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Author Topic:   Mere Christianity
Phat
Member
Posts: 10230
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 1 of 8 (781247)
04-02-2016 5:47 PM


Has anyone read this?
I read this book once. It was 30 some odd years ago, and I was a fry cook at a suburban restaurant. Of course I was not even a Christian back then, except through upbringing--my folks attended a United Methodist Church and I did'nt even attend any more...I believe I was around 25 years old. Today, ‎Saturday, ‎April ‎02, ‎2016, I was hanging out on the computer rather bored, browsing through old threads at EvC. I was rereading an old thread that was started in January 2007 by an old inactive member, sidelined. As I perused through the old posts, I saw myself, Ringo, jar, Jon, ICANT, and a few others of us who are also active at the present time. In the thread, I saw a link to an online copy of Mere Christianity and decided that rereading this old classic would perhaps be more productive than continuing re-reading the old thread...which was, by the way, the meaning of the Trinity. Thus I am starting this Book Nook thread and commenting on Mere Christianity as I reread it. Anyone who has read it is free to join in this discussion. Lets keep our discussion strictly on the book itself and the author, CS Lewis.

Edited by Phat, : added subtitle


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Phat, posted 04-02-2016 6:03 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10230
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 2 of 8 (781249)
04-02-2016 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
04-02-2016 5:47 PM


Re: Has anyone read this?
quote:
Born in Ireland in 1898, C. S. Lewis was educated at Malvern College
for a year and then privately. He gained a triple first at Oxford and was a
Fellow and Tutor at Magdalen College 1925-54. In 1954 he became Professor of
Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge. He was an outstanding and
popular lecturer and had a lasting influence on his pupils.
C. S. Lewis was for many years an atheist, and described his conversion
in Surprised by Joy: 'In the Trinity term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted
that God was God ... perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all
England.' It was this experience that helped him to understand not only
apathy but active unwillingness to accept religion, and, as a Christian
writer, gifted with an exceptionally brilliant and logical mind and a lucid,
lively style, he was without peer. The 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. He also wrote
some delightful books for children and some science fiction, besides many
works of literary criticism. His works are known to millions of people all
over the world in translation. He died on 22nd November, 1963, at his home
in Oxford.
Hopefully as I read this, I will gain better insights than I did 30 years ago.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Phat, posted 04-02-2016 5:47 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 29758
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


(1)
Message 3 of 8 (781250)
04-02-2016 6:09 PM


Remember the origin and the setting.
Remember that the book is actually the result of three BBC broadcasts made during post Blitz England, a time before the invasion of Europe and when Germany (another Christian Nation) was having success almost everywhere. Surprisingly, today it is more prominent among Evangelicals than within the mainstream denominations.

As is so often the case it really needs to be seen as three totally separate subjects, a case for Christianity (IMHO the weakest of the three); Christian Behavior and Beyond Personality, and not as one single book. The initial case is based on universal morality and in fact can be applied to many different religious and secular moral systems. But after that it wanders off into unsupported assertion and in many places direct fallacies; for example, that there is no substitute source of joy than God and that people cannot yearn for something that does not exist.

It does end though with the basic mandate that to be a Christian is defined by what you do, by your behavior.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Phat, posted 04-02-2016 6:21 PM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10230
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 4 of 8 (781251)
04-02-2016 6:21 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
04-02-2016 6:09 PM


Re: Remember the origin and the setting.
So far I am impressed with how what Lewis says is similar to some of our challenges here in the forum as we discuss our various clubs. Heck, I'm still in the preface!!
CS Lewis writes:

When two Christians of different denominations start arguing, it is usually not long before one asks whether such-and-such a point "really matters" and the other replies: "Matter? Why, it's absolutely essential."


Lewis really does touch upon the topics we also discuss. Remember when we argued over the meaning of a real or true Christian?

Now if once we allow people to start spiritualising and refining, or as
they might say "deepening," the sense of the word Christian, it too will
speedily become a useless word. In the first place, Christians themselves
will never be able to apply it to anyone. It is not for us to say who, in
the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see
into men's hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge.
It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not,
a Christian in this refined sense. And obviously a word which we can never
apply is not going to be a very useful word.
This ties in with what you once said. It is better to call them "bad Christians" than to say that they were not real Christians! I think im gonna like this book!

Edited by Phat, : added information as I read the book

Edited by Phat, : spellcheck


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by jar, posted 04-02-2016 6:09 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 04-02-2016 8:00 PM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 29758
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 5 of 8 (781255)
04-02-2016 8:00 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Phat
04-02-2016 6:21 PM


Re: Remember the origin and the setting.
Remember that it is really three separate pamphlets that were based on three separate broadcasts, one topic broadcast each year for three years; 1942, 1943, 1944.

Like the Bible you need to remember it is an anthology and NOT a book.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Phat, posted 04-02-2016 6:21 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Phat, posted 04-02-2016 10:08 PM jar has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10230
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 6 of 8 (781258)
04-02-2016 10:08 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
04-02-2016 8:00 PM


The writings Of C.S. Lewis
Lewis writes:

We must therefore stick to the original, obvious meaning. The name Christians was first given at Antioch (Acts xi. 26) to "the disciples," to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles. There is no question of its being restricted to those who profited by that teaching as much as they should have. There is no question of its being extended to those who in some refined, spiritual, inward fashion were "far closer to the spirit of Christ" than the less satisfactory of the disciples. The point is not a theological, or moral one. It is only a question of using words so that we can all understand what is being said. When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.

