Picking Daisy Petals
As children we used to peel the petals off a flower, one at a time, saying with each petal falling to the ground: "He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not." The last remaining petal told the story.
C. S. Lewis has a much more logical way of getting to the root of man's biggest question: Does God exist? He has set up one rational approach in disclosing the existence of the Law of Right and Wrong ... we are all bound by this Law, whether we want to or not. It is a universal Law as real as gravity. And this law, being universal, must have come from somewhere other than from our own thinking. Something out there has imposed this Law upon us. The last falling flower petal cannot change the outcome.
As a former atheist, C. S. Lewis shares how logical thinking led him to the answer of where the Law of Right and Wrong comes from.
The Surprising Starting Point
He starts off with a single statement that might actually shock both the Christian and the Atheist.
As he begins Book 2 he tells us that there is one thing Christians do not need to believe.
"If you are a Christian, you do NOT have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If your are an atheist, you do have to believe that the main point of all religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake."
That is kind of seductive. And not something I can readily jump into. As Christians, we can see many other world religions as wrong all through, particularly those that worship Nature rather than a True Creator of Nature. But I will let Lewis talk us down off the chair and see where his logic flows.
"If you are a Christian," he elaborates, "you are free to think of all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist, I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view."
The First Big Divider
"The first big division of humanity is into the majority who believe in some kind of God or gods, and the minority who do not. On that point, Christianity lines up with the majority ... it lines up with the ancient Greeks and Romans, modern savages, Stoics, Platonists, Hindus, Mohammedans against the Atheist."
This logic does show that Atheists are a distinct minority in the world. They have few others to chum up with on the question of God. No matter how loud the Atheist screams or how silently the Agnostic sits, Believers are by far the greater number. Most people today and throughout history have found reason to believe in Something larger than themselves.
Lewis shares with us that for many years his disbelief was based on a single turn: If a good God made the world, why has it gone so wrong? During the rather long period of time he spent as an Atheist, he refused to listen to the Christian answers to this question. Instead his mind told him it was easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power. He saw the Christian answers as an attempt to avoid the obvious.
Lewis Stumbles Over the Big Question
and is Left with a Bigger Question
His argument against God was that the universe was so cruel and unjust that it could not possibly have been created by a God that cared one wit about the people living here. The unjustness of the world, he concluded, made believing in a God impossible.
Then he realized this logic left him with an even larger question.
How, he wondered, did he possess this idea of just and unjust?
"A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, why did I who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water because man is not a water animal; a fish would not feel wet."
He was seeing a flaw in his sense of justice. He could tell the difference between right and wrong just as he could see the difference between a straight line and a crooked line. But what told him if a thing was right or wrong?
His argument against God collapsed
"I was forced to assume that one part of reality -- namely my idea of justice -- was full of sense.
If the whole universe had no meaning, we should never have found out that it had no meaning. It was just as if there were no light in the universe and therefore creatures with eyes, should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning. It is no good asking for a simple God or a simple religion. The world looks simple, but it is not. Real things are not simple.
Consequently, Atheism turned out to be too simple. By saying the world was unjust and therefore there could be no God was ignoring that we had a sense of right and wrong. The existence of Justice validates the existence of God; it does not disprove God."
Plucking petals from a daisy to find out if a girlfriend loves you is too simple. God's creation is complex. And His creation of man capable of freely choosing to do good or evil opens up a complexity. People hurt one another. Geographic plates shift and cause devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. Floods happen as does drought. Wheels fall off cars and cause accidents. Things we consider unjust happen. God created daisies for their beauty; not to forecast love. If the world was all simple, if there were no just and unjust, then it would be time to wonder if there were a God. If we have a sense of justness, it came from Someone other than ourselves.