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36 comments | Saturday, May 27, 2006

I was watching The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe with my kids last night. There is a scene early on where Lucy returns from her first time into Narnia ecstatic. She tells her brothers and sister about the magical place. However, they don’t believe her. Lucy becomes upset and storms off running into the professor. Later, the professor challenges their assumption that Lucy is fictitiously making up the story. Susan asks, “Are you saying that we should believe her?” He answers, “Why not?” Susan tells him, “Well, logically it’s impossible!” “Logic!” said the Professor, “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it’s obvious she is not mad. For the moment then, and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”

Do you see the trilemma? I will let you decide. This has always been a fascinating subject for me. I remember hearing about it, but finally reading it in Mere Christianity—Lewis states the following:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon and you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

The Lord-Liar-Lunatic trilemma has been attacked viciously by skeptics. But what most people don’t know is that he discussed and expanded on this issue in God in the Dock. The Mere Christianity version is not quite as developed and in addressing the “legend” aspect (though it is an excellent primer). This is not overly surprising likely because much of it is from a radio show. More readily available though (after much digging), is a section of chapter 19 of the book called What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ? Though there are still some problems to be worked out (as in it’s not air tight), here is a more complete version of it:

What are we to make of Jesus Christ? This is a question which has, in a sense, a frantically comic side. For the real question is not what are we to make of Christ, but what is He to make of us? The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it. But perhaps the questioner meant what are we to make of Him in the sense of 'How are we to solve the historical problem set us by the recorded sayings and acts of this Man?' This problem is to reconcile two things. On the one hand you have got the almost generally admitted depth and sanity of His moral teaching, which is not very seriously questioned, even by those who are opposed to Christianity. In fact, I find when I am arguing with very anti-God people that they rather make a point of saying, 'I am entirely in favour of the moral teaching of Christianity'——and there seems to be a general agreement that in the teaching of this Man and of his immediate followers, moral truth is exhibited at its purest and best. It is not sloppy idealism, it is full of wisdom and shrewdness. The whole thing is realistic, fresh to the highest degree, the product of a sane mind. That is one phenomenon.

The other phenomenon is quite the appalling nature of this Man's theological remarks. You all know what I mean, and I want rather to stress the point that the appalling claim which this Man seems to be making is not merely made at one moment of His career. There is, of course, the one moment which led to His execution. The moment at which the High Priest said to Him, 'Who are you?' 'I am the Anointed, the Son of the uncreated God, and you shall see Me appearing at the end of all history as the judge of the Universe.' But that claim, in fact, does not rest on this one dramatic moment. When you look into His conversation you will find this sort of claim running through the whole thing. For instance, He went about saying to people, 'I forgive your sins.' Now it is quite natural for a man to forgive something you do to him. Thus if somebody cheats me out of ££5 it is quite possible and reasonable for me to say, 'Well, I forgive him, we will say no more about it.' What on earth would you say if somebody had done you out of ££5 and I said, 'That is all right, I forgive him'? Then there is curious thing which seems to slip out almost by accident. On one occasion this Man is sitting looking down on Jerusalem from the hill above it and suddenly in comes an extraordinary remark——'I keep on sending you prophets and wise men.' Nobody comments on it. And yet, quite suddenly, almost incidentally, He is claiming to be the power that all through the centuries is sending wise men and leaders into the world. Here is another curious remark: in almost every religion there are unpleasant observances like fasting. This Man suddenly remarks one day, 'No one need fast while I am here.' Who is this Man who remarks that His mere presence suspends all normal rules? Who is the person who can suddenly tell the School they can have a half-holiday? Sometimes the statements put forward the assumption that He, the Speaker, is completely without sin or fault. This is always the attitude. 'You, to whom I am talking, are all sinners.' and He never remotely suggests that this same reproach can be brought against Him. He says again, 'I am begotten of the One God, before braham was, I am,' and remember what the words 'I am' were in Hebrew. They were the name of God, which must not be spoken by any human being, the name which it was death to utter.

Well, that is the other side. On the one side clear, definite moral teaching. On the other, claims which, if not true, are those of a megalomaniac, compared with whom Hitler was the most sane and humble of men. There is no half-way house and there is no parallel in other religions. If you had gone to Buddha and asked him 'Are you the son of Bramah?' he would have said, 'My son you are still in the vale of illusion.' If you had gone to Socrates and asked, 'Are you Zeus?' he would have laughed at you. If you would have gone to Mohammed and asked, 'Are you Allah?' he would first have rent his clothes and then cut your head off. If you had asked Confucius, 'Are you Heaven?', I think he would have probably replied, 'Remarks which are not in accordance with nature are in bad taste.' The idea of a great moral teacher saying what Christ said is out of the question. In my opinion, the only person who can say that sort of thing is either God or a complete lunatic suffering from that form of delusion which undermines the whole mind of man. If you think you are a poached egg, when you are looking for a piece of toast to suit you, you may be sane, but if you think you are God, there is no chance for you. We may note in passing that He was never regarded as a mere moral teacher. He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met Him. He produced mainly three effects——Hatred ——Terror——Adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild approval.

