Thursday, October 10, 2013

Aut Deus aut homo malus re-revisited

CS Lewis' aut deus aut homo malus (either God or a bad man) argument demonstrates that Jesus can't be is merely a good man . Since nobody thinks Jesus is a bad man, and he can't be a (merely) a good man, there's only one choice left.

But some atheists try to deny the argument, claiming it is an either-or fallacy. The reason that argument fails to refute Lewis is it ignores the fact that there are three choices and one must be rejected.

So here's another syllogism to prove one choice must be eliminated:

1) No [good man] [claims to be God] (no A is B)
2) [Jesus] [claims to be God] (C is part of B)
3) Therefore [Jesus] is not a [good man] (therefore C is not part of A)

This supports CS Lewis' argument because it shows one can't say Jesus is a good man -- good men do not claim to be more than they are. But for a mere human to claim to be God is to claim to be more than they are.

Moreover, Peter Kreeft points out that if Jesus intended to speak figuratively, it makes him a bad teacher (everyone misinterpreted him then) and eliminates the "good man" claim.

Thus we have two choices left:

1) if he spoke truthfully, he must be God.
2) if he did not speak truthfully, he must be a bad man.

So, if he can't be a good man, and nobody thinks he is a bad man, what's left?


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