Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For? C.S. Lewis, Bono and the Argument from Desire

For better or worse I was a child of the 80’s, and during that time a new rock band came on the scene that changed pop music, both in Britain, America and eventually the world. I immediately loved their sound as soon as I heard it. Their style was unique, and the lyrics had a real message. Their songs resonated much deeper than the typical pop tunes being played on the radio. That band was U2 from Dublin Ireland.

In May of 1987 the band released their 5th studio album titled “The Joshua Tree.” The second track on that album is a “gospel-esque” song that producer Danny Lanois encouraged Bono to write.[1] The song is “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The song has been acclaimed by many critics and publications as one of the greatest songs of all time.[2]

What makes this song so unique and timeless? Sure it’s Bono’s excellent vocals, Adam Clayton’s chilled-out bass, and the Edge’s astral guitar licks, but I believe that it is also something more, something much deeper. The song touches on a truth that is embedded in all people – a deep sense of longing and desire for something that this present world cannot fully satisfy. Here is the second refrain.

 

I have kissed honey lips

Felt the healing in her finger tips

It burned like fire

(I was) burning inside her.

 

I have spoke with the tongue of angels

I have held the hand of a devil

It was warm in the night

I was cold as a stone.

 

But I still haven’t found

What I’m looking for.

But I still haven’t found

What I’m looking for.

 

The song is written in the style of a gospel-lament which has it roots in the Psalms, the Lamentations of Jeremiah and later, African-American Spirituals. So, what is the singer lamenting?

He is lamenting that no matter what he tries or what he does, ultimate satisfaction isn’t found in this world. His satisfaction must come from somewhere else. He was made for something else, for somewhere else, or perhaps for someone else. He is a pilgrim and a sojourner on this earth, “just a passing through.”

Here a much younger “Edge” explains the origins of the song & Bono sings it with a gospel church choir in Harlem, NY.

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis articulates an argument for the existence of God based on our dissatisfactions as well as our deepest desire, which sounds a lot like the lyrics of U2’s song. I would even argue that the core idea is the virtually the same.

Lewis’s argument goes like this:

…A baby feels hunger; well there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world[3]

Philosopher Peter Kreeft has done us a great service and re-formulated Lewis’s argument from desire into a syllogism that might be a little easier to follow.

  1. Every natural innate desire corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire
  2. But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth and no creature can satisfy.
  3. Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth, and creatures which can satisfy this desire.
  4. This something is what people call “God” and “life with God forever.”[4]

Premise 1 – Every natural desire corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire

The key here is that every natural desire has a corresponding reality. The implication is that there is a distinction between two kinds of desires – natural desires and artificial desires. Everyone has natural desires, like the desire for water, food, sleep, friendship (companionship), etc…, but we also have desires for things that are artificial, or conditioned by society – like the desire to be famous, or the desire to possess superpowers (like one of the Avengers), or the desire to own a Ferrari.

However, with the artificial desires we don’t recognize a condition called “Ferrari-lessness” which corresponds to, say a natural desire like the desire for water (thirst), or for food (hunger).

Premise 2 – But there exists a desire in us which nothing in time, nothing on earth and no creature can satisfy.

This premise is existentially true, and either one senses it or not. It can’t be forced. It may be pointed out, however, that even though one might not sense a desire for God, it doesn’t mean that the desire is non-existent,  just buried under the concerns, the worries and the busyness of life.

The Southern novelist Walker Percy commenting on “the search” in his classic novel The Moviegoer (1961) touches on this idea:

The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be on to something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.

Something is missing, so we despair. Indeed, as Thoreau writes, “…most men live lives of quiet desperation” (Civil Disobedience & other Essays), or like mythical, Greek Sisyphus, we “feel” the futility and the endless drudgery of work & life and deeply sense that there must be “something more.”

If God is the ultimate source of joy and fellowship, then nothing but Him and Him alone (& life with Him forever) will satisfy the heart of every person.

This truth has been articulated by many different voices throughout history.

