As much as he enjoyed the Narnia books as a child, Andrew Stuttaford never got the whole C.S. Lewis thing and doesn’t intend to start trying now:
Mark Oppenheimer looks at the Lewis phenomenon and, reasonably enough, quotes one of Lewis’ more well-known arguments for the divinity of Christ:
In “Mere Christianity,” Lewis writes of Jesus: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.”
Mr. Oppenheimer notes this:
This famous passage does not, on a second read, make much sense. After all, could not a great moral teacher have messianic delusions? But on a first read, it is quite persuasive, and classic Lewis. It is clear, confident and a bit humorous, and it offers a stark choice as it firmly suggests the right answer.
Fair enough, but it has always struck me (and I’m sure I’m not the first to think so) that Lewis’ argument (at least the extract quoted here) also sidesteps the rather important question as to whether the writers of the Gospels offer an accurate account of what it was that Jesus may have actually said. Was the claim to divinity His or theirs?
No way of telling, I suppose.