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Mere Christianity

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

Christianity as it meant to be.

The essentials of Christianity are presented in an enlightening, easy-to-grasp narrative. Both Christian and non-Christians benefit from reading this book. Christians will gain new insights as to why they believe non-Christians will find a brilliant exposition of basi...
The essentials of Christianity are presented in an enlightening, easy-to-grasp narrative. Both Christian and non-Christians benefit from reading this book. Christians will gain new insights as to why they believe non-Christians will find a brilliant exposition of basic Christian beliefs. It certainly will provoke you to carefully consider what and why you believe. Lewis writes, 'You must make your choice. Either this man [Christ] was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse...But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher.'

posted by Anonymous on September 14, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 85 people found this review helpful.

Mere obfuscation and sophistry.

C.S.Lewis, a capable writer and rare example of Xian intellectual, and friend of J.R.R Tolkien, an even better writer is best known for works such as the Perelandra Trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Screwtape letters. In the aforementioned works he used fictio...
C.S.Lewis, a capable writer and rare example of Xian intellectual, and friend of J.R.R Tolkien, an even better writer is best known for works such as the Perelandra Trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Screwtape letters. In the aforementioned works he used fiction and fantasy elements to conceal religious themes. In Mere Christianity, the author dispenses with using parables, allegory, and fiction. He decides to get serious and tell it like it is in Lewis' imagination, as his theology does not correspond with any reality known in this world. Perhaps Alpha Ceti Prime has a world that meets Lewis' doctrinal metaphysics? Most Xians disdain using logic and reason to support their faith and see their faith as something that is believed or not believed, and the lack of evidence therefore, requires faith. Faith which ultimately boils down to wishful thinking, is the substance and foundation of Christianity, not reason or logic. Yet Lewis, like T. Aquinas before him tries the approach of reason as does McDowell the author of Evidence That Demands a Verdict. All of this stuff I have read with chuckles and giggles supressed. To answer who made the world with 'God' is to answer an unknown with an even greater unknown. At least the origins of the Universe should be accessible and solvable by the Scientific Method. Not so God, of whom, even his supporters admit, nobody knows anything except by 'revelation' meaning hearsay. One man says 'God told me such and such' and an even bigger blockhead believes him. Surprisingly, C.S.Lewis for a smart fellow, seems to forget the obvious. If God wants us to do such and such, he or she ought to make things clear as the noon-day sun, not leave things to long dead prophets, of which the Bible itself refers to as madmen deceived by God. Why cannot God tell me point blank 'I made you for this reason, I want you to do this, and I want you to stop doing that.' But this does not occur. Attempts to justify faith, which is belief without or contrary to evidence, by reason, is like using Socratic reasoning to support the existence of Unicorns. Basically, Lewis' 'logical' arguments boil down to 'I have an inner knowledge that the bizzare version of reality contained in Holy Writ is truth.' What am I or you to do with Lewis' or anybody else's 'inner' feelings? We can't argue or discuss that rationally. Even more amusing were Lewis' attempts to justify eternal suffering in Hell. No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you conceal your illogic and specious reasoning with sesquipedalian words [words a foot and a half long--coined by Aristotle], you can never justify giving a finite amount of evil, an eternal punishment. Nor can you ever align that with a God of good. A God who is both good and evil might work, and a God who is mostly evil works even better. But this good guy God needs to be abandoned if hellfire is retained, else Hell can be forever thrown into the trashheap of theology, and the good God retained. You can't have it both ways. Better yet, throw God in the trash can with his stupid doctrines and laws, with other relics of the ignorant and superstitious past. Trying to justify past idiocies with 'reason' denotes a really lame intellect indeed. Lewis should have stuck to fiction, which at least had the slender palliative of entertainment to justify it. Mere Christianity belongs in the waste basket.

posted by Anonymous on June 17, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2004

    Frustratingly shallow

    This quote from another reviewer is typical of why I find this book so good and so frustrating at once: 'There is so much great information on Christianity that I knew I would not be able to remember all of it!'<p> This book is about Lewis' way to Christianity, not yours, not mine, not anyone else's. If it inspires you, great, if it gives you pause, better, but if you feel like it hits the nail on the head in terms of how you arrived at your own faith, you probably need to do a bit more soul-searching.<p> As a cradle Christian, I had lost my way a bit for many years and have recently been finding my way back. My new pastor recommended this book to me, albeit without knowing much about me. Lewis is no doubt a serious intellect, and a fantastic writer, bu this book completely misses the mark for me. He sets up strawman after strawman, and then sits back and says, 'there, see? I proved it.' Perhaps my education is too deeply involved in logic and forensics, but my faith was unmoved (neither affirmed nor refuted), by Lewis' infantile syllogisms and metaphors he plucks out of thin air, which really have nothing to do with anything. The best review yet of this book is on an atheist's blog. Which I suppose doesn't surprise me, because too many Christians I know don't really challenge their own beliefs enough, and see practically any pro-Christian writing as being affirming. In my view, faith is like anything else in life, if you don't continue to challenge it, it will grow weak over time.<p> I wish more of the reviewers on this site could have read it with more of a critical mind-set, as I think, that was really the purpose of the book.<p> Having said that, in terms of inspiring serious theological debate in my own inner monologue, this book definitely did that. I just wish that, since Lewis was basing his discourse of the basis of rationality rather than spirituality, it could have been a little more rigorous. Thankfully, it only took a couple of days to read. Next time I'll stick to reading Aquinas, Ausgustine, Luther, Calvin and Wesley.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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