What are we to do about reconciling the two contradictory phenomena? One attempt consists in saying that the Man did not really say these things, but that His followers exaggerated the story, and so the legend grew up that He had said them. This is difficult because His followers were all Jews; that is, they belonged to that Nation which of all others was most convinced that there was only one God——that there could not possibly be another. It is very odd that this horrible invention about a religious leader should grow up among the one people in the whole earth least likely to make such a mistake. On the contrary we get the impression that none of His immediate followers or even the New Testament writers embraced the doctrine at all easily.

Another point is that on that view you would have to regard the accounts of the Man as being legends. Now, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are they are not legends. I have read a great deal of legend and am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing. They are not artistic enough to be legends. From an imaginative point of view they are clumsy, they don't work up to things properly. Most of the life of Jesus is totally unknown to us, as is the life of anyone else who lived at that time, and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so. Apart from bits of the Platonic dialogues, there are no conversations that I know of in ancient literature like the Fourth Gospel. There is nothing, even in modern literature, until about a hundred years ago when the realistic novel came into existence. In the story of the woman taken in adultery we are told Christ bent down and scribbled in the dust with His finger. Nothing comes of this. No one has ever based any doctrine on it. And the art of inventing little irrelevant details to make an imaginary scene more convincing is a purely modern art. Surely the only explanation of this passage is that the thing really happened? The author put it simply because he had seen it.

Then we come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, 'The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.' On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ's case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought. Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don't mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had to assure them that he was not a ghost. That point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new. The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the Universe. Something new had appeared in the Universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into 'ghost' and 'corpse'. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

The question is, I suppose, whether any hypothesis covers the facts so well as the Christian hypothesis. That hypothesis is that God has come down into the created universe, down to manhood——and come up again, pulling it up with Him. The alternative hypothesis is not legend, nor exaggeration, nor the apparitions of a ghost. It is either lunacy or lies. Unless one can take the second alternative (and I can't) one turns to the Christian theory.

'What are we to make of Christ?' There is no question of what we can make of Him, it is entirely a question of what He intends to make of us. You must accept or reject the story.

The things He says are very different from what any other teacher has said. Others say, 'This is the truth about the Universe. This is the way you ought to go,' but He says, 'I am the way the Truth, and the Way, and the Life.' He says, 'No man can reach absolute reality, except through Me. Try to retain your own life and you will be inevitably ruined. Give yourself away and you will be saved.' He says, 'If you are ashamed of Me, if, when you hear this call, you turn the other way, I also will look the other way when I come again as God without disguise. If anything whatever is keeping you from God and from Me, whatever it is, throw it away. If it is your eye, pull it out. If it is your hand, cut it off. If you put yourself first you will be last. Come to Me everyone who is carrying a heavy load, I will set that right. Your sins, all of them, are wiped out, I can do that. I am Re-birth, I am Life. Eat Me, drink Me, I am your Food. And finally, do not be afraid, I have overcome the whole Universe.' That is the issue.

I thoroughly enjoy Lewis writings; yet, I would treat them as basic instructions for starting to open the mind. The most problematic issue I see with the trilemma is that it is possible to come up with different options. So, the horns don’t seem to stick you if there are alternatives. The most common objection I see is that Jesus didn’t state any of those things regarding His divinity in the Bible and that early Christians added those things to the text and put them on his lips.

I don’t plan to make a case against the “legend” in this post; but as a primer, I would preliminarily field the objections with the following points: i) it’s odd that early church writings do not dispute regarding additions or changes to the text. ii) Secondly, no matter how many verses are striped from the text (take the Jesus seminar for example), you will not find a Jesus without supernatural or divine attributes. Essentially, Jesus’ divine nature is at the core of all His teachings. Hence, the entire thing would have to be fabrication (I can hear this tune already!) iii) Another widely accepted historical fact is the radical change in the disciples after Jesus’ death. They were willing to die and many did. This would seem highly unlikely for someone who had direct knowledge of a fabricate of “Jesus, the God Man”. It also seems irrational to suppose that they would make Jesus God after being humiliatingly beaten and crucified as a criminal. iv) Lastly, as I already demonstrated in my last post, Jesus’ high Christology was already established in the first century.

