Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

  • 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 a 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. (~pg 52) ^399c78
  • 1) Everyone knows Natural Law and no one is able to fully follow it
  • 2) Piano Metaphor: keys = impulses; sheet music = moral code
  • "If you are thinking about becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are embarking on something which his going to take the whole of you, brains and all…one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself" (78)
  • The chapter on Social Morality (esp. 86-87) gives an uplifting challenge for approaching poverty and how we respond:
    • "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" (86).
    • "Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party" (87).
  • On Sexual Morality:
    • "I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before" (92).
    • "Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either" (93).
  • On Marriage:
    • "it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are the most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction…this is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies" (110-111).
  • Pride is the central evil
  • On Charity:
    • "Do not waste time bother whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if foul over someone, you will presently come to love him" (131).
    • "Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance" (132).
    • "Ask yourself, 'If I were sure that I loved God, what would I go?' When you have found the answer, go and do it" (132).
  • On Faith:
    • "No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good" (142).
    • "The main thing we learn from a serious attempt to practice the Christian virtues is that we fail" (142).
  • Theology is to seeing god as a map is to walking on the beach: walking on the beach is better but you need a map if you want to get anywhere, and the map is built on the experience of all those who have gone before you
  • Purpose and the meaning of life: "The whole purpose for which we exist is to be thus taken into the life of God" (161).
  • “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (don't know the page number)

Topic: Spiritual Classics

Created: 2021-03-09-Tue
Updated: 2023-04-03-Mon