Mere Christianity By C.S Lewis [Summary]

Main Summary: Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis is a compelling and insightful exploration of Christian beliefs, Christian character, and the nature of true Christianity. It seeks to explain the Christian faith to those who are unfamiliar with it. The book is divided into four parts that cover topics such as morality, Christian beliefs, Christian character, and theology. Lewis explores various topics such as forgiveness, humility, faith, and the concept of marriage, and more, all of which contribute to building a better society. The book provides an excellent introduction to the Christian faith and a thought-provoking reflection on morality and human behavior.

Mere Christianity By C.S Lewis - book cover

Lessons You’ll Learn From This Post

1. Understanding Morality
2. Christian Believes
3. Christian Character
4. Theology & True Christianity

Understanding Morality

The author begins with an argument; that there is a universal Moral Law that governs human behavior, transcending culture and time. According to him, this Law of Human Nature is innate and directs our sense of right and wrong, and is not just a social convention.  He also notes that our moral differences do not disprove its existence but demonstrate that we are aware of it, even if we disagree on its content.

The author compares the materialist and religious views of the universe and suggests that science cannot answer whether there is something beyond the observable facts and whether there is any moral law.

He emphasizes that there is a moral law that humans cannot forget and did not create and that it tells us there is something beyond the facts of human behavior that we ought to obey.

The author further emphasizes that observing the facts of the universe cannot tell us if there is any controlling power outside it that made it what it is and that the only way to know is through our own experiences.

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Christian Believes

The author suggests that Christians don’t necessarily have to think that all other religions are wrong, but they do have to believe that Christianity is right. He divides people into those who believe in God and those who do not.

Going further, he shares that there are two different ideas of God held by those who do believe, one being pantheism, and the other being that God is good and righteous. The author believes that Christianity is a “fighting” religion and that we must fix what has gone wrong with the world.

He also discusses the concept of Dualism and argues that it goes against human behavior. Christianity recognizes the existence of an evil power, but it believes that this power was created by God and went wrong.

The author explores Jesus’ claim to forgive sins and argues that it is only valid if he is the God whose laws are broken. Saying, Jesus was either a lunatic, a fiend, or the Son of God, and that his death on the cross is the central belief of Christianity.

The author contemplates the idea that if God became a man, he could achieve perfect surrender, suffering, and death as both God and man. And though some people may argue that Jesus’ suffering and death lose value because they claim it was easy for him, the author explains that Jesus’ ability to do so was only because he was God.

He believes the new kind of life, the Christ life, can be spread through baptism, belief, and Holy Communion. And that anyone who teaches Christian doctrine will tell you to use all three methods.

Christian Character

Christian morality and virtues are necessary for all people, as they create fair play and harmony between individuals. The author believes that moral rules are directions for running the human machine and preventing breakdowns, strains, or friction in its operation. He emphasizes the Golden Rule as a simple principle to practice, which can help build a better society.

The author notes that God judges individuals based on their moral choices and actions, not just their external behavior. Arguing that Christian principles are although strict but beneficial, and seeking God’s help in attempting to be virtuous is essential.

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On the subject of marriage, the author believes Christian marriage is based on the idea of two people becoming one organism, not just sexually, but in all aspects of their lives. He notes on this point that while thrills may fade away, it does not mean that it would be better to avoid them but rather to understand that they are just the beginning of a deeper commitment.

Christian marriage is also discussed, where wives promise to obey their husbands, and the man is considered the “head” of the family. The author argues that the need for a head follows from the idea that marriage is permanent and in the event of a disagreement, someone must have the power to decide the family policy.

Forgiveness is also discussed as a Christian virtue, and it is emphasized that loving thy neighbor includes loving thy enemy, and therefore we must forgive our enemies.

The author differentiates between healthy pride and harmful pride, emphasizing that humility brings relief and comfort by stripping away the false self that humans use to posture and pose. A truly humble person will not be thinking about themselves or humility but will be focused on others.

He discusses the virtue of charity and its true meaning in the Christian sense, emphasizing that love is not just an emotion but a state of the will that we have naturally about ourselves and must learn to have about other people.

He also discusses the concept of faith, which s not just about believing in the doctrines of Christianity but is also considered a virtue. The author explains how emotions and imagination can often undermine reason and faith, and that faith can be seen as a belief that goes beyond reason but is still virtuous.

