Thursday, March 31, 2011
Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the most accessible and widely read works defending the rationality of the Christian faith. Originally published in 1952, and based on a series of talks broadcast over radio during World War II, Lewis makes a powerful case for the rightness of the Christian faith, both intellectually and morally. Mere Christianity seeks, as its title suggests, to present Christianity in its simplest and most cogent form. It takes an ecumenical approach in that it presents what Lewis regards as the central elements of the faith, rather than the Catholic interpretation or the Protestant interpretation, and so on. Probably the most memorable image that Lewis presents in this book is that of Christ – an honest examination of the teachings of Christ reveals that He was either liar, lunatic or Lord. The reader is asked to consider using his or her reason whether someone with Christ’s lofty ethical character as demonstrated by both His teachings and His character would be likely to be a liar. Since Christ considered himself Lord (that is, God Himself), could He have been a lunatic (that is, seriously deluded)? Again, Christ’s life and teachings, Lewis believes, indicate that He was very much in control of His faculties and thus not deluded. That leaves only one option (see p. 52 in the chapter “The Shocking Alternative” in the HarperCollins paperback edition published in 2001). Again, Lewis reasons with the reader rather than preaches. He spends much time defending Christian morality and the rationality of the Trinity as well. This book is very well written (Lewis was a professor of English at Oxford University), and many defenders of Christianity to this day refer to Mere Christianity when debating with atheists.
Russell Memorial Library
Posted by librarianry at 5:26 AM