C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy - Lesson 5

Mere Christianity (Part 2)

The probability of morality as we know it in the human community, given that theism is true, is more probable than morality given any other worldview. Morality at the human (finite) level is anchored in morality at the infinite level. Morality has its most natural fitting worldview home in theism. In using the analogy of light shining through boards in a tool shed, Lewis says, “I believe in Christianity, not because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” 

Michael L. Peterson
C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy
Lesson 5
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Mere Christianity (Part 2)

Mere Christianity (part 2)

I. Responses to Arguments from realism

II. Is There a Power Behind the Universe?

A. Lewis doesn't directly infer a divine being from moral awareness

B. Theism becomes acceptable and compelling rationally, by comparison with other worldviews

C. Morality at the human (finite) level is anchored in morality at the infinite level


Book 2: What Christians Believe

III. Preview

A. Rival conceptions of God

B. Comments about other religions

1. We do know that no one can be saved, except through Christ. What we don’t know whether only those who know him can be saved through him

2. Two types of atheism

  • The purpose of the class is to directly engage Lewis’s philosophy and theology. He brings a Christian worldview to engage intellectual movements of his day. The trinity created us to bring us into the fellowship that has been going on with God forever. 

  • The mind is the organ of reason, imagination is the organ of understanding. To understand what real truth is, the imagination needs to be a part of that. We are created in the image of God and are immortal beings. Ordinary people are extraordinary. The Christian life is most deeply about being transformed resulting in participation in the divine life. It's more than just having one’s legal status changed. There should be transformation in the culture as well as personal. God is in the process of redeeming a wounded universe, including the whole of knowledge and truth in all subjects. 

  • There is a sacred quality to ordinary activities as well as symbolic religious rituals. Whatever is true in any field of study is God’s truth. The world is essentially good, but it’s been damaged. God has taken a great risk in allowing people free choice for good or evil. Evil has become present in many forms in the world and it is anti-creational and anti-human. We are not broken, but we are bent. God’s nature is relational because of the nature of the Trinity, so it makes sense that he would make a universe that is relational. We dwell in God and he dwells in us. As disciples of Christ we all share the single vocation of loving God and others.

  • Lewis wants to parlay theological doctrines into dynamic insights and track out their implications for intellectual engagement. He does is with a background of philosophical skill and theological understanding of historic orthodoxy. Instead of arguing about preferences, we need to focus on articulating the doctrines that are universal. Lewis’s ideas are expressed so they can be understood by people not formally trained in philosophy or theology but they have merit in the marketplace of ideas. 

  • The probability of morality as we know it in the human community, given that theism is true, is more probable than morality given any other worldview. Morality at the human (finite) level is anchored in morality at the infinite level. Morality has its most natural fitting worldview home in theism. In using the analogy of light shining through boards in a tool shed, Lewis says, “I believe in Christianity, not because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” 

  • In Hinduism, Brahman, the hidden inner essence of everything, is beyond human categories of good and evil. Brahman is the only reality. Everything we see is an illusion. The fundamental human problem is ignorance, not sin. Dualism is the idea that there is good and evil at war in the universe. Explaining morality in a dualistic framework is difficult. Dualism assumes good and evil are equal, so you would need a third element to adjudicate which one to choose, and that would be a higher standard. Otherwise you wouldn’t know which one to choose. Naturalism/materialism says there is no ultimate moral nature to the universe. 

  • Lewis begins by discussing our common moral experience as a triggering point to reason toward theism. Then he reasons for a deity that’s interested in morality that’s also a supreme power. With naturalism, we come from a source that is non-rational, non-moral and non-personal, so it’s difficult to understand how you get beings that are rational, moral and personal.

  • Theism is intellectually at least on par, if not superior to, other conceptions of reality like dualism, pantheism and naturalism. If there is a God that theism describes, only one deity of the living theistic religions said that this God invaded our existence. The question is that in comparison to other alternatives, what is emerging as a reasonable explanation of the reality we face?

  • Our rationality being reliable assumes that we can produce a large preponderance of true beliefs over false ones by using rational faculties like memory, abstract reasoning, perception and the testimony of others. The role of philosophy is to analyze and explain the common sense beliefs of the human race about morality and the external world. 

