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Mere Christianity

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  128,468 ratings  ·  4,633 reviews
Mere Christianity is C.S. Lewis's forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. First heard as informal radio broadcasts and then published as three separate books - The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality - Mere Christianity brings together what Lewis saw as the fundamental truths of the religion. Rejecting the boundaries that divide ...more
Paperback, 191 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Touchstone Books (first published 1943)
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Chris Well I'd say read the book!
In a nut shell, Christianity believes Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Jewish Messiah, who is the son of God, lived a…more
Well I'd say read the book!
In a nut shell, Christianity believes Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Jewish Messiah, who is the son of God, lived a blameless life and offered his life as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of humanity and rose from the dead; and his followers strive to live a life according to the pattern that he set fourth while awaiting the second coming of Christ which will Harold the end of the world.

If you would like more detail on specifics such as "What does Christianity say about XXXX"'ll have to read the book.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
I had to stop reading this, it was making me ill. It may be that every single sentence in this book is either wrong or offensive or inane or all three. Here's a passage from page 45 - CS is talking about what he calls Dualism (i.e. Manichaeism) whereby the existence of evil is explained by there being two equal forces in the Universe which are in perpetual contention, the Good one and the Bad one. CS says:

"If Dualism is true then the Bad Power must be a being who likes badness for its own sake.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I finished listening to this book early this morning, a little before seven. I could not sleep, and as I lay in the darkness in need of some comfort and company, I thought that I should go ahead and finish it. I am glad I did.

I am perhaps a bit biased. I have always liked Lewis, ever since I read The Chronicles of Narnia in high school. My liking deepened for him when I saw the movie Shadowlands. Something about his life called to me. I have since done research on him and his journey from athei
Danny Vanderbyl
Oct 21, 2007 Danny Vanderbyl rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Militant Jihadists, their Enemies, Friends
Read it, even for the last chapter alone!

Most people have no idea about what Christianity is. That is the reason that CS Lewis' book exists.

If you are looking for a book that will convince you to take the leap of faith and become a Christian (like so many 1-star reviewers who said they were unconvinced) then don't waste your time. No book will convince you. However, if you are looking for the facts about real Christianity (not as a religion, but as a relationship) then you can't do much better
Lewis is brilliant! Here's a quote from the book that's never left my head:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - o
It is no wonder that Christians should revere a miracle-working carpenter: I think one must be the son of a god to build an attic before the rest of the house.

There is no fundamental basis for Lewis' arguments. I was hoping to find something thought-provoking and convincing, but it just felt like the same old ideas Aquinas and Descartes bandied around. These are no longer sufficient in a world of thermodynamics and evolution.

Lewis has some skill and intellect, but the way he meanders about duali
Dec 18, 2007 Darknightdestiny rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for an honest representation of Christianity
I read this for the first time a long while ago, and then again in December of 2007. Each time I read it I find something new. It's fairly amazing to be able to point to a page and say, "That was me a year ago, a month ago, a day ago!"

This is not a new set of instructions on how to be a Christian—it's a very straightforward explanation of the roots of the Christian faith, a naked package of easy to understand information which builds logically from the very beginning. It starts off with an appea
Bad Ideas, Intelligent Minds: A Book Review of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Why I Read the Book

Bible literalists are left in the awkward position of having to somehow justify the countless murders perpetrated by God in the Bible. Drowning millions of men, women, children, babies and animals is somehow good and loving. Slaughtering the innocent first-born sons of the Egyptians is somehow the right thing to do.

A little while back, I had a four-hour conversation with a Seventh-Day Adventist pasto
People either love this book or hate it. Without passing judgment I don't see how people can actually hate it. Seriously. C.S. Lewis simply breaks down the fundamental truths of Christianity. Personally I love how he goes beyond all the denominations, beyond who's more right, beyond who's more wrong and finds that common thread they all seem to follow. From there it's a real eye opener.

