Oct 23, 2007

Believing - Something to Think About

C. S. Lewis said:

Believing things "on authority" only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York, I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there is such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority - because the scientists say so. Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left us writings that tell us about them; in fact, on authority.

A person who balks at authority in other things, as some people do in religion, would have to be content to know nothing all his life.

2 comments:

Josiah Foster said...

I love this about Lewis' apologetic...he always had a way of using the skeptic's critcism against him/herself. I remember reading this line of reasoning from him, I beleive in Mere Christianity, where he makes the point that children are perfectly rational in accepting their Parent's authority in teaching them about Christ. It is also reminiscent of the Professor convincing Peter and Susan not to dismiss Lucy's tale of Narnia out of hand...she was known to be a credible source...God Bless

James said...

CS Lewis is one of my favorite writers and thinkers. He is able to write in such a way that keeps both the young and the old captive to the story. And the most amazing thing is that he is able to do that in the same story.

Thanks for reading Josiah. Blessings to you.