The trilemma is helpful to key in on the specific issues of the New Testament. I do think it can and has been development more by able Christian scholars; yet, I wouldn’t write it or C.S. Lewis off as easily as many skeptics and Christians do today.

In The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, the professor offered three options: Lucy was either telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. I don’t think the “legend” was an option entertained at the time. However, as it turns out, Lucy was telling the truth and in Jesus’ case—He was also telling the truth; which, makes Him Lord. The question of Jesus being either Lord, Liar, Lunatic or Legend is the most important question anyone could ever ask.

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36 Comments:

Blogger Jim Jordan said...

Hi Bf
Didn't ya know, Jesus just had good connections. You'll never have to wait for a smoking table at the Pearly Gates Diner if you say you know Jesus.
I have a brother that believes in this "Jesus just had connections" garbage. It seems odd that a person could become more relevant to you if only you believe He's a lying sack of shiloh. Even if you believed that he was made divine by Paul or the apostles then nothing He said would have made any real sense.

Jesus knew this would happen, and that's why any interpretation of Him NOT being divine makes His teaching useless. The gospel is worthless if you take away the central truth of the son of God.

It's an all-or-nothing battle with Jesus. Anyone who truly seeks Him will find Him. Anyone who tries to mold Him into something else will lose Him. Call it divine wisdom.
Good research, great post.
Take care, Jim

5/31/2006 3:54 PM

 
Blogger Daniel Morgan said...

So, BF, perhaps the difference to focus on here is that we have Lucy's first-hand testimony, but the who-knows-how-many-filtered-through-testimony of Jesus. The oldest extant scraps of parchment date to the 2nd CE, and the oldest copies of the oldest gospel [Mark] leave out the resurrection story, while the anonymous writer of John takes pains to reinforce how fleshly the resurrection was [anti-Gnosticism]...yeah, the legend couldn't grow in the re-telling, could it?

6/01/2006 12:56 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Daniel good points,

I think the trilemma Lewis was working with starts with the premise that the testimonies are valid (considering the audience of his time)—then works from there. It’s not quite as easy these days considering the vast amount of textual criticism and open disagreement. When one presents the trilemma; it is taking for granted the validity of the testimonies, and proceeding from that point (this would only be for a select audience these days). So, it’s true as you pointed out that the testimonies would first have to be legitimate for the argument to even have any weight. We can get into a discussion about the reliability of those testimonies, but I am sure it’s a trail we both have been down (with others) several times before. And honestly, I don’t have the time to give the adequate responses that good questions deserve. I do plan on posting on that very subject sometime in the future, so please stop by again. I welcome your perspective anytime.

Good day

6/01/2006 2:33 PM

 
Blogger Jim Jordan said...

Daniel,
Are you sure about your assertion that Mark didn't mention the resurrection? Reread Mark 16 again. The angel declared that "He is risen" (verse 6) to the three women, who became frightened and ran away afraid. Verses 9-20, after that, we see that those verses that don't appear in the earliest documents.
As for John making the resurrection more fleshly, well, he was there. His gospel is NOT anonymous.

Acts does not mention the fall of Jerusalem nor the Jewish uprising (66-70 AD). Peruse Luke's chronicle and you'll find it is firmly placed between AD 54 and 64. Paul's letters begin only 14 or 15 years after the resurrection, as does Mark's gospel. Now if I told you that we took out Saddam's 1991 government in 2 days in the first Iraq War, how far would I get? Legends need a lot more time. Gnosticism, a Platonistic and Orphistic take on Christ, would have been a natural reaction of the pop culture of the day, but didn't blossom until Marcion's movement gained ground in the 140s AD. Not decades but a century before the first Gnostic "gospels" were written. Look it up.
What does CE stand for again, Christ Eliminated?
Take care,
Jim

6/01/2006 6:35 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Jim,

Don’t waste your time on Daniel. I just discovered his knee jerk style of communication on this debunkers post .

6/01/2006 7:29 PM

 
Blogger GooseHenry said...

hi, great blog! I learn a lot by reading your posts/comments.

Can i link to this blog? I already did, just wanted to know if it's ok.

Blessings

6/02/2006 4:14 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Goose thanks. Link all you want. My posting has been slowing dramatically, as I have much on my plate now and expect even more in the near future.

6/02/2006 8:33 AM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

The inherent flaw in the argument lies here:

"In my opinion, the only person who can say that sort of thing is either God or a complete lunatic suffering from that form of delusion which undermines the whole mind of man."

It is Lewis' opinion and he is wholly wrong. A psychotic individual need not be completely abberant to fulfill Lewis' required criteria. In fact, many high functioning psychotics are very charasmatic and have no problem getting others to play into their delusions (Charles Manson is one such individual). Lest you forget, Lewis is merely an author and literary scholar and is as terribly unqualified to make a qualitative statement about any science as Edwin Hubble is to make a statement about any literature.