  • The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind. Lewis thinks that we now do not have broad social consensus of Christian truth. He challenges individuals to have a more positive affirming attitude toward intellect and academics. In his view, Christians are ambivalent about the value of the life of the mind and using the gift of our intellect to serve him.

  • Premise one: every natural desire corresponds to one real object. Premise two: There exists in us a desire that nothing in the temporal world can satisfy. Conclusion is that there must be more than time, earth and creatures that can satisfy this desire.

  • The Supreme Being, behind the universe as we know it, is a personal being, eternal and the model for how we are to understand our personhood. We can’t understand our own personhood fully, the way it’s supposed to operate, unless we understand what God is, as a personal being. We are not projecting our understanding on God but learning about ourselves by finding out about God. 

  • This is ultimately a book about a clash of worldviews. A worldview offers an explanation of the important features/phenomena of life and the world. In the West, the atheist worldview is often expressed in naturalism. Lewis argues for theism based on what is true internally of us, rather than argument from design. Discussion is not whether a particular miracle has occurred, but in principle, is it a possibility.

  • There is a supernatural power or being that is ontologically distinct from nature (transcendent). It is self-existent. Every world view must propose what is fundamentally real. For the naturalist, it is the physical world. For the theist, it’s a transcendent deity. Everything that is not God is dependent/contingent on God for its being. The theist says that the deity can bring about events that would not have happened by the regular operation of nature. 

  • What’s important to Lewis is freedom of rational thinking, free from physical causes. Naturalism undercuts the power of reason because everything is determined by physical causes. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then the probability of our cognitive faculties being reliable for truth is low.

  • If you believe in naturalism as a worldview, miracles are impossible. Since a naturalist worldview says everything is determined and thought is only adaptive, the ability to have free rational thought to logically evaluate naturalism undercuts the naturalist position.

  • Rational thought and moral consciousness are points of entry of the supernatural into the realm of the natural. It involves both. It’s not a dichotomy. Naturalists believe that the nature of human persons is limited to material processes. Substance dualists believe that mind and brain are two separate substances that are mixed for now, but at death one will cease to exist and the other will continue to exist. Emergentist sees the animal form taken to another degree of complexity by the natural realm getting increasingly complex and dualist in function as opposed to substance.

  • Scientific law is economical summary of what experience always reports: regular cause and effect. Laws are regularity based on coincidences. Causality is the basis of law. Hume says that laws are regularities based on coincidences. Hume says that you can only know regularity because that’s all the human mind is capable of. Peterson’s view is that a miracle is not changing a law of nature, it’s changing with the “ceteris paribus” clause – preventing all things from being equal and changing the nature of the item. 

  • There is nothing about nature that makes miracles impossible. The naturalist can’t see nature accurately as a creature, not just an independent fact but it can’t stand or explain itself. The cosmological principle is that only concrete beings, not general things, have causal power. Causal laws don’t make things happen, only the beings acting within the laws.

  • If God is in fact a living determinate being, and is outside the natural system, he might insert events into the natural system. The laws that we observe in the natural system may be a subset of higher laws that govern the universe. What criteria do you use to determine if a miracle has taken place? Evidence plus intrinsic probability. Whether or not an event is a miracle is also part of the discussion of the problem of evil. Why would God intervene in some circumstances but not others? 

  • In philosophy, it’s referred to as the problem of evil. Given a certain understanding of God and a certain understanding of evil, there is a tension explaining why evil exists in the world.

  • If God chooses to create a nature, this signifies a physical system which indicates a relatively independent nature independent from himself, it would make a lot of sense to say he is frequently intervening.  The same laws that make nature a stable environment in which rational soulish life can emerge, are also the same laws that make us vulnerable. Pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf world. He might whisper to us in our pleasures, but he shouts to us in our pain. Question about whether God initiates the pain or he set up a system which results in pain because of the way it’s structured.

  • Lewis describes the story of the Fall as a narrative that has symbolic elements that convey significant truth. The truth in the first couple chapters of Genesis is that we were created by God, sovereign and loving creator, and that our only fulfillment as humans is to center our lives on God. Our proper role as a creature is to rely on God, so when we ignore that and rely on ourselves, our relationship with God is broken. 

  • God is his creation set forth the problem of expressing his goodness through the total drama of a world containing free agents in spite of, and even by means of, their rebellion against him. The risk is for the possibility of relationship. 

