“As we witness Lewis develop we find that these volumes are working as a kind of unconscious autobiography.” (Books & Culture) “C. S. Lewis understood, like. Mere Christianity. By. C.S. Lewis. Contents: Book Cover (Front) (Back). Scan / Edit Notes. Preface. Book I. Right And Wrong As A Clue To The Meaning Of The. In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th books The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality.
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Mere Christianity is a theological book by C. S. Lewis, adapted from a series of BBC radio talks made between and , while Lewis was at Oxford during . Start by marking “Mere Christianity” as Want to Read: That is the reason that CS Lewis' book exists. Shelves: audio-book, c-s-lewis, christianity, christian, faith, favorite-authors, favorites, religion. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
Learn how and when to remove this template message C. Lewis , an Anglican , intended to describe the Christian common ground. In Mere Christianity, he aims at avoiding controversies to explain fundamental teachings of Christianity, for the sake of those basically educated as well as the intellectuals of his generation, for whom the jargon of formal Christian theology did not retain its original meaning. The Case for Christianity Broadcast Talks in UK [ edit ] Lewis spends most of his defence of the Christian faith on an argument from morality , a point which persuaded him from atheism to Christianity. He bases his case on a moral law, a "rule about right and wrong" commonly known to all human beings, citing the example of Nazism ; both Christians and atheists believed that Adolf Hitler 's actions were morally wrong. On a more mundane level, it is generally accepted that stealing is a violation of this moral law.
It starts off with an appeal to every man's human nature, then goes about covering every base as to why man's nature is the way it is. Lewis is careful to present each alternative path of question and then refute it using logic and reason which should appease the skeptic and the doubtful. The book is full of good humor and amiable narrative, but Lewis doesn't compromise or sugar-coat the cornerstones of the Christian faith.
It is what it is, and by the time one is through with the book, whether he decides it is something he wants to make the central part of his life or not, there is no question as to what is actually is.
It's a fairly short and easy read, considering the subject matter, though not for those who are looking for an easy way out. I'd recommend it to anyone, really. Christianity is so often misunderstood, mostly due to media coverage and misconceptions about the people in the Church themselves. I think that a lot of people, Christian and non-Christian, have the idea that when someone becomes a follower of Christ the whole of their behavior and attitude changes overnight; then when they foul up, it seems like everyone enjoys talking about it and seeing it.
This book talks about matters of the heart like this business of being happy to find others in the wrong, or becoming proud with one's own "successes" in Christianity. Lewis talks about Christianity being a process of producing a particular kind of new man, instead of a group of people who follow a set of rules.
Interestingly enough, it is also these actions created in us by God's Spirit, saying "yes" to His prompting and the way He wants us to live, which miraculously turn us into these new sons and daughters of God. Lewis also talks about how this process is worked through us, so that we have no room to be proud or think that it's of our own doing.
His illustrations are useful and easy to understand, but he warns us not to substitute them for the Real Thing. Likewise, his book is not the Bible itself—it is merely here to help and to give a defense of what he calls "Mere Christianity", the beliefs which are common to all Christians, the things on which we do not differ.
Where one is confused about what it means to be a Christian, how one is saved and changed, and what it demands of the individual, Lewis explains what it means to become a son or daughter of God. I think that this book is useful for anyone who is a Christian, who is deliberating on whether or not to become one, or who has a Christian friend.
Or, if one is interested in studying Christianity for personal enrichment, he's most likely to gain more understanding from this book than any humanities or civilization textbook.
It's one of my favorites, because the misrepresentation of Christianity in the media and by people who hardly understand it has been a source of frustration for me throughout the majority of my life. View all 13 comments. Sep 16, Ryan is currently reading it. I've been into spirituality and meditation for a long time now--I've been practicing a meditation technique called Deep Meditation daily for a year and a half now--but recently a good friend of mine my best friend , who is one of the strongest believers I know, has introduced me to Christianity as a faith and the teachings of Jesus, the Word, the Bible, and church.
At first I was very confused about some things, there was a clash in my beliefs--what is sin, confusion surrounding sex, and what G I've been into spirituality and meditation for a long time now--I've been practicing a meditation technique called Deep Meditation daily for a year and a half now--but recently a good friend of mine my best friend , who is one of the strongest believers I know, has introduced me to Christianity as a faith and the teachings of Jesus, the Word, the Bible, and church.
