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Mere Christianity

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  324,616 ratings  ·  9,204 reviews
In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality, Mere Christianity provi ...more
Paperback, 191 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Touchstone Books (first published 1942)
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Susan Carpenter C.S. Lewis does NOT begin explaining Christianity. He begins by explaining he was an atheist. He came to his belief slowly, and shows us a reasonable …moreC.S. Lewis does NOT begin explaining Christianity. He begins by explaining he was an atheist. He came to his belief slowly, and shows us a reasonable logical way to view the fundamentals of what belief is common to all those calling themselves Christian regardless of denomination. There is much about the "sense of fair play" that all people (or as he states all men, which was the standard usage of his day meaning all people) have embedded in them among believers and non-believers alike. It's a fascinating read and not what I'd call a book one can easily skim either.(less)
Maisey He calls it "mere" Christianity because he doen't want to discuss the fine points of one Christian sect vs. another (ex. Lutheran or Catholicism) but …moreHe calls it "mere" Christianity because he doen't want to discuss the fine points of one Christian sect vs. another (ex. Lutheran or Catholicism) but just discuss the main core beliefs of Christianity as a whole, "merely" those.(less)

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Paul Bryant
Jan 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, godreads
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 (Wants to Read More)
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 13, 2008 rated it 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 - o
J.G. Keely
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
Sep 16, 2009 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
Sep 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
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
Dec 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Miranda Reads
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
C. S. Lewis wove doctrines and lessons regarding the Christian faith throughout his other works, notably the Chronicles of Narnia. Ergo, I was surprised when reading this novel that to learn that he used to be an atheist.

A religious book, written by an ex-atheist? I was alight with curiosity.

What caused the switch? By studying the faith (as an effort to become better at atheism) he found religion. A strange, roundabout way to go by things but nonetheless thoroughly interesting.

Lewis slowl
Marty Reeder
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
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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:
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: kwesi 章英狮
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
Jonathan Terrington

“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 th
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Skylar Burris
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity
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
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
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I need to speed up my re-reads of Lewis. Been a decade since I last read this one and that is too long.
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
After years of putting this book off, I finally picked it up. The amount of stars I have assigned it says enough about how well it was received.

Lewis spends the first section using rhetorical devices and logic to try to prove that religion is better than atheism. Then he jettisons all of that rhetoric and logic, takes the tennets of Christianity as given fact, and proceeds to deliver a mind-numbingly naïve justification for the reasons behind the religion of the Nazarene.

I'm disappointed that
George Bradford
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: god-shaped-hole
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.
Michael Perkins
Aug 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Millennials Are Leaving Christianity And Not Coming Back


Here's the full quote that never appears on the back of the book....

“C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.”

― Anthony Burgess

Critique of this book. The Lewis appeal is rhetorical and emotional, not logical.


C.S. Lewis is not the e
Douglas Wilson
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
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.
Ben Zornes
I have a confession to make. I'm not proud of it, but it is true. I'm 30 years old. I've been reading lots of books on a regular basis since I was 9 or 10. It is only a few weeks ago that I finally got around to reading Mere Christianity. All that to say, I've known about this masterpiece from Lewis for a good while now, even quoted portions of it. Now, I can say, it was worth the wait, and yet I wish I'd read it sooner.

Lewis is as skillful as ever at explaining in laymen's terms deep theologica
Kells Next Read
C.S. Lewis is such a prolific and articulate author. I'm really enjoying his works. I'm constantly blown away by the way in which he seamlessly (with humor) explains his beliefs and thoughts. I can't wait to read more from him. I feel bless having closed 2016 year reading his works. ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, re-read
It was interesting to read this right after reading Cicero's On Moral Duties. Both Cicero and Lewis are concerned with an orderly society. They are both seeking to put the thoughts and ideas of philosophers in to the layman's terms. The problem is Cicero ignores some fundamental questions.

Cicero and Lewis agree that following general rules of kindness, honesty, etc. are helpful in producing an orderly society where individuals can thrive. But Cicero appeals to Nature as a guide. The problem is
Mark Gowan
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
John Kerber
Mar 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was actually really excited to read this book. I am an atheist, a recovering catholic to be specific, and was talking to a Christian friend who suggested I read this book. He hyped it up like “if you read this, you will definitely convert.” Sweet! I love a good logical argument. I had to put this book down after the first part. I can see how someone would see it as a good book, if you already believed the premises and conclusion to begin with.
In case why you are wondering why many people have
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Clive Staples Lewis 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

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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.” 6200 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.” 3503 likes
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