Tuesday, May 16, 2006

C. S. Lewis and apologetical sophistication

I found the following passage from one of Austin Cline's anti-C. S. Lewis posts.

"Even one of Lewis’ most sympathetic biographers, A.N. Wilson, writes that Lewis “has become in the quarter-century since he died something very like a saint in the minds of conservative-minded believers.” At the same time, though, you won’t find professional theologians and sophisticated apologists citing C.S. Lewis or relying on his arguments in their own efforts."

VR: Oh dear. based on this, one could generate the argument:

1. Professional theologians and sophisticated apologists do not cite C. S. Lewis or rely on his arguments in their own efforts.
2. Victor Reppert relies on C. S. Lewis and his arguments for his own efforts.
Therefore, Victor Reppert is neither a professional theologian nor a sophisticated apologist.

Though, I would hope the argument would go like this:

1. Victor Reppert is a sophisticated apologist.
2. Victor Reppert relies on C. S. Lewis and his arguments for his own efforts.
Therefore, 1 in the above argument is false.

AC: Theology builds upon the insights and accomplishments of those who have come before, but Lewis doesn’t even appear to function as a minor plank in anyone’s platform. This combination of general popularity and professional dismissal is very curious — either the average believer knows something which the professionals have missed, or Lewis isn’t the apologist he is popularly believed to be.

VR: Or maybe the professionals are starting to come around. I mean, when Alvin Plantinga acknowledges a similarity between one of his own arguments and an argument found in Lewis, you would think maybe Cline would think twice before making statements like that. Unless you want to say that Plantinga is not sophisticated. As Flew would say, no true Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge.

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