Nicola Mansfield's Reviews > Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
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Oct 31, 2014

it was amazing
BCID: 7821299


Where do I even start. I haven't read any of Lewis' non-fiction before though I've wanted to for ages. I'm so glad I chose this as my first one. Basically I don't have the words to do the book justice. It is terribly profound. It is logical and oh, so simply deep. At first I found the writing as if I was being talked to like a child but I did have to realise the book was first written in the 1940s and I got used to the style along with realizing that I am a child, a child of God. As I said I do not have the words to do the book justice and that is how I felt throughout reading the whole book. His explanations of why there must be a God ... the God ... Our Father, are so simplistically logical that I was literally stunned and wished I could have thought of that myself. He goes on to describe the whole Christian religion, from the standpoint of an atheist who converted because it was the only sensible answer to his searching. As a Christian, Catholic, myself I didn't need the proof but I found it utterly enlightening the way he explained things so simply. He covers all the points most non-believers raise as he raised them himself on his journey and C.S. Lewis was one of our great modern thinkers. I could have read this book quickly but it took me a while to read as after I had read 1, sometimes 2, chapters I just had to stop because I wanted to remember, muse upon and discuss the next day with my coffee group, the way he had made me look at things from a different angle. This is "the" book to read for those looking, searching and trying to find God, even before you decide upon a denomination. Lewis even talks about this. The book is completely Christian without denominational influence. He was Church of England (Anglican/Episcopal) but he talks of how one should find their own denomination without bias. Now that I've read the book, this is one I'm going to keep by my bedside and read a chapter from now and then to learn his phraseology and allegory to help myself when speaking with non-believers. Truly a classic of the 20th century that should be read by all because even if the book doesn't convert you it will give you the true meaning of Christianity and let you know why these Christians you meet aren't perfect.
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Quotes Nicola Liked

C.S. Lewis
“A Christian society is not going to arrive until most of us really want it: and we are not going to want it until we become fully Christian. I may repeat "Do as you would be done by" till I am black in the fact, but I cannot really carry it out till I love my neighbour as myself: and I cannot learn to love my neighbour as myself till I learn to love God: and I cannot learn to love God except by learning to obey Him. And so, as I warned you, we are driven on to something more inward - driven on from social matters to religious matters.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis
“The bad psychological material is not a sin but a disease. It does not need to be repented of, but to be cured. And by the way, that is very important. Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God's eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing does dome tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God's eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.

It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man's choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man's psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


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