Excellent C.S Lewis quote

I don't know if everyone has heard this one or not, but it was new to me. I couldn't agree with it more.

"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...or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

That's simply not true. It's a matter of sources. If you're a Muslim, the Quran is the word of God, whereas the NT is just what a bunch of guys wrote. Therefore it's perfectly legitimate to think of Jesus as a teacher/prophet, but not the son of God.

OK, let's put it this way: If Jesus really did say everything ascribed to Him in the Bible, could He be anything other than 1) insane 2) evil or 3) God? And if He could be just a good teacher, how can you justify that given what He said about Himself?

If Jesus is not the Son of God than he was either delusional (sp?),evil or both.He told people to put their faith in Him.He said that nobody comes to the Father except through Him.I don't know how you can be a great teacher and moral man if you are telling people that you are the only path to Heaven/Salvation and you're lying.All of Jesus' teachings are meaningless if he was a liar and thus a sinner.Realize that if you are saying that Jesus was a great teacher and moral man and you do not believe that He is the Son of God that you are saying this then about one of the biggest liars and frauds ever to walk the face of the earth.If He is not the Son of God,how could he be a great man?All of those who believed in Him and do now believe in a liar then....a false messiah.

Fadiga is correct

I agree with IBI.

It all comes down to whether the new testament is accurate.  If it is then Lewis is correct.   It is all about, and always has been about faith.  Since none of us were there we will never know what he really said. 

I like Lewis, but calling others foolish for their beliefs is wrong.


Dude you are on my turf..i suggest you find some other theological author to quote...Lewis is mine as any HG'er will tell you :)

yours in Christ


"could He be anything other than 1) insane 2) evil or 3) God? "

Yes. A superior spirit.


622. Has God given to some men the mission of revealing His law?

"Yes, certainly. In every age there have been men who have received this mission; spirits of higher degree, who have incarnated themselves for the purpose of advancing human progress."

623. Have not those who have professed to instruct mankind sometimes made mistakes, and led them astray by false reasonings?

"Those who, not being inspired by God, have arrogated to themselves, through ambition, a mission which they had not received, may, undoubtedly, have led them into error; nevertheless, as, after all, they were men of genius, great truths are often to be found, even in the midst of the errors they taught."

624. What are the characteristics of the true prophet?

"The true prophet is an upright man who is inspired by God. He may be recognized both by his words and by his deeds. God does not employ the mouth of a liar to teach the truth."

625. What is the most perfect type that God has offered to man as his guide and model?


Jesus is the type of the moral perfection to which man may attain upon this earth. God offers Him to our thought as our most perfect model and the doctrine taught by Him is the purest expression of the divine law, because He was animated by the divine spirit, and was the purest being who has ever appeared upon the earth.

If some of those who have professed to instruct man in the law of God have sometimes led him astray by the inculcation of error, it is because they have allowed themselves to be swayed by sentiments of too earthly a nature, and because they have confounded the laws which regulate the conditions of the life of the soul which regulate the life of the body. Many pretended revealers have announced as divine laws what were only human laws, devised by them for serving their own passions and obtaining dominion over their fellow-men.

626. Have the divine or natural laws been revealed to men by Jesus only, and had men, before His time, no other knowledge than that given them by intuition?

"Have we who told you that those laws are written everywhere? All the men who have meditated upon wisdom have therefore been able to comprehend and to teach them from the remotest times. By their teachings, imperfect though they were, they have prepared the ground for the sowing of the seed. The divine laws being written in the book of nature, it has always been possible for man to know them by searching after them. For this reason, the moral precepts they consecrate have been proclaimed, in all ages, by upright men; and, for the same reason also, the elements of the moral law are to be found among every nation above the barbarian degree, although incomplete, or debased by ignorance and superstition.

627. Since the true laws of God have been taught by Jesus, what is the use of the teachings given by spirits? Have they anything more to teach us?

"The teachings of Jesus were often allegoric, and conveyed in parables; because He spoke according to the time and place in which He lived. The time has now come when the truth must be made intelligible for all. It is necessary to explain and develop the divine laws, because few among you understand them, and still fewer practice them.

Our mission is to strike the eyes and ears of all, in order to confound pride, and to unmask the hypocrisy of those who assume the outward appearances of virtue and of religion as a cloak for their turpitudes. We are charged to prepare the reign of good announced by Jesus; to furnish the explanations that will render it impossible for men to continue to interpret the law of God according to their passions, or to pervert the meaning of what is wholly a law of love and of kindness."

"I like Lewis, but calling others foolish for their beliefs is wrong."

I don't remember calling anyone foolish. If I implied that, I'm sorry.

Not you, Jeff. But Lewis himself.

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say "

What Donna said.

I don't agree that calling it a foolish statement means that the person saying it is a fool. I'm sure all of us make foolish statements from time to time, but that wouldn't make us fools. I didn't think that's what Lewis was implying.

I agree that Lewis probably does not think that those who view Jesus as a prophet are fools.  I disagree with him though saying it is a foolish statement.  People from other faiths have well thought out reasons for their viewpoints concerning who Christ was. 

What Cherrypicker said.

I think what he's complaining about is people taking the gospels, taking the bits and pieces they like and saying "Jesus was really good". Well that same Jesus also claimed he was God in the same gospels, he also claimed that people who didn't believe in him would be judged. You can't take what you like of the character of Jesus and say the parts you don't like are "unreliable and the teachings of men", because if those parts are, then who's to say the "good" parts aren't fiction also?

Well, if the good parts are fiction, that is First Class fiction, and I like it a lot. :-)

*grabs 10 foot pole* poke, poke.

siamang is correct


yours in Christ


Seems to me C.S Lewis has a good point.

However, he does not seem to consider the possibility Jesus was a real human who, through his teachings, inspired a religion. That's certainly happened a lot in history. (And has happened quite a few times even in the twentieth century).

There's also the very real tendency for devotees to embellish and for stories to take on more and more fantasy as time goes on.

There was a Jewish sect (forget which one) in the states that believed their leader's promise to come back from the dead. It didn't happen, but the believers kept shifting the time of his prophetic re-appearance every time he didn't show.

There was even, apparently, a tribe that worshipped Bruce Lee (in Malaysia?) as something of a deity who had not really died.

So, it seems to me C.S. Lewis, in holding to only two possibilities (Jesus "sane"/Jesus God) ignores a pretty obvious alternative based upon the history religious sects and how they accrue their legends.


But for the legend thoery to be valid, you would have to ignore Jesus' statements that He is God, offers forgiveness of sins, asks people to put their faith in Him, etc. Would you agree that if Jesus really did say all the things in the Bible, then Lewis' point would be valid?