  • Aristotle would say that as a rational, moral being you build your character based on the hierarchy of good traits.  From a Christian perspective, our natural destiny should be on the same trajectory as our eternal destiny. The spiritual and theological virtues are faith, hope and love.

  • As long as God chooses a stable physical order, that physical order will run by its own laws. Any system with  have the possibility of pain. Created nature with natural laws provide a framework/structure in which souls can meet. Some pain is produced by the natural system without regard to the desires of the beings. That humans can inflict pain on other humans is a reflection of the permission by God that he permits this. The wide range of freedom makes it possible for great good or terrible evil. 

  • Lewis thinks that God needs to pierce the shield of our ego and we are embodied creatures so pain is what does it by getting our attention by highlighting how frail and in need we are. 

  • For Lewis, heaven is the unending joyous life of God, the life of the Trinity. The only way I can be fulfilled is to find its proper purpose and relation with God. Heaven is the restoration of created personhood, what it was always meant to be. When we are on the trajectory, we begin experiencing it now. Hell is the lack of fulfillment for which we were made. 

  • Discussion of the movie Shadowlands. Discussion of the nature of relationships. Pain and happiness are not necessarily mutually exclusive.                                        

  • Lewis expresses anger toward God as part of his process of grief. Orthodox Christianity denies materialism which believes that your physical body is all you are, but it doesn’t require body-soul dualism where the soul is the real person that inhabits a shell. Whatever damage death completes in the reign of sin in this world will be undone and swallowed up by the resurrection. The restoration of human personhood will come after death. 

  • Heaven and hell are dichotomous. Whether life is heaven or hell depends on your future trajectory. God is true reality, fixed and can’t be altered. In GD, true reality is God. The descriptions are not meant to be literal. Heaven is the Trinitarian life of God. It’s not a place, it’s a state of being in proper relation to the love and joy of the Trinitarian relations. Lewis describes it as a great dance. 

  • Final comments about themes in The Great Divorce.

C. S. Lewis is an extremely good theologian who does his work for the thoughtful lay person.  But his writings reflect his erudite understanding of the great classics of literature, historical theology, philosophy, and other disciplines.  Lewis says in Mere Christianity that theology is like a map.  We may get where we’re going without it, but it is much easier to use the map.  The map of Christian theology is drawn over the early centuries of the church as the believing community interprets the Bible and its experience of God.  

Of course, the ultimate goal of theology, according to Lewis, is practical:  to draw us into the life of God, or St. Gregory of Nazianzus ((329-374 AD), called it, “the Great Dance.”  I know no theme deeper or more pervasive in Lewis than our need to get the steps right, to join the dance once again.  

In “Meditations in a Tool Shed,” Lewis says that there is a distinction between looking at a beam of light and looking along the beam of light.  He is speaking of looking at reason or using reason—a passage that forms part of his great case that presence of rationality argues for the truth of theism.  We will be doing a lot of looking in this course, largely, “looking at” Lewis himself.  But let us also try to “look along” the same line of sight as Lewis, to see things—God, humanity, spiritual life, and a host of other things—as Lewis saw them.  This means attempting to step inside Lewis’s worldview and learning to interpret fundamental realities the way he did and to deploy his distinctive strategies for engaging other worldviews.  In effect, we will learn to think Christianly by learning to think along Christianly with Lewis.

In 2020, Dr. Peterson published the book, C. S. Lewis and the Christian WorldviewIt is essentially his course lectures in written book form--covering Lewis on all key worldview issues--reality, knowledge, creation, trinity, christology, as well as issues of evil, religious pluralism, and the impact of science on faith. You will also see it listed in the Recommended Reading section. 