6/02/2006 1:19 PM

 
Blogger Jim Jordan said...

BF
Thanks for the tip.

VB
Charles Manson had how many followers, 6? I also don't see the connection between lunacy and science. C.S. Lewis is one of history's best Bible scholars and apologists.
With a conversation-stopping name like Vile Blasphemer I'm pleased at the mildness of your post. In all fairness to you the choices remain the same; to accept Jesus' claims that He is God OR reject Him as a psychotic. BF and I and a many others accept Him as God and you and many others believe He was a lunatic. There's nothing scientific about that. We agree to disagree.

6/02/2006 1:59 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

"C.S. Lewis is one of history's best Bible scholars and apologists."

In whose opinion? This simply does not make him a scientific authority.

And yes, Manson didn't have that many followers, but then again, neither did Jesus when he was alive. The numbers of his followers were a result of saavy political discourse. Given a similar amount of time and similar kinds of willing people, Manson could have had as many followers. Despite all that, I never said that Jesus was a lunatic; I was simply pointing out a flaw in the argument that needed addressing- revised arguments must be made that account for contemporary situations.

Furthermore, you can't lure me with your taunting, so don't waste your time.

6/02/2006 2:49 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

Additionally, not all psychotics are lunatics (now a derisive term). You must learn the distinction before engaging in an argument about mental health.

6/02/2006 2:54 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile,

It’s not just a matter of charismatically having people believe your outlandish claims; it’s the nature of the claim itself that needs to be looked at. If one claims to be “God”, then there are only so many possibilities; You must learn the distinction before engaging in an argument about mental health. In all possibilities, the person is one of the following: 1) Lord 2) Liar 3) Lunatic (he’s claiming to God remember?) 4) Legend (i.e the claims were never made).

Now, if you know of another option I will be glad to hear it. As of yet, you have demonstrated nothing.

6/02/2006 5:07 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

Again, as I said: you must learn the distinction [re: psychosis-lunacy] before engaging in an argument about mental health. A mental health patient is not diagnosed on the content of the claim but if a claim of that sort is made or not- in mental health there is no qualitative difference between claiming to be God then claiming to be Napoleon or Bob Johnson next door.

There are several distinctions between levels of "lunacy", as you put it, and with even a mild psychosis, a patient can claim to be Jesus yet be completely functional in all other respects.

What I have demonstrated is that you aren't willing or are unable to understand modern psychological diagnosis. Why are you so unwilling to just admit that Lewis is wrong about the nature of mental illness and find a better case?

6/02/2006 7:01 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile,

You obviously don’t understand the argument. When Lewis is using the term “lunatic” he is speaking of a person who is crazed, demented, deranged, mad, out of their mind, nonsensical, they are nuts!!!!! They are screwy, wacky, THEY ARE A WACKO!!!!.

He is not giving a medical diagnosis, but pointing out the obvious. Even if they are completely normal otherwise, if they believe they are God, then something is not right. You don’t have to be a doctor to realize this.

You’re creating a stawman. Really, if some claimed they were God, are they a sane person? If you think they are, you might want to get checked out yourself. That’s exactly what you’re trying to do.

It’s not hard-- really. Please try to be a little more sensible.

6/02/2006 7:31 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

"You obviously don’t understand the argument."

I understand the attempt, but it is faulty, at best, given modern understanding of psychology. Someone who is *ahem* "wacko" (why so perjorative?) may well think themselves to be God, but it is still true a low grade psychotic who is highly functioning may make the same claim. Lewis exhibits such obvious ignorance of the variety and range of mental illness as to render him a fool to make such blanket statements- that brings us to your next point:

"Even if they are completely normal otherwise, if they believe they are God, then something is not right.... Really, if some claimed they were God, are they a sane person? If you think they are, you might want to get checked out yourself."

So then I guess Jesus could have been a lunatic, eh? As well as his followers by this line of reasoning. This would certainly substantiate the Manson dissent.

"Please try to be a little more sensible."

Absurdity- as before, why are you unwillng to give up Lewis and find surer footing? It is out there, I assure you.

6/02/2006 9:38 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile,

It’s humorous that your entire objection rests on the “modern understanding of psychology” in reference to the latest edition of the APA’s definition of the term “Lunatic” (even though Lewis died in 1963). Unfortunately for you, you completely ignored the fact that Lewis *qualifies* his use of the term with examples. Case in point, he spends quite a bit of time illustrating the consequences of such outlandish claims. So, your objection is not only trivial, but immaterial.

6/02/2006 10:13 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

"It’s humorous that your entire objection rests on the “modern understanding of psychology” in reference to the latest edition of the APA’s definition of the term “Lunatic” (even though Lewis died in 1963)."

I don't see what's so humorous about it unless I decide to, as you do here, rebut in a condescending manner. Modern psychology is vastly different from the early '60's- that's what science is all about. Would you want the 1960's equivalent cancer or disease treatments now? Most likely not unless you were a "looney". Anyway, Lewis may have died in 1963, but he wrote the trillema in the early fifties, partially transcripted from some early 1940's radio talk. That dates his "diagnosis" to at least the early forties. Would you like the 1940's equivalent of heart surgery?

"...you completely ignored the fact that Lewis *qualifies* his use of the term with examples."

How could I ignore information that you didn't provide? What were his examples? Doesn't seem that they would be enough to dismiss his blunder. Are his examples well documented psychological cases? Are they diagnoses based on peer reviewed science?

"...your objection is not only trivial, but immaterial."

*Ahem*

Trivial: adj- Of little significance or value.

Immaterial: adj- Of no importance or relevance.

Redundant much?

6/03/2006 7:17 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile,

Don’t pretend to be an innocent victim here. All on needs to do is visit your blog and see the complete disrespect toward any religion. So, cry me a river when I don’t put out the red carpet for you.

Secondly, regardless of contemporary medical definitions of “lunatic”, Lewis’ usage and qualifications are suitable even to this day. Perhaps you should read some of those qualifications and examples that are already in the post and do a little research on scholarly rebuttals of Lewis’ trilemma. What you will find, is that scholars don’t waste their time with semantically irrelevant issues such as the current APA definition of the term.

So, if you want to make a case. Then demonstrate how someone can claim they are God manifest I the flesh and not have some mental issues. Until then your argument remains:


Trivial: in the sense that it is a petty semantic quibble abut the term lunatic—to which you seem to be the only person who has a problem with it.

and

Immaterial: as in, even if it is the case that Lewis’ usage of the term “lunatic” does not comport with the 2006 book of definitions, it is irrelevant to the argument itself.

6/03/2006 8:38 AM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

"Don’t pretend to be an innocent victim here. All on needs to do is visit your blog and see the complete disrespect toward any religion. So, cry me a river when I don’t put out the red carpet for you."

Aren't you being a hypocritical Christian when I'm civil with you despite your beliefs, yet you are crass with me because of mine? Just noticing is all.

"...scholarly rebuttals of Lewis’ trilemma."

Find me one written by a noted and peer reviewed psychologist, and then we'll talk. The "scholars" of philosophy, anthropology, literature, religion, etc. are not even nearly qualified to discuss scientific concerns.

"...with semantically irrelevant issues such as the current APA definition of the term."

Fantastic, so anyone with Tourrets can be called a lunatic- that is what they were during Lewis' era, anyway. It is not semantically irrelevant because psychological afflictions don't change their natures; our researched understanding of those afflictions becomes more refined. In effect, Lewis' usage is as abusivly ignorant toward the mentally ill as is a racial slur.

"Then demonstrate how someone can claim they are God manifest I the flesh and not have some mental issues."

I can't- if they truely believe they are an all-powerful, immortal, blah blah, god then they must be mentally ill. But their level of mental illness is in question, as I have stated already, numerous times. By this, Jesus must have been mentally ill, yet highly functioning enough to organize followers.

"Trivial: in the sense that it is a petty semantic quibble abut the term lunatic—to which you seem to be the only person who has a problem with it."

A semeantic quibble is not petty in: Law, Medicine, Politics, Literature, Religion, Ethics, etc, etc, etc. I'm sure if you approached a mental health professional and told them their high-functioning psychotics were "lunatics", you'd get one hell of an ear full.

"Immaterial: as in, even if it is the case that Lewis’ usage of the term “lunatic” does not comport with the 2006 book of definitions, it is irrelevant to the argument itself."

Well, you're right- and since the archaic notion that seizures are caused by demonic infection does not agree with modern science, it's irrelevant to argue about the intelligence or intention of those arguing otherwise.


And the two words are still so synonymous as to be redundant, no matter how you justify their usage- it was just mistakably vague.

6/03/2006 2:54 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile

*yawn*

You’re still quibbling?

Let’s take a look:

“I can't- if they truely believe they are an all-powerful, immortal, blah blah, god then they must be mentally ill.

Ah yes—Lewis’ point exactly. There is no onus on the Christian to provide scholarly reviews from qualified physiologists to validate Lewis usage of the term; especially since you have just conceded the main point of the usage of the term. Any half wit can recognize this; it’s amazing that it took you so long.