At first I was very confused about some things, there was a clash in my beliefs--what is sin, confusion surrounding sex, and what God exactly is. I really wanted to delve into Christianity, but I didn't want to "identify" myself with a religion. I didn't want the baggage and the conditioning that could come with Christianity. Mere Christianity has helped me in so many ways. CS Lewis is very logical, and he was once an atheist, so it's easier to listen to his arguments.
He talks about a moral standard that we all feel inside, and how Christianity is about living an ideal without taking personal pride in our performance.
I'm half way through the book, but so far I'm further convinced that Jesus is my savior and that Christianity is right for me. I feel God's presence in my life. I feel that my future on this path is fulfilling, and I hope that anybody who is confused about their spiritual beliefs, or anyone who wants to take a peak at Christianity and see if it is right for them, should check this book out.
View all 3 comments. Sep 02, Stephanie rated it really liked it Shelves: People either love this book or hate it. Without passing judgment I don't see how people can actually hate it. Lewis simply breaks down the fundamental truths of Christianity. Personally I love how he goes beyond all the denominations, beyond who's more right, beyond who's more wrong and finds that common thread they all seem to follow.
From there it's a real eye opener. However, I do have to say the book is so rich with philosophy I found myself reading sentences several times ov People either love this book or hate it.
However, I do have to say the book is so rich with philosophy I found myself reading sentences several times over. His examples also became somewhat tedious because he'd give one example, then he'd give another one just incase you didn't get the first one , then he'd give yet another one.
By the third one sometimes I found myself somewhat confused and had to read them all over again, and again, and again. Some of my favorite chapters were "Christian Marriage", where he describes what true love really is and "Is Christianity Hard or Easy?
By the end of the book I caught myself viewing things from a completely different angle. Feb 06, Marty Reeder rated it it was amazing Shelves: What an astounding, impressive, fulfilling read. I am not normally a non-fiction reader unless it is a good historical piece or biography But a book on religion? As a pretty dedicated church goer myself, I must candidly say that unless the book is actual scripture itself, it might as well be one of those desperately snobbish self-help books full of zippy motivation quotes and the same principles you find in all other books of the same genre, just worded slightly differen What an astounding, impressive, fulfilling read.
As a pretty dedicated church goer myself, I must candidly say that unless the book is actual scripture itself, it might as well be one of those desperately snobbish self-help books full of zippy motivation quotes and the same principles you find in all other books of the same genre, just worded slightly differently.
Yet in Mere Christianity, I found none of the superficiality I've previously experienced with other books that delve into philosophic explorations of religion. This is a real study, a deep probe. There is nothing artificial about it. Thank goodness my wife is a huge C. Lewis fan or I might not have picked it up at all. But she recommended it to me, and I had it on a trip, and for hours and hours I read, mesmerized in a way that few thrillers can even achieve.
What did I find? I found that in this work C. Lewis single-handedly legitimizes religion as a belief, lifestyle, and philosophy. And what makes Lewis most credible is that Mere Christianity is not designed to make any reader comfortable, from agnostic to new age believer to hard core Christian. His ideas and reasoning are solid and unavoidable. His ability to address concerns is acute and thorough.
He is not pompous, but he is confident. Where he is unsure of something, he admits it, though I'd be careful to deviate from such a sound philosopher.
Probably his greatest talent is his use of applicable examples and parallel images.
Where a concept is vague, he has the ability to nail it down, to apply it to the known. Lewis rings of truth throughout. And probably the most important thing in his book, or in any book for that matter, is that when I put it down, I was determined to be a better person, to fix up deficiencies in my life. Mere Christianity is not "merely" another book on religion or Sunday School manual; it is a call to arms for every person who picks it up, regardless of their faith.
Go to it with an open mind, and be prepared to act afterwards. Dec 29, Miranda Reads rated it really liked it Shelves: Lewis wove doctrines and lessons regarding the Christian faith throughout his other works, notably the Chronicles of Narnia. Ergo, I was surprised when reading this novel that to learn that he used to be an atheist. A religious book, written by an ex-atheist? I was alight with curiosity.
What caused the switch? By studying the faith as an effort to become better at atheism he found religion. A strange, roundabout way to go by things but nonetheless thoroughly interesting. Lewis slowly, C. Lewis slowly, but surely explains the hows and whys he found himself converted. He starts with a long and slightly difficult to follow discussion regarding the reasoning behind there being a God opposed to many or none.