Dr. Michael Peterson

C.S. Lewis: His Theology and Philosophy


Mere Christianity (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript


Well were before the break. We were talking about Lewis's version of a moral argument for the existence of a theistic god. And we talked a little bit about possible objections that are out there. We can't list them all. But the idea that if we just have our wits about us and I think honestly that's a lot of it, is understanding how realism operates. The realism can be like a bulldog with a bone, and I get knocked off balance very easily because we know that the moral law is so deep in human nature, there's nothing deeper to overturn it. Yeah. And if that's the case, it just takes creativity and a little work to see how any given objection fails. I mean, that really is an insight I think we should generalize from. One's a realist. I've said it like this in other classes. I'll say it like this. Now you're out in the big, bad intellectual world. Let's call it the intellectual woods. Forest And night is falling, It's getting dark. And realism is like the little cabin in the woods with the light on Food is cooking. A wreath of inviting smoke is coming from the chimney. You're light and it's starting to snow is cold out there. It's harsh, but, you know, to go to that cabin because that's home. So realism is your intellect. You know, you can see if you can open this as we go through the course. Realism in is your intellectual home. Out of that. You have a lot of philosophical and intellectual basis from which to talk about morality, theology, human nature, other important items. So objections, you think, Oh, that could seem such a clever objection or this or that hurt instinct. Social convention, Selfish gene.


But you realize what really is being said. Here's one way, one way to look at it from a realist point of view. It has to do with what I would call rational credentials or epistemic credentials on the part of objectors. So we might say the claim that morality is ultimately an expression of the selfish gene, meaning the innate selfishness that evolution must have for survival reproduction. And it must have that. Or there would be no ongoing continuation of the species. So that's but to say morality is nothing but so it's one thing to say that's an element in our animal history. It's another thing to say we're nothing but that. We somehow have transcended that, that with human nature, we transcend the various kinds of of biological and animal aspects that we clearly have. And now we've come to a higher level of organization. Presiding over different instincts, adjudicating among instincts with moral awareness. And and so we smell, we detect any form of reductionism, reducing morality to selfishness. Then Roy, explaining it away is not so much Dawkins is not so much saying morality is false, as he's saying that at a very deep level. It's not at all what we thought it was. So and that's that's a that's a deeper undercut undercutting what I would call on are undercutting the feeder. To use the language of defenders in contemporary epistemology. I have a belief and the opposite belief come along and seem pretty potent, and that would be a potential defeat. Or I could believe God is good. And then somebody comes and said, Well, yeah, there's suffering all over the world. How is God? Good. Oh, yeah. Oh, man, that was some tension that put some pressure. See? So that's why so many people lose faith in the presence of suffering and loss, because they can't reconcile.


They've accepted evil, suffering, tragedy as a defeat or of a particular belief or held. God is good. Something like that. So but that would be a rebutting. The feeder. A particular belief rebuts another particular belief. That's not what Dawkins is doing. I don't think he knows, frankly, what he's doing. But that's another class. That's a science religion class. But if you put what he looks like he's doing and a lot of his cohorts in the parlance of contemporary epistemology. You get this kind of vocabulary. There's rebutting defenders, but then there's undercutting the feed where where you're trying to undercut the capacity to form. Reliable beliefs. Perhaps it can be beliefs about the external world, but other minds it can be about morality. Oh, it could be almost complete, etc.. If you go for the whole capacity. So, you know, we really don't know if there's a world outside our minds. Well, you're clearly anti realist. There are positions like this, various forms of idealism that Lewis, you know, engaged in his earlier. You are like that or you can't know through their minds. You can't know. Here's this here's the one on our plate for the present. You can't know that there's a moral law because your what you take as your moral capacity if we analyze it in terms of evolutionary biology. Then we're going to say it breaks down to two genetically conditioned behavior and hardly anything we call transcendent universal objective. That's an important part of a universal human nature. So that's all gone. And you've undercut rather than rebutted. I take. That's what. Probably several. All these other objections would be undercutting objections that Lewis thought of her. It's just hard instinct. But in contemporary discussions, this is one that's out there and it would be one more undercutting defeat her.


Well, you could go on and on with how Lewis engages. I think opposing ideas navigates his way, but we're kind of elevating the vocabulary, elevating the level of sophistication. From the book's native presentation. But if I keep this up, it'll be too tedious and it will never move forward. So you're saying to yourself, Hey, one proof of God would be if he lets Peterson move forward. That would be another theistic proof. Please, God, can we make any progress in this court? But you can see the level. You can drill down. You can really drill down. You could really deal with a lot of technicalities in Lewis. Lewis doesn't take a back seat to anybody when it comes to how his ideas get located and sophisticated. In more technical terms. This is just a taste. But moving from the chapters on objections, we move to the one on. Is there a power behind the universe? And he's taking the moral awareness we have. Which he's he in his own pages, he deflects herd instinct. Social Convention. I've just tried to say you could continue deflecting other objections, like the selfish gene type. Objection. So you you keep the credibility of the idea that we have genuine moral awareness. There's something real we're aware of, and we have a reliable capacity. To be aware of this, and he's just using the word power. Is there a power behind the universe? Is there something higher than humanity or some kind of ultimate being that is behind this, this moral sense and moral awareness that we have? Now supposing you say, yes, there is. He thinks that you're not endorsing the Christian God. You've not even gotten close. I mean, closer than when we first began. But you're not terribly close to all the different descriptors of the Christian God.


