Need some help with a paper
Posted: 26 April 2007 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I think this fits here.  I need a little help on my term paper which is a research paper is on C.S. Lewis.  The thesis is C.S. Lewis went full circle in his beliefs and was never a true Atheist.  The prof questioned and challenged me on that theory when I said his comment that "Atheism is too simple" in [u:fc15d9ebf3]Mere Christianity[/u:fc15d9ebf3] is indeed incorrect, among other statements he made about Atheism that were complete and total falsehoods, thus he had no idea what true atheism entails- regardless if it was a different time as my prof pointed out to me.  True, Atheism is not the same as it was back then, but the basic ideas have not changed nor has it’s simplicity or lack there of.  IMHO, it was never simple and Lewis made far too many false statements to have ever been an atheist.

He was a British Idealist and Realist before he returned to Christianity.  He said he started disbelieving in God when his mother died adding he was angry with God, so he did not believe.  One can not be angry with something that does not exist, so he had to have believed in God, even though he said he was an atheist.

So far I have an article by Patrick Inniss called "The Atheist Who Never Was".  He mentions the same things I mention, plus a few more I didn’t even notice.  I have Karen Armstrong’s [u:fc15d9ebf3]A History of God[/u:fc15d9ebf3] for Hegel, who was very much involved with British Idealism, [u:fc15d9ebf3]Philosophy of Humanism[/u:fc15d9ebf3] by Carliss Lamont (for obvious reasons), Oxford definitions of British Idealism, Idealism, Realism, and Hegelianism, and of course the C.S. Lewis books pretaining to the subject of my thesis: the above mentioned and [u:fc15d9ebf3]Surprised By Joy[/u:fc15d9ebf3].  I may throw in [u:fc15d9ebf3]Screwtape[/u:fc15d9ebf3] too.

Why have I chose what I have so far?  1. I have to prove he was never a true atheist.  2.  I have to show there was still some remnants of his childhood beliefs (Christianity) for him to have gone full circle from anger with God to loving God again- thus never really an atheist.  3. A true atheist can not be angry with god if there is no god.  It’s like being angry with the Easter bunny.  rolleyes  Strong Atheism, or atheism in general has no beliefs in any gods what so ever and there is no anger with something that does not exist.  Lewis was a pretty weak and sorry atheist if he was an atheist.  4. and lastly, I have to show what true atheism is and that what Lewis said were sad stereotypes that were untrue then as they are now.

Anyone else have any ideas where I can get information supporting my thesis statement that C.S. Lewis never was an atheist?  Yeah, I’m the Humanist who questions Lewis’s statements all the time, esp this one and his statements about Atheism and Humanism raked on my nerves desiring to be released, even if my only audience is my Catholic prof., who happens to my age and is under the mistaken idea that Lewis was and is the poster boy for Christian Convertion.  Sorry, people!  No cigar!

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 26 April 2007 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Sounds like an interesting topic, wish I could help but my knowledge of CS Lewis’s biography is pretty close to nil. I always thought of him as a total Christian, didn’t know he was ever even considered an atheist.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Mriana, to be completely unhelpful, I might suggest some of the titles in the 90s on Lewis that suggest both that he started out as an atheist and ended his life as one, after the death of Joy Davidman. I’ll try to dig up the titles. I have some of them in boxes in the closet so this is a good reason to take a chunk out of sorting some books after our recent move. D.J.

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"Few have the courage of their convictions. Fewer still have the courage for an attack on their convictions." - Nietzsche

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Posted: 26 April 2007 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks DJ.  Actually, his parents raised him as a Christian, according to Surprised By Joy and when his mother died when he was 14, he said he became angry with God and chose to be an atheist.  I would love to see what you dig up though.  I could be very helpful with my paper. The prof. insisted that he died as a Christian too and that Joy’s death didn’t affect his newly found faith.  I don’t know.  Whatever the case, I could either stay with my thesis or end up changing it and still show that his statement that “Atheism is too simple” is false.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 26 April 2007 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Right. He was Christian as a child, but is anyone ever anything as a child (Dawkins’ point). He was an atheist, so they say, as a teen and young adult, a Christian (*the* Christian, by many standards) for most of his life, and then according to some writers in the 90s, an atheist again at the end of his life. Who knows but it is an interesting argument. I’ll dig it up and pass it along. D.J.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks.  smile

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Mriana
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Posted: 27 April 2007 03:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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All I know about this topic was a PBS miniseries on subject a couple of years back (it’s possible that PBS.org might still have a reference to it), “The Question of God”.  This sort of took the form of a comparison between the beliefs of Lewis and Sigmund Freud (portrayed by actors of course) and a series of panel discussions (most of which were devout Christians: Michael Shermer was the only atheist I remember on the panel).

I can’t help with any references, but I agree with your conclusion.  Just look at how many books he wrote about Christianity, then compare them to the books he wrote when he was supposedly an atheist.  Exactly!  NONE!  smile

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Posted: 27 April 2007 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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That’s my point, Advocatus.  Even when he said he was an atheist, he wasn’t a true atheist.  He said he was angry with God, therefore God did not exist.  rolleyes  I’m sorry, you can not be angry with something that does not exist or be angry with something you don’t believe exists.  That’s like saying you’re angry with the Easter Bunny, as I said before.

If he knew about atheistism then he would have never said it was simple and why did he criticize Humanism too when one of his mentors (Kirksomething) was a Humanist?  He never was an atheist, IMHO.  If he was that critical of Humanism even, then he was never influenced by Humanism either.

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Mriana
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Posted: 27 April 2007 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Perhaps it’s the Christian CS Lewis who’s describing the “atheist” CS Lewis in that way?

I mean, it sounds like a good rationalization that a theist would make about an atheist: “He/she is just angry at god.”

... and it’s also true that one of the standard and most convincing arguments against god’s existence is the argument from evil. That is, if god existed he couldn’t be perfectly good. But god is by definition perfectly good, so god doesn’t exist.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]... and it’s also true that one of the standard and most convincing arguments against god’s existence is the argument from evil. That is, if god existed he couldn’t be perfectly good. But god is by definition perfectly good, so god doesn’t exist.

:?  :?:  Now I sound like others, but I can’t even imagine what you just said.  Nothing can exist and be perfectly good. The other thing I’ve never understood is how can people blame bad when most of the time it’s humans who do it- not some deity. It’s a tornado the knocked down the house that humans built.  It’s the earthquake that made the building that humans built fall.  Not a deity.  Both can be explained by science.

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Mriana
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Posted: 27 April 2007 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Right, I agree with you. But theologically, god is supposed to be perfectly good, all powerful and all knowing. This is the sort of god that the Christian CS Lewis believed in ... AFAIK.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Well, I guess he was comfortable sitting on the toilet and reading his newspaper while God watched.  LOL I wouldn’t be if I thought someone was watching me.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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