In the coming months we hope to publish more at CT about the relationship between faith and economics, from a number of perspectives. The question about how Christians should view the nation state, on the one hand, and the powerful forces of multinational capitalism, on the other hand, is too important to leave to economists or political scientists alone. Indeed, some of the most beloved writers of 20th-century Christianity—including G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis—had powerful critiques to offer of the dominant ideologies of their own day. In this essay, Art Lindsley reminds us that C. S. Lewis had a healthy suspicion of one of his era's favorite words, "progress." —Andy Crouch, CT executive editor

Some words are more slippery than they seem.

In C. S. Lewis's TheVoyage of the Dawn Treader, King Caspian encounters Gumpas, the Governor of the Lone Islands. Gumpas tells Caspian that the slave trade practiced in his domain is an "essential part of the development of the island."

"Tender as my years may be," says Caspian, "I do not see that it brings into the islands meat or bread or beer or wine or timber or cabbages or books or instruments of music or horses or armour or anything else worth having. But whether it does or not, it must be stopped."

"But that would be putting the clock back," gasps the governor. "Have you no idea of progress, of development?"

"I have seen them both in an egg," says Caspian. "We call it going bad in Narnia. This trade must stop."

Who could be against "progress" or "development"? Only someone, like Caspian, who has realized that some things ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueHow God Sent His Word to An Iraqi Interpreter
How God Sent His Word to An Iraqi Interpreter
I saw an American soldier reading his Bible, and I wanted to know more.
RecommendedThree Reasons Why Evangelicals Stopped Advocating for the Environment
Three Reasons Why Evangelicals Stopped Advocating for the Environment
It's not theology, it's politics.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickFinding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Christianity Today
Why We Need 'Dinosaurs' Like C. S. Lewis
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.