In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it Bulverism. Someday I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father – who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third – ‘Oh you say that because you are a man.’ ‘At that moment’, E. Bulver assures us, ‘there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism our age will thrust you to the wall.’ That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century. —C.S. Lewis, “Bulverism” in C.S. Lewis Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), p. 587
‘But he [Joseph] came to believe in the Virgin Birth afterwards, didn’t he?’
‘Quite. But he didn’t do so because he was under any illusion as to where babies came from in the ordinary course of nature. He believed in the Virgin Birth as something super-natural. He knew nature works in fixed, regular ways: but he also believed that there existed something beyond nature which could interfere with her workings—from outside, so to speak.’
‘But modern science has shown there’s no such thing. ‘
‘Really,’ said I. ‘Which of the sciences?’
‘Oh, well, that’s a matter of detail,’ said my friend. ‘I cant give you chapter and verse from memory.’
“But, don’t you see.’ said”I, ‘that science never could show anything of the sort?’
‘Why on earth not?’
Because science studies nature. And the question is whether anything besides nature exists—anything “outside”. How could you find that out by studying simply nature?’
——C.S. Lewis, “Religion and Science” in C.S. Lewis Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), pp. 143–144
“The Russians, I am told, report that they have not found God in outer space…
Looking for God—or Heaven—by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s plays in the hope that you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters or Stratford as one of the places. Shakespeare is in one sense present at every moment in every play. But he is never present in the same way as FalstafFor Lady Macbeth. Nor is he diffused through the play like a gas.
If there were an idiot who thought plays existed on their own, without an author (not to mention actors, producer, manager, stage-hands and what not), our belief in Shakespeare would not be much affected by his saying, quite truly, that he had studied all the plays and never found Shakespeare in them.” —C.S. Lewis, “The Seeing Eye”
I was taught at school, when I had done a sum, to “prove my answer”. The proof or verification of my Christian answer to the cosmic sum is this. When I accept Theology I may find difficulties, at this point or that, in harmonizing it with some particular truths which are imbedded in the mythical cosmology derived from science. But I can get in, or allow for, science as a whole. Granted that Reason is prior to matter and that the light of the primal Reason illuminates finite minds, I can understand how men should come by observation and inference, to know a lot about the universe they live in. If, on the other hand, I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit in science. If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on bio-chemistry, and bio-chemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees. And this is to me the final test. This is how I distinguish dreaming and waking. When I am awake I can, in some degree, account for and study my dream. The dragon that pursued me last night can be fitted into my waking world. I know that there are such things as dreams: I know that I had eaten an indigestible dinner: I know that a man of my reading might be expected to dream of dragons. But while in the nightmare I could not have fitted in my waking experience. The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world: the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one. For the same reason I am certain that in passing from the scientific point of view to the theological, I have passed from dream to waking. Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else. —C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry”
In the LORD I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
“Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
they have fitted their arrow to the string
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:1–3 ESV)
Often the enemy uses a big boom so that friendly fire becomes the greatest threat. The hazard posed by the wicked outside the walls isn’t as dangerous as the advice from those inside them. The fool in the trench is often more deadly than the distinguished sniper across the line.
When the secularists, evolutionists, humanists, and materialists ridicule the Bible, our dukes are up. When our friends give advice, our guard is down and our ears are open. Professing Christians tell us that inerrancy and inspiration are indefensible. They must be abandoned for higher ground. Likewise, marriage, gender, penal substitutionary atonement, and even truth itself are “advised” against for the sake of the faith and the perpetuity of the church. What faith is left to defend by the time we’ve retreated to their higher ground?
The church is a mighty ironclad. She has long been bombarded by pagan shells. Faithless cowards hear modern clangs and think them louder than the ancient arsenal. They panic telling us to jump ship, unaware of the shark infested waters we sail in.
David receives advice from those concerned about him and the kingdom. Dealing with the facts as presented their counsel seems reasonable and logical. The problem is that it fails to take in the fact—God. The counsel given in vv. 1–3 is as godless as the taunts of the wicked. In contrast, David exclaims.
The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
When we’re advised to abandon the Bible or it’s truths because of some new threat, nothing has changed. God still reigns. It is in the eternal, omnipotent, immutable God that we take refuge. “How can they say to us…?”
[E]ven if I were still and agnostic, as once I was, I would not accept the concept of evolution from the molecule to man in unbroken line. My rejection of this does not turn upon my being Christian, but comes rather because I think this concept is weak and certainly has not been proven (in any sense of the word proven). It is a theory with may unproofs. —Francis Schaeffer, No Final Conflict
Each time one man communicates with another, whether he knows it or not, even if he is the greatest blasphemer that ever lived or the atheist swearing at God, even when he swears, even when he says, “There is no God”—he bears testimony to what God is. God has left himself a witness that cannot be removed. —Francis Schaeffer, Genesis in Space and Time
Man is shut up to relatively few answers. I think we often fail to understand that the deeper we go into study at this point, the simpler the alternatives become. In almost any profound question, the number of final possibilities is very few indeed. Here there are four: (1) Once there was absolutely nothing and now there is something, (2) Everything began with an impersonal something, (3) Everything began with a personal something, and (4) There is and always has been a dualism. —Francis Schaeffer, Genesis in Space and Time
The fact is that if we are going to live in this world at all, we must live in it acting on a correlation of ourselves and the thing that is there, even if we have a philosophy that says there is no correlation. There is no other way to live in this world. Even the person who holds theoretically the most consistent concept of unrelatedness (for example, Hume) lives in this world on the basis of his experience that there is a correlation between the subject and the object and cause and effect. He not only lives that way, he has to live that way. There is no other way to live in this world. That is the way the world is made. So just as all men love even if they say love does not exist, and all men have moral motions, even though they say moral motions do not exist, so all men act as though there is a correlation between the external and the internal world, even if they have no basis for that correlation.
What I am saying is that the Christian view is exactly in line with the experience of every man. But no other system except the Judeo-Christian one—that which is given in the Old and New Testaments together—tells us why there is a subject-object correlation. Everybody does act on it, everybody must act on it, but no other system tells you why there is a correlation between the subject and object. In other words, all men constantly and consistently act as though Christianity is true. —Francis Schaeffer, He Is There and He is not Silent
Epistemology is the theory of the method or grounds of knowledge—the theory of knowledge, or how we know, or how we can be certain that we know. Epistemology is the central problem of our generation; indeed, the so-called “generation gap” is really and epistemological gap, simply because the modern generation looks at knowledge in a way radically difference from previous ones. —Francis Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent