Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Review of Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

My review

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really good book overall. Teaches lots of practical issues related to Christianity (as a religion and as a relationship with Christ) and Christian behavior. One sample of good advice is how giving ought to hurt. For instance, if we our charitable donations don't hamper our personal desires some, then we probably aren't giving enough. On that word "charitable", there's a nice discussion of charity (Christian love) itself.

From a philosophical/logical perspective, I think sometimes Lewis claims more than he's proven. For example, I believe in right and wrong, and I believe him that it shows the existence of God. Also, that everyone, if they really think about it, can figure it out. But I don't think Lewis logically proved that there aren't alternative explanations. Still, the arguments are convincing if not watertight.

Going on a tangent, I feel there's some value in comparing Lewis's theology with that of Mormonism (my being a Mormon and all). There are several differences, but I think the most fundamental is the nature of humanity. In Mormonism, we believe that all people are begotten spirit children of God. Christ has a special status. He was/is perfect. He also had a special role to play, and we refer to him as God in that role. But we believe that the rest of mankind are also spirit children of God, not merely creatures.

However, in our fallen world, and given our fallen natures, much of the same principles apply as Lewis describes. That is, Christ's redemption brings us _back_ into the state of being God's children. The process of that redemption overlaps much with the nature of choice and grace that Lewis describes. Lewis was obviously very inspired in his doctrine, and I agree with a majority of his teachings here.

With the differences being subtle at that level, I've had to think some about what the practical effects of the difference might be. I'm not sure I have a full answer at this point, but it does create a different psychological effect. The world isn't "progressing" in the way Lewis describes. The fall itself was necessary, and the fallen world is part of the experience God wants for us. Also, Christians go back to the beginning of the world. The atonement works retroactively.

Anyway, in all it was a great book, and I'm glad I read it.

View all my reviews.


  1. Just curious: What scriptural support do you reference when you say that all people are spirit-children of God? Will we be like God one day? Will we be gods ourselves? Where is the support for this?

  2. C. S. Lewis himself discusses people becoming like God someday. I'll see if I make time to look up scriptures in the Bible. I'm not here to prove anything, though. Just discussing.

    My comments here were more about the past of humanity more than the future. I tend to agree with Lewis a lot about God's expectations for the future. He claims that his reviewers from various Christian denominations approved of most of his content, too.

  3. I should also note that I agree with Lewis about God seeing all time simultaneously. So, when I speak of time here, I'm just speaking from the human perspective.