Inklings Conference

Church was very different this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday we hosted an Inklings Conference, which focused around the writings of C.S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers. It was very interesting. I dig my church.

The most interesting of the lectures was the first, by David Naugle of Dallas Baptist University. His lecture centered around Lewis’s Abolition of Man, which I really want to read now. His main point was both brilliant and insightful. How much is from Naugle and how much is from Lewis, I don’t know. After all, as I said I haven’t read Lewis. But here are the main ideas:

  1. The lectures which became the book were a response to a trend in education that Lewis saw. Under the guise of teaching English, some were teaching what would become the main idea of Postmodernism, that there is no objective truth. Instead of teaching English, they were teaching poor philosophy.
  2. One of the chief effects of their writing was to have their readers approach their texts without emotions, where they might see a thing and just view it as a thing and never something that could inspire awe. They were not able/willing to make the cultivating of affections as a very important part of their curriculum. On the contrary, to them sentiments are non-rational and must be removed.
  3. The effect of these two things is the abolition and destruction of human society. In Lewis’ perspective, the task of the educator is opposite of the removal of affections; it is the creation of proper affections. But why was this important? Two quotes: "Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism." "The head rules the belly through the chest..." Without affections based on truth, man cannot control his most basic passions, and this lack of self-control based on an absolute idea of truth will lead to destruction.

At least that’s the idea he was trying to communicate. And I think he is right on. The example David used in the lecture is the man in battle. If the man has no passion for what he does, what will he do in the heat of battle? Can the mind alone simply keep him going? Or does there need to be some sense of honor toward his country, and duty toward his fellow citizents? I think Lewis’ idea is exactly right. And couple a dispassionate man with a man who has no concept of absolute right and wrong, and you’ve got a messed up individual.

I guess this is where postmodernism is taking us. And it’s not good.


Mark Ritchie 2005-05-02 09:36:00

Hi Eric, I just found your blog from the CSNTM website. Coincidentally, I was at the Inklings conference too, as a visitor. We attend Cornerstone Baptist in Wylie, and we got your flyer in the mail. Thanks so much for putting on that conference! Saturday morning was great. My wife was very refreshed because she gets so little opportunity to hear college-level discussion of any topic (being a homeschool mom fulltime....)