Which ties in with what jar has said:
jar writes:

In discussions at EvC and at other places, when the more horrific acts are brought up, one response I often hear is “They were not real Christians” or “That is not what Christ taught.” I disagree with the former, and agree with the later. I also think that using either as an excuse or as a way to shirk responsibility is dishonest. Granted it is not what Christ taught but it IS what Christians did, and in every case I examined, the people were honest, sincere and believed strongly that what they were doing was right and that it was the Christian thing to do. They were all sure that they were morally right.

As a side note, I don't want anyone here at EvC to think that my belief system is simply copying jars belief system The reason that I quote jar so much is that he always challenged me and I had to learn the other side of the arguments in order to defend mine.

jar writes:

Like the Bible you need to remember it (CS Lewis radio lectures) is an anthology and NOT a book.

An anthology, eh? I need to understand that word.

Websters writes:

Anthology..noun-a published collection of poems or other pieces of writing.
2) a collection of selected literary pieces or passages or works of art or music

You once called The collection of books known as The Bible an anthology of anthologies. Where you and I currently differ is that you ascribe most of it as mythology where I believe that it is wisdom from God, written down by men.

Back To Lewis.

quote:

Contents

Book I. RIGHT AND WRONG AS A CLUE TO THE MEANING OF THE UNIVERSE

1. The Law of Human Nature
2. Some Objections
3. The Reality of the Law
4. What Lies Behind the Law
5. We Have Cause to Be Uneasy

Book II. WHAT CHRISTIANS BELIEVE

1. The Rival Conceptions of God
2. The Invasion
3. The Shocking Alternative
4. The Perfect Penitent
5. The Practical Conclusion

Book III. CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOUR

1. The Three Parts of Morality
2. The "Cardinal Virtues"
3. Social Morality
4. Morality and Psychoanalysis
5. Sexual Morality
6. Christian Marriage
7. Forgiveness
8. The Great Sin
9. Charity
10. Hope
11. Faith
12. Faith

Book IV. BEYOND PERSONALITY: OR FIRST STEPS IN THE DOCTRINE OF THE
TRINITY

1. Making and Begetting
2. The Three-Personal God
3. Time and Beyond Time
4. Good Infection
5. The Obstinate Toy Soldiers
6. Two Notes
7. Let's Pretend
8. Is Christianity Hard or Easy?
9. Counting the Cost
10. Nice People or New Men
11. The New Men



I am currently in Book I.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 04-02-2016 8:00 PM jar has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10230
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 7 of 8 (781269)
04-03-2016 8:35 AM


The Law of Human Nature
In Book One, The Law of Human Nature, Lewis touches on a variety of subjects concerning human nature, morality, and the difference between instinct and impulse.
Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.
In other words, all humans have a similar moral law.
Each man is at every moment subjected to several different sets of law but there is only one of these which he is free to disobey.
I feel that this passage touches on the dogmatic Christian principles of free will and original sin. Looking down the road, Lewis gets into those in more detail later on.

Lewis also defends the accusation that critics would make concerning the relative nature of moral law over different cultures at different times.

If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own.

As a sidenote, I find that I am getting a lot more out of this book than I did 30 years ago, when we likely smoked some pot and discussed Christianity philosophically in an offhanded and non urgent manner. I suppose there is nothing like age to give one a sense of urgency on spiritual matters and to heighten ones awareness of some sort of judgement in the grand scheme of things. At least thats how I view it.

Lewis covers a wide variety of topics in Book One. For example, he says

Selfishness has never been admired.
He touches on everyday behaviors of people and reflects his take on morality from a Christo-centric perspective. Lewis sorta reminds me of jar when he talks about Right and Wrong.
CS Lewis writes:

Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining "It's not fair" before you can say Jack Robinson.

Lewis hypothetically asks where the whole universal sense of fairness originates from. He concludes by saying
It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong.
He observes that though everyone agrees on such a universal standard, everyone also breaks that standard at one time or another. Thus, Lewis is evidently influenced by Romans in the New Testament.
Romans 3:21-22 writes:

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...

He explains:
I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people.
Its always nice to get Christian teaching from an educated man. In my mind it really stands out from the propaganda that many of the TV hucksters slang on TBN and The Church Channel.

I will finish up Book One without commenting on every chapter and report back after rereading Book Two.

Edited by Phat, : clarification


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by jar, posted 04-03-2016 8:46 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
jar
Member
Posts: 29758
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


(1)
Message 8 of 8 (781270)
04-03-2016 8:46 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Phat
04-03-2016 8:35 AM


Re: The Law of Human Nature
Phat writes:

He observes that though everyone agrees on such a universal standard, everyone also breaks that standard at one time or another. Thus, Lewis is evidently influenced by Romans in the New Testament.

That quote mine from Romans is simply reflecting a theme common throughout the Bible stories. Remember Genesis 2&3. Mankind gets the gift of the knowledge of right and wrong but then must learn to use that gift and often, repeatedly, fails.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Phat, posted 04-03-2016 8:35 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
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