Mere Christianity ★★★★★

merechristianity (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Mere Christianity
Series: ———-
Author: C.S. Lewis
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Theological Non-Fiction
Pages: 190
Format: Massmarket paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lewis turns some radio lectures/talks into book format in which he talks about Christianity and humanity on very basic levels and very broad terms. It really does come across as someone trying to have a casual conversation about an important subject and it feels like Lewis gets the balance of casual and importance just right.

 

My Thoughts:

I read this completely because of my reaction to Toll the Hounds. I needed a good anti-dote to Erikson’s horrific existentialism and his debasement of Redemption. If any one could help, strengthen and encourage me in my Christian faith, Lewis is the man to do it.

I deliberately didn’t take notes and actually tried to read through this as fast as I could, kind of like chugging some medicine. Not because it tasted bad, but I knew if I stopped to taste it, I’d start eating it drop by drop to get the full taste and I needed a large dose of medicine NOW. It worked well. No man is sufficient to himself and we ALL need help and encouragement along life’s way.

This was not a heady and deep look into the various thoughts of Christian doctrine and how this church and that church have come to the conclusions they have, etc, etc. This was very much like Lewis having a conversation with you and much like any good conversation, if you aren’t ready for it or don’t want it, then it won’t work for you no matter how good it is. So I certainly wouldn’t just blanket recommend this to everyone. If you don’t know anything about Christianity and want to learn something without committing yourself or getting dragged into theological depths you simply aren’t even aware of, this is the book for you. If you are a Christian who needs some reminders and some encouragement, this is the book for you.

I COULD have taken notes. Pages of them. But that might just be me and how I deal with non-fiction. I go into a gear where I feel like I need to write a book report whenever I read non-fiction. However, I did underline one phrase that really stood out to me:

For mere improvement is no redemption, though redemption always improves people…”

Attaboy Lewis!!!

I am giving this a conditional “best book of the year” tag. Conditional because I don’t read enough non-fiction for there to be enough to truly choose from. Also, I really don’t like comparing escapist fare (no matter how enjoyable) with a serious book like this. Comparing them would mean they are equal and they aren’t and I don’t ever want to get into the mindset where they are.

★★★★★

bookstooge (Custom)

19 thoughts on “Mere Christianity ★★★★★

  1. H.P. says:

    Because I am a hopeless contrarian, I think Mere Christianity is better written than Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, but that Chesterton makes a more convincing case. I appreciate clarity over rhetorical flair in my prose (although Chesterton’s prose should absolutely be studied as rhetoric). But God simply isn’t susceptible to logical argument; Chesterton’s more mystical approach is more persuasive.

    I haven’t read most of his nonfiction, but I like Lewis’ A Grief Observed even more than I like Mere Christianity, and I like Mere Christianity a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bookstooge says:

      God might not be susceptible to logical argument, but a good number of people are. Lewis was and he was the kind of mind that dealt in that area. And that’s why he writes that way. But not everyone is of that bent, hence why there are other apologists 😀

      I’d definitely recommend slowly reading through Lewis at some point just as a good exercise if nothing else. As you noted, he isn’t mystical at all though. At least you know that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • pcbushi says:

        I love Mere Christianity, though I think the Problem of Pain is my favorite Lewis.

        I think he’s one of the best entry-level apologists (not to say there’s not plenty of value for the more seasoned, too).

        Liked by 2 people

        • Bookstooge says:

          I don’t know if I’ve read that one. More than likely, but I can’t remember anything about it, not even the name.

          I think Lewis would work for about 75% of christians and those asking questions. Once he doesn’t work, then it’s time to dig really deep.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Joelendil says:

    I love C. S. Lewis! I’ve preached twice at my new church (not counting when I candidated) and both sermons included a Lewis quote (one from Mere Christianity). I find plenty of areas where I disagree with him, but he has probably shaped my thinking as much as any author outside the Bible. He approaches the Christian life as a philosopher rather than a theologian so he has fresh ways of talking about God’s truth (though this also gets him in trouble occasionally).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Yeah, I had a couple of things here and there as well. What I like however, is that he acknowledges that other Christians are going to disagree with him and doesn’t start trying to argue. His attitude came across very much as “take it or leave it as long as you’re convinced in your mind and act accordingly”.

      And speaking of shaping. Man, you are so right! I was reading through and a phrase would jump out and I think to myself “hmmm, so that’s where I got that from” on several occasions. I’d read most of his works between 16-22 and my goodness, I soaked it in like a sponge without even realizing it. Kind of scary actually, isn’t it?

      I hope your new church is working out and that the moving pains are starting to settle out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. piotrek says:

    I’ve actually read this one, and I remember liking the style and appreciating his intentions, but not really changing my mind on things.

    I definitely agree it’s a very good book for outsiders looking for Christian perspective – a calm, smart, non-aggressive version – and in my Catholic country, where nobody reads the Bible, maybe they should give it some time also 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      The ironic thing is, that most people who are going to read this book are the kind of people who have already made up their mind.

      Your adjectives describing this were perfect too. I wish I had thought of them first 😀

      Now, do they not read the Bible because the church discourages it? Or because of human nature and laziness? Heck, here in the US the statistics for daily bible reading among christians is horrific (I’ve heard it goes as high as 80% don’t read their bible). I know it’s something I struggle with as it can be just plain hard.

      Liked by 1 person

      • piotrek says:

        Forget daily, most never bother. It might be different in countries like US, when they have to compete with other denominations, but in predominantly Catholic countries the Church is more of a socio-political institution than a faith. You attend masses, weekly or only on major holidays, but the most important thing it to declare you allegiance. Reading the Bible, while not actively discouraged any more (and they used to), is not as important as listening to priests. People treating their faith seriously are a very small minority.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the medicine analogy so much! I think that is a beautiful summary of how my experience with books such as this generally are. I am also thinking this is one I could use in my life right now. I will be looking to see if my library has a copy. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. savageddt says:

    Giving any book a 5 out of 5 from The Stooge should be history in the making. Glad it could help you

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great review, sir. I found that bit about “wanting” to have a good conversation very true and insightful. Nowadays, I feel like a lot of people don’t want any of those and prefer the paparazzi TMZ stuff on celebrities…

    Liked by 1 person

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