“Aren't you being a hypocritical Christian when I'm civil with you despite your beliefs, yet you are crass with me because of mine? Just noticing is all.”

You can call me a hypocrite if you like, but despite your facade of courteous discourse, your hideous blog demonstrates your malicious and complete condescension toward Christianity and other religions. Would you have me invite someone over for dinner, just after they insulted my wife? Perhaps I should pretend they had never said it or disregard it when there are in my house? Don’t patronize me with drivel.

“Find me one written by a noted and peer reviewed psychologist, and then we'll talk. The "scholars" of philosophy, anthropology, literature, religion, etc. are not even nearly qualified to discuss scientific concerns.”

I don’t have to burden the proof of demonstrating that someone who claims to be God is crazy. The very nature of your semantic quibble demonstrates your lack of reading comprehension regarding the triemma.

“Fantastic, so anyone with Tourrets can be called a lunatic- that is what they were during Lewis' era, anyway. It is not semantically irrelevant because psychological afflictions don't change their natures; our researched understanding of those afflictions becomes more refined. In effect, Lewis' usage is as abusivly ignorant toward the mentally ill as is a racial slur.”

The problem here is that you’re taking Lewis usage of the term “lunatic” and ripping it out of context. A classical fable for those who cannot refute an argument—they must misrepresent their opponent.

“By this, Jesus must have been mentally ill, yet highly functioning enough to organize followers.”
Jesus could have been mentally ill; that’s exactly why Lewis says so. But if Jesus IS God, then he is not mentally ill. Perhaps you’re finally getting it?

“A semeantic quibble is not petty in: Law, Medicine, Politics, Literature, Religion, Ethics, etc, etc, etc. I'm sure if you approached a mental health professional and told them their high-functioning psychotics were "lunatics", you'd get one hell of an ear full.”

Again, in order to make your case, you must misrepresent Lewis in order to refute it, his real position and usage of the term is irrefutable since he explained and qualified the term.


Cheers

6/03/2006 3:56 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

"Any half wit can recognize this; it’s amazing that it took you so long."

I didn't take me long at all- I'm infering to the historic Jesus. Which is in direct contention.


"You can call me a hypocrite if you like, but despite your facade of courteous discourse, your hideous blog demonstrates your malicious and complete condescension toward Christianity and other religions."

Hee hee! No one told you to visit my blog- genetic fallacy- good job.

"I don’t have to burden the proof of demonstrating that someone who claims to be God is crazy."

Awkward misdirection- I didn't say you had to demonstrate anything. You're burying Jesus yourself with this line of argument by simply claiming an exception.

"...ripping it out of context."

It's out of modern context, not Lewis'.

"But if Jesus IS God, then he is not mentally ill. Perhaps you’re finally getting it?"

I've understood this from the beginning, yet it changes nothing- he was simply a high functioning psychotic. Someone with genius level intellect can have a psychotic power delusion (we're witnessing the same case with you here and now... see I can insult as much as you can).

"...you must misrepresent Lewis in order to refute it, his real position and usage of the term is irrefutable since he explained and qualified the term."

Pfft- So you assume that Lewis understood modern psychology decades before its inception? His definition is moot. I assume you would still use burning poultices to cure impotence, yah?

6/03/2006 5:06 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile,

“I didn't take me long at all- I'm infering to the historic Jesus. Which is in direct contention.”

No, you inferring to usage of terminology. Did you forget that you said, “It is Lewis' opinion and he is wholly wrong”?

“Hee hee! No one told you to visit my blog- genetic fallacy- good job.”

Sorry, it’s not a genetic fallacy because the origin of the claim is relevant to your objection. Since your blog was the origin of my premise, it has bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim in question. So, go back and hit the logic books.

“Awkward misdirection- I didn't say you had to demonstrate anything. You're burying Jesus yourself with this line of argument by simply claiming an exception.”

You wanted diagnoses and scholarly peer reviewed material by psychologists. This is completely unnecessary.

“It's out of modern context, not Lewis'.”

So now you back pedaling. Earlier you made several attacks on Lewis:

1) “Lewis is merely an author and literary scholar and is as terribly unqualified to make a qualitative statement about any science as Edwin Hubble is to make a statement about any literature.”

2) “Lewis exhibits such obvious ignorance of the variety and range of mental illness as to render him a fool to make such blanket statements”

3) “Doesn't seem that they would be enough to dismiss [Lewis’] blunder.”

4) “Lewis' usage is as abusivly ignorant toward the mentally ill as is a racial slur.”

So you backhandedly cut down Lewis, and then concede the following: “[S]o anyone with Tourrets can be called a lunatic- that is what they were during Lewis' era, anyway.”.

