The trope, of course, is C. S. Lewis’s (in)famous “Liar, lunatic, or lord” passage from his book Mere Christianity, also known as Lewis’s Trilemma. Here it is:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.
Now isn’t that convincing?
I remember when I read the book as part of my research for Faith Versus Fact, and I read it because Mere Christianity is supposed to be the best selling and most popular book on Christianity save the Bible itself. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that there are other possibilities beyond Lewis’s three, including Bart Ehrman’s thesis that Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher who may have believed what he said, but didn’t claim he was God himself. You can see other criticisms at The Secular Web.
All in all, I was pretty appalled that people were taken in by C. S. Lewis’s arguments for Christianity in the book. It was like The Little Golden Book of Jesus for Brits. Grania, a lapsed Catholic, always said that Lewis was popular simply because he was one of the few theologians who could write for the average person.
But on to the strip, in which Mo gives Jesus a zinger:
The entire paragraph quoted, which is Martin Amis writing from Pakistan.
Religion is sensitive ground, as well it might be. Here we walk on eggshells. Because religion is itself an eggshell. Today, in the West, there are no good excuses for religious belief – unless we think that ignorance, reaction and sentimentality are good excuses. This is of course not so in the East, where, we acknowledge, almost every living citizen in many huge and populous countries is intimately defined by religious belief. The excuses, here, are very persuasive; and we duly accept that ‘faith’ – recently and almost endearingly defined as ‘the desire for the approval of supernatural beings’ – is a world-historical force and a world-historical actor. All religions, unsurprisingly, have their terrorists, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, even Buddhist. But we are not hearing from those religions. We are hearing from Islam.
And in the cartoon, Jesus and Mo manage to disparage each other:
And a bit of her kvetching in the House of Commons about “hurt feelings” when the Prophet (peace be upon him) is insulted. This is an excerpt from the AA (Anadolu Agency) report:
“As a Muslim, for me and millions of Muslims across this country and the quarter of the world’s population that is Muslim too, with each day and each breath, there is not a single thing in the world that we commemorate and honor more than our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),” she said.
Shah drew comparisons between the British people’s attachment to figures such as Winston Churchill and Oliver Cromwell and Muslims’ love and endearment for their prophet.
Just as this new law aims to protect historical figures of the UK, the same protection should be extended to figures and individuals that hold importance for other communities, the lawmaker stressed.
“When bigots and racist defame, slander or abuse our Prophet (peace be upon him), just like some people do to the likes of Churchill, the emotional harm caused upon our hearts is unbearable. Because for 2 billion Muslims, he is the leader we commemorate in our hearts, honor in our lives and forms the basis of our identity and our very existence,” Shah asserted.
The thing is, it’s not illegal to mock or make fun of Winston Churchill or Oliver Cromwell.
Apparently the Jesus and Mo website issues are fixed, and one can access the latest strip, called “outrage”, without trouble. It conveys what seems to be true: many instances of woke behavior represent not genuine attempts to fix society, but a way to call attention to oneself by being outraged, either feigned or for real. And, as usual, the boys show their own hypocrisy in the last panel.
The strip came with a link:
Today an essay appeared on the website of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which prompted this J&M.
The essay describes how the author was attacked on social media by a woman friend for saying “a trans woman is a trans woman”, although he “fully support(s) the rights of trans people and all marginalized people.” Given the woman’s behavior described in Adichie’s longish essay, it’s clear that her public attack was an act of performative outrage.
Today I learned a new word: Bulverism. It was coined by CS Lewis. The Wikipedia entry explains it all:
In Lewis’s own 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 his 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”. Some day 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 a 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 explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.”
And the 21st.
I think that the author (and the barmaid, who always represents the voice of reason) are talking about the classic Wokeist technique of attacking your opponent’s character rather than their argument.
The Jesus and Mo artist is still having problems with his/her/hir/its/their website, but there is a cartoon publicly posted this week, called “Sinai”. (Wasn’t that last week’s title?). At any rate, the Divine Duo are performing and, once again, hoist with their own petard.
You’re getting this strip much earlier than the rest of the world today, as network problems are preventing me from posting to the main site and sending out emails. Long-time readers may recognise this is a resurrection of an old strip from 13 years back.
. . . Today’s strip is a resurrection from 2008, as long-time readers will recognise. In the original strip, I neglected to link to the inspiration. It was this article, which presents a speculative but not implausible hypothesis.
Not implausible?!!! Here’s a screenshot of part of the article:
Benny Sharon is clearly a philosopher rather than an empiricist! Here’s the cartoon, and it’s rare because it includes the f-word! (This is a screenshot because, although I’m a patron, I couldn’t get access to the cartoon.)