Doubt is a double-edged sword

December 08 2014

Have you heard of “anomy”? The Encyclopedia Britannica defines it this way:

“in societies or individuals, a condition of instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from a lack of purpose or ideals.”

In “The Abolition of Man” and elsewhere, C.S. Lewis predicted that this would be the trajectory of a society that repudiates objective values. Here are some quotes, what do you think?

"Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can't really get rid of it."

"A great many of those who 'debunk' traditional...values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process."

“You cannot go on 'explaining away' for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on 'seeing through' things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. To “see through” all things is the same as not to see.”

"If nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved. Similarly if nothing is obligatory for its own sake, nothing is obligatory at all."

"If naturalism were true then all thoughts whatever would be wholly the result of irrational cuts its own throat."

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

"A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers--including even his power to revolt...It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower."

Thanks to all for your thoughtful and entertaining contributions to this list, and to the Listserve team for making it possible!

Chris B.
[email protected]
Vancouver, WA

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