“For He [God] has set eternity in the hearts of men…” – King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

“Thou, O Lord hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee” – St. Augustine (The Confessions)

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” – Blaise Pascal (Pensees)

“Not to be onto something is to be in despair” – Walker Percy (The Moviegoer)

“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” – U2 (Bono)

Peter Kreeft brilliantly summarizes premise 2 this way:

The second premise requires only honest introspection. If someone defies it and says, “I am perfectly happy playing with mud pies, sports cars, or money, or sex, or power,” we can only ask, “Are you really?” But we can only appeal, we cannot compel… Even the atheist Jean-Paul Sartre admitted that “there comes a time when one asks, even of Shakespeare, even of Beethoven, ‘Is that all there is?’”[5]

Premise 3 – Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth, and creatures which can satisfy this desire.

Premise 4 – This something is what people call “God” and “life with God forever.”

Admittedly, the conclusion of this argument is not an “air-tight” case for the God of the Bible, but it is certainly a stepping stone. When the argument from desire is placed alongside of other arguments for God’s existence, such as the cosmological argument, and the teleological argument, then I think it makes a pretty compelling case worthy of serious consideration.

Kreeft says, “What it proves is an unknown X, but an unknown whose direction, so to speak, is known. This X is more: more beauty, more desirability, more awesomeness, more joy.”[6]

Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. ~ C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory, pg. 42)

Truth, Goodness & Beauty

It may be that beauty, and our desire for infinite beauty and truth and goodness is where we feel the unfulfilled longing[7] the most, as Kreeft brilliantly explains:

There are three things that will never die: truth, goodness and beauty. These are three things that we all need, and need absolutely, and know we need absolutely. Our minds want not only some truth and some falsehood, but all truth, without limit. Our wills want not only some good and some evil, but all good, without limit. Our desires, imaginations, feelings or hearts just want not just some beauty and some ugliness, but all beauty without limit.

For these are three things that we will never get bored with, and never will, for all eternity, because they are three attributes of God, and therefore all God’s creation: three transcendental or absolutely universal principles of all reality.   …Truth, goodness and beauty are ‘patches of Godlight’ here in the ‘Shadowlands.’ Their home is Yonder.[8]

Christianity teaches that the only way to truly KNOW God is through Jesus Christ who came to reveal Him for Who He truly is.

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3)

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Still_Haven%27t_Found_What_I%27m_Looking_For (accessed, Sept. 2, 2014).

[2] Ibid.

[3] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book III, chap. 10

[4] Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL, 1994), pp. 78-81, also see his “The Argument from Desire” on http://peterkreeft.com/topics/desire.htm (accessed Jan. 1, 2006).

[5] Ibid.

[6] Kreeft, Op cit.

[7] In his autobiographical work Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis explored his own experiences with what he called “the stab, the pain, the iconsolable longing” that he was sure all human beings felt.

[8] Peter Kreeft, “Lewis’s Philosophy of Truth, Goodness and Beauty,” in David Baggett, Gary R. Habermas and Jerry Walls, Editors, C.S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness and Beauty (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008), 23-36.

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30 replies
  1. Stephen B says:

    A good debater will treat the other side’s argument in good faith and attempt to counter the best interpretation of it. Here’s the Kreeft quote with your introduction to it:

    “Peter Kreeft brilliantly summarizes premise 2 this way: The second premise requires only honest introspection. If someone defies it and says, “I am perfectly happy playing with mud pies, sports cars, or money, or sex, or power,” we can only ask, “Are you really?””

    What’s ‘brilliant’ about that summary? It’s attempting to make a non-theistic viewpoint appear as venal and silly as possible. It’s no better than saying that theists say, “I am perfectly happy going to church so I can rest my feet up for an hour and have a good sing song after guzzling free wine”.

    A humanist would be far more likely to say they get meaning in their lives helping others. Personally I get satisfaction from raising my children and having a good relationship with them and my wife and other family members. And indeed I also find it meaningful to help others. If you ask me honestly if these things are truly enough for me, then will answer that yes they are. Further, I feel sorry for you if they’re not enough for you.

    Reply
    • Ted Wright says:

      Stephen, its so ironic that the first thing you say is that “a good debater will treat the other side’s argument in good faith and attempt to counter the best interpretation of it,” yet from your comments, it appears that, that is exactly what you’ve done.

