CS LEWIS and his Crafty Argument for Belief in a Just God


CS Lewis said that he was an atheist because of all the suffering in the world. He could not believe in a God of justice who would let the innocent suffer so badly. He started to believe in God again when he reasoned roughly as follows, "Where did my idea of justice come from? The idea implies there is a God of justice who gives me this idea. God makes justice. Thus it's a mistake to reject belief in a just God just because babies, for example, unjustly suffer."


Another way to understand the argument is that if the universe is just blind mechanical forces, then there is no justice. It would mean there is nothing inherently wrong with stealing a child's toys for fun.


The argument: “If all is mechanical and we are just programmed and controlled by things outside of us then there is no good or bad or morality. If there is no God who is giving us freedom and blind force did not bring all things into being for a loving God did it then there is no morality.” That argument assumes that even if there is a God he will not create a mechanical impersonal universe in which we are really machines.  God can be moral and still make a universe that is not about justice and love just like a kind grandfather can make a clock that is not about justice and love.  So far from upholding God, Lewis is playing God by making God fit into his idea of what God should or should not do.


Rather than give us a God who grounds justice and love and saves us from turning them into mere preferences or opinions without a moral aspect Lewis does the opposite.  Worse he lies about it.  Better to just admit you only have moral opinions not moral truths.


He is doing what all people who try to use God to declare morality inherently true and valid are doing.  They fall into the trap they claim they want to keep out of, the trap of moral subjectivism or moral relativism which say there is nothing really inherently wrong or right but just opinions.


You cannot talk about justice and love without talking about forgiveness.


CS Lewis says, “To condone an evil is simply to ignore it, to treat it as if it were good.  But forgiveness needs to be accepted as well as offered for it to be complete: a man who admits no guilt can accept no forgiveness.”  He links forgiveness not to mere feelings but healing a SITUATION.  Too many think that feeling good or okay about the bad person is enough and is forgiveness.  Feeling good again about the bad person does not really leave the evil in the past.  Condoning can mean treating the evil as if it does not matter or treating it as if it were good.  What Lewis means is that forgiveness is about stopping the harm done by the evil and healing the situation so that the future will be undamaged.  Most people who talk about forgiveness only care about feeling better and safer and not about this repair.  It is not proper forgiveness. 


So the situation needs fixing, real fixing.  If only a real God with real power can do that then there is no real forgiving.  If we can do it ourselves without even thinking of God and numerous examples of that exist then Lewis is totally wrong about God and morality and not only wrong but vicious towards secularists and atheists.


Lewis has forgotten or more likely has forgotten on purpose that you have to judge God as fair. God telling you what is fair is not the same thing. When a Christian talks about God's justice, that Christian is talking about how he has decided that God is just. If you have to judge God as fair, then it makes no sense to say that your idea of justice does not come from yourself but God.


And what if you just think its terrible that babies suffer? You can think that without bringing fairness and justice into it. People who do not see animals as capable of deserving good or bad still hold they should not suffer. I am not saying babies are animals. I am talking about seeing suffering as that which cries out to be stopped. It does not need a law to make it intolerable. It just is intolerable.


Suppose you are an agent who deserves good or bad things to happen to you. When you suffer the important and prime consideration is not justice or what you deserve. It is that your suffering has to be stopped as far as possible. Lewis makes justice the only real concern.


If justice comes from yourself at all then who cares if you believe in God as long as you have enough respect for justice? If you need glasses to see, that does not mean that the eyesight you have without them can be manageable.


Lewis is trying to bring God into it to compel people to agree with his ideas of justice as a religious thing. It is about power.


He implies, "You are worthless if there is no God. If my belief in God is wrong you are shit." What kind of love is that? Oddly Christians say you must believe in God to really believe in morality and take it seriously. That makes love for others conditional. When Christendom destroys genuine love and offers a charming but skin-deep substitute, we can be 100% certain that God and morality do not go together and belief in God is only a hindrance.


Lewis could not think that his idea of justice came from his own goodness. He had to give God the credit. If I have an idea of justice, I must decide without any religious or godly bias that it is justice. Justice entails keeping presumptions and wishful thinking out of the equation.


Saying, "I have a sense of justice and that must only have come from God," is arrogant. You don't know where it came from. Pride is no foundation for a sense of justice and that is what you are trying to make it into. You would be as wise as God if you know where it came from and that it comes from a perfect God. Who are you to call God perfect for do you even know what perfection would involve? Have you ever been perfect?


Lewis' argument about God and justice has to be thought out. Most of us perceive that justice exists and we do not need the argument to help us see it. We just simply see that justice is needed. We don't need to hear a case for it before we will accept it. We cannot really think much of the person who turns fairness into an argument not a perception.


If God comes first, then it follows that it is a sin to just endorse justice without reference to him. The justice would be unjust and evil for it misses the real point.


All on earth are forced to agree that people must if possible be compelled to be just at least in major matters. Lewis' argument implies people must be forced to say there is a God and to pretend to believe even if they do not. Nobody must admit to being atheist.


Another way Lewis argued that evil agrees with belief in God is, "If a taste for cruelty and a taste for kindness were equally ultimate and basic, by what common standard could the one reprove the other?" The answer he wants is that evil is parasitic on good and thus good is ultimate and basic not evil. He denies that good and evil are equal opposites. Evil for him is not a real power. He denies that something being 100% evil is possible for evil needs good to feed off.


Good would still exist if there is nothing. It is good that there is nobody around to suffer.


And at the same time, it is evil that nobody is around to be happy.


So evil and good are ultimate. Even more than God is. Thus God is not really God for only the ultimate can be God. So evil does not agree with reverence for or belief in God.


Let us assume that he is right about evil being misplaced good. What if there is no God? Then evil is still a shortfall in good - it is good that is not good enough. Evil being ultimate and basic does not make evil as good as good. Evil could be as basic as good. Lewis is wrong to deny that. He assumes that good is a default and that is wrong. There is no logical problem with dodgy good being the default.


Is evil ultimate and basic if it is a variation of good? It could be.


Does Lewis really give us the kind of good we want?


Good is good in the abstract sense. But for humans this form of good does not matter. Humans want health and happiness and to be loved. There are overlaps between what is good in itself and what is good for us. But the two are not the same. In reality, your being loved by your dog matters and not God's abstract love.

Lewis is playing tricks with words and talking gibberish that passes for wisdom.


Lewis is in the same camp as those who say that if we are animals we have no reason to condemn each other for butchering one another for why condemn a lion for torturing and eating its prey? They stress how the lion feels no repentance or remorse.

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