CS Lewis argument


#1

The argument that is made about Jesus being God, because he said he is and that either it is true or he was a lunatic. Who was the first to make that?


#2

the trilemme Jesus was either Lord Liar or Lunatic…

was it CS Lewis? i was under the impression he was te first in Mere Christianity


#3

Lewis did use the “God or madman” defense, but I don’t believe he was the first (I believe Fulton Sheen also used it, and I don’t think Sheen was the first, either).

Lewis is, however, credited with the “unnatural appetite” defense. He reasons thus: in life, we have appetites. For food, or companionship, or beauty, or whatever. And, for each appetite, there is something which can satisfy it. Yet, the human species has always had a hunger for God. This is a natural appetite for our species - it would be unnatural (and non-sensical) to have an appetite for which there is no possible fullfillment.

Lewis is widely regarded to have developed that particular defense.


#4

Listening to Peter Kreeft talks (downloaded from Peter Kreeft - highly recommended!!!) and he credits C S Lewis with the argument. Specifically he presents it as a counter to the “I think Jesus was an incredilble man ahead of his time - with a profound moral code… but he wasn’t God” kind of line that you hear so often

Kreeft attributes to Lewis the counter argument that that is precisely the one position you cannot take - because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God - which makes him either God or a mad man.

You’d hardly call David Kresh an enlightened moral theologian

I think it may well have been mere christianity - which was written by Lewis


#5

It’s not originally from CS Lewis but he made it a popular argument. I can’t recall right now where it originally came from…

in XT.


#6

C.S. Lewis put it in the pithiest fashion, but the earliest use of the argument I can recall is in G.K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man, in the second-half chapters about Christ’s life. Lewis almost certainly read it and distilled its essence.


#7

[quote=Le Cracquere]C.S. Lewis put it in the pithiest fashion, but the earliest use of the argument I can recall is in G.K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man, in the second-half chapters about Christ’s life. Lewis almost certainly read it and distilled its essence.
[/quote]

Indeed, it was GKC:

In my youth it was the fashion to say that he was merely an ethical teacher in the manner of the Essenes, who had apparently nothing very much to say that Hillel or a hundred other Jews might not have said; as that it is a kindly thing to be kind and an assistance to purification to be pure. Then somebody said he was a madman with a Messianic delusion.

He goes on to develop this thought more fully in the rest of the chapter. :wink:


#8

[quote=pilchard]“I think Jesus was an incredilble man ahead of his time - with a profound moral code… but he wasn’t God” kind of line that you hear so often
[/quote]

Peace be with you!

I can’t stand that line. The easiest way to counter this is “would ANY ‘good’ Jew claim to be God unless he was?” No good Jew would blaspheme.

In Christ,
Rand


#9

I am surprised that this argument wasn’t made even before Chesterton.


#10

[quote=cocot]The argument that is made about Jesus being God, because he said he is and that either it is true or he was a lunatic. Who was the first to make that?
[/quote]

The first persons to argue this were the Jews that claimed Jesus was demon possessed, and that Jesus needed to be killed because he made himself out to be God.The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?"
John 8:48

The Jews answered him, "We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God."
John 10:33Lewis is merely acknowledging that the Jews were right, either Jesus is God, or he is mad man who is demon possessed, and that the words that Jesus speaks gives us no choice but to either accept that Jesus is who he says he is, or that Jesus is indeed insane.


#11

C.S. Lewis popularized the argument, but it dates to the Church Fathers.

– Mark L. Chance.


#12

[quote=mlchance]C.S. Lewis popularized the argument, but it dates to the Church Fathers.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

Which ones?

(Just trying to be as pithy as you in my responses. :smiley: )

-Rob


#13

Looks like this popular point that many evangeliclas use is once again catholic in origen the GK Chesterton point was the same thing Lewis said later with more direct approach. No doubt Chesteron got it reading the fathers. I have yet to find a protestant argument for the fatih that is entirely origianal, Catholics of course had a 1600 head start in apologetics.


#14

[quote=mlchance]C.S. Lewis popularized the argument, but it dates to the Church Fathers.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

Would you happen to know from whom?
-Thanks


#15

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