      To answer your question/comment: “What’s brilliant about the that summary?”
      I only say that it’s brilliant in that it succinctly summarizes and formulates Lewis’s argument from desire in syllogistic form which (hopefully) makes it easier to understand and less likely to be misunderstood, even if someone disagrees with it as a whole, or any one of the premises.

      Secondly, whether this is intentional or not, there is no correlation to “going to church so I can rest my feet up for an hour and have a good sing song after guzzling free wine” and the truth of “the deepest [existential] desire/longing of the human heart” [i.e. – a personal, loving relationship with the Living God].

      Sure, many churches have members who go through the motions of religiosity and worship, but that doesn’t mean that there doesn’t exists (in people) a desire in which nothing in this world can fulfill. Besides, I’ve never met any theists who’ve ever said, “I am perfectly happy going to church so I can rest my feet up for an hour, sing songs and guzzle wine.” If someone has that attitude, then I would question whether their faith in God/Christ was genuine.

      Third, you simply pose a false-dilemma (either/or) fallacy, stating that atheists can’t find meaning and satisfaction with helping others, raising their children, wife and family – they certainly can! Meanwhile, Christian Theists (like myself and others) don’t find ultimate satisfaction in them – we certainly do! Indeed, we are commanded to love them and lay our lives down for them. But even those relationships point to an even more important and deeper relationship – the one with God the Father (through His Son, Christ). What Lewis, Kreeft, and myself are saying, is that even with the best of things (family, beauty, goodness), there is still “something missing.” It’s not that they are not good-enough, but they are not the ultimate “end” of what we were created for.

      Lastly, I would like to ask you (the Humanist), why would you even want to “have a good relationship” with your wife, children, family? Or “help the poor”? On what basis are you calling these things “good”? I’m not questioning you about their inherent “goodness,” but only the GROUNDS that you are calling them “good.” Society? Culture? Evolutionary fitness?

      And, are you open to the possibility that you are wrong, and that deep inside you know this deep longing is there?

      Reply
      • toby says:

        “I’m not questioning you about their inherent “goodness,” but only the GROUNDS that you are calling them “good.” Society? Culture? Evolutionary fitness?”

        You not asking that either. You’re asking what ultimate supernatural standard for good he’s using because you can’t accept any of the three natural explanations you point out (likely it’s a combination of the three with a few extra like knowledge and experience and lack of brain dysfunction).

        Reply
      • william brown says:

        Just to add to Ted’s reply: Raising children and having a good relationship with one’s spouse are extremely worthy goals. But if that is as deep as it gets, what happens when these fail, as happens so often, even in the seeming best of circumstances. A child rebels or a spouse is unfaithful.
        I think that the point that Kreeft and Lewis make, is that God has something deeper, something that will never fail us, never get boring, something that is ultimately fulfilling, and the only thing that is truly worthy of our full trust, commitment, and allegiance. Nowhere else can this be found. And wisdom dictates aligning our lives and loves and desires with this one thing.

        Reply
      • Stephen B says:

        “yet from your comments, it appears that, that is exactly what you’ve done.”

        I don’t think you understood my post.

        “I’ve never met any theists who’ve ever said, “I am perfectly happy going to church so I can rest my feet up for an hour, sing songs and guzzle wine.””

        Quite – that was my point. You should therefore agree then that my analogy for ‘not fairly portraying the other side’ was an apt one. I don’t know any adults who say “I am perfectly happy playing with mud pies etc”.

        “Why would you even want to “have a good relationship” with your wife, children, family?”

        Ted, I feel even more sorry for you if you cannot understand how someone can find these things fulfilling. I also feel sorry for your wife, children and family! Sorry Wright family, Ted can’t understand what’s fulfilling about spending time with you.

