In the act of prayer, a human being assumes the guise of Jesus Christ; with practice and faith, prayer can help human beings become divine by leading them toward salvation in Heaven. In the first part of the book, Lewis discusses the “law of human nature.” When studying human history, he claims, one is struck by how similar different societies’ moral codes are, at least at a fundamental level. In the fourth and final part of the book, Lewis turns to theology, the “science” of God. Mere Christianity Summary. Book 1: Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe Chapter 1: The Law of Human Nature 1. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. We can hate an action but hope that that person can “be cured and made human again” ( 117). Lewis, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Mere Christianity study guide contains a biography of C.S. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. On the contrary, Lewis argues, the only way to truly be an individual and fulfill one’s potential is to worship Jesus Christ. He left us a conscience, he sent the human race “good dreams,” or stories in other religions about a dying god who is resurrected and through this gives new life, and he selected a people group (the Jews) to teach what kind of God he was. There is a cost, and it is often more than we have bargained for. He can take days to write a single scene. He compares the individual to a living house. We must keep trying and failing, and trying again. Thereare six to seven questions for each of the lectures. The Son is a product of the Father, but there was never a time when the Son did not exist. If there is a Mere Christianity SparkNotes, Shmoop guide, or Cliff Notes, you can find a link to each study guide below. Lewis argues for the existence of God, and then proceeds to outline what he believes are the fundamental tenants of Christianity. Looking around the world, it is obvious that good has been corrupted into evil almost everywhere. Christianity is not about mere improvement but about Transformation. Lewis goes on to summarize Christian views on sex—chastity or marriage—and argues that our sexual impulse has deviated from what it ought to be. God gave us desires that can be satisfied, and the fact that we desire something that cannot be had in this world means that there is another world. Mere Christianity Summary. It is how we conclude that, “there is something above and beyond the ordinary facts of men’s behavior, and yet quite definitely real—a real law which none of us made, but we which we find pressing on us” (20). MERE CHRISTIANITY LEADERS NOTES These pages are a summary of C.S. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Considered a classic of Christian apologetics, the transcripts of the broadcasts originally appeared in print as three separate pamphlets: The Case for Christianity (Broadcast Talks in the UK) (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1944). I hope no reader will suppose that "mere" Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions—as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. Lewis's Mere Christianity Chapter Summary. He was arguably one of the intellectual giants and influential writers of the twentieth century. Most groups will choose to cover the entire book in… More is expected of us, but God helps us in ways that others do not. However, that we do have more inside information into mankind, since we are ourselves human, than we would have just by observation. this section. These letters are presented with the expectation that readers have a basic understanding of Christian beliefs, such as the story of the Fall. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 GradeSaver LLC. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. It means that, once you have accepted something on the basis of evidence, you continue to believe it in spite of your changing moods. He also distinguishes it from social convention, arguing that, if all morality were truly subjective, then there would be no sense in arguing that one morality is better or worse than the other. Virtues are not qualifiers for getting into Heaven, but by practicing them they mold individuals into the kind of people God wants, the kind of people who will be happy with the Heaven God has created. Lewis points out that we all know how we ought to behave, and yet we constantly find ourselves doing the opposite. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. One of the most challenging aspects of Christianity, Lewis writes, is faith, especially in the challenging sense of having faith in God’s salvation. But even in their despair, the good Christian will find the strength to carry on, cautiously optimistic—not certain—that God will help them find the way to Heaven. 1. Lewis compares humanity to toy soldiers brought to life, but the difference is that all of humanity is interwoven and we are not so distinct as we believe. Other religious groups, such as Muslims, Jews, and Christians, believe that God created the universe, yet is distinct from it; thus, God is good, and wants humans to work hard to make the universe a better place. The book got published in the year 1952. It is a force that likes goodness, and we know that “if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do” (31). In the second part of the book, Lewis discusses a few competing theories about the all-powerful being’s identity. This Moral Law is not itself an instinct, but it helps us choose which of our instincts to act on. Anonymous "Mere Christianity Summary". God has done three things to help us in our predicament. He points out that, if there is a force behind this Moral Law, is that it is not lenient nor indulgent; it instructs us to do the right thing regardless of how difficult or painful it is. One must acknowledge that there is a Moral Law, and that he has broken it, and that we need to be set right again. The major division are found in the people who believe in God, or some type of god, and those who have no belief system (atheist). He compares this to a mother who wants her children to learn to clean their room on their own. He argues that “Pride leads to every other vice” (122). We could not say that Nazi morality is inherently worse than any other set of morals. In order for there to be any comparison at all, there must be some true or correct morality to compare them to. In Mere Christianity, C.S. But in place of their old personalities, the saved discover their true selves: unique, individual, and yet united in love for God, in much the same way that the different organs of the human body are different from one another, and yet united in the facilitation of life. By becoming human, then, Christ has infected humanity with his Spiritual life. He begins with the premise that a Natural Law must exist, as humans did not invent it, but humans respond to it and cannot escape its influences. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. This is important because God cannot be love unless he contains two or more beings. Mere Christianity Summary Mere Christianity was written by C.S. Of his own qualification to speak on Christianity he said: Lewis, a book recommended to me by my sister. Audio Book Mere Christianity Book 1 Chapter 1 The Law of Human Nature C. S. Lewis A Christian has God in him to make him good. The fact that we are made by someone else for a purpose means we have more duties than if we only belonged to ourselves. Written by people who wish to remain anonymous. There is a division among religions on the nature of God: a Pantheistic notion of a God who is beyond good and evil, and exists in everything in the universe without distinction between good and bad, and a God who created the universe and is very much on the side of good as opposed to evil. At the end of part two, Lewis introduces Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the Christian religion. The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal is a powerful tool to strengthen critical thinking while cultivating a biblical worldview. A good Christian must trust their fate to God, while also working hard to be good. Introductory Study Guide for Mere Christianity Created by: Liz Evershed, C.S. The rule … The third Theological virtue is Faith. Lewis also defends the institution of marriage. It is unique in that it is not carried out by sexual reproduction, it contains an element of choice, it originates from Christ and is passed on by “good infection,” it has happened relatively quickly compared to other evolutionary advances, and finally, the stakes are much higher. In the Christian view there is an evolutionary “Next Step” that is already at work. We hope this study program provides you with greater understand-ing as you explore Lewis’s timeless book. Lewis argues for the existence of God, and then proceeds to outline what he believes are the fundamental tenants of Christianity. You can look at my more detailed notes, but this is an overview of the content of Book III of “Mere Christianity”… Chapter 1 – “The Three Parts of Morality” Morality isn’t about interference but our own good “…moral rules are directions for running the human machine. Instant downloads of all 1392 LitChart PDFs (including Mere Christianity). Lewis then explains this in terms of the Trinity, or three-person God. When we act as though we are better than we are, we turn ourselves into people who are better. C.S. Not affiliated with Harvard College. Christianity therefore, is both harder and easier than non-Christian life. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. (Mere Christianity must be purchased separately.) In the first part of the book, Lewis discusses the “law of human nature.”. However, the world is not split into fully Christian and fully non-Christian. Next, he examines forgiveness. The Screwtape Lettersis predicated on an eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil. Lewis walks through several theories about how Jesus’s death brings about salvation: that he paid a sort of debt by dying for our sins, or that he taught us how to repent by first doing it himself. He then examines Christian marriage, a promise that must be followed. In Part Three of the book, Lewis studies the life of a good Christian. He distinguishes the Law of Human Nature, or Moral Law, from the herd instinct. You may have heard of her. But one of the miracles of virtue, Lewis claims, is that when we pretend to respect other people, we eventually do respect them. Lewis resolves this apparent contradiction by arguing that God exists outside of time, meaning that he experiences humans’ past, present, and future in the same instant, whereas humans have free will within time as they experience it. This, then, is how we know there is a moral law that we ought to obey even though our behavior alone indicates no such pattern. Lewis discusses the major divisions of belief in God. There is no happiness if we have no choice, so God has made us free to choose, but we use this freedom in a way that is not in accordance with his will. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity Lewis is saying that Jesus had to be who he said he was or else he was a liar or he was crazy/out of his mind. In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis argues for the logical validity of Christianity, defends the religion from its critics, and looks in detail at what the life of a Christian is like. The only alterations he made to his original spoken words were minor stylistic changes to fit it to the medium of writing and minor alterations in the content, reflecting audience feedback or his own evolved … The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal sold through Homeschool Adventure Co., is a wonderful tool to strengthen critical thinking while building a biblical worldview. However, in Christianity, evil isn’t equal to good—evil is “spoiled good”; i.e., the perversion or corruption of goodness. After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. All virtues uphold the three parts of morality, and all sins contradict at least one of these parts. Digital Transformation @lockheedmartin | UMUC | Professor | Published 1st Cloud Computing Dissertation #ai #quantum#blockchain #digital RSS Feed Lewis points out that, between the two commonly held views of the universe—the materialist view and the religious view—neither can be proven or disproven by science. In Book III, Lewis outlines the three parts of morality. If we find, then, inside ourselves a law that we did not create, then there must be some sort of power that exists above and outside of us. However, this can never be successful: we are created to run on God Himself, and there is no happiness outside of him. You find that “you thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. This does not mean believing something in spite of evidence. She does not make them, and it remains dirty, and although this is against her will it is also her will for them to choose on their own that has made it possible. Mere Christianity, by Clive Staples (“C. This is like free will. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Mere Christianity. Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland on November 29, 1898. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. Lewis goes on to write that, by worshipping Christ, humans can transcend their mortal nature and experience the divine life of Christ himself; put another way, by worshipping Christ, they, too, can become “sons of God.” Good Christians unite together in their love for God—and yet they don’t sacrifice their individuality in doing so. Since he claimed to be God, we have only three options: he is a lunatic, he is evil and a liar, or he is God. None of us, he argues, would probably like a fully Christian society, since we have all departed from God’s plan in some way. There are seven virtues in Christianity. Search all of SparkNotes Search. Jesus is begotten, and we are made; we are like statues, not sons, but through Christ we are brought to life. In Book IV, Lewis says that Theology is like a map. All our attempts at the Christian virtues will ultimately fail. A companion to Lewis’s classic work, the Journal can be used for independent study with teenagers or adults, or as a group study in families, homeschools, co-ops, classrooms, Sunday school, and small groups. Mere Christianity. Mere Christianity is a 1952 theological book by C. S. Lewis, adapted from a series of BBC radio talks made between 1941 and 1944, while Lewis was at Oxford during the Second World War. Four are “Cardinal virtues,” recognized by all civilized people, and three are “Theological virtues,” recognized specifically by Christians. It can be applied to any society. He calls our fundamental and universal understanding of fairness, or right and wrong, “The Law of Human Nature,” distinguishing it from other natural laws (such as gravity) by the fact that humans can choose whether or not to obey it. The second is Hope, looking forward to the eternal world. GradeSaver, 25 June 2017 Web. Many people who think of morality just focus on fair play. God, who is all-powerful, casts them out … However, the only way for an atheist to criticize the Christian model of God would be to appeal to some standard for “just” and “unjust”—i.e., the same standard that led us to accept the existence of God in Part One. What is the problem in ingnoring the other two parts of morality. However, he does not believe that sexual sins are the worst; the worst are the ones that are “purely spiritual” such as hatred, since their effect on the soul is worse. Modern society, he insists, is overrun with sex and sexuality, to the point where people think that having lots of sex is “normal” and “healthy.” Lewis, however, argues that the sexual instinct—like any instinct—must be controlled and subdued. These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. We should not approach Christianity to find support for our beliefs, we should approach it to find out what to believe. When Lewis was a much younger man, he found it impossible to believe in a just God who would allow Earth to become a sad, unjust place. Ultimately, Lewis explains, we must give ourselves over to Christ completely in order to both become like him and to fully become ourselves. It does not, he argues, really matter what one believes about how it works; we must simply know that it does work, though Lewis seems to advocate more for the latter—that Jesus taught us by example how to repent. Lewis argues that pride is the most dangerous of all sins, since it encourages humans to place themselves “above God.” He suggests that many people who consider themselves to be good Christians actually worship a “false God,” and secretly think themselves to be superior to everyone else—a state of mind that will lead them to damnation unless they’re careful. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. He is within us and beside us as he brings us toward him. Lewis goes on to argue that God is beyond and outside of time. Lewis briefly discusses the four “Cardinal virtues”—prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude, and explains why they’re necessary for living morally. An editor While it’s popular to say that “being in love” is the only reason to get married, Lewis argues that being married is actually much more beautiful and majestic than being in love—a married couple must remain together for a lifetime, demonstrating their loyalty and respect for one another as human beings, rather than just following their emotions. By pretending, we make it a reality. He distinguishes between making and begetting and between biological life, or Bios, and spiritual life, or Zoe. First heard as informal radio broadcasts and then published as three separate books – The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality – Mere Christianity brings together what Lewis saw as the fundamental truths of the religion. