Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Deciding about Jesus: Liar, Lunatic or Lord (audio)

Yesterday’s reading from Mere Christianity is such an important and classic C.S. Lewis argument that I would like to spend a second day reviewing it. Here’s an audio recording of the same reading of the “Liar, Lunatic or Lord” argument. Video clips from The Passion have been included and I know some prefer not to see the more graphic parts of this film which have been included near the end so this is my warning to you. Here let us consider again how this argument might help us today in telling others about Jesus.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 51-52.


  1. Love what you are doing here and love Lewis. Have one off-track comment. Posting pictures of what is reputed to be Jesus never sits right with me. If I understand Isaiah the Messiah was not gong to be regarded as anything but unremarkable in form - and - the idea of a hansom caucasian with dark hair serves no purpose and may be harmful to the image of God's gospel as found in the humility, commonness and subsequent passion of Jesus. keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Ned. Good point, and I'd love to hear Ken address it. Personally, I find the image of Christ represented here (by the actor Jim Caveizel) very effective, especially as he goes from being remarkably handsome (as you mentioned) to grotesquely disfigured. For me, this drives home the depths of Christ's suffering and humility. The depths to which God, Himself, was willing to fall – from the sublime to the lowest of the low. Maybe it's not a "historically accurate" image (in fact, it surely is not), but it works for me... artistically. I think we humans always need something we can "relate to" to help us grasp – in our very limited way – the ineffable. I think Caveizel captured the essence of Christ – as far as that can ever be done – with a terrible beauty.

  3. Ned Mc,

    Thanks so much for the encouragement. I do appreciate hearing it.

    And I do think that Margaret has done some great pinch-hitting for me. Thanks, Margaret.

    To be honest, it's more the sandy-blond haired Jesus with the blue eyes that I've had a problem with. I find that Jim Caviezel with his dark hair and darker-than-white skin tone is closer to character than many who have previously portrayed Jesus. IF you're going to try to depict the suffering of Christ, you need an actor who can look the part and actually help us to visualize what Christ endured. I have no idea whether he's handsome or not, but I do think Caviezel did a remarkable job portraying Jesus. When I watch the movie I found myself in communion with Jesus, forgetting the actor who portrayed him.

    That was a long answer to your question... I understand your concern, and I probably did not need to include a video here, but that being said, I don't think this actor is too terribly far off the mark. In the previous post, you may have noticed that I used a pencil drawing of Jesus based on a picture of Caviezel -- along the lines of your concern, I liked the degree of separation that the pencil drawing introduced.

    Thanks again for visiting Mere C.S. Lewis.