Talk:Lewis Trilemma

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This Logic related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.



  • Has a decision been taken to remove Trivia sections from articles?
  • The Trivia section adds to the article and I hope it stays. Proxima Centauri (talk) 11:35, 4 September 2012 (UTC)


Was this argument actually meant to establish the worship of Jesus? I thought it was only intended to shoot down those who already accepted the existence of Jesus, and the accuracy of the mundane segments of the Gospels, but not his divinity. Sake Fueled (talk) 09:41, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

You are correct. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if Christian apologists applied the argument overbroadly. (talk to a) Nihilist 15:54, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

The truth[edit]

There probably was a person called Rabbi Joshua ben Joseph who promoted his 'religious-polital-ethical world view' and who had a following.

There were also any number of other persons promoting their own r-p-e worldviews', who did not get a sufficient following/did not get spin doctors/gospel-writers - including those working with the colonial rulers, and the Siccari.

The various trilemmas/polylemmas with regard to the gospel writers, the gospel selectors and the gospel interpreters have also to be considered.

The result - something that looks like a medieval hall full of sets of antlers. (talk) 16:21, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

O noes we're not rational[edit]

If you listen to the Christian upvote brigade, anyway. FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk) 16:28, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Hitchens quote[edit]

It doesn't actually directly address the issue, but instead talks about biblical authenticity for quite awhile, which shows a fourth choice -- "Jesus's words were faked" -- which we can make more directly, I think. FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk) 16:38, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

I narrowed down the segment to the parts that are exactly right on the Lewis Trilemma. Hitchens' treatment of said trilemma in the very passage I quote (with source) is one of the best atheist analyses of the trilemma thus far written, while being fairly short and to the point - even more so after I shortened the section down. I strongly recommend that we keep it as it has now been re-added. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 02:24, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

4. Hypocrisy is Impossible—So?[edit]

I'm probably just missing something, but...why does hypocrisy matter to the Lewis Trilemma? It's given a couple paragraphs' worth of text, but I don't see how the possibility of hypocrisy affects Lewis's argument or its flaws. GreatWyrmGold (talk) 20:23, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Well, it's because Lewis has given us a three-headed serpent version of the classic false dilemma, this time known as a false trilemma. It's the same basic animal — Lewis is demanding that we ignore every option but the ones he has pre-selected for us (because that's how he phrased the question). Thus, he invites criticism based on how well he pre-selects the options.
In other words, he's left us with an "either-or"-type situation. But despite the human penchant for reducting everything to binary propositionsWikipedia, that's not necessarily how the world works. One outstanding option not given is the one that is perhaps most damning to the religious mindset — the mere possibility that Jesus was just bullshitting people for attention, worship, fame and/or money — much like today's equivalent televangelists and cult leaders do?
You can actually become a famous millionaire simply by bullshitting people (and in that regard, RW is a huge index of various such "success stories"). People do do this, as unimaginable as it sounds to all the hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of us human beings who wouldn't have the stomach to become cult leaders if we tried.
The question is, could Jesus have done it? It's certainly not categorically impossible, that much is plain. There's actually support for the notion that he was a charlatan of sorts (as there is for countless other mutually incompatible notions) in scripture. There's historical parallells to group psychology and cults. And, vitally — no matter how you slice it — a cult of worship was certainly born around the man.
In the light of these basic facts, surely anything that could be ascribed to him being a madman surely could just as well be ascribed to him being a professional troll of sorts? I'm not saying it's likely, I'm saying that certainly it's not impossible.
And as such, the main point here is directed against Lewis (not Jesus). Lewis' false trilemma fails completely. And to no surprise — it's what false dilemmas tend to do. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 20:44, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Not a trilemma at all?[edit]

If I understand the concept of dilemma (and by extension trilemma) right, the options must be mutually exclusive. However, Jesus COULD be God's son, erroneously believing that he isn't, due to insanity, yet lie about this, and present himself as God's son. Or is it not lying when you believe a falsehood and thus tell the truth when you attempt to lie about it?

Lewis's trilemma falls under the fallacy of the false dichotomy, or would that be "false trichotomy"? It's fallacious because it arbitrarily assumes that there are only three options when it comes to the truth of the Gospels, when in fact there are far more than three options. Ɖøn Ĵuan Harass 16:29, 21 December 2018 (UTC)