        Reply
        • Greg B says:

          Stephen,
          You missed his point bro. It isn’t that he doesn’t understand that you want to spend time with your family. He (and I) have good grounds within our world view that makes us believe (with all our heart) that loving our family is a good thing. He wants to know your grounds, your reasons you think it a ‘good’ thing to do so: morally upright. There are no evolutionary grounds for finding anything morally exemplary.
          To extrapolate: from a theistic POV there is ample reason why I would find it a good (decent, praiseworthy, etc) thing to love my children. From an evolutionary (or simply non-theistic) POV there is no morally sufficient reason for anything. In fact there are no morals. Instead, what most frequently happens because we have an inner sense that there must be morally good and bad things the non-theist must ‘import’ them from an alternative world view (in the US that is often the Christian, in the Middle East that is often the Islamic, etc). Your (morally right) desire to have a good relationship with your family, do good things for strangers, etc has been put into your heart, not by some evolutionary process but by the God who also gave you an intuitive desire for goodness, truth, and beauty (among other things).

          It is not enough for the evolutionist to say of course I have morals, so does everyone. What Lewis is trying to say in Mere Christianity is that you are correct; it is simply that you don’t have enough meat in your world view to accommodate such a fact. And, I agree with the original blog, Bono is making a similar point.

          Reply
          • Stephen B says:

            “There are no evolutionary grounds for finding anything morally exemplary.”

            What’s evolution got to do with this? You might as well say there are no gravitational reasons either.

            For that matter, who said anything about morals? I was purely talking about what I find meaningful in my life. It is YOU who is missing the point by asking me to account for them being morally exemplary, as I never claimed them to be so in the first place, and neither did my argument rely on them being so.

            “Your (morally right) desire to have a good relationship with your family”

            I never said it was ‘morally right’; I said I found meaning in my life from it. Again, if you don’t, then I feel sorry for you.

            “but by the God who also gave you an intuitive desire for goodness, truth, and beauty”

            This argument introduces more problems than it solves. Are good attributes good because they reflect God’s character, or does God’s character reflect them because they are good? If the latter, then we can cut out the middle man – they’re intrinsically good with or without God. If the former, then you there’s nothing intrinsically good about these attributes at all – they just happen to jibe with God’s character. There’s no reason that God’s character couldn’t have included attributes such as unjustness and hatred.

  2. moose says:

    3. “therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures which can satisfy this desire.”
    4. “this something is what people call “god” and life with “god” forever.”

    if there is such a thing as an afterlife, why not just skip life on earth, create a heaven, create a bunch of humans, and let them do whatever it is you do in “heaven.” what do you do in “heaven” that makes it such a great and satisfying paradise anyway? do you spend all your time worshipping “god”? if so what is so great about that? do you do anything else? do you laugh at those poor, evil skeptics who are spending their eternity in “god’s” divine torture chamber?

    Reply
    • Ted Wright says:

      Moose, I don’t claim to know (nor was it presented in my article), all of the reasons why God just doesn’t send people directly to heaven, but from the Bible, it seems that life on this earth is about learning certain truths about God and ourselves that we couldn’t learn any other way. God certainly could create robot/humans who simply have no free-will, but then that wouldn’t be very loving on God’s part. God want’s people to love Him on their own free will, not force them to believe. He provides evidence (in Creation, the stars, galaxies, and the wonders & mystery of life, DNA), and allows people to make their own choice.

      What is so good in heaven? And what’s so great about worshipping God? To answer that question, is sort of like a mountain-climber trying to explain to a non-mountain climber “What is it like being on the summit of Mt. Everest?” I could explain to you with colorful adjectives and metaphors what the experience is like (in the case of God, this would be theology), but it is not the same thing as being on the summit (i.e. having a relationship with God). John describes in Revelation 21 what it will be like in heaven. The original paradise in Eden (the entire earth in harmony with God and each other), will be restored.

      And – no, those in heaven don’t laugh at the those who don’t believe (who are separated from God), why would they? That’s sadistic!

      The problem of the human race, isn’t that they don’t want to experience the benefits of heaven (with all that, that means), it’s that they don’t like God’s answer as to how to get there (i.e. through believing in the atoning death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone). Jesus gave us the reason why. Because, “Men loved darkness, rather than the light because their deeds are evil” (John 3:19)

      Reply
      • moose says:

        ted–you say that life on earth is about learning certain things about god–how so?, ancient holy books?

        you also say it would be sadistic to laugh at those who are in hell—are you admitting that god is sadistic by sending people to hell?—–yeah i know you are probably going to say god does not send people to hell, people choose hell, etc–the same nonsense we have all heard hundreds of times. if it is a choice–then i choose not to go to hell–now the ball is in your god’s court–will “he” send me to hell or not? after all if god does not send people to hell , then i will not go to hell, right?

