Thursday, April 29, 2010

UK factory workers ask C.S. Lewis questions (Part 1)

[C.S. Lewis attended a special event on April 18, 1944 at Electric and Musical Industries Ltd., in Hayes, Middlesex in order to answer questions from the factor workers. EMI (as it is known today) also ran the legendary recording studios at Abbey Road, London. emiHere's the introduction C.S. Lewis gave before answering questions from the factory workers.]

I have been asked to open with a few words on Christianity and Modern Industry. Now Modern Industry is a subject of which I know nothing at all. But for that very reason it may illustrate what Christianity, in my opinion, does and does not do. Christianity does not replace the technical. When it tells you to feed the hungry it doesn’t give you lessons in cookery. If you want to learn that, you must go to a cook rather than a Christian. If you are not a professional Economist and have no experience of Industry, simply being a Christian won’t give you the answer to industrial problems. My own idea is that modern industry is a radically hopeless system. You can improve wages, hours, conditions, etc., but all that doesn’t cure the deepest trouble: i.e., that numbers of people are kept all their lives doing dull repetition work which gives no full play to their faculties. How that is to be overcome, I do not know. If a single country abandoned the system it would merely fall a prey to the other countries which hadn’t abandoned it. I don’t know the solution: that is not the kind of thing Christianity teaches a person like me. Let’s now carry on with the questions.

"Answers to Questions on Christianity," God in the Dock (Eerdmans: 1970) 48.

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