Monday, January 7, 2019

C.S. Lewis is Not a 'Great Thinker', or Why Apologetics is Unethical and Immoral

Recently I was encouraged to read the non-fiction works of C.S. Lewis, Abolition of Man and Mere Christianity. The person who encouraged me stressed that Lewis is a ‘great thinker’ and can really help open my mind. 

I had trudged through these works years before, and I came away with the impression that as important as he was as a scholar of late medieval literature in the 1930s, he utterly fails when it comes to serious consideration as a ‘great thinker’. His faulty reasoning is why none of his works made the reading lists during my course studies and seminars as a Philosophy major at both Luther College and the University of Nottingham.

At this point, some might assume that I don’t like C.S. Lewis simply because he is a ‘Christian.’ C.S. Lewis’ target audience is in fact those who already believe. But I have no problem with Christians who remain on task talking about Love. For those of us who are not – or as in my case those of us who were so deeply vested in their Christian faith until she began to critically examine the errors in reasoning, - these works are INSIDIOUS: divisive and harmful to fostering a society based upon Love and Reason. 

I use the word insidious because fans of C.S. Lewis as a Christian apologist remark on how this “great thinker” is inspiring in their own Faith. I have to ask, when analyzing these works, ‘upon what is this Faith built?’ This is the problem I have with all authors who delve into the realm of apologetics / Defending the Faith. From Tertullian to Anselm to Lewis, their writings are not much more than dressed up polemical rants, they lack the ethics of fair argumentation, they misrepresent other viewpoints and make up for their faulty logic and multiple logical fallacies by appealing to emotion.
The very first time I tried to read the ‘Men without Chests’ chapter in Abolition of Man I could barely get through the first page without tripping over multiple errors in reasoning. As I continued to read the more painfully bad this chapter was. I was utterly shocked that some people found it “uplifting.”

And that is the ethical issue here. For it is this very method of illogic, faulty and prejudicial argumentation is the template used by hate groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Focus on the Family in their anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. 

Approaching Mere Christianity, Abolition of Man and other like apologist works without critical examination, primes the mind of the faithful to turn away from the message and practice of Love and Reason. 

On the whole Apologetic works like these by CS Lewis Closes minds and hearts. Apologetics is destructive to morality, ethics, and civil society. For one cannot express Love if they are constantly defending ‘Faith.’ 

[* Addendum: C.S. Lewis is Neither a scientist and definitely not a philosopher. and while in the past I was okay with Lewis and apologists works for the sake of the Faithful. - My most recent look at these works and the lack of critical insight (or is it purposeful "straw man", "false dichotomies" and other errors in reasoning) by the apologists themselves have left me with the conclusion that the whole field of apologetics is immoral. Just as the classical philosophers described the methods of the apologists, sophists. Rhetoric without Logic and Evidence is unethical.]

Anyway, here is one of many writings demonstrating the reasoning errors in CS Lewis.
C.S. Lewis' Argument Against Atheism is a Joke, and Here's Why.
https://www.reddit.com/r/TrueAtheism/comments/3qdn52/cs_lewis_argument_against_atheism_is_a_joke_and/

C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man, 'Men Without Chests,' a Critique

Naturalism Undeafeated (A Refutation of C.S. Lewis Argument from Reason)

8 Reasons to Reject C.S. Lewis' Argument from Desire
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From my blog:
Dorothy Sayers, C.S. Lewis, Gene Veith, Andrew Kern and Public Classical Education
http://www.xenmcguire.com/2015/12/dorothy-sayers-cs-lewis-gene-edward.html

Xenia with a few of her books


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