A person may know something to be true, the author says; but emotions and imagination can make them doubt it. Faith on the other hand is a virtue because it can help a person hold onto their beliefs, even in the face of doubt. In “Faith,” the author warns that some aspects of Christianity can only be understood after one has gone a certain distance along the Christian road.

According to the author, trying to be good leads up to the moment when you turn to God and say, “You must do this. I can’t.” The change from being confident in your efforts to despairing of doing anything for yourself and leaving it to God is what matters. He also cautions against worrying about whether you have reached this moment or not, as it can be gradual and you may not realize what has happened until later.

Theology & True Christianity

Treating you like a child when it comes to theology is unnecessary. The author believes that theology, or the science of God, is essential for anyone who wants to think about God. He compares theology to a map of the Atlantic Ocean, based on the experiences of hundreds of people who were in touch with God.

He notes that while experiencing God is exciting, learning and thinking about Christian doctrines are necessary for further progress. Theology is practical and necessary in today’s world, where people have many wrong ideas about God.

The author notes that as you advance to more complicated levels, you do not leave behind what you found on the simpler levels; you still have them but combined in new ways.

Similarly, in the Christian account of God, on the human level, you find one person as one being, and any two persons as two separate beings. But on the divine level, you find personalities combined in new ways, which we cannot imagine.

In God’s dimension, you find a being who is three persons while remaining one being. The thing that matters is being drawn into that three-personal life, and that may begin anytime, and according to the author when you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side.

He notes that Sharing the life of Christ is the whole purpose of becoming a Christian, and through “good infection,” every Christian can become a little Christ.

The author discusses the concept of there being multiple “Sons of God” and concludes that it is nonsensical to ask if it could have been otherwise since God is the rock bottom, an irreducible fact on which all other facts depend.

He also discusses the Christian belief that the whole human race is one huge organism, but this does not mean individual differences do not matter. Each person is like an organ in a body, different from one other and contributing what no other could. A Christian should not become either a Totalitarian or an Individualist.

On the subject of the devil, the author believes the devil always sends errors into the world in pairs and encourages people to think about which one is worse so that people fall into the opposite one. He admonishes to not be fooled and keep the focus on the goal and go straight through between both errors.

The author on the subject of the Lord’s prayer, say it means putting yourself in the place of a son of God. Dressing up as Christ is a piece of outrageous cheek, but He has ordered us to do it. The moment you realize you are dressing up as Christ, you will see a way in which the pretense could be made less of a pretense and more of a reality.

Trying to become like Christ is more like painting a portrait than obeying a set of rules, and it is far easier because the real Son of God is at your side and beginning to turn you into the same kind of thing as Himself

More also, the author believes following Christ is both harder and easier than what people usually try to do. The Christian way he says requires surrendering one’s entire self to Him, which is difficult but easier than holding onto personal happiness while still being good. The author emphasizes that Christianity is not about activities or objects but about becoming more like Christ.

You should avoid comparing Christians and non-Christians in general as it is not useful. Instead, it is better to examine real people you have met. The author suggests that Christianity is about putting temperaments under new management and improving one’s concerns. However, the author warns that those who are naturally good and virtuous should beware, as much is expected from them.

On the purpose of Christianity, the author believes its goal is to produce a new type of person, not just improvement but transformation. He uses the analogy of light and salt to explain how people who have Christ in them will be different from one another.

Saying, the more you let Christ take over, the more truly yourself you become. He finally emphasizes that Christianity is not about speculation but about one’s relationship with God

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In conclusion, the author argues that there is a universal Moral Law that governs human behavior and that Christianity is a “fighting” religion that seeks to fix what has gone wrong with the world. He emphasizes the importance of Christian morality and virtues, including forgiveness, humility, charity, and faith. He also discusses Christian marriage and the power dynamics within it. The author concludes that trying to be good leads up to the moment when one turns to God for help and that surrendering oneself to God is what ultimately matters.

Finally, here’s a question we’ll love you to answer.

The author emphasizes the virtue of forgiveness as a Christian value, do you think that loving thy enemy and forgiving your enemies is possible? Why or why not?

We would love to hear from you, please leave your answer and comment in the comment box below.

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