C.S. Lewis died fifty years ago today, leaving behind an incredible literary legacy ranging from the beloved children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia, to great theological and apologetic works such as Mere Christianity.
But Christians might not be as familiar with his views on faith, work, and economics.
Lewis believed that all work was spiritual work, if done to glorify God:
The work of a Beethoven and the work of a charwoman become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly “as to the Lord.”
Though a strong advocate of authority and institutions, Lewis also recognized the danger of authority which overstepped its bounds. Based on his strong understanding of human nature, he emphasized the importance of economic freedom and the rule of law, providing a strong voice against tyranny.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.