of Man in her notes. You can find a website posting of her comments here.

Dear me. Two champions of thought, and one goes apoplectic. We’ll see how this reading of the book goes.

Back to Martin as my new hero. You may have read in the news about the U.S. decision to call the systematic murder of Christians by ISIS, finally, as genocide. Martin over late February and early March marshaled an incredible campaign to force the hand of the State Department to get on board with an already global acceptance and condemnation of the killing of Christians by jihadist terrorist Islamist extremests as a coordinated effort of genocide. You can see reports on the internet, everywhere, with quotes from Martin and his pals at the law firm, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, LLP. They put together a detailed report, complete with the names of the martyred (my word) Christians over the last few years by ISIS. The damning details are difficult to absorb. The heinous advance of Christian killing is emotionally and physically difficult to read. 

He and his crew are to be applauded, and hugged. How awful to document this. Martin said just days before the announcement that he believed John Kerry was convinced of the truth, but wasn’t sure he would be able to convince the White House to release the genocide position. Thank God, they did.

Blessings and comforting graces on you and your folks, Martin.

I found the dark road descriptions that Martin explained about this journey to clarify both the intent of ISIS, and the muddled direction of the White House, to be eerily similar to this upcoming discussion we will be having about Lewis’s argument against a systematic Abolition of Man. The 1940’s prescience by Lewis up against Ayn Rand’s vicious rebuttal sounds clearly like the claim that Christians are the source of our current world problems. Lewis hit many nerves with this book that is over 70 years old. Rand’s notes, over 60 years old, were only recently printed. 

The verbal vitriol against Christians in the U.S., specifically the fundamentalist and close-knit bands of faith whose biblical understandings sound so objectionable to the secular world, mirrors the fearful response to Muslims in America. Neither position is supportable, or ethical. Yet, while calling anti-Muslim attitudes ignorant, somehow breathing fire in the direction of Christians is intelligent discourse?

I’ll let you know if our reading of Lewis is as connected as I thought.

Using Format