However, I do have to say the book is so rich with philosophy I found myself reading sentences several times ov
Nov 11, 2009 Ryan is currently reading it
I've been into spirituality and meditation for a long time now--I've been practicing a meditation technique called Deep Meditation daily for a year and a half now--but recently a good friend of mine (my best friend), who is one of the strongest believers I know, has introduced me to Christianity as a faith and the teachings of Jesus, the Word, the Bible, and church. At first I was very confused about some things, there was a clash in my beliefs--what is sin, confusion surrounding sex, and what G ...more
What an astounding, impressive, fulfilling read. I am not normally a non-fiction reader unless it is a good historical piece or biography ... those I will lap up. But a book on religion? As a pretty dedicated church goer myself, I must candidly say that unless the book is actual scripture itself, it might as well be one of those desperately snobbish self-help books full of zippy motivation quotes and the same principles you find in all other books of the same genre, just worded slightly differen ...more
K.D. Absolutely
My second non-fiction book by C.S.Lewis (1898-1963) and, although I liked A Grief Observed more, I also liked this one.

This book Mere Christianity (published in 1953) was based on the transcript of the BBC radio broadcast that Lewis gave at Oxford during World War II (1941-1944). It was a hit because at that point, Lewis had already published a number of fiction and non-fiction books including Out of the Silent Planet (1938), The Problem of Pain (1940) and The Screwtape Letter (1942). What added
Mere Christianity is such a classic work, and having been read by millions over the past sixty years plus years, it is difficult to say anything new about it. As the years have rolled on though, a different society, with different needs and expectations has arisen that sees the world a little different than the British society, in the midst of all the moral and spiritual challenges that happened in the World War II years.

Lewis' is more of a classic apologetic. He speaks of universal laws, the di
This book shed the first signs of light toward my walk with Christ. This book is actually a compilation of a radio series Lewis gave during World War II when the Nazis were bombing London. His messages were meant to inspire and give hope during a time of horror and bloodshed.

His arguments are borrowed heavily from the Augustinian school of thought, but he makes those arguments relevant to the modern thinker. In my opinion, C.S. Lewis is the most important religious scholar of the 20th century.

Wow! What does one say when reading pure genius? Whether one chooses to agree or disagree with C.S. Lewis, his incredible mind, reasoning skills, and power of deduction are absolutely astounding.

In this book, he chronicles his journey from devout atheist to committed Christian, recounting each step with his original assumption, then recording his intellectual journey through each idea to it's end result. With each conclusion he includes understandable and often masterful examples. For instance:
Skylar Burris
As a now more mature Christian, this book does not impress me as deeply as it once did, because I don't see its arguments as being objectively persuasive to the non-Christian. (Some of them, which seemed to me compelling at the time, now seem too simplistic, admitting of only a few possible arguments.) Yet when I read it as a teenager, I had just read the Gospels for the first time in my life, and I had been deeply struck by Christ's words and sense of authority. I WANTED to be a Christian at th ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was aware of this book in my childhood but never read it until now, because I'm working with two C.S. Lewis classes and wanted to get a better sense of his theology. I know some people still use this book as a way to explain the tenets of the Christian faith, but I think that is unwise for several reasons:

-Most of the book is based on church (not Biblical) teachings, which are only really emphasized inside certain denominations. The virtue/vice lists and the trinity concept - these are framewo
Note: I am reviewing the "Anniversary Edition pub. 1981"

C.S Lewis comes from a long line of Christian apologists that have relied upon emotion and hope to justify a metaphyscial existence of God. In other words the argument is: I feel that God exists, and so because I have this feeling that God exists, God must exist in reality. Another form of this sort of thinking is based in Anselm's ontological argument, later used by Descarte. My rating of two stars stems from my dislike of what Lewis does
George Bradford
As solid an explanation of Christianity as I have ever encountered. Beautiful writing. Clarity of thought. Solid reasoning. The text of this book originated from a series of BBC radio lectures C.S. Lewis delivered to England while Nazi bombs rained from the sky. Set in that context, the imperative is clear. Christianity is not doled out as a panacea for every sheep in the flock. It is presented, rather, as an choice of free will, guided by grace and dedicated to justice.
Danielle Sullivan
This book quite literally changed my life. This is a dramatic, vivid account of a former atheist's realization that God is real and that you can know Him in a personal way. Reading this book with an open mind certainly helps to understand Lewis' perspective. It was originally given as a radio address therefore, it is relatively easy to follow. The language is a bit archaic, and some of the chapters may need to be re-read several times before finally grasping the content. It is completely worth t ...more
I don't know how to begin this book review. I've probably typed and deleted a dozen sentences already. Why should this be so difficult?

