And C.S. Lewis's argument for why it is impossible to consider Christ "just a great teacher" is a terrible argument.
Lewis says, basically, that it's coherent to consider Christ either divine, or a psycho nutjob, but nothing in between. Why? Here's Lewis:
"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 or 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."
This is just pitiful. It ignores a variety of alternatives, such as:
1) Jesus claimed "to be God," but meant this in the way a Hindu would, where, if the acolyte says "I am God," the sage says, "You've finally figured this out, hey?"
2) Jesus did not say some of the things attributed to Him in the Bible. Perhaps his followers , who were writing the New Testament two generations after his death, had a distorted view of what he had been preaching.
3) Even in the New Testament, as we have it, Jesus does not claim to be God. And, in fact, #3 is the view of most modern Biblical scholars!
You may like Lewis's conclusion. But if we are truth seekers, we must reject bad arguments, even if they reach a conclusion we like.
UPDATE: Just to clarify, I'm not saying any or all of alternatives 1-3 above are true. I'm just saying Lewis's list of "the only alternatives" is far from complete.
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