‘I've understood this from the beginning, yet it changes nothing- he was simply a high functioning psychotic. Someone with genius level intellect can have a psychotic power delusion (we're witnessing the same case with you here and now... see I can insult as much as you can).”

Hehe, my contention is not with your claim that Jesus is a psychotic. I obviously disagree with you, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that everyone knows what Lewis is talking about when he uses the term “lunatic.” Even if the term have evolved over the past 50 or so years, there is still no discredit to him for using it; especially since he made certain qualifications and explained the position to substantiate his argument.

“Pfft- So you assume that Lewis understood modern psychology decades before its inception? His definition is moot. I assume you would still use burning poultices to cure impotence, yah?”

No, I don’t assume Lewis understood modern psychology (as if he had some crystal ball or something). I assume people have common sense to read one of Lewis’ most simple and coherent arguments and understand what he was saying. Apparently, there is at least one out there that suffers from chronological snobbery and reading comprehension.


Ciao

6/03/2006 5:47 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

"Did you forget that you said, “It is Lewis' opinion and he is wholly wrong”"

His opinion is that all who would claim to be God would be total lunatics- they aren't and you can't just assume what he meant unless you have further proof- which leads us too:

"...he made certain qualifications and explained the position to substantiate his argument."

What? I haven't seen any distinctions made in diagnosis. Provide them- otherwise he certainly does appear ignorant about mental health.

"...chronological snobbery..."

This made me laugh... for a long time. Admit it- you made that up.

Well, you're unwilling to consider anything, given how you visited my blog and decided to be unyielding. You were far more willing to concede the point waaaaay back when I got you to agree that abortion was alright in some cases. In fact, my write up about that was probably what has you so hot here... or are you just angered by free speech?

Well, since your arguemnt doesn't develop past bigoted views of the mentally ill, you're boring now, so you can have your blog back now.

6/03/2006 7:33 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile, Vile, Vile,

You continue to meet my low expectations:

“His opinion is that all who would claim to be God would be total lunatics- they aren't and you can't just assume what he meant unless you have further proof”

Again, your complete disregard for what was originally wrote. Lewis was talking about Jesus, and the claims that He made and the things that He said. He was not just speaking of anyone—though it would work just as well.

“What? I haven't seen any distinctions made in diagnosis. Provide them- otherwise he certainly does appear ignorant about mental health.”

You want me to spoon feed you? Class is over vile. Try to do a little research on your own. Quote what Lewis said in context and demonstrate that he was egregiously using the term (considering the picture you attempted to paint).

"...chronological snobbery..."
“This made me laugh... for a long time. Admit it- you made that up.”


No, I didn’t make it up. You can educate yourself HERE

“Well, you're unwilling to consider anything, given how you visited my blog and decided to be unyielding. You were far more willing to concede the point waaaaay back when I got you to agree that abortion was alright in some cases. In fact, my write up about that was probably what has you so hot here... or are you just angered by free speech?”

Actually, you haven’t made your case—or any case, but to just complained about Lewis using the term “lunatic.” I actually would have not visited your blog, had it not been for some one emailing me your post.

I support you free speech, it’s the lack of honesty and integrity that puts you on the pitiable level; that’s all. It’s your modus operandi that is pathetic.

“Well, since your arguemnt doesn't develop past bigoted views of the mentally ill, you're boring now, so you can have your blog back now.

Well, come back when you have a qualitative objection. Drivel does get old.

Ciao

6/03/2006 7:58 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

Prove that I'm dishonest. I'm such a friendly guy and you spit in my face when I visit. I hope you're not the model for most Christians- the ones that I've met are affable, why aren't you?

6/04/2006 9:10 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

LOL

For someone who burns Bibles you’re such a “friendly guy.” First, you lied about your “curious” intentions regarding abortion. You stated:

“I wasn't asking in a manner to argue, so I'm not looking for a compromise. I'm just curious as to what your thoughts on the subject were.”

Then your real and DISHONEST intentions arise on your blog:


“I feel that I've successfully noodled these guys into blaspheming the word of God by being willing to make compromises against his will.”

I never said I was a model for Christians. I have dialoged with many other non-believers and they are honest—why aren’t you?

Now are you happy?

6/04/2006 10:38 AM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

I wasn't being dishonest- my intention was not to argue- I was really seeking your thoughts on the subject. Your thoughts just happened to come across as comically antithetical to the Bible.

If the Bible is such a holy book to you, why did you reduce its importance by spelling it with a lower-case "b"?

