Liar, Lunatic or Lord

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C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

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 said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a 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.

This argument has also been referred to as the "trilemma" by Josh McDowell.

Counter-Arguments

  1. The idea that Jesus actually claimed to be God comes from the Bible, which Christians regard as inerrant but atheists do not. In fact there is no evidence that Jesus said all the things that are attributed to him.
  2. The trilemma has conveniently excluded additional options like, "Legend".

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