So far as I can tell, virtually no has commented on the connections between C. S. Lewis and Emmanuel Levinas-one possible exception being Pope John Paul II, a great admirer of both writers (see Hooper xii; John Paul II 36). But the connections are profound and undeniable. I’ve found no evidence that Levinas read Lewis’s work, nor any that Lewis was acquainted directly with the thought of Levinas, though Levinas became an important figure in French philosophical circles following World War II. The affinity between Lewis and Levinas must be explained in some way other than direct influence.
There is something “perilous” about beauty and we are aware at some deep level of intuition or, better yet, at some vague awareness of a moral reality or “calling” that Beauty has within it the power to “change” us at some profound and ontological level of our existence. To follow a “trail’ that leads to “the Golden Wood” where one will knowingly encounter Beauty is one that requires courage and calls forth the essence of our character and reveals its flaws and weaknesses. It is here that we begin to acknowledge, again at some level, that Beauty contains within it the potential of great power and great goodness.
The first thing to note in reference to divine hiddenness is the fact that, for many, it is a deeply existential problem. The felt absence of God – for both believers and nonbelievers – may lead to hopelessness, despair, or indifference. Moving away from the existential dimension, however, we encounter the philosophical problem. The problem of divine hiddenness has generally been posed along these lines: If God exists, then the greatest possible good for an individual is that he or she relate to God in a loving relationship.
The body of C.S. Lewis’ work, from his essays to his fiction, plumbs key problems caused in higher education by Modernists. In both The Screwtape Letters and The Abolition of Man, he delineates the devolution of human souls deprived of meaning and dependent only on material fact. In the third book of his science fiction trilogy, That Hideous Strength, he creates vivid scenes of battle between two warring factions, the Progressives versus the obstructionists, at the fictional Bracton College. His essays and fiction consistently present his belief that the Modernist agenda is founded on a bankrupt philosophy for which its ultimate end is little more than a struggle for power.
The right of healthcare professionals to decline participation in specific procedures they believe to be immoral has been an unquestioned tenet of medicine for centuries. Since the shift in medical ethics in the past generation whereby patient autonomy has become the dominant principle, this right of conscience has been challenged. It has been most directly challenged by Opinion #385 issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in November 2007. This article reviews the pertinent history of medical ethics, focusing on the right of conscience, and the ethical issue of moral complicity.
In an age when technology has caught up with our literary imaginations, film makers are faced with many decisions about how to adapt works of fantasy for the silver screen. Since the beginning of story-telling, the quest for something greater than self has permeated our stories, infusing them with elements of the supernatural and the divine. As we seek a greater Other, we are also seeking ourselves and a deeper understanding of what it means to inhabit this earthly realm while longing for the numinous elsewhere.