You just know that there's something that would have an interest in morality. And what sorts of things would have an interest in morality? Well, we're personal beings. You'd think that this would probably be a personal being and be interested in morality itself, have some degree of power, but we're not there quite yet. But definitely a personal and moral being. When you unite that just a little bit from now with the idea that he's probably has a fair degree of power, you get something that's awe inspiring, but it's it's general enough not to be the specific description of any God of any living religion. It's still just a theistic idea. But unless you get less, you can argue for the credibility of that theistic idea. He doesn't think you've got enough intellectual room to go ahead and see if Christianity can be discussed. So this is his strategy for getting ultimately Christianity on the table. Another way to look at what he's doing. Is the decide. To what extent is it a direct inference? Is he just saying here's here's the fact of moral awareness and we're going to make an inference. And inference is a line of reasoning. Structured in an argument because of this, because of this, because this therefore this. So an argument is it's an inference from premises to a conclusion. So premises about moral awareness, he thinks lead in this direction. But I'm always a little bit cautious to leave it there, leave the description of what Lewis is doing as just a straightforward inference because I think it's more contextualized than that. I think you're going to see very soon that this book begins to engage other worldviews and worldviews like he usually uses the word materialism. I really think that the more general term is naturalism, but times have changed.


He used the word pantheism. These are coming dualism. Maybe you can think of a couple others, but just like theism is a conceptual core for the great Abrahamic religions. Likewise dualism, I mean cosmic dualism. I don't know if he uses the word cosmic. I can't remember. He means cosmic dualism. The idea that really the ultimate reality is dual, a good and evil entity. And so cosmic dualism would be a conceptual core of at least one has been the conceptual core of previous religions. But at least one living religion is not very large. Zoroastrianism. Pantheism. Not to make too many fine distinctions. Pantheism would be the conceptual core of Hinduism. Classical Hinduism, say, is expressed in the Upanishads. And so then of course, we're talking about non religion, a non-religious point of view, certainly a major one always. Almost every generation is what he's calling most of the time materialism. But a broader term would be naturalism. I'm not making many distinctions between naturalism materialism at this point. So knowing that these are out there. To say you can just make this direct inference. Yes, suggestive. But I think it's also it's also. A matter of comparison of worldviews. They all get their shot. At explaining the phenomenon of morality and moral. They all get their shot. Because that's what WORLDVIEW does. Is a worldview explains all important features of life in the world and ultimate reality projects, a picture of what's ultimate, how everything falls in place. You can get radically different visions. Radically different understandings of everything. If you step within one worldview, then the next. That's their job, is to give you a total understanding and comprehensive understanding. So one way of looking at this is to say you've got moral awareness or morality and you've got theism, pantheism, dualism, naturalism or materialism.


Oops, sorry about the naturalism or materialism, and you could say any other view and come up with on the cafeteria line of intellectual options of worldviews. They all get a shot at explaining the same piece of data. Giving a worldview explanation. Where does it come from? What is nature? What is force? What's the status? What's the nature of the human who is aware of this? Blah, blah, blah. Right. So that's different. That's different from a direct inference. You can say it's suggestive, but you can't really march home from the piece of data. Quite impressive that you've preserved with some deft moves to preserve it in the face of some objections. So you've preserved it. And yet to say triumphantly that that's the conclusion. So here's the here's this Not that there's not an inference. It's just how triumphant, how successful in sort of an isolated way. Can that inference be? I think it could be highly suggestive. But what's additionally important is that Lewis is willing to say there's something in the neighborhood of theism is a conclusion of this inference. We've not painted the whole picture yet, but he's willing to place it in the intellectual arena so that he's really proposing this. Theism becomes acceptable rationally and compelling rationally, partly by comparison. With other worldviews, not just because you don't think about the other options and you think this inference goes through from moral awareness to theism. Or at least in the neighborhood of theism, because you might see that in isolation when there's a better explanation out there. So he's willing to say, show sure to me. Show it to me. And so it's it's also by comparison, we sometimes call this kind of reasoning abduct of abduct of inference meaning. This is a word coined by the great American philosopher Sears Perse.