        Reply
      • Terry L says:

        Moose, you claim to have “been” a Christian at one time, yet you continue to show so little knowledge of Christianity. I don’t mean that as an insult… just an observation.

        No, God won’t “send” anyone to hell; we all do a good enough job of that ourselves! We’re all on our way there. God has given the best he has to offer to keep you from going!

        You say, rather glibly, “if it is a choice–then i choose not to go to hell–now the ball is in your god’s court–will ‘he’ send me to hell or not?”

        Let me ask you this… say you and I are in Tacoma, WA. You tell me you’re choosing to go to Hawaii.

        “Are you going by boat, or by airplane?”, I ask.

        “Neither.”, you reply. “I’m going to walk.”

        Needless to say, I don’t think you’re going to make it to Oahu!

        You see it’s not sufficient to simply say “I choose Heaven.” You actually have to choose Heaven.

        What do you have to do to choose Heaven? You have to choose and employ the right way to get there.

        Just as you can’t get to Hawaii by simply saying, “I choose to go to Hawaii”, neither can you get to Heaven by making an idle statement.

        Likewise, you can’t get to either place by choosing a mode of transportation that cannot get you there. If you place your faith in your feet, you’ll never get to Hawaii. If you place your trust in anything but Jesus, you’ll never see Heaven.

        Now let’s be clear… you can go to Hawaii any time you like… you just have to go the right way. It’s your choice. The ticket agent wants you to go to Hawaii (in his case, he doesn’t get paid unless you buy a ticket). It’s not his fault if you choose not to go. It’s not his fault if you try to go by another means. Why would you blame the ticket agent for sending you elsewhere when you never made proper preparation to go where you really wanted to go?

        Reply
        • Stephen B says:

          So Terry, if when you die you’re confronted by Allah, and He says because you weren’t a Muslim you’re going to hell, would it be fair to say that you ‘chose’ hell?

          Reply
          • Terry L says:

            Assuming:

            1. Allah is the true God.
            2. Allah left sufficient evidence for me to understand this truth.
            3. I did not accept and act upon this truth.

            Then yes, I chose/am choosing my fate. And you’re in the same boat with me, by the way! 😉

            All of us place faith in something. I have faith in Christ. Muslims have faith in Allah. Atheists have faith that God does not exist. All three are trusting that the object of their faith (or lack thereof in the case of the atheist) is capable of providing the best outcome in the long run.

            While all of us may be wrong, no more than one of us can be right. The other two are going to be in trouble (unless of course, it’s the atheist that’s right.)

        • moose says:

          beautiful stuff terry!, who said anything about wanting to go to this magical fantasy land of heaven? i blindly believed that nonsense for most of my life by the way. your religion peddles the idea that people who go to hell—(god’s divine torture chamber)–do so by their choice, or that god sends no one to hell. if it is a choice, then i choose not to go to hell–i choose to be dead when i die—now will your god send me to hell or not? the ball is in your god’s court.

          Reply
          • Terry L says:

            >>who said anything about wanting to go to this magical fantasy land of heaven?

            Interesting… you’d rather not exist than spend an eternity in a land with no sorrow, pain, and suffering with God. That sounds like brain damage to me! Again, no insult intended–just being honest! If A is better than B and B is better than C, then why would anyone chose B?

            >>i choose to be dead when i die

            You don’t get to choose your choices. This is a brute fact of reality, not a theological insight. You can’t choose to walk from Tacoma to Hawaii and get to where you want to go. You can’t choose to walk to Oz… it doesn’t exist.

            >>the ball is in your god’s court.

            You presume to tell God, “Now THIS is how it’s going to be! You’re going to have to extinguish my existence instead of allowing me to go to Hell!” Try telling a cop, “You’re going to have to take me home instead of jail!” You can try ordering persons in authority around, but it doesn’t usually get you anywhere.

          • Stephen B says:

            “You don’t get to choose your choices”
            Then it’s not a choice, is it?!

            “That sounds like brain damage to me! Again, no insult intended–just being honest!”
            I’m always hearing from outraged Christians saying that atheists are calling them stupid or deluded. And here’s you ‘just being honest’ and calling Moose brain damaged. OK…

            “You can try ordering persons in authority around, but it doesn’t usually get you anywhere”
            That’s not really an argument for anything though, is it? Ordering around a guy robbing your house with a gun might not get you anywhere either – so what?

            “And you’re in the same boat with me, by the way!”
            But if it turns out there’s a completely different God who sends believers to hell and non-believers to heaven, then we’re in different boats – mine heading up and yours sinking down. Think on that.

            “Atheists have faith that God does not exist.”
            I have no such faith. On balance I don’t think a God exists, but it’s not a faith position for me. Perhaps I’m wrong, who knows. But a God who sends people to hell for not believing in him makes as much sense to me as the one I mentioned above who sends believers to hell. If there is a God then he either will consider whether or not I’m a good person, irrespective of my religious beliefs, or he’s not worthy of worship anyway.

  3. Robert says:

    There’s no such thing as an afterlife. So what’s the point of being a Christian anyway? Why waste time, effort and money on such an obviously trivial pursuit? Why not just get off your knees and try to help science make the world a better place for everybody?

    Reply
    • Joshua says:

      How do you know that there is no afterlife? You require Faith to believe that there isn’t too. Faith is simply the belief in things not seen. You cannot see what happens after death and science certainly does not know, neither does it claim to. I look at how a band of terrified fishermen transformed into a group of apostles who turned the world upside down, and died for holding on to their claim that they saw Christ resurrected, and I’m convinced there is an afterlife. A man may die for a lie he’s been told and in which he believes. Scarcely will a group of men die for a lie they themselves created. If there is no resurrection, we Christians are of all men to be most pitied. But we have this steadfast hope as an anchor to our souls.

      Reply
  4. Martin says:

    “God certainly could create robot/humans who simply have no free-will, but then that wouldn’t be very loving on God’s part.”

    Creating robot/humans without free -will is not unloving. Creating humans capable of free will and subjecting them to an completely arbitrary test based on Earthly life and belief in bad evidence, the result of which will determine where they’ll spend eternity is not very loving…. it is absolutely sadistic.

    In any case, creating humans and placing them directly into heaven has no impact on free will, assuming you believe there will be free will in heaven.

    “God want’s people to love Him on their own free will, not force them to believe.”

    This, too, is absolutely sadistic given the consequences of unbelief and not loving God. In this context, forcing someone to believe is the loving thing to do.

    “He provides evidence (in Creation, the stars, galaxies, and the wonders & mystery of life, DNA), and allows people to make their own choice.”

    Providing mysteries does not equate to providing evidence. And allowing people to make their own choice isn’t loving in God’s case. Especially when you consider that God intentionally keeps himself hidden and only reveals an infinitely small fraction of the evidence that points to his existence. He does bear much responsibility in the decisions people make with regard to his existence.

    Reply
  5. mr newmedia says:

    acts 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
    17:31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

    please read carefully!!!

    He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.

    God has given proof!!!
    that’s what we are looking for!!

    Reply
  6. Jean says:

    I appreciate your article, Ted, and enjoyed hearing that you had a similar reaction to mine in U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” I felt that song was definitely in touch with my experience as a Christian, long before I knew anything about U2–and Daniel Lanois’ work on the production of Joshua Tree adds an audible spiritual dimension. (I have no knowledge of Mr. Lanois as a practitioner of any religion, but I do know he treats music in a spiritual/sacred manner and it is reflected in his projects.) Even if U2 had meant nothing in particular by their lyrics, they would still have caught my attention as a reflection of the longing for the eternal.

    Thanks for pulling together some interesting threads and weaving them into CS Lewis’ discussion of the subject, which is always a welcome topic.

    Reply
  7. Ed says:

    God is infinite, the mind and knowledge and understanding of God is infinite. Man is not. No matter how long man studies, scientifically tests theories, contemplates the depths of earth, galaxies, infinite space, he will never even begin to know the mind of God.
    The person who with childlike faith has surrendered themselves to God now has the Spirit of God living within themselves and Gods Spirit communes with their spirit and reveals truth to them. The person who has not been enlightened by the Spirit of God cannot know the mysteries of God. Cannot understand the things of God. CAN NOT! All of the debate, “big words”, intellectual arguments etc. etc. etc. will change nothing! Scripture declares “It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'”. Not only those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior but also those who have not, to their own destruction. They will surely say ” yes now I see, they were right, there is a God. And I have chosen to be removed from His presence for ever and ever and EVER! Then they will realize all of their chances to believe have been exhausted. Never to return. They will be cast into utter darkness separated from everything good forever.
    Present your anti-Theistic arguments all you want. They will NOT change the truth!
    Receive Jesus today and “know” the love of God forever! 🙂

    Reply
  8. moose says:

    terry–when you say that it sounds like brain damage to choose being dead over fantasyland–for crying out loud-show some evidence that this fantasyland is real b4 you even make a comment like that-forget philosophy or what some holy book claims, show some real evidence.

    “you don’t get to choose your choices”-as stephen said then we don’t have a choice right?

    “you presume to tell god, this is how it’s going to be”—who says i am presuming i am telling any god that this is how it’s going to be?

    we all need to be held accountable for our actions in this lifetime, on this earth. this hell nonsense says we need to be punished a 2nd time in an afterlife–a 2nd much more severe punishment–why? that is not justice, that is “God” getting revenge on those who are not worshipping “him” and telling him how great he is. it’s just shameful how your religion peddles this nonsense, and turns it into a threat/ultimatum.

    Reply
    • Joshua says:

      It’s not about worshipping God for the sake of it. God has revealed himself to be a holy and just God. A taste of this is seen in our longing for justice and holiness (or you might call that being good). Would you like to see a murderer being set scot free by a judge? What would you think of such a judge? We think that a murderer deserves punishment because those are our standards of what’s right and what’s wrong. God’s standards are much higher than ours..so much so that he cannot bear even a sinful thought of lust or rage! He is so holy and so just that he cannot let it enter his presence. We all deserve to go to hell. By God’s perfect standards, we shouldn’t even be living..we should be struck down for our sins. Christian and non Christian. Yet God in his Grace and mercy has given us the one and only path to reconciliation through Christ. How can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? God does not have to ‘send’ us to hell..we’re all heading there at full throttle until God saves us.

      Reply
  9. Ceri James says:

    Good article. I think it might be an interesting read if you’re a theist or an atheist. I find Bono annoying and I’m not much of a U2 fan – I prefer the early stuff and the late 80’s early 90’s after that they should have split. I saw them live once in the 90’s. However, IMHO I think this song ISHFWILF is genius and its one of the greatest Gospel songs I know.

    Reply
  10. Naik says:

    Paul,Thanks for the feedback! Just wanetd to reply to some of your points…• My comment about it being “offensive for, like, half a second” was my humorous way of saying that it really wasn’t offensive at all. If you read some of my other posts, I tend to use a bit of sarcasm in my writing. • I did laugh at the wording of the advertisement. You see, the term atheist means that there is no God. But here we have a group of atheists that seem to waver on this point, saying there “probably” is no God. That’s funny! It’s like a math teacher not insisting that 1 + 1 = 2, but saying that 1 + 1 “probably” equals 2. Don’t you find that even just a bit funny?• I wasn’t laughing to be nasty, and I don’t see how my religion automatically makes me a nasty person. Also, your charge of bigotry is unfounded. What in my post triggered that comment? A lot of my humor is self-deprecating (see my post on Catholic Outreach, Southern Style for a sampling, or browse my whole Humor category). If anything, I probably poke fun of my own religious beliefs more than anything else. Laughter is one of the great joys of life. Maybe I should have categorized this post under the “Humor” category, too.• You wrote that there is “no real good evidence” that proves God’s existence. Please re-read the later part of my post, which offers links to the website of Boston College philosophy professor Dr. Peter Kreeft. He is quite an intelligent man and is a theist. He offers both written and audio-recorded resources explaining the rational proofs for God’s existence. I invite you to explore these and consider this viewpoint. You might disagree with it, but you can’t claim that theism is not rational.• You suggested that the ad could have been worded, “There is no God…” I agree! I think this would have made the ad stronger in terms of communicating the atheist position. In it’s current form, the ad lacks conviction. Changing it to your suggested wording would more accurately convey the atheist message. This may, as you say, get other religious people “up in arms” but that’s okay. I’m not saying that this organization doesn’t have the right to communicate its message or use advertising as the medium for its message. I’m all for the free exchange of ideas. Censorship is bad.• “Religious folks don’t care” if non-believers are offended by our religion?: not true. I care. I think that the path to true lasting happiness is through belief in God, loving one’s neighbors and participating in the sacramental life of the Church. I try to share this with others and respect those who disagree with me. True, some might be offended, but we don’t have a right to not be offended. My doctor might offend me by telling me that I’m an out-of-shape slob and that I need to eat better and exercise. But if it’s true and it will help me live a better life, then maybe I need to be offended every once in a while. Sometimes, the truth hurts. Sometimes, the most loving words can be painful. But if someone cares about you, they run the risk of offending you with the truth every once in a while.Well, I think that addresses most of your points. Thanks again for reading the blog and for taking the time to comment.

    Reply
  11. Danny says:

    Hi Ted

    Thanks for sharing the article. Indeed, Jesus is the one we’re looking for in life. If we chase after worldly pleasures, we’ll suffer disappointments since they won’t last forever. But if we just in Jesus, He gives us forgiveness, love, a lasting friendship & eternity with Him. We will never be disappointed or let down 🙂
    However there’s a part of ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’ which I bristle over…

    “I believe in the Kingdom Come
    Then all the colours will bleed into one
    Bleed into one.
    But yes, I’m still running.

    You broke the bonds
    And you loosed the chains
    Carried the cross of my shame
    Oh my shame, you know I believe it.

    But I still haven’t found
    What I’m looking for.
    But I still haven’t found
    What I’m looking for”

    They sing about how Jesus died for us on the cross & how He sets us free…& yet they’ve still not found what they’re looking for? Isn’t Jesus enough? Isn’t He supposed to be the one we’re looking for & who answers our questions?

    Furthermore, I know there will be people who’ll accuse me of judging, but as Christians, there’s some things about Bono we should be aware of:
    Despite being open about believing in Jesus/God, Bono has done some things which are highly questionable. For instance, Bono dressed like the devil (Mr Macphisto) at one of his tours, and he’s promoted gay marriage and abortion. I’m also aware in the U2 song ‘Love rescue me’, they sing ‘I have cursed they rod and staff’ They no longer comfort me’. For these reasons I would be extremely careful about regarding Bono as a Christian role model.

    Stay watchful and God Bless!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Walking around, I told myself I was going to be in one of those one day. I have been exposed to so much prestige and wealth on this trip/throughout my life that it makes me want to work harder and be better. But I had an epiphany as I was walking down the row of yachts… From one of the big yachts, speakers were playing music while the crew was taking care of it (the owner was probably out in town). The sole line of the song that I heard was from a popular U2 tune, maybe you’ve heard it…  titled “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Right there I was hit with conviction. Things don’t make you happy. People do whatever it takes and work so hard to reach this threshold of wealth where virtually anything is possible for them to buy, but still aren’t happy. No matter what you buy you still find yourself looking for more. I know I have been told this my whole life and understand that, but when you make all your goals revolving around money and status that will not make your life perfect or guarantee it joyful. I am by no means saying that scaling your career latter to have a lot of money is bad, I still want to work hard enough and have a yacht here one day. But the thing that makes me happy and joyful is Jesus. I want to work hard to glorify Him with the gifts and talents he has given me and be able to be generous and bless others. Jesus is where true joy comes from. The cross is where you will find what you have always been looking for. (Interesting link to check out) […]

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