a summary of mere christianity

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Mere Christianity SummaryMere Christianity was published in 1952 and is an expansion of some of C. S. radio talks. Lewis, best known for his Chronicles of Narnia seriesThe Chronicles of NarniaThe Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. Written by Lewis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and originally published in London between 1950 and 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted for radio, television, the stage, and film. The series is set i…en.wikipedia.org, had been raised as a Christian but grew disillusioned with the faith and turned to atheism at age 15.

What exactly does Mere Christianity mean?

“Mere Christianity” was the term C. S. Lewis employed to describe essential Christianity—those core Christian beliefs held through the ages by Catholics and Protestants alike. What most people don’t realize is that Lewis adapted this term from an author who wrote more than three hundred years ago.

Is Mere Christianity hard or easy?

Yet, Christianity is Easy at the Same Time. Jesus describes the Christian life as very hard, but also easy at the same time. Being a Christian is hard, and yet it is easy because your whole inner being is being transformed, and that is C.S. Lewis’s point in his book,Mere Christianity. He states that the whole aim of Christianity is the …

What are the four main beliefs of Christianity?

What are the core beliefs of Christianity?Jesus is the Son of God and is equal with God ( John 1:1, Luke 22:70; Mark 3:11; Philippians 2:5–11)Jesus lived a perfect,sinless life ( Hebrews 4:15; John 8:29)Jesus was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins ( Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 15:2–4)Jesus rose from the dead ( Luke 24:46; Mark 16:6)More items…

What are some misconceptions about Christianity?

Misconceptions About ChristianityChristianity is a Tool for Only the Weak. It’s very common to find people who believe that Christianity is only for the weak. …Christianity Inhibits One’s Freedom. …Most Christians are Judgemental and Intolerant. …Churches Only Care About Your Money. …Christians Worship 3 Gods. …

How does Lewis attempt to resolve the apparent contradiction in the existence of a good God who allows evil things to happen?

Lewis then attempts to resolve the apparent contradiction in the existence of a good God who allows evil things to happen by arguing that God gives people the gift of free will: they face the challenge of behaving virtuously in spite of the temptations of evil—a challenge for which they will be richly rewarded in Heaven.

What does Lewis mean by "worshipping Christ"?

Lewis goes on to write that, by worshipping Christ, humans can transcend their mortal nature and experience the divine life of Christ himself; put another way, by worshipping Christ, they, too, can become “sons of God.”.

What does Lewis argue about the Christian faith?

While there are many different Christian sects that worship Christ in different ways, Lewis argues that they can agree on the basic facts about Christ’s existence, and therefore can all attain salvation. In Part Three of the book, Lewis studies the life of a good Christian.

What do pantheists believe?

Pantheists believe that God is the universe, meaning that everything in the material universe is divine. Other religious groups, such as Muslims, Jews, and Christians, believe that God created the universe, yet is distinct from it; thus, God is good, and wants humans to work hard to make the universe a better place.

What does Lewis say about Christians?

On the contrary, Lewis argues, the only way to truly be an individual and fulfill one’s potential is to worship Jesus Christ.

What are the four moral virtues?

Lewis briefly discusses the four “Cardinal virtues”—prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude, and explains why they’re necessary for living morally.

What are the three parts of morality?

To begin with, Lewis proposes that morality consists of three different parts: harmony between people, harmony within a person, and constant vigilance in achieving a state of salvation. All virtues uphold the three parts of morality, and all sins contradict at least one of these parts. Lewis briefly discusses the four “Cardinal virtues”—prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude, and explains why they’re necessary for living morally.

What is the most famous book of Clive Staples?

Mere Christianity, by Clive Staples (“C. S.”) Lewis, was first published in 1952 as an expansion of some radio talks Lewis had given during World War II. Though Lewis himself is best known for his children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity is likely Lewis’s most famous work of Christian apologetics—a genre dedicated to addressing various critiques of Christian theology. Lewis was well poised to make this kind of argument, having grown disillusioned with Christianity as a teenager only to return to it as an adult. The success Mere Christianity has enjoyed since its publication is also due to its accessibility; Lewis was a scholar of literature rather than of theology, and so discusses complicated religious concepts in more conversational terms than a non-layperson might. This study guide refers to the 2001 HarperCollins edition of the work.