Inference to the best explanation. So it's not just inference. He's got that going. But it could be trumped by an inference to a better worldview. So knowing that, you also have to contextualize it in this larger setting of all the other worldview options and saying saying that. It's the best of the explanations. I think that's really interesting and somewhat more powerful of an intellectual move. So inference to the best explanation. I would put it like this. I take any I've got theism here pantheism here. You can see my my initials do cosmic dualism, so on so on. To put it in the language of probability symbolism, the probability of morality as we know it, and as he's preserved it in the in the face of objections. And helped expose its depth. So as morally as we really know it in the common human community. Morality, given theism, is more probable than morality given anything else on the list below. X dualism pants morality as we know it. To make sense. So he's making a larger claim than this is a direct inference because, I mean, really, he could be whistling in the dark. The dark being lack of contact with opposing explanations of morality. So rather than whistling in the dark, he's putting it in the lion's den. And saying, you know, this is a a longer cafeteria line than what I've been able to just summarize on the board. He's saying that, you know, the probability of this being true, given the theism is true, is higher up an exclamation point, much higher. Morality described, as he's described it, with its realistic depth. Then morality is on Hinduism, dualism, naturalism, etc.. Fill in the blank for X. And that argument pattern, I think, will recur.


It will recur. He doesn't put it in quite such quantitative terms, but that's the way that's the way modern probability theory talks. They symbolize things. It's kind of handy. You can visualize what's being said, you know. So when we come up later with like the argument for joy, this this idea that the longing for something higher that this world cannot provide, cannot satisfy. Where does humankind get that? What's the likelihood we have that longing given theism versus that longing? Given naturalism, it would be absurd, given naturalism. There's no God and nothing higher. We're nothing but animals. Blah, blah. Complex. Higher animals. Nothing brown. So you plug in. Alternative explanations, essentially in the denominator, so to speak. And again, whether it's morality, whether it's. This the longing, the argument from desire, as it's often called, the desire to have a joy that this world cannot supply. So you take a lot of Lewis's arguments, quote unquote, that have a apologetic value and see them in a comparative framework. But this is where we are just right now on the morality item. And I think that's really interesting. Questions. Comments. See that takes us from that section where he believes, given its inferential bearing and his comparative sort of assessment. Against other explanations of this one phenomenon of human morality. But he thinks that the theism looks like it's emerging as the more rational choice. But it's only a vague theism, a general theism so far that this is a power interested in morality and in surely only personal beings would be interested in more so much more naturalism. Who doesn't posit a personal being at the core of reality? We are to think that an impersonal reality. It's essentially physical in nature. We'll be interested in morality.


At the ultimate level. So all the way down to the core. All the way down. Morality at the human level, finite level is anchored in morality at the infinite level. It's like the Yeah, there are different legends like this out there. One is a discussion with a Hindu villager in India where they're asking a person is asking her, she's a layperson, you know, and not a man and an intellectual, asking her what the foundations of the world are. And she says it's on the back of a giant turtle. Well, yeah, but what's that turtle standing on? Another giant turtle. What's that standing? Another giant. She said there's turtles all the way down. It's turtles all the way down. So therefore, I make sure you get my point Now. Obsessed with morality in finite human life. Is it morality all the way down? Or do the naturalists intercept? For example, and explain that by selfish genes or some other objection, cut it off from being morality all the way down to the core of reality. Lewis's point is it makes more sense to think that it goes to the core, the heart of reality, that whatever's out there is deeply moral and is deeply interested in our moral behavior. I thought the turtles all the way down would, you know, give a little mid-afternoon relief. Apparently nothing really is giving that much relief. Okay. So theism at least is on the table in some of its general features. He thinks at the end of the section. So we move then from book one to book two, and that is what is it the Christians believe? And again, he's sort of doing this in an argumentative form, trying to reason his way to what it is that Christians believe.


