“But supposing one believed and was wrong after all?”

I do not think there is a demonstrative proof (like Euclid) of Christianity, nor of the existence of matter, nor of the good will and honesty of my best and oldest friends. I think all three are (except perhaps the second) far more probable than the alternatives. The case for Christianity in general is well given by Chesterton … As to why God doesn’t make it demonstratively clear; are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which would be a compelled logical assent to a conclusive argument? Are we interested in it in personal matters? I demand from my friend trust in my good faith which is certain without demonstrative proof. It wouldn’t be confidence at all if he waited for rigorous proof. Hang it all, the very fairy-tales embody the truth. Othello believed in Desdemona’s innocence when it was proved: but that was too late. Lear believed in Cordelia’s love when it was proved: but that was too late. ‘His praise is lost who stays till all commend.’ The magnanimity, the generosity which will trust on a reasonable probability, is required of us. But supposing one believed and was wrong after all? Why, then you would have paid the universe a compliment it doesn’t deserve. Your error would even so be more interesting and important than the reality. And yet how could that be? How could an idiotic universe have produced creatures whose mere dreams are so much stronger, better, subtler than itself?

C. S. Lewis

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4 Responses to “But supposing one believed and was wrong after all?”

  1. tgbelt says:

    Beautiful actually. Lewis, what a guy.


    • brian says:

      Well, ^^^^, what he said. If you don’t love Lewis, something is wrong with you.

      Also, I think this sentiment can be extended to include variations on Christian theology. The most beautiful, the most generous, mysterious, delightful surmise may fall short of the reality, but it’s likely to be much closer to the truth than many theologies that depict a lesser love, and hence a lesser divinity.


  2. It seems most often that the universe asks nothing of us other than we eventually add to its convertible feculence. Nevertheless, I want to see the Lord standing right in front of me as much as any “Saint” ever did – I have the “Didymus” disease. I want to see the scars on his hands, touch the wound in his side, hug him and look into his eyes and fall at his feet and know for absolute certain, that He, he is one thousand percent real!

    In the meantime, I trust fruit of loving self-sacrifice that I see in those who claim to know Him, the inspirational beauty of the creation in its full-potentiality, that guiding voice within me prompting me to think of others first and the indescribable joy that I feel flowing out of me when I sing praising His name. Collectively that’s my “magnanimity of trust”, my inner Euclidian geometry of faith.

    “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”
    ― C.S. Lewis


    • tgbelt says:

      Another stunning Lewis insight there at the end, Dave. Thanks. And he’s so right. God doesn’t provide real answers in object form outside of himself experienced.


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