Some books never seem to go out of style; they
resound with audiences through the generations. First published as a book in
1952, C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity is one such work.
Lewis writes not for the English scholar but for the
everyday reader, skeptic and Christian alike. The book starts with a very
basic, straightforward explanation about how there seems to be a “Law of Human
Nature” and how it follows that there must be a force beyond humans themselves
that puts it to work. Lewis makes it easy to see how God fits into what we
already understand in the most scientific of ways.
From there, Lewis talks about what Christians believe.
One must remember that Lewis was not always a Christian himself—baptized at
birth, Lewis was an atheist until age 32. (Fun fact, J. R. R. Tolkien was one
of Lewis’ close friends and part of the reason for his conversion.) So, Lewis
thoroughly understands the opposing viewpoint. Mere Christianity does
not belittle non-Christian ideas, but rather works through them to help the
reader make sense of the religion.
As a Christian myself, the most interesting part of the
book to me was on Christian behaviors. In it, Lewis goes through ideas central
to Christian morality, forgiveness, charity, hope, and faith. I was struck by
how relevant his words still are today—certainly, he must have seemed
revolutionary when first published. I especially liked the chapter on
“Christian Marriage”, which gave a different perspective on relationships from
what our culture seems to tell us.
The last section of Mere Christianity is geared
toward people young in their faith or looking to go deeper with it. Lewis
fleshes out what he introduces in the other sections, providing a closer look at
what it means to be a Christian. He makes sense of the Christian relationship
with God, and how God calls us to be new people. In all, it is a fantastic
section for anyone who isn’t quite satisfied with their current faith.
Mere Christianity has short chapters—5-10
pages—and I read it over several months. It turned out to be the perfect thing
to contemplate while brushing my teeth! Take your time in reading this book and
reflect on it as you go. You might find that it would be a great evangelism
tool or a perfect book study to do a chapter or two a week. Next time you need
a book to read, consider picking up Mere Christianity. C. S. Lewis did a
lot more for the literary world than just The Chronicles of Narnia!
If you would like to read/listen to Mere
Christianity online, go to
http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/ and click on
the “Apologetics” link.
Caitlin Kempf is a member of Cornerstone and heads
their student prayer team.