So he's got fears, theism out there. And then he's going to work on what it is that Christians believe. Chapter one again, he puts some of these worldview options. Out there to discuss and interact with pantheism dualism, materialism. One way of of seeing where he's come to at this point is he's saying morality has this most natural fitting. Worldview home. In theism. There are a lot of things out there looking for Worldview Home, really important to human life. Morality, truth, rationality, the desire for a joy that the world can't satisfy. These are all looking for a worldview in which these deeply, deeply human ingredients are made sense of. This is part of the project of Lewis, and we're just working, you know, with the moral thing for now. But as we really get going through a lot more, Lewis will see that's that's very much a way of of expressing what he's doing. There are things looking for a worldview home. And it's not like you can say, well, I can prove it in the strongest sense of prove. A therefore B therefore C Gotcha. You got to conclude D, you have to. You done? You cut. My apologetic work is done here, you know. But instead he's saying. He's saying. Comparatively, we're looking for worldview explanations to make sense of rather than to distort or dismiss. Or undercut. These important elements of human life. So I'm working hard here early in the ball game for this course to express what I think is is a good way of seeing the Lewis approach. So again, it's comparative, he says in meditations in a tool shed. And I think we discussed last time what a tool shed is because nobody knew. Now I'm just messing with you.


But if light comes through the vertical boards between the boards of a tool shed and you're inside. He makes the difference. The distinction between looking at the light. Seeing it come in. I've done this. We had other buildings out behind the farm as well. But not all tool sheds. Okay. It was 1955. Okay. We finally got running water inside the house. You get more and go, Okay. And electricity. We had music on the radio who turned on the lights in the country and all that kind of thing. It was the Rural Electric Corporation, but. What you got running water inside the house. You didn't need all the buildings outside. Okay, You got you. I think you're following me. But the toolshed building, you can be inside and see the light coming in. Kind of a sheet of light vertically between the board. And it makes the sense to be looking at the light, which is one thing you can do, or changing your orientation and looking along the light and when you look along the light. You can see things illuminated on the far wall. There's the shovel over there. The rake is over there. There's the side. All That's right. And so. His point is, I believe in Christianity, not because I see it. But because by it, I see everything else. So what we've done in the last hour and a half or whatever we've been. Discussing this. Louisa an approach. Is he saying. I'm not just making a direct inference. But from this piece of data, ABC, you have to conclude that's a certain style of apologetic. But I'm willing to put this in interaction with all other competing explanations that either undercut, distort. Some of these deep, fundamental, undeniable realities morality, intellect, rationality, desire for joy and so on.


So part of what we're doing over here then is saying we're preparing not just for theism, because he's going to get theism on the table, but there's going to be it's going to be Christian. Theism. Eventually, as we get into Christian. More specifically Christian information. And when we take that and look at whatever data, we could pile up the data. Rationality. Morality. Desire for joy, blah, blah. We pile up the data. Buy it. By Christian understanding. I see everything else. By that light. I assume he's looking at it. But I see everything else as proper balance, relationship and its proper nature for what it is. Without it being distorted by a description in a worldview in which it doesn't really have the proper home. Personhood. All we mean by that morality. All the we mean by that rationale of what we mean by that. So the realist instinct to not, you know, to be like a bulldog with a bone and not give up on those important realities and then use them as as the set of date, if you will, important phenomena, if you will, by which other views can be measured. His point is they won't measure up. They'll have to distort. We'll have to get out of balance one or more aspects. Can't. So I'm doing more than just repeating the book. I'm trying to frame it. Okay. Mm hmm. Here's an interesting comment. He has two or three in Christianity about other religions. Remember what he says in chapter one. He says, I'm a Christian. I believe Christianity is the form. Universal Christianity, Catholic Historic Orthodox Christianity is the form of theism that makes best sense of all the important pieces of data. But he says, I'm not saying all the other religions are wrong.


