"The Liar, Lunatic, or Lord" is a classical argument C.S. Lewis made for the authenticity of Christ as Lord. In this argument, he uses the either/or
law, sometimes called the law of exclude middle.
The best way to give an example of how the either/or law works is this:
it is day
I am male
the pyramids were built by humans
or by aliens
. (Okay, that one's a weird choice, but you get the idea.)
C.S. Lewis uses this argument to make the case for Christ being who He said He was.
If Christ wasn't who He said He was... He either knew it or didn't know it.
If He knew He wasn't, He would have been a hypocrite and a liar.
If He didn't know He wasn't, He would be deluded and a lunatic.
If He WAS who He said he was... Then Christ is our Lord and Savior.
Either you accept Him.
Or you reject Him.
Thus, we have three choices: Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.
Let's go over the choices:
- If we assume Jesus was a liar, then not only did He purposely and maliciously lie to people, not only was He a hypocrite for telling others to tell
the truth, He was a fool who died for something He knew was a complete and total lie. If that's the case, He's quite possibly the worst moral teacher
we've ever seen. But we have an obvious problem here. Who would come up with an entire system of faith and ethics, knowing He was making everything
up, and willingly die for it all? There's NOBODY who would be willing to die one of the most painful deaths that has ever been imagined for a lie that
they know to be one. So, in essence, if He was a liar, He was tortured, ridiculed, and brutally murdered for His lies.
- If we assume Jesus was a lunatic, then more problems arise. There's nothing, Biblically or otherwise, to suggest He was insane. Jesus retained
complete composure under stress (except for an incident in the temple, which would be justified according to religious convictions). What we do have
written about Jesus shows Him to be a loving and creative individual who was wise. Furthermore, His followers would have, at the very least, caught a
hint of His insanity. An even bigger problem arises, however: If He was insane and wasn't lying, then He was a madman who somehow performed miracles
throughout His life.
- The only choice we have left is that He was not just sane, not just truthful, but that He was absolutely who He said He was. Since the other two
options don't hold up under scrutiny, we only have this choice remaining. And if this is the only choice remaining, then we can either accept him as
Lord, or we reject him as Lord. That, ultimately, is the only real choice remaining.
Of course, a skeptic could come forward and say, "Well, the Bible was fiction, so there's no choice to begin with."
However, since we have historical records showing where the Apostles went, what they taught, and how they were martyred, and we have the books written
by them, we must therefore assume that the Apostles existed. In this case, there is only one choice left.
The Apostles extensively wrote the New Testament Scripture under the possibility of being imprisoned or killed for that alone. They had the difficult
task of telling the Jews that Jesus had risen and to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior (Lord implying a master-and-slave relationship; Boy, how
easy would have that been in the 1st century?). They then traveled to the four corners of the known world, risking life and limb and were all
ultimately imprisoned, tortured, and killed in many horrific ways. They died poor, with little possessions, many of them giving up their professions
and wealth to do all of this.
The choice is: They did this all, spending the rest of their natural lives in utter servitude, for something they knew was a blatant lie (because they
themselves made it up), or they were telling the truth.
If they were telling the truth, then the obvious results would be: Jesus WAS born of a virgin, He WAS the Son of God, He DID perform miracles, He WAS
tortured and killed, He WAS buried and was resurrected three days later, He DID come to his apostles and show that He had risen, and He DID physically
ascend to the Kingdom of God. The apostles DID see all of these things, hear all of these things, and gave up their own lives for their Lord and
That, in the end, is the argument made by C.S. Lewis in a nutshell.
edit on 28-5-2013 by FollowTheWhiteRabbit because: (no reason
edit on 28-5-2013 by FollowTheWhiteRabbit because: (no reason given)