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Lewis - Moral Law

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Essay title: Lewis - Moral Law


The Moral Law Is from God

C. S. Lewis, a British scholar and novelist who lived from 1898 to 1963, was one of the most popular and influential religious writers of the last hundred years. He wrote much in defense of Christianity. Here he argues that there is an objective moral law, that this moral law must have a source, and that this source must be God. As you read the selection, ask yourself how you would respond to this argument if you were an atheist. Is Lewis's defense of an objective moral law convincing? Could someone reasonably accept an objective moral law without believing in God?

The objectivity of the moral law

Everyone has heard people quarreling. 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" - "Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine" - "Come on, you promised."

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man's behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some standard of behavior 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. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite

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