I’m back from my trip and finally found the time to create my second post about C.S. Lewis’s classic apologetics book, Mere Christianity. In the first post, I talked about enjoying the book quite a bit. I then deconstructed Lewis’s argument for the existence of God, which boils down to the normative moral argument.
I found Lewis’s proof of God’s existence unconvincing. This isn’t that much of a problem for me since I find another argument for God’s existence compelling (though that argument gives little to no insight into God’s nature). But let’s assume that Lewis had succeeded. Let’s suppose that there is a God who created moral laws and gave us the ability to know these laws (conscience). Great, that means we can trust our consciences to guide us to do what is right. But this still falls short of proving that God cares about us, has provided us with an afterlife, sent a son (who was also himself in some mysterious way) to earth to die for our moral failures, ‘inspired’ a book, has a favored people, felled the walls of Jericho, created the world in seven days, told Abraham to kill his son, made Job’s life a living hell, etc. It doesn’t even tell us if God is all powerful, only that It is powerful enough to create moral laws. In short, the normative moral argument fails to prove that the Moral Provider is the God of the Bible.
Thankfully, Lewis addresses this issue. Sadly, I recognized the argument from another book that I partially read, The Case for Christ. At the heart of that book, Lee Strobel argued that Jesus must be who he claimed to be, God, because for anyone making that claim, there are only three possibilities: ether Jesus was telling the truth, crazy, or a liar. Since there is no evidence that he was crazy or a liar, Strobel argued (or, more accurately, Strobel set up ‘experts’ to argue for him), he must have been telling the truth. Imagine my surprise when I read the following from Mere Christianity:
We are faced, then, with a frightening alternative. [Jesus] was (and is) just what He said or else a lunatic, or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.