C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

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C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

Post  dreinisch on Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:26 pm

Okay....I am an Atheist and my brother is a STRONG Southern Baptist. He of course came at me today and told me I need to read C. S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity". And then went on with the infamous case made by the propagandist....."That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman and something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." I have read Hitchen's take on it, and it comes across as a loose work around....a skirting of the issue. Dawkins offers an alternative.....that Lewis was simply mistaken. Somehow these arguments just come across as weak. I was wondering if anyone here would be able to help.........

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Re: C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

Post  Aught3 on Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:48 am

Well I can't remember what Hitchens and Dawkins say about Lewis' trilema but Bart Ehrman offers what I consider to be a compelling fourth option: legend. Central to Lewis' thesis is the idea that Jesus himself claimed he was God but this claim only appears in the gospel of John - the last and most wildly diverging of the four gospels. If the idea that Jesus claimed he was God is a legend, then the problem of liar, lunatic, or lord disappears.
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Re: C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

Post  Clint on Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:50 pm

I was in a position very similar to yours about a decade ago. A very close friend of mine is a Southern Baptist and he also asked me to read Mere Christianity after some discussions in which I outlined my (at the time) agnostic/deist beliefs. Years later he requested that I read the New Testament and I wish we had started there instead. I never finished either, but I might have finished the New Testament by this point and at least have a better understanding of Christianity.

In any case, I'm pretty much on board with the point a previous poster made with regard to Bart Ehrman. Lewis is making a supposition that the Gospels are reliable historical sources, free of embellishment. We know that the Hebrew Bible is full of inaccuracies, as are Herodotus' histories and the Iliad; we only need point out (and thanks to Thomas Paine for this one) that any quotation of Jesus' is hearsay. The best apologists try to use the methods of logic (and fail) to make their case, while Lewis asks you to make the same presupposition that he does.

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Re: C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

Post  dreinisch on Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:59 pm

Thank you both very much. It makes complete sense to go the route of Ehrman and Paine.

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Re: C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

Post  thecatslunch on Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:05 am

dreinisch wrote:Okay....I am an Atheist and my brother is a STRONG Southern Baptist. He of course came at me today and told me I need to read C. S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity". And then went on with the infamous case made by the propagandist....."That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman and something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." I have read Hitchen's take on it, and it comes across as a loose work around....a skirting of the issue. Dawkins offers an alternative.....that Lewis was simply mistaken. Somehow these arguments just come across as weak. I was wondering if anyone here would be able to help.........

I might add another option. Even if Jesus said this kind of thing he could simply have been ... mistaken.
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Re: C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

Post  Neon Genesis on Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:11 am

My stance is that Jesus in the bible nowhere claims he is God and in fact there are plenty of passages where Jesus states the opposite, that he and God are two different beings. The doctrine of the Trinity is a later post-Easter Christian invention and many early Christians had different views about Jesus. The Gnostics believed Jesus' body was a physical illusion. Some Christians believed Jesus was a human being and that the Christ was a separate divine being who inhabited Jesus' human body. Others believed Jesus was adopted by God to be his son at his baptism. Another option is that Jesus never existed and was a pure mythological character but I personally believe in a historical Jesus myself.

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Re: C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

Post  Sosa on Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:13 am

Or...he never existed. I like that one better
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Re: C. S. Lewis (Seeking Help)

Post  2buckchuck on Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:54 am

christians like to pose the question in black and white terms ... you're either with us or against us. No middle ground is permissible. I like very much the detailed information at:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

where a strong case is made that there is no credible historical evidence for anyone even remotely resembling jesus of the new testament, and that the new testament jesus is simply a fictional character constructed carefully to match old testament prophecy and to have certain traits that appear in numerous other religious characters in the time preceding the crafting of the new testament in the 2nd Century.
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