In England, during the year of 1942 when all hope was threatened by the inhumanity of war, a man by the name of C.S. Lewis addressed the central issues of Christianity through a series of radio lectures. After more than half a century later, his broadcasts still prevail and maintain their poignancy.
Each of his original lectures, Broadcast Talks (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1944) were compiled as one to make up the book currently known as Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis proves that "at the center of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice," rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations.
Mere Christianity is simply a twentieth-century masterpiece that provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith.
Mere Christianity which is divided into four different books, illustrates four main ideas: Right and Wrong As a Clue To The Meaning of The Universe, What Christians Believe, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality: or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity.
In book one, the first idea that is discussed is the issue of what is considered right and wrong and it's meaning in the universe we live in. In our every day lives there are occasions that arise when we must decipher between what is right and wrong, but where did these rules or laws to follow come about from? In a situation where there are two people quarrelling on a specific matter, how can one know for sure which of the two is right or wrong? There is the Law of Nature' or Right and Wrong, which we can now refer to as the Law of Human Nature.
Our bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and we cannot decide whether or not to obey this law because it is just a matter of how the universe works but we each have the power of choicethe ability to decide either to obey the Law of Human Nature or disobey it. We can recall the story of Adam and Eve who had the choice to do what was right or wrong. Taking a look at Genesis 2:16, 17, God commanded, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
They proceeded to do what they were told not too do, making use of their power of choice by disobeying, in the end leading to a set of consequences which marked the beginning of sin. C.S. Lewis makes his first argument by stating, "First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in" (p.8). Even though each culture is different each contains their own personal moral code, which in fact are all remarkably similar.
Taking a look at book two we can tackle the idea of what Christians believe. Christianity can be viewed as being something that is complex. At first it may seem simple, but C.S. Lewis puts it in perspective for us by saying, "The table I am sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made ofall about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them and hit my eye and what it does to my brain" (p.40). You can view Christianity as something that is complex and carries many mysteries and complications that may never have an end to it.
One aspect of Christianity is the process of surrender called repentance. C.S. Lewis argues that repentance, " means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing a part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death" (p.57). Here lies the power of choice, we have this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, which God does not demand of us rather it's a choice we must make. The third idea, Christian behavior discusses the many values and morals that Christians hold.
There is social morality, morality and psychoanalysis, sexual morality, Christian marriage, forgiveness, the great sin, and the three Theological' virtues which are charity, hope, and faith. The two that I'd like to focus on are sexual morality and the great sin. Christians believe in chastity by either being married with complete faithfulness to your partner of else total abstinence. God does not want us to be ashamed of sex, but rather see it as something beautiful that God created for a man and woman who are married to experience.
Pleasure and sins of the flesh may seem bad, but spiritual pleasures such as putting people down or hatred or pride are the worst pleasures. C.S Lewis boldly states that, "That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute" (p.103). The second Christian behavior I would like to address is the great sin, which is known as pride"the utmost evil." The first step is to acknowledge that we are proud and accept humility in our lives.
God wants us to be humble so that we can stop focusing on ourselves and be able to experience him without ourselves getting in the way, Book four, the last idea, beyond personality helps us to look past our own struggles in life and look for Christ. We are images of God, statues carved out of God, but not capable of carrying each of the attributes of God and remain perfect like He is. There is evidence shown in, Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
Although I am not perfect I can rejoice and rest assured knowing that if I choose God and continue to believe in Him, He, " will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly His own boundless power and delight and goodness" (p.206). It may seem like a long and arduous process but in the end it is worth it, and I can count on my Jesus to be true to His promise. As Revelation 22:7 claims, "Behold, I a coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book."
Through my study of His word and continuous commitment to God I know that I have a place in heaven because He will never let me down. Personally, although I found this book to be very inspiring and helpful in my spiritual life but, at times it was hard to follow. The way the book was written seemed too much like a conversation I suppose since it was taken from lectures from a radio station. The many analogies that were carried through the book were very helpful like this one, which portrays a vivid analogy of how Christians see good: " the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him.
He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it" (p.63). This was an immense aid in boosting my spiritual walk with God I was happy to read it although in all honestly I only read 95% of the book. I read the book but skimmed through some of the bigger books.