Amber's Reviews > Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
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's review
Mar 14, 2008

it was amazing

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 - 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 patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, The MacMillan Company, 1960, pp. 40-41.)
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Comments (showing 1-8)

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Andrew Webb I just finished the book and found that particular passage to be quite profound. And this is just a paragraph of the wisdom contained in this wonderful book!

Amy (MiMi) Curtis Right on! I love that passage as of his most profound.

Robert This a form of the so-called "Lewis Tri-lemma". I have encountered it in many conversations with believers ( whose politics span a full spectrum from left to right). It took me a while to figure out the fundamental problem with it. The problem is that it assumes an authority and accuracy in the scriptures that simply is not there. IF one assumes the authority and accuracy of the traditional Christian view then one of those choices must be the case and one cannot view Jesus as just another philosopher or teacher. It is much like bad math where one assumes the result in the proof. I will go farther to say that no one really knows Jesus, not even the most fervent believer. They know the myth and legend of Jesus distilled from several similar but inconsistent sources not to mention the apocrypha and the dubious process by which the modern bible was assembled (rationalized as having been done by human hand guided directly by God, a rationale that was used in pre-Christian times in Israel to suppress dispute over holy writings). On the right we have fundamentalists. On some other side we have people like Chris Hedges who fiercely oppose fundamentalism but reserve a soft spot for religious faith who speak of concepts like "the decay into writing". Jesus writes nothing. (For that matter Socrates seems to exist largely as character in Plato with no text of his own.) This is actually touted as not a problem or even an virtue. So we are expected to take damaged and incomplete second-hand data, further damaged by a largely political editing process then further distorted by current day interpretation and oral tradition as absolute, infallible and inerrant truth. I will take my chances with the decay into writing over the pure rot of the shifting sands of cultural memory. No one really knows Jesus and the "profound" sayings of Lewis are without a foundation on which to construct such absolute logic as his infamous tri-lemma.

Damos Whatever - that was babel if I ever read it. Written by an expert I'm sure!

Robert Damos wrote: "Whatever - that was babel if I ever read it. Written by an expert I'm sure!"

So you find Lewis' all or nothing proposition based on the massive hearsay, second-hand renderings, fanciful imaginings (e.g. "Revelation"), and artfully contrived fiction of the New Testament to be a convincing argument?

Joanne Clearly stated, one must make up their mind about Jesus Christ. Those who start out believing Jesus is man, and who have gone on an all out quest to discover who He is, have found Him. It may take some work for some, but what are the consequences? Eternity.

message 2: by V (new) - added it

V It reminds me of taking a multiple choice test rather than answering open essay questions. A madman or a god? Is none of the above a choice? Not on Lewis' test. I might listen to this person saying wise things but claiming you are the son of God? Maybe he is a bit mad. But so was Poe. So was Emily Dickinson. Many people we consider "genius" are a bit crazy. It's like a multiple choice test with no correct answers as a choice.

message 1: by Philipc (new)

Philipc ""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.'" Jesus never actually claimed to be God - he may well have claimed to be the son of God, but in the 1st century that meant something different (even the Emperor Augustus was the son of God).

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