Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Atheism turns out to be too simple

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak,funny-photo-man-falling-rain why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it?  A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 38-39.


  1. you're too simple. 

    one does not set about to prove a negative. 

    with no evidence to support---PROVE--- the positive--- factual, HARD evidence, the kind that convicts in a court of law, the kind that defines "wet" as more than a relative value of "not wet"---NO GOD EXISTS. 

    "meaning" has no meaning, to follow your "logic" stop trying to find it. be glad in every breath you take and stop wasting the time you have on a snipe hunt.

  2. The quality that first drew me to Lewis was his erudition. The quality that kept me reading Lewis was his... joy? His good-natured, good-humored zest for life. This commenter called "Jack was a Fool" is the antithesis of C.S. Lewis – bitter, scornful, angry – and I'm not surprised he reads Lewis' arguments the way he does. 

  3. Jack is indeed a fool. You're comment obviously has meaning to you.

  4. He's simply observing the fact that his assumption of injustice would logically indicate the fact that he is aware that justice exists.

    If you're angry about children starving, you can only feel that anger based on the knowledge and awareness of how healthy, properly fed children should be.

    You can't be angry at the lack of a quality you don't believe exists in the first place.