Because, I liked it.

I did.


No. Even that part, the part he got wrong, I liked.

Which made me wonder.

Who is this book for?


Obviously. We love this stuff. Having a smart guy give smart reasons to explain why Christianity makes perfect sense It sits well, if you will. Many, if not most, of his arguments were things I had not previously
Douglas Wilson
Great. Also read in March of 1985. Also listened to it a couple times on audio over the course of a few years, finishing the second time through in October 2011.

Finished listening to it again in January 2015.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this
Sameh Maher
من اعمق الكتب التى قراتها ففيه التبصر والبساطة والشرح الهادئ الواثق
فيه قال اكاتب انطباعه عن المسيحية مقارنة بتفكير الانسان نفسه وما يتوقعه منها
لم يتكلم عن عقيدة بل تكلم عن الحياة فصارت كلماته متفقة تماما مع العقيدة ومع الحياة كما يراها اى انسان
كتاب انصح بقراءته اكثر من مرة لانه دسم جدا

الكتاب فى القراءةالثانية اسهل واروع
ولازال يستحق الخمس نجوم بجدارة
وادعو الجميع لقراءته بهدوء والاستمتاع به
I had to read this for a high school religion class on those who questioned their faith (the least creepy of the religion options my school offered, I assumed). Ah, but how foolish not to have taken a class run by the lovely school chaplain. Instead, I get someone who deems it appropriate to call one of his students the most moral in the class, note in my mid-semester report that I dragged on discussions after he'd have preferred to move on (what I considered being thorough and making fine disti ...more
G.R. Reader
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
I think of this quote every time I eat poached eggs. C.S. Lewis has a lot to answer for.
The moment I finished reading Screwtape Letters, I immediately became a fan of this author that made me want to try his other works. Mere Christianity is of course one of his most famous work that I should really not miss reading. As mentioned in one of my reviews of his other books, I really admire Lewis' wisdom in sharing his faith through his works that he was able to provide concrete illustration of the Christian doctrines by giving practical examples. Surely, as a Christian, you will immedi ...more
Rebecca Foster
Score for literary merit and enduring cultural importance: 5+
Score for actual theologizing: 3 tops

“Theology means ‘the science of God,’ and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available.”

“If Christianity only means one more bit of good advice, then Christianity is of no importance. There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years.”

I’d read this piecemeal through high school and colle
May 18, 2007 Leah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to believe believers
Disenchanted with the practice of religion however a (theist) by nature, I was wary and read with that proverbial grain of salt. This skepticism nearly discontinued the desire to read, especially when he made marginally-bigoted remarks towards homosexuality. In which case, you must forgive humanity and its inevitable flaws.

The two chapters on Faith brought me back. Once you get past the redudant analogies and personal judgments, you begin to understand his overall ideology. Which is everything t
Jul 05, 2011 Bryan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christians, Theologians, Truth Seekers,
This book breaks down the underlying beliefs and motivations that underlie faith in Christ. I enjoyed C.S. Lewis' honest and open approach. His ability to engage the reader's mind so that he sees himself in the writing and then to help the reader lift his mental view point up to a higher level is one reason why this book remains so popular.
Why have I never read this book before? You will recognize lots of familiar quotes from this book. I especially like the way Lewis can draw such good analogies--the images really stick in your mind. Examples: "Imagine yourself a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house...You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace." Or this one: "Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions, or Faith in Chri ...more
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CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than th ...more
More about C.S. Lewis...
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia, #1-7) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3) The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6) Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

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“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” 4934 likes
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” 2698 likes
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