Okay, let’s try this again. I am now on chapter 5, “We Have Cause to Be Uneasy,” in C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity.
At the beginning of this chapter, C.S. Lewis explains that he was trying to avoid religion up until now. That he was discussing philosophy and Christianity hadn’t been assumed yet. However, it is very clear that he was presupposing Christianity all along. Lewis supports his earlier argument by stating “We have two bits of evidence about the Somebody. One is the universe He has made.” He just finished saying that he isn’t talking about the God of the Bible, then he talks in such a way that the only possible meaning could be the God of the Bible. Who else uses capitol “H” to write “he” when it’s not in the beginning of the sentence but believers when they refer to their deity? And how is the universe evidence of a creator? The universe can only be evidence of the existence of the universe. We need evidence that it couldn’t have come about without a creator before we have evidence that it was created.
He goes on to say of the universe “If we used that as our only clue, then I think we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a beautiful place), but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place).” What does he mean by “the universe is beautiful”? Does he mean visually? Because I’d agree, but it’s not beautiful the way a painting is. A painting is beautiful in an abstract copy kind of way. It isn’t quite like the original: you can see elements of the painter in the painting. The universe is more solid. It’s real. Sometimes what you see in it is beautiful, other times it’s boring. We can’t even see the real beauty without satellites and telescopes. That doesn’t sound like a creation to me. That sounds like something that we can at times find aesthetically pleasing. How does the danger in the universe suggest that God is not friend to humans? For one, most of the dangers don’t even affect us. Many we don’t even know about. And, for another, we can’t make any comment on what the universe says about the nature of it’s creator until we know that there is a creator.
C.S. Lewis hasn’t even attempted to offer any proof that there is a creator, I guess we’re just supposed to take his word for it, but he goes on to give the second thing that he believes can only come from a creator: “The other bit of evidence is that Moral Law which He has put in our minds.” Assuming this Moral Law thing did exist, how does it prove God? Or even suggest any sort of a conscious entity behind it? This is another presupposition. Before you can assume that morals mean God, you must first provide evidence that suggests that morals can’t exist without a creator. Lewis hasn’t done this.
Lewis goes on to say of morality “from this second bit of evidence we conclude that the Being behind the universe is intensely interested in right conduct-in fair play, unselfishness, courage, good faith, honesty and truthfulness.” We still don’t have the evidence necessary to suggest that there is a causer behind our assumed Moral Law, so how can he then say that this shows that the causer is good?
Lewis then criticizes those of us who question his god: “And it is no use either saying that if there is a God of that sort-an impersonal absolute goodness- then you do not like Him and are not going to bother about Him. For the trouble is that one part of you is on His side and really agrees with his disapproval of human greed and trickery and exploitation.” It’s not clear here who he’s criticizing though. Is he suggesting that atheists merely don’t like God? Or is he criticizing certain Christians who don’t think that God is an impersonal absolute goodness? What would an impersonal absolute goodness god even look like? Because, according to the Bible and every Christian I’ve ever met, God is very personal. After all, he talks to people, helps them, and interacts with them. Of course, if this were true (today), it could be tested. But people still claim that they interact with God on a personal level. God is also not absolute in a good portion of the Bible. He even admits to over reacting at times. That doesn’t sound like absolute goodness to me. Though the definition of good is “that which is morally right,” so, if God created morality, how can he be anything but good? At least if we define everything he does as necessarily moral as a result. Or if he follows all of his own rules. And how can he say that everybody is on God’s side? Isn’t that presumptuous? It seems to me that some people would prefer it if exploitation was perfectly acceptable. Look at Wall Street, or pay-day loan places.
Lewis goes on to state that “we know that if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do.” What reason do we have to believe that this creator of absolute morality hates us? What do we do that’s so terrible? Is this absolute goodness unable to accept imperfection and mistakes? Don’t we consider forgiveness to be part of morality? Or can we be moral and never forgive? Is hate moral? I fail to see how Lewis’s claim makes any sense. He then claims “If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all of our efforts are in the long run hopeless.” How? Where is his evidence that hope and success require a creator of some sort? This is another presupposition. Hope can be had without need of a god, Lewis just wouldn’t have listened to anybody who told him as much.
Lewis finishes his “non-Christian” bit by saying “He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies.” Why do we need an ally? What do we need an ally from? And how did we make ourselves his enemies? This sounds very paranoid to me. Very much “the end of the world is neigh.”
Lewis then begins to discuss things from a Christian perspective. Unfortunately, this bit isn’t very meaningful because he presupposed the Christian God from the beginning.