Comments about ‘Life of C.S. Lewis examined at BYU's Campus Education Week’

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Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21 2013 9:57 a.m. MDT

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moniker lewinsky
Taylorsville, UT

May it please the moderators:

I read Mere Christianity and a few other works by CS Lewis over a decade ago. At the time, being a Christian myself, I saw these works as brilliant evidence of Christianity. Now that I am a "convert" myself (from Christianity to atheism), I recognize that Lewis' books are full of false dichotomies and other thinking errors. I wasn't capable of seeing it at the time, though.

kvnsmnsn
Springville, UT

Moniker Lewinsky posted:

=Now that I am a "convert" myself (from Christianity to atheism), I recognize
=that Lewis' books are full of false dichotomies and other thinking errors.

My favorite is the so-called "Trilemma," that Jesus must either be lord, liar, or lunatic. I personally find it offensive that Lewis would seriously consider the possibility that Jesus might be a liar, but wouldn't also consider the possibility that the Bible itself might be lying when it put words in Jesus' mouth.

Calling oneself an atheist is declaring that that one believes there is no God. Who is the God that you believe doesn't exist? What are the characteristics of God that make you certain God doesn't exist?

JD Jones
Salt Lake City, UT

kvnsmnsn posted:

"Calling oneself an atheist is declaring that that one believes there is no God. Who is the God that you believe doesn't exist? What are the characteristics of God that make you certain God doesn't exist?"

Unfortunately, the Deseret News doesn't allow multiple posts in discussion forms, which is unfortunate because I would like to first know why kvnsmnsn thinks his questions somehow challenge atheist positions.

Personally, I think Sam Harris made a great point about Atheist not being a helpful term. After all, do we have a word to describe not believing in Astrology? Why should there be a special word for people who don't believe in god. But I guess we're stuck with the word, so I'll explain what it means. Calling oneself an atheist is declaring that one recognizes that there is insufficient evidence to believe in god, just like calling oneself a non-astrologer is declaring that there is insufficient evidence for believing that the position of the planets has anything to do with personalities or fate.

kvnsmnsn
Springville, UT

JD Jones posted:

=Unfortunately, the Deseret News doesn't allow multiple posts in discussion
=forms, which is unfortunate because I would like to first know why kvnsmnsn
=thinks his questions somehow challenge atheist positions.

I don't think my "questions somehow challenge atheist positions." In fact, I have a hunch that I may actually BELIEVE in "atheist positions." The God I believe in may be very much a different person from the God atheists say don't exist. So I'll ask again (this time to you, JD Jones), when you say calling "oneself an atheist is declaring that there is insufficient evidence to believe in god," who or what is the god you're saying there is insufficient evidence for? What is there about that god that motivates you to say there is insufficient evidence for her/him?

sharrona
layton, UT

C.S Lewis,” If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we would make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions [JS]. How could we? We are dealing with fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about." The three personal God “Mere Christianity. Lewis gives some other analogies of the Tri(3) Unity

Daniel Leifker
San Francisco, CA

Lewis's writings sketch out and foreshadow some interesting arguments against the purely human origin of religion. Those arguments claim that religions arise totally from within the human mind and flourish because they put their believers into some competitive advantage as humans evolve and change. And yet, some religious teachings would seem to put believers at a huge disadvantage for raw survival and reproduction (such as "lay down your life for others"). I know lots of evolutionary biologists who believe in "reciprocal altruism," which explains why the irrational selflessness of an individual might increase the survival odds for that individual's society, but it's a complex topic. Lewis's writings, as another person posted, may have lots of "thinking errors," but Lewis has always struck me as someone who scored some good points against scientific materialism as the best and final description of the universe.

JD Jones
Salt Lake City, UT

kvnsmnsn asked a few questions, so I hope the Deseret News will allow me to answer them even though I have already posted twice.

He asks, "who or what is the god you're saying there is insufficient evidence for?", and he also asks, "What is there about that god that motivates you to say there is insufficient evidence for her/him?"

I'm not sure why he thinks the question is important or will help shed light on anything. If someone said, "I don't believe in unicorns", I would be very perplexed if someone asked, "what kind of unicorn don't you believe in." I would also be perplexed is someone asked, "what is it about the those unicorns that you motivates you to say there is insufficient efficient evidence for her/him?" I don't believe in any unicorns. Doesn't matter if you describe them as purple or invisible or whatever, I don't believe in unicorns because no one has provided sufficient evidence. The same line of thinking with respect to god or gods. Whether described as having a body or not, male or female, there is no sufficient evidence for god.

terra nova
Park City, UT

If you like Lewis, pick up a copy of "The Life and Writings of C.S. Lewis" a series of twelve lectures done by Lewis Markos. It is marketed by The Teaching Company (buy you can find it on Amazon and sometimes eBay). The lectures are remarkable. I've listened to them five or six times and always come away with something new.

Unlike the know-it-all goofballs parading their so called knowledge of unnamed "false dichotomies and other thinking errors" this set gives you a well rounded overview of Lewis' thought, life and writings. Once you understand them, decide for yourself if he was deluded.

He was not.

Lewis was a remarkable thinker. Many of his thoughts parallel structures found restoration theology. Knowing his writings can provide a very real bridge between Mormons and traditional Christians... and other people of good will.

snowyphile
Jemez Springs, NM

Flunking the math portion of the entrance exam is strong incentive to turn to the humanities.

kvnsmnsn
Springville, UT

JD Jones posted:

=Whether described as having a body or not, male or female, there is no
=sufficient evidence for god.

So you don't believe in things that there isn't sufficient evidence for? I guess you can do that if you want to, but I think you're missing out.

There isn't sufficient evidence that there are forms of life on any planets within a hundred light years of Earth. Does that mean there isn't any such forms of life? It would be perfectly understandable to refrain from belief that those forms of life exist until definite proof could be found. But I think human imagination is completely capable of assuming that life exists and basing constructive actions on such assuming. I think the same could be said for one's belief in God.

Shazandra
Bakersfield, CA

It is always interesting to me that modern LDS have a fascination with Lewis and the Dead Sea Scrolls. It wasn't the case so much when I was growing up Mormon, nor in academia at BYU (69-71).

But it can be exhilerating to be immersed in topics that have actual archeology, history and evidence. I found CS' writings far more profound and thought-provoking than the reiterations of the latest revelation reversal or trying to explain the internal inconsistencies of plural marriage from Biblical times through BoM to post 1890's.

As a Biblical believer, I now know why Lewis' writings held such deep sway. It was his dealings with a topic and scrutiny of The Document that has eternal reality and significance. I love everything about my lengthy Mormon heritage and fabulous family, except for the man-made doctrines and diatribes.

C.S. Lewis will pull you front and center with the ancient and preeminent claims of one particular God whose outrageous claims and offer must be settled before you disregard His possibilties.

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