One Response to C.S. Lewis's trifecta arguement for Christ.
I'm sure everyone here is famliar with the arguement but I will restate it anyway. C.S. Lewis argues that it is illogical to call Jesus a wise teacher but not the son of god. The reason for this is that a wise teacher teaches truth and not falsehood. He then builds from this to claim that there are now three options in regards to his son of god claim: 1) Jesus is lying 2) Jesus is a lunatic 3) Jesus really is the son of God. He then goes on to say that if one considers jesus a wise teacher, one must also consider him the son of god since a wise teacher niether lies nor is insane.
Obviously there are many problems with this but I will point out just one: this could apply to any wise teacher from socrates to Martin Luther King. This also means that if any wise teacher also had questionable religious beleifs, these beleifs also must be true. For example, Pythagorous, developed the Pythagorean Theorom and tuaght it to his students. It would certainly take a certain amount of wisdom to come up with a mathematrical thoery which is still being tuaght 2500 years later. He also beleived in reicarnation and that the soul resided in the brain (the brain beleif probably making him friends with the materialists but thats another issue ). So lets apply the trifecta arguement to Pythagorous. In regards to reincarnation and the soul residing in the brain is he 1) Lying 2) Insane 3) Telling the truth? Well, he has accomplished much more than Jesus in terms of coming up with a proved mathematical theory that is still being tuaght today so it is clear that he is wise and teaches truth. So he is not insane and didn't lie, therefore, reincarnation must be real and the soul must reside in the brain.
The only response a strong proponent of C.S. Lewis' arguement could be "it does not work for Pythagorous becuase he is not (whatever quality it is they believe is unique to jesus)". Which is just asinine. As has been shown, all the arguement claims is either everything Jesus said is true or everything he said is false and follows it with, if he said one thing that is true, then everything he said is true and vice versa. That is all the arguement claims. It does not matter what other claims were made by Jesus or how the Bible describes jesus, the arguement is pretty much a clever way of saying "it's either all or nothing". So this can be equally applied to other wise teachers in order to show how their equally questionable claims are true.
Of course, now they will go on "But the claims conflict and only one is right." Really? Either reicarnation is real ot Jesus is the Son of God? Isn't there a more reasonable explanation that can explain why wise teachers like jesus and pythagorous would also make outlandishly dubious claims? Lets suppose Jesus really said he was the son of God, isn't it possible that both Jesus and Pythagorous were just honestly mistaken? Clearly, scientific inquiry was not up to the standards so even wise teachers at either time period time were ignorant (in fact wise teachers and scientists today are also ignorant of certain things so its no insult to call jesus or Pythagorous ignorant) of many things. Furthermore, being that they are both human they are both subject to fellacious beleifs especially since there was no real way to determine the validity either way. This means that pythagorous could have honestly beleived in reincarnation and tuaght it even though it was false. Why would a wise teacher promote a falsity? Beucase there was no way for him to know that it was indeed false. The Greeks beleived in a pantheon of Gods who constatnly intefered with human affairs. His beleif in reicarnation was not totally obscure for the time he was in (of course Greek thinkers before socrates ran the entire gamut of beleifs from nihilism to early forms of monotheism). The same is true for Jesus. The Romans still beleived in a Pantheon of Gods that constantly interfered with human affairs and many other individuals, such as Applonius of Tanzania, also beleived they were the Son of God so Jesus too was in good company and was not teaching or saying anyhting out of the ordinary for that time.
If there is a point to this it is: Jesus is not special and C.S. Lewis' arguemnt only works if you already accept that Jesus is something special or more special than any other wise teacher or great thinker. If you do not, than the faulty logic in the arguement is transparent and obvious such as the fact that Jesus never wrote anything down meaning that the trifecta should be applied to the authors of the gospels and not Jesus if one wants to apply this arguement at all which means it is now perfecltly liekly that one of the authors was insane or lying. Conversly, they also could have simply been honestly mistaken becuase they really did not know any better and this made sense to them at the time.
" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff