When C.S. Lewis made the below quote, he was referring to the attitude of atheist at Cambridge vs. Oxford. In his day, there were such a large contingent of atheist at Oxford that they had become soft-thinkers rather than vocal or intellectual proponents of their beliefs. Cambridge, on the other hand, had a smaller quantity of atheist which made them more ‘fierce’ in their attitudes towards their belief, which Lewis preferred.
C.S. Lewis, being a Christian apologist and something of the lay philosopher, wanted people he could do battle with; men who would pose real challenges to his beliefs and he to theirs. Those at Oxford had simply grown weak-minded due to their lack of need to defend or promote themselves on a regular basis and, as a consequence, did not truly care about why they believed what they believed.
Is Lewis saying he wished there were more ardent atheist in the world? Of course not. He is saying he would rather have men that vehemently disagree with him, that have some merit (or at least think they do) in their beliefs. He doesn’t want to see mushy-minded sheeple, whether they are on his side of the theological aisle or not.
A man who has reached a conclusion due to logical fallacies can be reasoned with. And, the man who is working hard to think wrongly, is still a thinking man. However, the man who believes in a thing simply because it is within arms reach, is an indolent fool.
I Prefer the Fierce to the Flippant
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