C.S. Lewis Daily

C.S. Lewis Daily


“If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts(good works) are in the long run hopeless”

C.S. Lewis

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16 thoughts on “C.S. Lewis Daily

    1. I am sure they will disagree. I think what Lewis is trying to say is straight forward enough, that is, if the answer does not matter, whats the point of solving a problem, right?

      So if there is no goodness governing us, whats the point of doing good if its going to rot anyway. I one way, it makes our good insignificant since it can’t and won’t change the outcome of humanity without God.

      1. For me it is not straightforward.
        1. They would say the answer does matter.
        2. Also you say ‘it is going to rot anyway’. This is a claim to be proved.

        1. I don’t think this statement is enough to convince an atheist of anything. nor do i think it is supposed to convince an atheist.

          You have to see that this goes back into context and presumed basis. for example, Lewis believes that God is the only source of good, now if there is no God, then what is good? nothing. it is merely choice and preference or which ever ethic gets voted on as right in a society.

          Namely this argument goes right into the heart of the debate regarding, subjective and objective morality. If there is no objective moral authority, then good is whats best for you or what you think its best for you. So Lewis says that if there is no God, then all that you are doing is what seems right to you, That is how subjectively a good is decided.

          Of course the atheist would say the answer does not matter, because he knows it does not last. we evolved, we may go extinct, end of story. Which brings back the point that if what you are doing does not matter; then the point of doing it is what? personal choice and whim. And that is logically sound and internally consistent, so it is a some what valid objection. But this goes directly into problems because the definition of “good” may change with who is deciding what.

          but to the main point, I think it shows that even of the answer does not matter, you can still not deny that whatever you are doing will rot away. It will rot away, one may not care but that is how it is going to be, IF THERE IS NO GOD, that is.

          In the purely athiestic view, we are one little accident in the giant river of time, there is no inherent purpose in us, we can make purpose for ourselves and that people do, atheists and theists alike, nothing wrong with that. The point is not whether any one can be good without God, I know they can be.

          But if there is no good God, your good, however noble it is and may sound great, is in the end, a little accident in the course of time. Nothing else.

          1. You said: “Of course the atheist would say the answer does not matter, because he knows it does not last.”

            That something does not last does not imply that it does not matter. For example, something can matter because it can ease life for people. Like treating bad illnesses and so.

            Furthermore, we are not certain that universe (assuming there is no God) would cease to be. That we would cease to be.

            1. I don’t deny that, it may matter, its just temporary though. In the end you are only making your self feel better. what else?

              In the idea of a God made universe, Good has a purpose, that is what Lewis is talking about. and he is saying that in a godless universe, that good is lost.

              You said “Furthermore, we are not certain that universe (assuming there is no God) would cease to be. That we would cease to be.”

              I know that, but I am sure, our sun will one day die out, and then that is if we made it that far – we would go away too. That is ofcourse with doubt but then the statement “there is no God” is also WITH doubt, no one can prove it either or vice versa.

            2. I agree with “no one can prove it either or vice versa.”

              So, then, Lewis cannot claim at 100% what he claims.

            3. Hana said “So, then, Lewis cannot claim at 100% what he claims.”

              My dear Hana, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think anyone can claim to know 100% of anything. And if you were trying to find that in this statement then I am surprised.

              But I do think that within the theistic christian framework of theology, Lewis is not wrong. He is only wrong when we say “there is no God” and life has no DIVINE purpose. Only then Mr. Lewis is wrong. And ofcourse then his statement sounds absurd too.

            4. When I read that quote, well, I should have focused on it as an opinion. What I saw was implication statement and my mathematical part of brain started to work… πŸ™‚

  1. Should we hyper focus on an opinionated quote from someone who lived in a different time? CS Lewis was brilliant, but do we not have to ask ourselves … what would he be saying if he had the same amount of knowledge that we have available today?

    Since CS Lewis was a great thinker … it seems naive to assume that he would be singing the exact same tune in the 2010s that he was in the 1950s … does it not?

    1. Hi and welcome, I agree, though the theological side of things can stand apart from the stamp of time. It certainly evolves and learns with time, changes too but I dont think it would be reversed completely, that is the core tenets of it.

      I am certainly not going to defend Lewis, which is quite impossible. SInce this is just a quote. But I do agree with where he is coming from.

  2. You seem aware enough to recognize that he was asserting his opinion as a belief, and I can appreciate why you would want to agree with it.

    However, I’d like to suggest, humbly from a single human brain, that his opinion rings absolutely false and can be misleading …

    It seems to subtly exonerate our species from taking responsibility for our actions. And, I think that the poetry of his words should not be taken literally. If his words were true, then to me, that would be like saying that a child cannot become useful to society without good parents. I’m sure you would agree that this is not true …

    I see great freedom in being an orphan species … and, I don’t see why we cannot get all the validation we need from our fellow human beings.

    1. “However, I’d like to suggest, humbly from a single human brain, that his opinion rings absolutely false and can be misleading …”

      I appreciate that and it is with humbleness I would say that the chance of being wrong about such matters, is equal with everyone, you, me, Lewis, the pope, no one is an exception.

      “It seems to subtly exonerate our species from taking responsibility for our actions.”

      No, I don’t think Lewis’ quote is addressing the human responsibility of an action. You would be placing it out of context.

      ” If his words were true, then to me, that would be like saying that a child cannot become useful to society without good parents.”

      There is a subtle distinction here, which I may point out and that is, Lewis is not saying, “People can not be good with out God”. Nor do I think this is the case. The statement is, good without God is temporary, with that I have no valid objection even if I am standing from an athiestic point of view.

      lewis is making that statament in comparision to atheism and therefore he also carries his presumtions.

      “I see great freedom in being an orphan species … and, I don’t see why we cannot get all the validation we need from our fellow human beings.”

      Well, I agree with the freedom part. About validation? ah well, we all have our doubts, dont we? πŸ˜‰

      1. John, the issue is … that not everyone can think about things as completely as you can. We are a gist-loving species. Our brains take things out of context — this is our greatest strength and our greatest weakness. It leads to divergent thoughts, insight, creativity, genius … but it also makes language exceedingly open for interpretation and explains why we have so many meanings for words.

        Ahh … the world is lonely for critical thinkers. Its seem to me a a great tragedy, but not one that can be overcome …

        I can only hope that we will understand our human brains before I die … but until then … I will paint my own goodness every day … and do so as a brother of the human race — not a child of God.

        1. The world is lonely for critical thinkers, indeed. I hope we understand one day all there is to know. And I hope the answers would surprise us.

          We are all children of God, all loved, all cherished. I hope the rest of the human race has a big heart such as yours, which I think is a rarity. Instead of trying to solve problems and co-exist in peace, we are at war.

          And ironically enough it reminded of something Michael Crichton wrote in his novel “The Lost World”

          “Malcom’s reply was immediate: “What makes you think human beings are sentient and aware? There’s no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told -and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare.

          Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their ‘beliefs.’ The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may, well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion. Next question.”

          Well, what can I say…thats one hell of a way to look at it, isn’t it?

          1. That is one hell of a quote. I like it. However …

            I don’t think we need to understand ALL there is to know. We only need to understand these triple decker brains of ours. We need to understand its flaws. Once we gather that … once we prove what the limitations of it are … I think a lot of us are going to feel silly about our beliefs. In the meantime, I’ve already heard too much … I already feel silly … and, there is no going back. It would require intentional over-investment in a delusion. While I can appreciate the functionality of delusions … I’m not going to surrender my entire being.

            The world is lonely for critical thinkers … and it feels desolate for critical thinkers who know their an idiot. But, this is only a feeling. I think that there are a lot of people on the border of self-awareness out there … they just need to find some support … they need to know they’re not alone.

            I’m not a writer. I’m not a fighter. I’m a buffoon. But, I’m a buffoon who caught a glimpse of soul … the kind that only exists in our minds … but feels real nonetheless … I will borrow from my dead brother Bertrand Russell …

            β€œA man who has once perceived, however temporarily and however briefly, what makes greatness of soul, can no longer be happy if he allows himself to be petty, self-seeking, troubled by trivial misfortunes, dreading what fate may have in store for him.The man capable of greatness of soul will open wide the windows of his mind, letting the winds blow freely upon it from every portion of the universe. He will see himself and life and the world as truly as our human limitations will permit; realizing the brevity and minuteness of human life, he will realize also that in individual minds is concentrated whatever of value the known universe contains. And, he will see that the man whose mind mirrors the world becomes in a sense as great as the world.”

            And, then a fellow buffoon, Rocky …

            “During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change! “

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