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Revision as of 11:28, 23 November 2006
A book written by C.S. Lewis and publish in 1952 that comprises Lewis ideas about a basic Christian philosophy that everyone can agree upon. The ideas for the book came from a series of radio talks he gave during WWII. These talks were subsequently published in books Broadcast Talks (1942), Christian Behavior (1943), Beyond Personality (1944). Mere Christianity compiled those ideas into one book that Lewis edited the content to better reflect the Lewis's understand of Christian doctrine.
Mere Christianity is divided into four book sections and then into chapters. The arguments are broken up into the same structure for easy reference.
Lewis's Motives for Writing the Book
- Lewis wanted to stop divisive discussion about "high Theology or even ecclesiastical history" with non-Christians because "the discussions of those disputed points has no tendency at all to bring an outsider into the Christian fold" (Mere Christianity, Prefax viii).
- Lewis made an analogy of equating Christianity to a building: "['Mere' Christianity] is more lake a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. [...] The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms [...] is, I think, preferable" (Preface xv).
- Mere Christianity -- core values and teachings of Christianity that all denominations can agree upon
- Law of (Human) Nature -- (need a definition)
Book 1 - Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe
Chapter 1 - The Law of Human Nature
Law of Human Nature encompasses human behavior and moral codes. Lewis identifies that people have freewill to obey or disobey this "law." Also, Lewis identifies a "standard of behavior that everyone expects one another to follow.
Chapter 2 - Some Objections
In Chapter 1, Lewis describes the Law of Human Nature. Sometimes, he refers to it as the Law of Nature, which make the first chapter confusing. Some people believe Lewis is talking about scientific laws such as Physics and Biology. This chapter is his rebuttal.
Chapter 3 - The Reality of the Law
Chapter 4 - What Lies Behind the Law
Chapter 5 - We have cause to be Uneasy
From the agruments given, Lewis concludes there is a creator.
Book 2 - What Christians Beleive
Chapter 1 - The Rival Conceptions Of God
Chapter 2 - The Invasion
Chapter 3 - The Shocking Alternative
Lewis presents the most famous argument of the book, the Liar, Lunatic or Lord "trilema" located at the end of the chapter.
Chapter 4 - The Perfect Penitent
Chapter 5 - The Practical Conclusion
Book 3 - Christian Behavior
Book 4 - Beyond Personality: or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity