In the first part of the book, Lewis discusses the “law of human nature.”. The first theological virtues is Charity, which is essentially love—though Lewis points out that love does not mean feeling a certain way but acting a certain way. Jesus is begotten, and we are made; we are like statues, not sons, but through Christ we are brought to life. In the act of prayer, a human being assumes the guise of Jesus Christ; with practice and faith, prayer can help human beings become divine by leading them toward salvation in Heaven. In Book IV, Lewis says that Theology is like a map. Mere Christianity Summary. Things can go wrong because we want to be the center, we want to be more than God. Lewis argues against Dualism, the notion that good and evil are two independent forces that are at war in the universe. He distinguishes the Law of Human Nature, or Moral Law, from the herd instinct. He also distinguishes it from social convention, arguing that, if all morality were truly subjective, then there would be no sense in arguing that one morality is better or worse than the other. Written by people who wish to remain anonymous. Audio Book Mere Christianity Book 1 Chapter 1 The Law of Human Nature C. S. Lewis But even in their despair, the good Christian will find the strength to carry on, cautiously optimistic—not certain—that God will help them find the way to Heaven. Anonymous "Mere Christianity Summary". Lewis spends time defending the most unpopular aspect of Christian morality—the notion of chastity. This is like free will. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity Lewis is saying that Jesus had to be who he said he was or else he was a liar or he was crazy/out of his mind. Lewis then discusses what he calls the “worst sin” which is pride, the opposite of humility. Simply put Transcendentalism is a philosophy that asserts the spiritual and romantic world over the material and empirical world. Lewis argues for the existence of God, and then proceeds to outline what he believes are the fundamental tenants of Christianity. After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. C.S. will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback. In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis argues for the logical validity of Christianity, defends the religion from its critics, and looks in detail at what the life of a Christian is like. He begins with the premise that a Natural Law must exist, as humans did not invent it, but humans respond to it and cannot escape its influences. Lewis delves here more fully into the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The rule … The second is Hope, looking forward to the eternal world. It is a force that likes goodness, and we know that “if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do” (31). Pantheists believe that God is the universe, meaning that everything in the material universe is divine. At the end of the first chapter in Mere Christianity, Lewis lays out the scope of his argument: "First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. He intends to come and live in it Himself” (205). However, this can never be successful: we are created to run on God Himself, and there is no happiness outside of him. God comes in and begins to make improvements and at first you understand what he is fixing, but then he begins to knock things down that seem to be destructive. In Book III, Lewis outlines the three parts of morality. Lewis argues that we must not claim that Jesus was merely a great moral teacher. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Mere Christianity. This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Mere Christianity. We can only become perfect when we put ourselves into his hands. Problem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, The Four Loves and the Posthumous Prayer: Letters to Malcolm, are only a few of his best-selling works. All our attempts at the Christian virtues will ultimately fail. By becoming human, then, Christ has infected humanity with his Spiritual life. We could not say that Nazi morality is inherently worse than any other set of morals. Our, "Sooo much more helpful than SparkNotes. Lewis reviewed "In Behalf of the Fool" (1979) It was suggested to the Fool some time ago that C.S. In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis argues for the logical validity of Christianity, defends the religion from its critics, and looks in detail at what the life of a Christian is like. When the feeling of being in love fades, it is replaced by a deeper, quieter love. 1. MERE CHRISTIANITY by C.S. The notes have been summarized so that a group or discussion leader can lead one chapter per meeting, or the chapters can be grouped together to cover multiple chapters per meeting. This 69-page guide for “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 33 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. The Screwtape Lettersis predicated on an eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil. Mere Christianity Summary Mere Christianity was written by C.S. There is, however, a dark power at work in the universe, and the world we live in is “enemy-occupied territory” (46). We must keep trying and failing, and trying again. The third Theological virtue is Faith. Looking around the world, it is obvious that good has been corrupted into evil almost everywhere. Suggestions Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. God, who is all-powerful, casts them out … Since he claimed to be God, we have only three options: he is a lunatic, he is evil and a liar, or he is God. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Therefore we cannot judge based on someone’s outward appearance or action; it may be that they have done far more with their raw material than someone who began in much better place and have not made use of it. It can be applied to any society. Lewis discusses the major divisions of belief in God. These letters are presented with the expectation that readers have a basic understanding of Christian beliefs, such as the story of the Fall. Lewis was invited to give the talks by James Welch, the BBC Director of Reli… Lewis's preface explains what Mere Christianity is and what it attempts to do. He can take days to write a single scene. Instant downloads of all 1393 LitChart PDFs There is no happiness if we have no choice, so God has made us free to choose, but we use this freedom in a way that is not in accordance with his will. He compares this to a mother who wants her children to learn to clean their room on their own. C.S. He left us a conscience, he sent the human race “good dreams,” or stories in other religions about a dying god who is resurrected and through this gives new life, and he selected a people group (the Jews) to teach what kind of God he was. We pretend to be better than we are so that we can truly become better. 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. Christ-life does not make us perfect, but enables us to repair ourselves each time we fall. In the fourth and final part of the book, Lewis turns to theology, the “science” of God. It is not acceptable to break a promise when the feelings go away. Most groups will choose to cover the entire book in… It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Lewis's Mere Christianity Chapter Summary. Lewis resolves this apparent contradiction by arguing that God exists outside of time, meaning that he experiences humans’ past, present, and future in the same instant, whereas humans have free will within time as they experience it. It does not, he argues, really matter what one believes about how it works; we must simply know that it does work, though Lewis seems to advocate more for the latter—that Jesus taught us by example how to repent. Christianity therefore, is both harder and easier than non-Christian life. The latter, which is the Christian view, acknowledges that the world is not as it should be, which raises the question: “If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong?” He agues, though, that so long as we have any notion of “just” and “unjust,” there must exist some standard of “just” to compare it to, bringing him back to a firm belief in God, without whom words like “right” and “wrong” would be meaningless. He distinguishes between making and begetting and between biological life, or Bios, and spiritual life, or Zoe. Mere Christianity Book 3, Chapters 1-4 Summary & Analysis ... Book 3, Chapter 1 Summary: "The Three Parts of Morality" Lewis begins by noting several overly simplistic ideas about morality—for example, that it is primarily something meant to interfere with people’s lives rather than to help them. Furthermore, we ought not to compare a Christian to another non-Christian, but to the person they would be if they were not Christian. Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland on November 29, 1898. If there is a Mere Christianity SparkNotes, Shmoop guide, or Cliff Notes, you can find a link to each study guide below. Instant downloads of all 1392 LitChart PDFs (including Mere Christianity). Lewis compares the Holy Trinity to a die: just as a die “contains” six square sides, and yet is one three-dimensional object at the same time, so too does God “contain” three parts and yet remain one being. There is no other option. Mere Christianity is a book by author C. S. Lewis who is best known for the series “Chronicles of Narnia.” Lewis was raised in Christianity but became an atheist at 15 years. How then, can the state of the world be against God’s will, if God has absolute power? The Cardinal virtues are Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude. In becoming what Lewis calls “little Christs,” there is an element of pretending. While it’s popular to say that “being in love” is the only reason to get married, Lewis argues that being married is actually much more beautiful and majestic than being in love—a married couple must remain together for a lifetime, demonstrating their loyalty and respect for one another as human beings, rather than just following their emotions. At the end of part two, Lewis introduces Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the Christian religion. However, he does not believe that sexual sins are the worst; the worst are the ones that are “purely spiritual” such as hatred, since their effect on the soul is worse. In Part Three of the book, Lewis studies the life of a good Christian. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. Lewis argues for the existence of God, and then proceeds to outline what he believes are the fundamental tenants of Christianity. Many people who think of morality just focus on fair play. Non-conformists by focusing on a “mere” Christianity. He argues that “Pride leads to every other vice” (122). The way the content is organized, “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. More is expected of us, but God helps us in ways that others do not. “Mere Christianity is C.S. Virtues are not qualifiers for getting into Heaven, but by practicing them they mold individuals into the kind of people God wants, the kind of people who will be happy with the Heaven God has created. None of us, he argues, would probably like a fully Christian society, since we have all departed from God’s plan in some way. An editor A human must be right with himself, he must be right with those around him, and he must be following a certain purpose. Christianity is not about mere improvement but about Transformation. Mere Christianity Summary Mere Christianity was written by C.S. In order for there to be any comparison at all, there must be some true or correct morality to compare them to. You can look at my more detailed notes, but this is an overview of the content of Book III of “Mere Christianity”… Chapter 1 – “The Three Parts of Morality” Morality isn’t about interference but our own good “…moral rules are directions for running the human machine. S.”) Lewis, was first published in 1952 as an expansion of some radio talks Lewis had given during World War II. The major division are found in the people who believe in God, or some type of god, and those who have no belief system (atheist). Lewis discusses the overlap between Christianity and psychoanalysis. It is not God, but it points us to God. These three beings are at play in the world and in every Christian as we become “little Christs,” which Lewis tells us is the sole purpose of Christianity. There are seven virtues in Christianity. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis). Christian morality does not offer details about how to apply its virtues to a particular society at a particular time. Not affiliated with Harvard College. You can help us out by revising, improving and updating C.S. Lewis then attempts to resolve the apparent contradiction in the existence of a good God who allows evil things to happen by arguing that God gives people the gift of free will: they face the challenge of behaving virtuously in spite of the temptations of evil—a challenge for which they will be richly rewarded in Heaven. He was arguably one of the intellectual giants and influential writers of the twentieth century. He compares the individual to a living house. It analyzes Christianity and gives some of the author`s views on it. Lewis goes on to summarize Christian views on sex—chastity or marriage—and argues that our sexual impulse has deviated from what it ought to be. 2. Atheism, therefore, is too simple, as is what Lewis calls “Christianity-and-water” which is a belief that there is a God and everything is good, leaving out the dark parts of theology. (Mere Christianity must be purchased separately.) However, the world is not split into fully Christian and fully non-Christian. About the Author C. S. Lewis was one of the most influential writers of Christian literature in the 20 th Century. Modern society, he insists, is overrun with sex and sexuality, to the point where people think that having lots of sex is “normal” and “healthy.” Lewis, however, argues that the sexual instinct—like any instinct—must be controlled and subdued. Some religious groups, the Pantheists, believe that the all-powerful being, God, is neither good nor evil. Lewis notes here that he is not “within a hundred miles of the God of Christian theology” (25); he has merely arrived at the existence of “Something which is directing the universe” (25) and which seems to urge us toward morality. Lewis walks through several theories about how Jesus’s death brings about salvation: that he paid a sort of debt by dying for our sins, or that he taught us how to repent by first doing it himself. When Lewis was a much younger man, he found it impossible to believe in a just God who would allow Earth to become a sad, unjust place. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 GradeSaver LLC. But one of the miracles of virtue, Lewis claims, is that when we pretend to respect other people, we eventually do respect them. However, that we do have more inside information into mankind, since we are ourselves human, than we would have just by observation. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, Easy-to-use guides to literature, poetry, literary terms, and more, Super-helpful explanations and citation info for over 30,000 important quotes, Unrestricted access to all 50,000+ pages of our website and mobile app. (including. However, there is a difference between loving one’s neighbor and feeling affection toward them. Mere Christianity – Book I (Summary) July 2, 2017 pilgrim Leave a comment You can look at my more detailed notes , but this is an overview of the content of Book I of “Mere Christianity”… On the contrary, Lewis argues, the only way to truly be an individual and fulfill one’s potential is to worship Jesus Christ. The Question and Answer section for Mere Christianity is a great He points out that, if there is a force behind this Moral Law, is that it is not lenient nor indulgent; it instructs us to do the right thing regardless of how difficult or painful it is. It is how we conclude that, “there is something above and beyond the ordinary facts of men’s behavior, and yet quite definitely real—a real law which none of us made, but we which we find pressing on us” (20). If we find, then, inside ourselves a law that we did not create, then there must be some sort of power that exists above and outside of us. One must acknowledge that there is a Moral Law, and that he has broken it, and that we need to be set right again. Mere Christianity, by Clive Staples (“C. Complete summary of C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. He is within us and beside us as he brings us toward him. Lewis's Mere Christianity is mainly an argument that no matter what denomination of Christianity one belonged to, the umbrella of "Christian" was broad enough to include them, and we should behave like a family, not as rival armies. This, then, is how we know there is a moral law that we ought to obey even though our behavior alone indicates no such pattern. This complex notion is where theology began. The story does not occur in the Bible, but in it, Satan (then called Lucifer) and a group of angelic followers rises up against God. Search all of SparkNotes Search. Christians also believe in the existence of an ultimate evil, the Devil. There is a division among religions on the nature of God: a Pantheistic notion of a God who is beyond good and evil, and exists in everything in the universe without distinction between good and bad, and a God who created the universe and is very much on the side of good as opposed to evil. In short, Lewis argues, one must sacrifice one’s earthly needs and desires in order to be a Christian—but as a reward, one will find Christ, and rejoice in Heaven for eternity. The book got published in the year 1952. Considered a classic of Christian apologetics, the transcripts of the broadcasts originally appeared in print as three separate pamphlets: The Case for Christianity (Broadcast Talks in the UK) (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1944). But in place of their old personalities, the saved discover their true selves: unique, individual, and yet united in love for God, in much the same way that the different organs of the human body are different from one another, and yet united in the facilitation of life. Lewis’s forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. If you do not feel love toward someone, act as though you do. Lewis goes on to argue that God is beyond and outside of time. We should not approach Christianity to find support for our beliefs, we should approach it to find out what to believe. These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. By pretending, we make it a reality. Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis). You find that “you thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. This, he argues, is likely where evil came from in the first place. Each choice brings us closer or farther from the person God intended. A Christian has God in him to make him good. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. To love one’s neighbor is to wish him good, not to feel fond of him or to say nice things that are untrue. In Mere Christianity, C.S. In the Christian view there is an evolutionary “Next Step” that is already at work. This is difficult, but we can start small. This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. When studying human history, he claims, one is struck by how similar different societies’ moral codes are, at least at a fundamental level. He says that, “wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way” (44). The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal sold through Homeschool Adventure Co., is a wonderful tool to strengthen critical thinking while building a biblical worldview. Lewis goes on to write that, by worshipping Christ, humans can transcend their mortal nature and experience the divine life of Christ himself; put another way, by worshipping Christ, they, too, can become “sons of God.” Good Christians unite together in their love for God—and yet they don’t sacrifice their individuality in doing so. The Son is a product of the Father, but there was never a time when the Son did not exist. Christian doctrine is not the simple, watered down version that is so prevalent; it is actually far more complicated than most adults can easily comprehend. You may have heard of her. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. FreeBookNotes found 8 sites with book summaries or analysis of Mere Christianity. Thereare six to seven questions for each of the lectures. This, he argues, is a rather ridiculous claim, since he purports to forgive sins made by other men against other men; he is forgiving things in which he has no part. Of his own qualification to speak on Christianity he said: The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. The only way to be truly virtuous, Lewis argues, is to worship Christ. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. GradeSaver, 25 June 2017 Web. He compares this to a writer writing a novel; though the novel’s events are bound by time, the writer is not. My copy of Mere Christianity is covered in red ink and riddled with dog ears. Lewis, a book recommended to me by my sister. C. S. Lewis defends Christianity by building a logical foundation for belief and constructing an entire theology upon that foundation. C.S. Evil is, instead, a parasite; it is a defected form of goodness, and cannot exist on its own. Until nineteen fifty-four he was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University. God gave us desires that can be satisfied, and the fact that we desire something that cannot be had in this world means that there is another world. How to Use This Study Guide These study questions will help you to get the most out of the lectures by Dr. Christopher Mitchell on Mere Christianity. He argues against the notion that we should be free to follow our impulses; no impulse, sexual or otherwise, can be followed freely at all times without restraint. Mere Christianity is a 1952 theological book by C. S. Lewis, adapted from a series of BBC radio talks made between 1941 and 1944, while Lewis was at Oxford during the Second World War. LitCharts Teacher Editions. He acknowledges, however, the apparent irony in that not all Christians are nice than non-Christians. There is a cost, and it is often more than we have bargained for. However, the only way for an atheist to criticize the Christian model of God would be to appeal to some standard for “just” and “unjust”—i.e., the same standard that led us to accept the existence of God in Part One. The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal is a powerful tool to strengthen critical thinking while cultivating a biblical worldview. Lewis argues that moral law isn’t just an arbitrary human invention—it’s actually a real, timeless thing—invented by an all-powerful being who stands outside the confines of material space and time, and reveals itself to humans through moral law. He then delves into the notion of a three-person God, which is something that we cannot understand. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Mere Christianity. It is unique in that it is not carried out by sexual reproduction, it contains an element of choice, it originates from Christ and is passed on by “good infection,” it has happened relatively quickly compared to other evolutionary advances, and finally, the stakes are much higher. So today we offer an excellent summary of his important and very popular apologetic work, Mere Christianity. We have a duty to forgive our enemies. After a Christian becomes familiar with obeying the moral law of God, they sometimes reach a point of despair, during which they realize their own sinful nature. However, in Christianity, evil isn’t equal to good—evil is “spoiled good”; i.e., the perversion or corruption of goodness. Feelings go away 1942 and 1944 to select Wrong because we want to be truly,. To argue that God is both one thing and three is expected of,. The end of part two, lewis discusses the “ worst sin which! 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