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Natural Law, God, Human Nature

1. C.S. Lewis in "The Basis of Moral Law," and Bertrand Russell in "Why I Am Not A Christian," do not really address the basic points one another are making. Lewis does not deal at all with the question of God's fiat as discussed by Russell, i.e., whether the difference between right and wrong is due to God's fiat or order regarding man doing good and not bad.

The point at which the two converge briefly is that of natural law. Lewis simply concludes, at least as far as this essay goes, that "Something," "a Director, a Power, a Guide" (Lewis 146), is the source of the "influence or . . . command" (Lewis 146) "pressing" (Lewis 144) upon one inside, inside one's mind, telling one to do good and making one feel "uncomfortable" (Lewis 146) when one does not do good and does bad. Lewis refers to this as "the Law of Human Nature" (Lewis 143) and goes on to "assume" that the "Something" behind this Law "is more like a mind than it is like anything else we know" (Lewis 146). Lewis does not even use the word "God" until the final paragraph, but it is clear that he believe God is the source of the Law and of the voice of that Law in human minds.

On the other hand, Russell does not deal at all with this "influence" or "command," unless one feels that his smug dismissal of the religious impulse as entirely "emotional" (Russell 156) is, in fact, his full view of the human conscience which everyone experiences. Russell also writes that "Most people believe in God because they have been taught from early infancy to do it" (Russell 153). In other words, without directly addressing the issue upon which Lewis bases his entire essay--the issue of the force inside one "pressing" one to do right and not wrong--Russell dismisses it indirectly as based on emotion, fear, and socialization.

Russell would simply dismiss Lewis's "Law of Human Nature" as "human convention" (Lewis 149). Lewis, on the other hand, does not address the distinction set up...

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Natural Law, God, Human Nature. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 22:13, July 01, 2022, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1680707.html