Friday, August 31, 2012

Resolving Into A Position

My apologies.  The next few posts shade into one another, and even repeat.  I have been unable to tighten them up into bold, pithy statements.  I have given up on the rewriting and post them in their partial states. I will likely identify them as Not Premium Quality or some such. Of course, my audience is pretty clever, and may be able to pick up the ideas and make them clear in their own minds, even as I wander about.  The Inklings had to sometimes remind Lewis that some works he liked owed their excellence to the powerful imagination he supplied as a reader, not to the literary skill of the author.  Lewis saw little difference.  Or so I'm told.  I believe David Lindsay's Voyage To Arcturus was mentioned in this context.

I have read objections to Lewis’s trilemma “Lord, Liar, or Lunatic” – that Jesus’s claims are so stark that anyone who utters them must be evil, insane, or God as He claimed* – that there are in fact many other possibilities as to what we might believe about Jesus.  In fact, there may be millions of such positions, and anyway, millions of people who hold other positions do exist. There aren’t only three possibilities.

I wonder if folks are being deliberately, though perhaps unconsciously obtuse, or if they really don’t get. the idea.  Lewis’s claim is that ultimately, whatever claim one puts forward to begin with, if one follows the path to its logical end, it arrives at one of these three places.  One can avoid those three clearings only by refusing to think things through.  All opinions about Jesus resolve into one of those positions.

*Lewis noted that this was a version of an older argument Aut Deus, aut homo malus: either God or a bad man.


james said...

There are other possibilities.

One obvious possibility is the Mohammad gambit: the stories of Jesus are corrupt and He didn't actually say that sort of thing.

The other popular one is that Jesus was kind of like a transplanted Hindu who didn't quite understand what the rest of the Jews he grew up with believed God to be.

That neither survives very close inspection doesn't seem to faze their partisans.

Texan99 said...

I think the Mohammad gambit is the most common: that Jesus was a remarkable man, but most of the stories about him were made up after his death. I find the tone of the Gospels very reassuring: they sound like news accounts rather than mythic stories. Lewis made that point, too, that he was very familiar with the mythic or fabulous style, and these don't fit into it in the least.