Daily Archives: March 19, 2010

“Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe” by CS Lewis

This post is in response a comment Greg gave on my post Summary of my website: Reasons Why I Believe in God. What I wanted to say was too long for a comment:

Greg’s comment made me think of “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe” by CS Lewis. It was a philosophical radio address that has been included with other essays and printed in the books  Mere Christianity and The Case for Christianity.

The essay begins here:

The Law of Human Nature …

Every one has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?” — “That’s my seat, I was there first” — “Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm”– [and so on.] People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grownups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behaviour does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behaviour which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.” Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does, there is some special excuse … It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behaviour or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have.

The essay gets more thought provoking as it goes on. I read it before I believed in God. The essay goes on to show that everybody innately knows the “rules”. The philosophical discussion of the origin of the rules is a mind blower, even for an unbeliever like I was at the time.

Anyway, I just thought I’d run this up the flagpole.

And then there is little old me… What would cause people to spend the rest of their life just telling people why they believe in God? What indeed!

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