From there he narrows slightly, circling closer and closer until he reaches Christian doctrine i. However, he never pinpoints on the differences between Catholics or Lutherans etc. He does not preach only one denomination rather he expounds on core truths and beliefs of Christianity as a whole.
His explanations put to rest several questions I had and answered ones that I hadn't known to ask. Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive. When you argue against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: As admirable as this novel is, he does preach a few beliefs and interpretations were common back then but are not shared with as many nowadays.
For example, there are a few anti-gay statements and a few about women belonging in their places. A clear example of that, is when he touches on the subject of men being the heads of households: Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman?
There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. So, taken with a grain of salt - this book does provide an fascinating look into the core beliefs of the Christian religion. Blog Instagram Twitter View all 4 comments.
Apr 24, K. My second non-fiction book by C. It was a hit because at that point, Lewis had already published a number of fiction and non-fiction books including Out of the Silent Planet , The Problem of Pain and The Screwtape Letter What added My second non-fiction book by C.
What added to the appeal was that Lewis was an agnostic professor and was only converted back to Christianity Anglican at the age of 32 through the influence of the literary group called the "Inklings" where he and fellow Oxford professor and friend, J. Tolkien were members of.
I found Lewis' narration here a bit wordy and he tended to repeat himself and he used big, vague, inexact words and phrases. Maybe this was because of the fact that this was based on the radio broadcast's transcripts.
Being a popular moralist, I also detected some arrogance in his pronouncements as if he knew everything about Christian Faith. An example of this was when he quoted phrases in his book and claimed that those are said by Jesus Christ. Those were in quotes so Lewis gave me an impression that those were uttered by Jesus Christ himself. The Christian way is different: Christ says "Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You.
I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out.
Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think is wicked - the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: This is one problem I have with evangelists who are so popular that fame has already gone up to their blown-up heads. I am not saying that Lewis was swell-headed. All I am saying is that I see those evangelists around including those in television who speak like they are the kings of the world or they have special personal covenant with God.
The other two minor points that I also saw and I am sorry if these appear as nitpicking were the instance when Lewis referred to homosexuals as perverts and at one point he used the "n" word.
I know that these could be acceptable during his time but I just got a bit annoyed when I was reading the book. However, it is hard to dislike this book or to discount its significance.
Lewis made a lot of good points in this essays. For example, he was on-the-dot when he said that most Christians do not need to be taught how to tell whether a thing is right or wrong because they already know. What most Christians need is to be reminded. This book's main purpose seems to be that and in my opinion, it achieved that objective.
He also admitted that since he was a bachelor, he felt not in the right position to advice about marriage. So, for me, there were still humility and sincerity in him.
He also gave beautiful examples to illustrate his main points and there were many quotable quotes that you can collect from this book. In fact, as I am fond of dogearing pages with beautiful passages, I think a quarter of the pages are now dogeared and there were those pages that I could not decide whether the dogear should be to the left or to the right because both sides have beautiful passages so I just marked those with a pen.
I normally don't mark my books with pen because writing on the book is a discourteous act for me. My only advice for those who are considering on reading this?
Read the Bible first because you might be misled when Lewis talks as if he gets his words directly from the scriptures. A small friendly suggestion. Thank you to Cary, Kwesi, J. View all 5 comments. Apr 12, Jason rated it it was amazing. Mere Christianity is such a classic work, and having been read by millions over the past sixty years plus years, it is difficult to say anything new about it. As the years have rolled on though, a different society, with different needs and expectations has arisen that sees the world a little different than the British society, in the midst of all the moral and spiritual challenges that happened in the World War II years.
Lewis' is more of a classic apologetic.
He speaks of universal laws, the di Mere Christianity is such a classic work, and having been read by millions over the past sixty years plus years, it is difficult to say anything new about it. Mere Christianity answers quite well the challenges of its, and still to a large extent, our age. What the reader is struck with again, upon reading the Oxford professor and Christian lay leader, is just how understanding he is of the typical struggles that the believer faces.
The strains of applying mere Christianity to sex, marriage, the life of real faith and social morality remain real and if anything the tensions have increased since the 's. This remains a valuable book, and one that large numbers of people have used to understand just how practical an adult and real a faith in Christ is. For many today, there is doubt about the effectiveness of family, real social interaction, the reality of history and the possibility of real power being humble.