He expresses great appreciation for this. There's built in desire. For God, for the divine, for what is higher the humankind has expressed throughout the ages. So he's not coming across as that all that hostile. To them. You can think, Well, being an Anglican, he's going, Oh, well, I've been privileged. Grace was not Wesley's invention. Wesley simply re-emphasized it. The church through the ages believe in preventing grace so you can see world religions, even though they may lack, um, accuracy. And what they think the divine is. They're not wholly wrong. All false. And he's willing to say that. Which I think he's right in saying, and that you have to see almost everything as somehow we're President Grace working. So he's not saying that all other religions are wrong. You remember the part where he says. How does he say it? He says, I'm not saying there's salvific merit. In anything outside Christianity, there's only salvation through Christ. It's a very interesting quote. He says. We do know standing in historic orthodoxy that no one can be saved except through Christ. But what we don't know. Is that only those who know him can be saved through him. If you're gonna be saved, you say, through Christ. Period. Nothing else. No salvation also. But what about all those outside have never heard never heard anything credible. They've died centuries ago without anybody getting to them to tell them more accurate. This is this a major theological and philosophical problem? And so he just leaves it there, I think, with a great amount of wisdom. There's no salvation outside of Christ. But how the atonement applies to people who never had the same opportunity and nobody, frankly, ever has equal opportunity. Call it a matter of religious luck.


It's like Aristotle to talk about moral luck. People raised in better homes. You know, they turn out to have more advantages in developing their moral life. Life in fair. But God is fair. So how's he going? So Lewis has got that thinking and his background even just makes that one statement. We know that nobody can be safe to Christ, but we know that. But what we don't know is that only those who've heard of him and explicitly conscious accept him that they're the only ones who can be saved. Because you leave it like that. He knows you destroyed the justice of God. You can't do that. So if God is just you've got to say something a little more. Brought. And still totally fair to the gospel and slowly but totally fair to God's character. But that's that's Louis. Well, now he says, of course, while other religions are aiming in their own way at the Divine. Atheism, for example, holds that all religions are wrong or unacceptable somehow. What he doesn't do is make a distinction between types of atheist ism. Very briefly, but over here we could distinguish. Two types of atheism. Negative and positive, right? Negative Atheist means the refusal to affirm theism really plays off the literal meaning of our faith. The alpha primitive right in face just means lack of theism, lack of affirming. God don't. I don't affirm it. Don't deny it either. Just black. That'd be more literally true. But we use a word these days agnosticism to be sort of equivalent to what, literally negative atheism and probably the most correct root of the word. However, I think these days we think positive, healthy ism labels a much more assertive denial that didn't sound good. Assertive denial, which you're asserting a denial.


You're saying there is no God. Oops. There's no God. Oh, God does not exist. And so on. So there you're making a knowledge claim. And you may have arguments to back it up. Problem of evil starts the list and so on and so on. So that's different from negative eight ism. And I think what he's got in mind here seems like positive. Atheism. If you think about it, these are all these sparring partners, right? These interlocutors he's got pantheism is coming up and cosmic dualism and all but atheism. The denial, the denial that there's a God is really not. A total worldview. It's it's only one knowledge claim that there's no God. But that kind of claim then becomes a piece of a larger worldview structure. And it's fit in some. And it wouldn't fit, for example, in various things like Judaism or is that would be at home in those worldviews. So there is no God is going to have to be one aspect of naturalism and materialism. It's not the only world view, but in our day in the secular Western culture. For the last several hundred years. Atheism has found its its most natural worldview, home and expression in the larger, more fleshed out views of of naturalist metaphysics, of a naturalist view of reality. So it's not really a worldview as such. If you think about it, theism, its counterpart, is not that much of a worldview. It makes a certain claim there's a God or God and so on. That's about it. But by the time you describe that God more fully talking about his purposes, his plans, the nature of his creation, and so on, you've stepped within some living tradition, Judaism. And so so likewise, the whole atheist and theism debate, while legitimate, can be contextualized in these larger, larger context.


In secular Western culture, atheism tends to be very much allied with naturalism. Not the only option. I mean, look at Theravada Buddhism, which is atheistic, to use a Western term. Buddha did not preach an ultimate divine, you know, reality. So in a sense, taking that Western term atheism and applying the Buddha, it's a form of theism is a form of atheism. Okay. So again, we're just kind of putting building blocks here on the table. And how are we doing for time? What if we should break in? You got because we need another break before we make our final push. Wouldn't hurt. Because we don't want cruel and inhuman, you know. Conduct. Okay, let's do. Can we do 5 minutes to quote the Bible? Do what I must do quickly.