Russell and Duenes

C.S. Lewis on Miracles

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I’ve been slowly – very slowly – making my way through C.S. Lewis’ God in the Dock, and his essay entitled “Miracles” should be required reading for all Christians, particularly because it lays bare the error of our secular epistemology (epistemology being that branch of philosophy which tells us how we know what we know), which claims that we can know things apart from any kind of non-physical reality behind our knowing. Lewis’ argument is worth internalizing and making one’s own.

The experience of a miracle in fact requires two conditions. First we must believe in a normal stability of nature, which means we must recognize that the data offered by our senses recur in regular patterns. Secondly, we must believe in some reality beyond Nature. When both beliefs are held, and not till then, we can approach with an open mind the various reports which claim that this super- or extra-natural reality has sometimes invaded and disturbed the sensuous content of space and time which makes our ‘natural’ world. The belief in such a supernatural reality itself can neither be proved nor disproved by experience. The arguments for its existence are metaphysical, and to me conclusive. They turn on the fact that even to think and act in the natural world we have to assume something beyond it and even assume that we partly belong to that something. In order to think we must claim for our own reasoning a validity which is not credible if our own thought is merely a function of our brain, and our brains a by-product of irrational physical processes. In order to act, above the level of mere impulse, we must claim a similar validity for our judgments of good and evil. In both cases we get the same disquieting result. The concept of nature itself is one we have reached only tacitly by claiming a sort of super-natural status for ourselves. (emphasis mine)

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

July 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Duenes, Philosophy

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