Yet to some degree, these strains have always existed, even back to the time of the first Christians. View 2 comments. Jan 21, TJ rated it it was amazing. What does one say when reading pure genius? Whether one chooses to agree or disagree with C. Lewis, his incredible mind, reasoning skills, and power of deduction are absolutely astounding. In this book, he chronicles his journey from devout atheist to committed Christian, recounting each step with his original assumption, then recording his intellectual journey through each idea to it's end result.
With each conclusion he includes understandable and often masterful examples. For instance: After starting the journey from his original question of where the idea of "right" and "wrong" actually come from He began this during the upheaval of WWII amid the question afforded the Allied Forces as opposed to the Nazis, which adds a unique understanding of his purpose Lewis comes to accept that there must be an overall "good" force and "bad" force fighting for supremacy.
They must surrender to the other side. Not just walk across the line to be accepted but literally lay down his weapons, beg asylum and put oneself at the mercy of the opposing force. A better example of accepting God, I have not found. Of course, this simplified paraphrase does not come close to the overall thought process that Lewis employs.
This same thought process carries through with every single point encountered defining Christian teachings. A word of warning, however. This book really can't be read quickly. It is one that must be digested slowly. Each point must be presented, pondered, then either ingested or thrown out. It takes time and thought or it's a waste of the money and time invested in obtaining the book in the first place. Feb 06, peiman-mir5 rezakhani rated it did not like it Shelves: That is the one thing we must not say.
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. 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.
From what I have seen it appears to be that C. Lewis does not justify his explanations well enough - that there is not enough of a burden of proof that he has fulfilled. Or that his writing, his work, is far too offensive. For the first, I believe that those who read this work expecting to see some kind of justification for belief will be disappointed.
Lewis himself explains that what Mere Christianity is about is more of an explanation of what all Christian denominations hold to be truth - it is not so much an argument for why these are held to be true. As for Lewis being offensive - yes, yes he is. For that matter, so is Christianity.
Christianity should be so offensive to modern thinking so as to be near inconceivable - but that does not make it any less truthful. Nor does it mean that Christians need to be offensive. Lewis is of course far more readable and likeable than Friedrich Nietzsche, yet I feel they are two sides of the one coin.
Both view the issues in their modern societies and reflect critically upon them. However, where Nietzsche always asserts his views in first person as if they are fact where they are opinion , Lewis works his way through his reasoning in the third person - questioning rather than asserting.
They are both equally aggressive and depending on your values as I said, offensive but one sees Christianity as all that is wrong in this world and the other sees the world as all that is wrong in this world. I was talking to my father the other day when I said that "I think the funny thing to me about most academics at University, is that they so completely misunderstand Christianity.
They think it's about becoming 'good enough' to get into Heaven. However, far too often Churches end up preaching a confused gospel that states something like 'it's a little bit of faith and the rest is you doing stuff to make you good enough'. It's all meant to be faith - with anything else stemming from faith. As Lewis says here in Mere Christianity: God became man to turn creatures into sons: Chesterton is a much better source in Heretics and Orthodoxy for looking into 'why' someone believes - but at the core of it all is of course pure faith - based upon the rational but appearing irrational.
Christ says 'Give me all. I don't want so much of your money and so much of your work: I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it As Lewis says elsewhere in the book, Christianity is a fighting religion.
And in a world that tries to destroy its held truths, it needs to be. As Lewis explains, merely because something is offensive does not make it any less true - and relegating it down to the 'nice moral principles' is no way to go either. Lewis begins his book by first addressing the concept of 'fairness' and 'foul-play'.
He explains that we all have within us, a notion of good and evil, a notion that he calls the Law of Human Nature. He combines this with other ideas to explain the concept that humanity is essentially flawed - that something is not right.
By stating this he therefore continues to explain that there is a need within all of humanity for spiritual help. A need that he continues to expand upon throughout the rest of the work, explaining that Christianity serves to address and answer that need. There is even an address about morality and Christianity, whereby Lewis explains that Christianity is not merely a moral religion, but that there are morals that are connected to being a Christian.
He discusses things like: He explains that prudence means common sense - the idea that Christians should not be unintelligent by any means though so many appear to be - judging by all the 'you will burn in hell for this' comments you can find on Facebook or instagram and that temperance is not about complete abstinence. After all, alcohol and sex were created by God. The issues come when, as Lewis so clearly explains, you depend upon such things as a crutch to get you through life, where you have an unhealthy interest in them - that is temperance.
