Comparison of C.S Lewis and Bertrand Russel Views on Christianity
C.S. Lewis Quotes about God
According to Lewis, the existence of good equates to the existence of God. He is quoted saying, “a man does not call a line crooked unless he has a good idea of what a straight line is.” By this phrase, Lewis implies that the justification for the existence of God is the existence of evil. The existence of evil means that mankind is well aware of the existence of good and evil (Lewis, 2001). Therefore the existence of God should not be dismissed. Lewis further argues that sometimes God may use evil deeds to for a good purpose. According to Lewis, the passing of his wife revealed that prayers should not be about calling down upon miracles to happen but rather an appreciation for what God has offered.
Lewis goes to further explain the cosmic and pagan views as the result of Gods revealing nature. Lewis argument is that at some point real events met premonitions which created the beliefs that some pagans go by. Lewis argues that the human heart always yearns for something that this world could not satisfy. According to Lewis, every natural desire experienced by a human heart corresponds to a real object that is in existence.
Bertrand Russell Philosophy
Russell, on the other hand, is not to the idea that God determines what is good and evil. Russell first point argument is the causality nature of the world. Russell states that for something to exist or occur there must be a cause. Therefore the existence of every individual can be traced back up to the existence of God: Which presents a problem because who made God or better yet what caused his existence. By this argument, Russell brings the existence of God into question.
Russell second point of argument was the confusion between natural laws and human laws. Russell says that humanity has come up with laws that according to them are justifications for the existence of God. In this aspect, Russell is talking about morality. He dismissed the idea that morality or good as referred by some is as a result of God. He argues that if it is true that there are laws created by God that forced humans to behave in a certain way, then it means these God had a reason to create this law (Russel, 1929). If he had a reason, it means he was also construed by some laws and if he had no reason it makes these laws meaningless therefore their existence is not justified.
The difference between Lewis’ and Russell’s argument occurs in two main areas. According to Lewis, he regards the existence of good and evil is a natural law. By extension, it means the fact that evil exists implies that God exists. Russell, on the other hand, would regard this as a human law because of the parameter of the definition of good and evil. By this, he implies humans’ definition of good and evil is heavily dependent upon how they are raised or lessons taught by growing up. Therefore according to Russell the existence of Good and evil cannot be used as an argument point.
Lewis is of the opinion that Christianity is founded upon some natural laws created by God while Russell regards these laws as human laws that were created by humans themselves to fit a certain way of life. Russell simply thinks there isn’t enough good in the world to justify the existence of God. Lewis, however, focuses on the good that is present in the world and thanks God for it.
Lewis, C. S. (2001). Mere christianity. Zondervan.
Russell, B. (1929). Why I am not a Christian.
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