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What does Lewis say about morality?

Lewis begins by discussing morality, arguing that almost all humans have an innate sense of right and wrong, and that the content of this moral code is largely universal. Although Lewis acknowledges that cultural differences do exist, he believes that these are generally minor and superficial.

Why is the book "Mere Christianity" so successful?

The success Mere Christianity has enjoyed since its publication is also due to its accessibility; Lewis was a scholar of literature rather than of theology, and so discusses complicated religious concepts in more conversational terms than a non-layperson might.

When was the book "Mere Christianity" first published?

Mere Christianity, by Clive Staples (“C. S.”) Lewis, was first published in 1952 as an expansion of some radio talks Lewis had given during World War II.

Is God good or bad?

It follows that, for Pantheists, God is both good and bad— or rather, that our understanding of good and bad is the byproduct of our own limitations, and that God is beyond such concepts. For Christians, by contrast, God is infinitely good and wants humans to behave in particular ways.

Why do we give ourselves over to Christ?

Ultimately, Lewis explains, we must give ourselves over to Christ completely in order to both become like him and to fully become ourselves. It is the only way.

Why does Lewis believe in Christianity?

Lewis argues against Dualism, the notion that good and evil are two independent forces that are at war in the universe.

How long does it take Lewis to write a scene?

He can take days to write a single scene. Lewis then explains this in terms of the Trinity, or three-person God. The Son is a product of the Father, but there was never a time when the Son did not exist. Lewis delves here more fully into the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

What does Lewis say about theology?

In Book IV, Lewis says that Theology is like a map. It is not God, but it points us to God. He distinguishes between making and begetting and between biological life, or Bios, and spiritual life, or Zoe. Jesus is begotten, and we are made; we are like statues, not sons, but through Christ we are brought to life.

What does Lewis argue about God?

Lewis goes on to argue that God is beyond and outside of time. He is not bound by it, and every moment is the present for him. He compares this to a writer writing a novel; though the novel’s events are bound by time, the writer is not. He can take days to write a single scene.

How many virtues are there in Christianity?

The fact that we are made by someone else for a purpose means we have more duties than if we only belonged to ourselves. There are seven virtues in Christianity. Four are “Cardinal virtues,” recognized by all civilized people, and three are “Theological virtues,” recognized specifically by Christians.

What are the Cardinal virtues?

The Cardinal virtues are Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude. Virtues are not qualifiers for getting into Heaven, but by practicing them they mold individuals into the kind of people God wants, the kind of people who will be happy with the Heaven God has created.

What is the most striking feature of Christianity?

One of the most striking features of Mere Christianity is its clarity of language — especially its effective uses of imagination, metaphor, and analogy. Sometimes people assume that Lewis was primarily a rationalistic apologist, and they dismiss him without much attention or even say that such rationality is out-of-date in the twenty-first century. But as many commentators have pointed out, while there are some conspicuous arguments in Mere Christianity, Lewis appeals more essentially to the imagination. As a literary person and writer, he understood reality through analogies and images. So, the Lewis of Narnia and his other imaginative works is also the Lewis of Mere Christianity.

What is Lewis’s strongest habit of thought?

One of the strongest habits of thought both in Lewis’s day and in our own is to think that newer understandings of the most basic aspects of life and reality are better than older understandings. Lewis, as a student of history, recognized that many of the “latest ideas” of one’s own day will look quaint to future generations. When Lewis himself was on his journey to becoming a Christian, he came to realize that there was good reason to put one’s trust in ideas that had lasted a long time, rather than in the latest fads that would come and go.

What did Lewis say about the personal heresy?

