Saturday, August 11, 2012

Now, getting back to C.S. Lewis being an asshat....

So, yeah, getting back to this, to bring it full circle....

So, I watched that Armand Nicholi special back in '04, and that introduced me to the fact that Lewis even wrote books of Christian apologetics, much less the arguments themselves.

I think most average people are oblivious to this, they usually know him as the guy who wrote "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe", if they know him at all.

In Christian circles it's known, he seems to be a fucking rockstar in that world.
(Depends on the denomination...)

Which, as you may guess, I see as a sad fucking state of affairs.

So, I watched this thing, and my mind was open to either "side", and, I didn't take a side for the next couple years, and...the show kept popping up again and again in my mind...and the Lewis arguments sounded pretty, but...something just didn't seem right.

It was over those next couple years, I learned the rules of formal logic, and debate, and realized how totally full of shit he was.

And to this day, it baffles me on a couple levels...

First, let's dig right into his show-stopper arguments.

The greatest hits that his fanboys and fangirls think are just fucking dynamite.

The "God shaped hole".

This one was front and center in the Nicholi special, and Christians reeeaally love this one, ...and I'm deeply embarrassed that it tripped me up back then, because it tips right the fuck over like a top.

It goes like this.
All human cravings have a corresponding experience to go with it.
Hunger has food, thirst has drink, horny has fucking, and so on, and so forth.
So, since people crave the worship of a God, there must be a God.

I...have to step back from that as I even write it, it's something a tiny child would have come up with, and should have been laughed off the planet when Lewis first gurgled it out over the radio.

First, it assumes its conclusion, that "the God sense", is actually a thing to begin with, it doesn't admit the possibility of it being some other impulse being re-purposed (it is*), and worst of all, right on its face, it's the argument from ignorance.

"I can't possibly imagine what else it could be, so it's this".

It's number fucking one on the fallacy list, it's literally logic 101.

And this is the part that blows my fucking did he get away with it?
How did he have a fucking career?

Science has peer review to sift out the bullshit science, isn't there a board of philosophers or something?

Formal logic goes all the way back to fucking Aristotle, it's not like people back in the 40's/50's/60's couldn't possibly have known Lewis's prattlings were worthless junk.

Shit, where the hell was Bertrand Russel during this?
Why didn't he kick his ass?

What the hell was going on?
Who was minding the store?
I want answers, dammit!

And forget then, how about NOW!??!
Nicholi has obviously been educated, he has to fucking know better!
All the more reason he's a turd.

Why didn't Michael Shermer come out and say "it's the textbook argument from ignorance, the old fucker was a quack!"?

I dunno...maybe he did, and it got edited the fuck out....wouldn't be surprised.

I mean, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are paid to know better, what the tapdancing fuck is going on?

This is an argument that still holds sway with people, I still see it crop up on message boards, there still exist people that think it's a whopper, and it's a sad joke.

If I still believed in souls, humbugs of this magnitude would crush mine.


The "gates of hell are locked from the inside", argument.

Basically, this is a disgusting bit of passive-aggression that says that it's okay that people are roasting in the fiery pit for trillions of years, because they put themselves there, and they KEEP themselves there, that for whatever reason, they WANT to be there.

First of all, how the fuck does he know?
I love how these fucking would-be-theologians say God's mind is unknowable, that the non-believer is too puny to understand his mysterious ways...and then they turn right the fuck around, and tell you exactly what God thinks about something, and for their next trick, they make up maps of Hell, they set about listing how many angels there are, and what flavors they come in, how many can dance at the head of a pin....yadda yadda.

It's buuu-uu-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-uuulsheeee-aat!

Second of, talk about blame the victim.

"You're in Hell, because you WANT to be".

Yeah, say that shit to a wrongfully convicted death row inmate.
"You could leave any time you want, you must WANT to fry".

It's the theological equivalent of "she was wearing a tight dress in a bad neighborhood, she was ASKING for trouble".

But, the whole field of theodicy is a bunch of blame shifting.
Don't believe me?
Google some.
You'll vomit.

This is why I don't back off from Lewis as just some poor pitiful little emotional cripple who just wanted his mommy back.

It's here where he turns the corner into having to defend some really disgusting moral propositions, and becomes a fucking sociopath.

And this nasty bit of business, this didn't even make it to the special.
If the table panel had to hunker down around this one, Nicholi might've gotten his smug kisser slapped red.

It certainly wouldn't have fit with the "la-de-daa *birdies tweeting*", version of Lewis they were shoveling.

Also, all of my bafflement with the first argument carries over to this one.

Where the hell were the sane people when this wacko was building a career, and a cultural immortality around this horseshit?

And this boils down to an even more troubling question that's plagued me for awhile...

How in the fuck can you be EVIL and be "beloved"?

C.S. Lewis isn't just blandly known of, he's "beloved"!

Again and again, I see it, monsters embraced to the heart like a cherished infant.

From the worlds of celebrity, to politics, to everyday life.

And, not all cases are naive ignorance of the crimes, sometimes, hell, oftentimes, the crimes are known, and the person is loved MORE for it!

What the fuck IS this in the human character?!?!?!

Add that to my pile of bafflement.....

C.S. Lewis...

Writer of famous fairy tales, crackpot pseudo-philosopher, emotional basket case, beloved scumbag.

...and pathetic asshat.

*Head shake*

* oh yeah, and asterisk, here's a link to a talk called "why we believe in Gods", that breaks religion completely down to brain phenomena.

So, say goodbye once and for all to your God-shaped assholio, assholio.



Caudimordax said...

You forgot the truly smackdown argument: Jesus MUST be god because either he was 1)lying, 2)crazy, or 3) telling the truth when he said he was god. So you "can't" say he was a "good moral teacher, but human."

Christians call this "a profound logical argument" for Jesus being god, when it's actually a pretty good argument for rejecting the bible altogether.

I think nobody smacked him down back in the day because people just didn't do that. Russel spoke about his own beliefs, but I think he would have considered it bad form to rip an Oxford don a new one in print.

Diacanu said...

Good points, all.

Thanks. :)

Grania said...

Lewis had a career because of his academic work in Medieval literature. His excursions into apologetics were a hobby, albeit one that garnered him attention and respect in certain quarters.

However, his bad theology did get smacked down - even by other theologists of the day, although possibly not with the same sort of vim and vigor as it does today.

In general, the sort of people who are impressed with Lewis' theological arguments are not people who are particularly familiar with theology. They tend to be attracted by the fact that he was a respected academic (Oxford and Cambridge, no less) and if he wrote a book on why God is true, then that's good enough for them.

Anonymous said...

Nicholi's taught his Freud/Lewis seminar since 1967 to students in psychiatry and medicine. He started out teaching about Freud only, but doctors in the real world continue to treat people who believe in God, and students asked for some grounding in that worldview. At the time, Lewis was Nicholi's choice as someone whose intellectual rigor approached Freud's. After 25 years, he chose to write a book about two thinkers he was very familiar with, which does not seem all that egregious. I haven't seen the PBS special, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was superficial, biased, and stupid, but that's not Professor Nicholi's fault. There's a difference between the standards one uses to figure out what to believe oneself and the broader spectrum of tolerance required to thrive among other people, who will believe a variety of things no matter what.

Diacanu said...

"He started out teaching about Freud only".

Well, there was his first mistake.

"but doctors in the real world continue to treat people who believe in God".

The invisible boogeyman has jack-squat to do with one's daddy/mommy problems.

One can focus on real world problems without necessarily telling them their imaginary friends are false.

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