Friday, April 3, 2009

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

When I started going to The Summit, I noticed my pastor referenced C.S. Lewis a lot. In my head I was always thinking "The guy who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia?" Little did I know that C.S. Lewis had written a lot of books on Christianity. I decided to read Mere Christianity to see what this craze was all about.

The book was adapted from a series of radio talks he did between 1941 and 1944. What is interesting is C.S. Lewis was an atheist and converted to Christianity reasoning that the "moral law" in humans was not something that humans made up and is instinctual so there must be something behind it, namely God. What he finds interesting is that unlike other "natural" (non-man-made) laws (like gravity), the moral law can be broken or ignored. This was one of the main things that lead him to "theism".

He came to believe Christianity through reason. Based on the life of Jesus Christ, he reasoned that there could only be 3 possibilities: 1- Jesus was who He said He was (the Son of God) or 2-He was blatantly lying or 3-He believed He was God, but really He wasn't (in other words he was delusional). Lewis determined that the latter 2 options did not match up with Jesus' character and therefore the first option must be the truth.

He then goes in to taking a closer look at ethics and behaviors resulting from Christian beliefs. He explores the four Cardinal Virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. He also explores the three "theological" virtues of hope, charity, and faith. He also talks about forgiveness, sexual relations, and Christian marriage, and what he calls "the great sin"- pride. He uses psychological explanations and reasoning to explain human behavior, struggles, and motivations in the Christian life.

Throughout the book he uses a lot of helpful analogies as he reasons through some of the finer points of Christianity. He makes it easier to understand deeper topics and complex theories with his reasoning and analogies.

I really enjoyed the book. The reading was kind of heavy for bedtime and I found myself having to re-read paragraphs sometimes because my brain could not comprehend what he was trying to say. But his reasoning and analogies really helped me better understand Christianity.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

C.S. Lewis has written many books (fiction and non-fiction) and I look forward to reading his work again!

For more info see the C.S. Lewis website here.

1 comment:

Denise said...

I am not a Narnia fan but I do like Mere Christianity (though I am not a Christian.)

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