Justice and fortitude mean respectively fairness and courage. Essentially this is a book of complexity and simplicity - much like Christianity itself.
Anyone looking for a resource to affirm faith and to help you consider the questions which Christianity attempts to address should think about reading this work. It's one of the better works I have read by any Christian author and definitely a classic of faith.
Lewis makes Christianity open and easier to understand - he truly shows mere Christianity as it should be, most denominational and individual beliefs aside. View all 34 comments. I was aware of this book in my childhood but never read it until now, because I'm working with two C. Lewis classes and wanted to get a better sense of his theology. I know some people still use this book as a way to explain the tenets of the Christian faith, but I think that is unwise for several reasons: While they have a longstanding tradition within one end of the spectrum, they are absent in others.
Lewis claims to defend the main concepts, but I'm not sure what he picked is what I would have picked, having come from a different background within the same religion. He claims refusing to fight in war is a sin, calls homosexuality a perversion, and jokes about why anyone would ever want a woman as a decision maker.
One minute he's talking about letters in envelopes and then he's saying, "See, this proves God exists. The great irony is that he will go on to show why he thinks pride is the worst sin. Dec 23, Skylar Burris rated it it was amazing Shelves: As a now more mature Christian, this book does not impress me as deeply as it once did, because I don't see its arguments as being objectively persuasive to the non-Christian.
Some of them, which seemed to me compelling at the time, now seem too simplistic, admitting of only a few possible arguments. Yet when I read it as a teenager, I had just read the Gospels for the first time in my life, and I had been deeply struck by Christ's words and sense of authority. I WANTED to be a Christian at th As a now more mature Christian, this book does not impress me as deeply as it once did, because I don't see its arguments as being objectively persuasive to the non-Christian.
But I did read Mere Christianity on the heels of the Gospels, and at the time it sufficiently satisfied my intellect, which made it possible for my mind to join my heart in conversion. I give it five stars primarily because of its influence on me.
It did not persuade me to convert, certainly Christ's preaching did that , but it played a significant role in my journey, and I have yet to encounter another modern apologetic quite as simultaneously accessible and "clever. It may not be a persuasive book for the agnostic or the atheist, but it is a superb book for the new convert or almost-convert.
Mere Christianity helped to draw me in; Screwtape Letters helped to keep me aware of where I really was and wasn't. View 1 comment. Apr 10, Rebecca rated it really liked it Shelves: Score for literary merit and enduring cultural importance: There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years. The chat fizzled out, as these things so often do; I think many struggled, not with the ideas but with the language, finding it dated and inaccessible.
However, it is unlike scientific laws in that it can be broken or ignored, and it is known intuitively, rather than through experimentation.
After introducing the moral law, Lewis argues that thirst reflects the fact that people naturally need water, and there is no other substance which satisfies that need.
Lewis points out that earthly experience does not satisfy the human craving for "joy" and that only God could fit the bill; humans cannot know to yearn for something if it does not exist.
Pantheism , he argues, is incoherent, and atheism too simple. Eventually he arrives at Jesus Christ , and invokes a well-known argument now known as Lewis's trilemma. Lewis, arguing that Jesus was claiming to be God, uses logic to advance three possibilities: either he really was God, was deliberately lying, or was not God but thought himself to be which would make him delusional and likely insane.
The book goes on to say that the latter two possibilities are not consistent with Jesus' character and it was most likely that he was being truthful. The eternal God who is the law's source takes primacy over the created Satan whose rebellion undergirds all evil. The death and resurrection of Christ is introduced as the only way in which our inadequate human attempts to redeem humanity's sins could be made adequate in God's eyes.
God "became a man" in Christ, Lewis says, so that mankind could be "amalgamated with God's nature" and make full atonement possible. Lewis offers several analogies to explain this abstract concept: that of Jesus "paying the penalty" for a crime, "paying a debt", or helping humanity out of a hole.
Because the universe itself is not God, Christians can say that certain things are good or evil. Surely, he thought, the existence of pain and suffering prove that there cannot be a good God—and surely, any attempts to explain otherwise are avoiding the obvious.
Lewis arrives at one of the most basic objections to Christianity—how could a just, moral God create a universe in which bad things happen to good people? Download it! Of course, Lewis could have given up on the concept of justice—he could have argued that justice was just an illusion.
In all, atheism is riddled with contradictions. Arn, Jackson.