Next time, don't visit my blog and then maybe you'll enjoy my company. I'm glad you enjoyed my videos- did you catch the subliminal cues I placed in them? Don't be surprised if you experience very minute changes of behavior, say, in the way you answer a phone or how you prepare your food.

6/04/2006 11:23 AM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Slice it and dice the way you want. Your dishonesty is available for everyone to see. I’ll let them decide. Don’t be surprised if I am not impressed by your lack of respect and integrity. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

Good luck in all your desecration endeavors.

6/04/2006 12:35 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

You certainly seem defensive about admiting any kind of mistake. If you want to retain your notions respect and integrity, don't visit next time- I certainly didn't tell you to look at my blog and I've told many not to because they would find it offensive; unfortunately, you've allowed that to taint your host demeanor. I would most certainly treat you well and with utmost respect if you commented on my blog.

Good luck in all your consecration endeavors.

6/04/2006 1:21 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile,

So, I am black and if I found out someone was a member of the KKK, should I be a good host and invite them over for dinner and falsely pretend that their actions are not scandalous? Should I humor Stalin because he was polite to me at the grocery store? Should I pretend that a person is respectful when they take what people to be sacred and burn it? Should I pretend that they have not been deceitful in the past?

So……. the KKK guy says to the black guy, “If you want to retain your notions respect and integrity, don't stumble across our meetings; disregard what information had been conveyed and provided to you.”

The KKK member continues, “I certainly didn't tell you to look at what our KKK meetings are about and I've told many not to because they would find it offensive; unfortunately, you've allowed that to taint your host demeanor. I would most certainly treat you well and with utmost respect if you commented in one of our KKK meetings.”

When the black guy doesn’t pretend to be oblivious and doesn’t roll out the red carpet for his guest. The KKK guy becomes disconcerted and says, “why, you certainly seem defensive…..”

And the saga continues

6/04/2006 1:56 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

Ah, I see, so you think I'm going to lynch you or some other such silliness. That's a fairly odd statement considering the Christian orientation of the KKK. Does your attitude also mean that Jews have the right to treat you like hell because of constant historical massacre by Christians? Do homosexuals get to spit on your mother because of the hostility of your beliefs toward them?

I've seen plenty of black men and women have civil debates with KKK members- what is your problem that you can't have one with me?

6/04/2006 2:37 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile,

“Ah, I see, so you think I'm going to lynch you or some other such silliness.”

It was called an illustration and showed your comments to be absurd.

“That's a fairly odd statement considering the Christian orientation of the KKK. Does your attitude also mean that Jews have the right to treat you like hell because of constant historical massacre by Christians? Do homosexuals get to spit on your mother because of the hostility of your beliefs toward them?”

I have done none of those things; see my post on “Moral Failures of Christendom” that make your claims quite silly. YOU; however, are (as demonstrated) dishonest and maintain an odious blog.

“I've seen plenty of black men and women have civil debates with KKK members- what is your problem that you can't have one with me?”

I’ll address how ever I think you should be addressed. I have spoke to many non-believers cordially and will continue to do so. You, on the other hand, have already demonstrated deceitfulness in communication. I have no reason to expect any better from you.

6/04/2006 3:56 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

"...see my post on “Moral Failures of Christendom”..."

Ahem... no.

"...are (as demonstrated) dishonest and maintain an odious blog."

Demonstrated by you? How are you qualified? Many have told me my blog is wonderful and they count me as one of the most honest people they know- how are they less reputable than you?

"I’ll address how ever I think you should be addressed."

Written like a true theocrat- thank God, dear Jesus, and the Holy Ghost that due process and civil rights protect me from you irrationalism.

"I have spoke..."

*spoken

"You, on the other hand, have already demonstrated deceitfulness in communication."

I have been nothing but honest with you. I've simply taken the opportunities that have presented themselves.

6/04/2006 7:02 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Your appeals may have carried more weight had you not been deceitful in the first place. You just keep hanging yourself more and more.

6/04/2006 7:30 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Vile,

pfffft. Thats all thats comeing out from you now so thats were you hit the bricks.

6/04/2006 8:06 PM

 
Blogger Vile Blasphemer said...

"Your appeals may have carried more weight had you not been deceitful in the first place. You just keep hanging yourself more and more."

You are terribly confused. I do hope you'll seek some care from the same professionals that you have besmirched.

"Thats all thats comeing out from you now so thats were you hit the bricks."

*That's all that's coming out of you now, so that's where you hit the bricks.*

Please, you do have a reputation to uphold.

I thought Christians were supposed to turn the other cheek?

So sad that you have resorted to deleting argument posts like a screaming child ignoring all others. I'm disappointed with you, BF. I thought you were made of stronger stuff.

6/05/2006 10:29 AM

 

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