He argued that it was wrong to view a poem as about the poet’s state of mind. “The poet is not a man,” he wrote, “who asks me to look at him; he is a man who says ‘look at that’ and points; the more I follow the pointing of his finger the less I can possibly see of him ” (14) .

What is the meaning of "mere Christianity"?

He accordingly defined “mere Christianity” as “the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times” (viii). Rather than presenting the latest modern ideas about Christianity, he was presenting an essential Christianity that had been around “long before I was born and whether I like it or not” (ix).

Was "mere Christianity" written as a book?

Mere Christianity was not even originally written to be a book. It arose out of four sets of radio addresses that Lewis gave on the BBC during some very stressful years of World War II, from 1941 to 1944. Lewis had these published as separate little booklets soon after the broadcasts. But it was not until 1952 that he collected them into one volume with a new introduction as Mere Christianity.

Did Lewis say the same for his work as an apologist?

Lewis would have said the same for his work as an apologist. Had it drawn primary attention to himself, or have been just a reflection of his own peculiar views, it would have had little lasting impact. In fact, one of the greatest sources of the lasting vitality of the presentations is that Lewis deliberately points the listener or reader toward an object.

Who is George Marsden?

George Marsden is author of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: A Biography (Princeton: Lives of Great Religious Books), which tells the fuller story of this book’s origins, reception, and influence.


To understand Mere Christianity , one of C. S. Lewis’s most well-known apologetics, one must understand his audience. The work…


To understand Mere Christianity, one of C. S. Lewis’s most well-known apologetics, one must understand his audience. The work is a compilation of talks on Christian philosophy that Lewis gave to radio listeners between 1941 and 1944. Lewis is an accomplished scholar, but he is writing for a popular audience.

Christian Themes

Many people think that the purpose of this book is to convince atheists to become Christians. While it has been effective in this regard and while the arguments are inspired by Lewis’s own conversion, his main goal is to explain Christianity ( apologesis, after all, means “explanation”).

Sources for Further Study

Beversluis, John. C. S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985. A rationalist critique of Lewis’s thought. Focuses on issues such as the argument from desire.

What does it mean to believe in moral progress?

The fact that we can look across time and clearly identify “moral progress” means that we believe some moralities are better than others. We believe in Reformers—people who understood morality better than their neighbors did.

What does "prudence" mean?

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.

What are the three things that spread the Christ-life to us?

There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names—Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper.

What are the two bits of evidence about the Somebody?

We have two bits of evidence about the Somebody:#N#The universe He has made. If we used that as our only clue, then I think we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a very beautiful place), but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place).#N#The Moral Law which He has put into our minds. And this is a better bit of evidence than the other, because it is inside information.

What drives us to act in a certain way?

Instincts like love, sex, and hunger drive us with a strong want or desire to act in a certain way. There is no doubt that we sometimes act in accordance with what is Right (e.g. help another person) while being motivated by instinct.

What does it mean to quarrel?

And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

Why is the idea of a law of nature unsound?

Some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behavior known to all men is unsound, because different civilizations and different ages have had quite different moralities.#N#But this is NOT true.

When Was Mere Christianity Published?

Mere Christianity was an edited version of radio talks given by C.S. Lewis during World War II and then published in book form in 1951 . C.S. Lewis was the pen name for Clive Staples Lewis, the most widely read Christian apologist of the twentieth century. Lewis is most famously known for writing the children’s book series The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Law of Human Nature

Lewis begins Mere Christianity by arguing against atheism. He posits that the vast majority of human beings, as well as human societies, each have a sense of right and wrong. He says that while there might be some differences from culture to culture and person to person, the differences are minor across the globe.

Theism and Pantheism

It is at this point that Lewis begins to draw a distinction between views of God. He categorizes religious views of God as being either pantheistic or theistic. Pantheism views God as neither good nor bad. Often, the concept of the divine is that whatever "it" is, it is one with nature, almost a part of the natural world.

Mere Christianity Book Summary, by C. S. Lewis

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1-Page Summary of Mere Christianity

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis argues for the logical validity of Christianity and defends it against its critics by looking at what a Christian life is like.