C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

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bskeptic
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C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by bskeptic » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:43 am

C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language
Brian LePort

http://nearemmaus.com/2012/04/11/c-s-le ... -language/


In an 1947 Time Magazine interview C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying the following about using anthropomorphic language when speaking of God (source):

“. . . When [people] try to get rid of manlike, or, as they are called, ‘anthropomorphic,’ images, they merely succeed in substituting images of some other kinds. ‘I don’t believe in a personal God,’ says one, ‘but I do believe in a great spiritual force.’ What he has not noticed is that the word ‘force’ has let in all sorts of images about winds and tides and electricity and gravitation. ‘I don’t believe in a personal God,’ says another, ‘but I do believe we are all parts of one great Being which moves and works through us all’—not noticing that he has merely exchanged the image of a fatherly and royal-looking man for the image of some widely extended gas or fluid.

“A girl I knew was brought up by ‘higher thinking’ parents to regard God as perfect ‘substance.’ In later life she realized that this had actually led her to think of Him as something like a vast tapioca pudding. (To make matters worse, she disliked tapioca.) We may feel ourselves quite safe from this degree of absurdity, but we are mistaken. If a man watches his own mind, I believe he will find that what profess to be specially advanced or philosophic conceptions of God are, in his thinking, always accompanied by vague images which, if inspected, would turn out to be even more absurd than the manlike images aroused by Christian theology. For man, after all, is the highest of the things we meet in sensuous experience.”

Lewis is correct. While anthropomorphic language may fall short of explaining a God that is far beyond us it is the best language we can find for humans are the most “god-like” figures in creation. When we attempt to venture away from anthropomorphic language toward something that sounds “deeper” and more philosophical we may find that we are speaking of a depersonalized deity that is more of an oblong glob than a god.

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spin
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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by spin » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:57 pm

I don't know why you are rehearsing ideas from a christian children's writer of the 1940s, perhaps other than he inspired a lot of nonsense in the minds of Britain's young and so remained in the imagination for a few generations.

I don't know why you feel you can assume it is of interest that someone in the 1940s made such an assertion or what relevance it would have to anyone here.

I don't know why you think the projections of human characteristics onto a theoretical entity of vastly superior qualities is anything more than egotism on the part of some humans.

I don't really know why you assert that Lewis is right in his assertion about anthropomorphic language. Perhaps you belong to the group of humans I've just mentioned.

Before you can talk about the value of anthropomorphic language toward god, don't you need to establish the existence of god? If god's existence cannot be established, then surely it's meaningless to make statements about him, along the lines of making statements about unicorns in an effort to render them any more meaningful in the real world. Whether god gets described in such a way as to think of him as a blancmange or as a human-like entity is inconsequential without some substance to this god, isn't it? Either way you are probably talking through your hat, aren't you?
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bskeptic
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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by bskeptic » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:31 am

spin wrote: I don't know why you feel you can assume it is of interest that someone in the 1940s made such an assertion or what relevance it would have to anyone here.
If you aren't interested in the thread, then just ignore it!

Simples! :D

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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by bskeptic » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:35 am

spin wrote: I don't really know why you assert that Lewis is right in his assertion
I didn't. It's an article.

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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by spin » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:40 am

bskeptic wrote:
spin wrote: I don't know why you feel you can assume it is of interest that someone in the 1940s made such an assertion or what relevance it would have to anyone here.
If you aren't interested in the thread, then just ignore it!

Simples! :D
It's a bit hard, you know. One has to read it to find out where you were going.

If you don't want public comment then why place it in the public eye?
bskeptic wrote:
spin wrote: I don't really know why you assert that Lewis is right in his assertion
I didn't. It's an article.
So, even though you closed quotes which normally indicates the end of your citation, you weren't in fact the person who made the following evaluation, "Lewis is correct"?
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bskeptic
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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by bskeptic » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:57 am

spin wrote:
It's a bit hard, you know. One has to read it to find out where you were going.
When you have read enough to know you aren't interested, then you can ignore it. It's really not that difficult...
So, even though you closed quotes which normally indicates the end of your citation, you weren't in fact the person who made the following evaluation, "Lewis is correct"?
When people write articles, they sometimes put quotes from other people inside of quotation marks. The quotation marks mean the end of the quote. They don't mean the end of the article.

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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by spin » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:24 am

bskeptic wrote:
spin wrote:It's a bit hard, you know. One has to read it to find out where you were going.
When you have read enough to know you aren't interested, then you can ignore it. It's really not that difficult...
You published the stuff here. Live with the consequences.
bskeptic wrote:
So, even though you closed quotes which normally indicates the end of your citation, you weren't in fact the person who made the following evaluation, "Lewis is correct"?
When people write articles, they sometimes put quotes from other people inside of quotation marks. The quotation marks mean the end of the quote. They don't mean the end of the article.
Well, if it wasn't you, who the hell wrote the nonsense in the last paragraph??
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andrewcriddle
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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:35 am

C.S. Lewis' ideas in this article ultimately go back to the attempts by Pagan neoplatonists such as Proclus to justify anthropomorphism in Homer.

Andrew Criddlle

bskeptic
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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by bskeptic » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:04 am

spin wrote:
bskeptic wrote:
spin wrote:It's a bit hard, you know. One has to read it to find out where you were going.
When you have read enough to know you aren't interested, then you can ignore it. It's really not that difficult...
You published the stuff here. Live with the consequences.
Right, you come into threads to say that the thread doesn't interest you... :lol:

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Re: C.S. Lewis on anthropomorphic language

Post by spin » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:42 am

bskeptic wrote:
spin wrote:
spin wrote:It's a bit hard, you know. One has to read it to find out where you were going.
bskeptic wrote:When you have read enough to know you aren't interested, then you can ignore it. It's really not that difficult...
You published the stuff here. Live with the consequences.
Right, you come into threads to say that the thread doesn't interest you... :lol:
You're the one asserting that it doesn't interest me and you asserted it three times. When you make assertions you should try to show that you have some knowledge of what you are talking about. You seem to have nothing to say. :roll:
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