A few months ago, I read my first Christian Apologetics book, Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton and hated it. When I discussed it with my friend Scott, he lent me Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I must admit, this Christian Apologetics book was much better, even insightful. It was logically written, with clear definitions and little appeal to emotion. Lewis’s approach to defending his religion is the polar opposite of Chesterton’s. It was a joy to read. Well at least the first half for reasons I will discuss later.
This short book is so dense with interesting thoughts and claims that I plan on limiting my discussion to what I consider the three most interesting topics. In the interest of brevity, I will also spread those topics over three separate posts. The three topics are the existence of God, The Case for Christ, and ethical insights. Here is the first:
Lewis starts the book by using a simplified version of the normative moral argument for the existence of god. That is, moral laws are ‘outside of’ ourselves. In other words, moral obligations are independent of one’s goals and universal.
1. It appears to human beings that moral normativity exists.
2. The best explanation of moral normativity is that it is grounded in God.
3. Therefore God exists.
The key word is in premise 1: “appears”. Morality only has the appearance of normativity but is in fact, not normative at all. Furthermore, this appearance has an explanation best grounded in nature. Consider the possibility that morality is an evolved, social instinct. This would then create instinctual moral obligations in almost all (not all, due to genetic variation and/or mental deficiencies) members of the species. i.e. our moral instincts would have the appearance of being universal. Secondly, such an instinct is social and acts on the group level. Thus the moral instinct would sometimes conflict with our one’s own goals. Thus the instinct would have all the appearance of normativity.
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