This book is Christianity’s essence captured, in a manner so simple that only Lewis could have done it. The book takes a snapshot of the Christian faith, and makes it clear for unbelievers or new converts.
One of the best things the author does in this book is his use of clear, concise illustrations to get his message across. His down-to-earth style and usage of issues of the day make his book very easy to understand.
In the first part of this book C.S. Lewis takes “Right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe.” He begins with the Law of Human Nature, or a standard of morality, which everyone agrees upon. He continues by saying that this Law is not our instincts, but rather what decides between our different instincts. And is there a governing power over the world that set this Law in place, or did it all just happen? These are the main concepts that Lewis touches on in part 1, and they provide the foundation for the rest of the book.
The author opens the next part of the book with a chapter on God, and all the different views about him, analyzing three different opinions and comparing them to the Christian view. From there, Lewis answers questions about Satan, or where he come from, and how he relates to the God that Lewis had just established in the preceding chapter. Lewis then follows up on that by describing Jesus, and proving that He is God the Son, and showing the result of believing that he was anything else. Lewis comes to the conclusion that this result could only be that Jesus was Satan. Of course, Lewis is emphatically against this view.
The third section of the book concerns Christian beliefs, morality in particular. Lewis finds three items to which morality is connected: fair play and harmony between individuals; harmonizing the things inside each individual; and the general purpose of human life as a whole. In the remainder of this part he describes specific Christian beliefs, such as the cardinal virtues, social morality, Christian marriage, forgiveness, and charity.
The last, and in my opinion best, part of ‘Mere Christianity’ is concerned entirely with the doctrine of the Trinity, a concept that scares many new Christians. Lewis, however, approaches the subject and dissects it in a way that is easily and clearly understood. He compares us to 2-D shapes, and the Trinity as a 3-D cube which we as flat figures can not imagine. He touches on God and time as well, and the fact that man cannot understand time. God is above time, he created it. Lewis finishes off the book with a description of the relationship of God the Father and God the Son, and the relationship of these two parts of the Trinity with the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a solid book that clearly describes the core beliefs of a Christian. My only nit-pick with this book is that Lewis fails to spend as much time as I would like the gospel, in my opinion, as that is the core item of our faith and leaving little place to describe it seems out of place to me. But all in all, I highly recommend giving this book to new believers or people who want to know more about the Christian faith.
Published on 8 February, 2010. Last updated on