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. How then, can the state of the world be against God’s will, if God has absolute power? This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Lewis then discusses what he calls the “worst sin” which is pride, the opposite of humility. These forces are represented by the opposing camps of Heaven and Hell, God and Satan, angels and devils. Lewis then attempts to resolve the apparent contradiction in the existence of a good God who allows evil things to happen by arguing that God gives people the gift of free will: they face the challenge of behaving virtuously in spite of the temptations of evil—a challenge for which they will be richly rewarded in Heaven. This complex notion is where theology began. Lewis was invited to give the talks by James Welch, the BBC Director of Reli… They know the Law of Nature; they break it. He intends to come and live in it Himself” (205). Charity is a challenging virtue, because it requires humans to be gracious and generous to people they might not necessarily like. Christ-life does not make us perfect, but enables us to repair ourselves each time we fall. In becoming what Lewis calls “little Christs,” there is an element of pretending. Lewis Foundation Intern 2000-01 Introduction Mere Christianity is possibly Lewis’ most frequently read work, and was originally given as a series of broadcast talks during the Second World War. SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. C.S. At the end of the first chapter in Mere Christianity, Lewis lays out the scope of his argument: "First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. We can hate what a person does without hating them, which we do for ourselves all the time. Simply put Transcendentalism is a philosophy that asserts the spiritual and romantic world over the material and empirical world. Find summaries for every chapter, including a Mere Christianity Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. The way the content is organized, “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. This, he argues, is likely where evil came from in the first place. To love one’s neighbor is to wish him good, not to feel fond of him or to say nice things that are untrue. The only way to be truly virtuous, Lewis argues, is to worship Christ. She’s kind of a big deal. So today we offer an excellent summary of his important and very popular apologetic work, Mere Christianity. Until nineteen fifty-four he was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University. The first theological virtues is Charity, which is essentially love—though Lewis points out that love does not mean feeling a certain way but acting a certain way. This 69-page guide for “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 33 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. He acknowledges, however, the apparent irony in that not all Christians are nice than non-Christians. The notes have been summarized so that a group or discussion leader can lead one chapter per meeting, or the chapters can be grouped together to cover multiple chapters per meeting. Mere Christianity is a book by author C. S. Lewis who is best known for the series “Chronicles of Narnia.” Lewis was raised in Christianity but became an atheist at 15 years. About the Author C. S. Lewis was one of the most influential writers of Christian literature in the 20 th Century. Though Lewis himself is best known for his children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity is likely Lewis’s most famous work of Christian apologetics—a genre dedicated to addressing various critiques of Christian theology. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. Pantheists believe that God is the universe, meaning that everything in the material universe is divine. The latter, which is the Christian view, acknowledges that the world is not as it should be, which raises the question: “If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong?” He agues, though, that so long as we have any notion of “just” and “unjust,” there must exist some standard of “just” to compare it to, bringing him back to a firm belief in God, without whom words like “right” and “wrong” would be meaningless. To begin with, Lewis proposes that morality consists of three different parts: harmony between people, harmony within a person, and constant vigilance in achieving a state of salvation. When the feeling of being in love fades, it is replaced by a deeper, quieter love. Lewis explains this through the metaphors of a fleet of ships and of a musical band. Lewis spends time defending the most unpopular aspect of Christian morality—the notion of chastity. He compares this to a writer writing a novel; though the novel’s events are bound by time, the writer is not. It is not acceptable to break a promise when the feelings go away. In Heaven, people lose their desires for earthly things, and thus, the basic components of their so-called “personalities” on Earth. We are the instruments through which we see God, but if our instruments are not kept well, we see a distorted version of God. Lewis argues that moral law isn’t just an arbitrary human invention—it’s actually a real, timeless thing—invented by an all-powerful being who stands outside the confines of material space and time, and reveals itself to humans through moral law. Lewis's preface explains what Mere Christianity is and what it attempts to do. Furthermore, we ought not to compare a Christian to another non-Christian, but to the person they would be if they were not Christian. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Non-conformists by focusing on a “mere” Christianity. Lewis's Mere Christianity is mainly an argument that no matter what denomination of Christianity one belonged to, the umbrella of "Christian" was broad enough to include them, and we should behave like a family, not as rival armies. C.S. Our natural temperament is not so much within our control and not so important as our choices, and whether we give ourselves and our raw material to God. Lewis discusses the overlap between Christianity and psychoanalysis. It is not God, but it points us to God. Mere Christianity Book 3, Chapters 1-4 Summary & Analysis ... Book 3, Chapter 1 Summary: "The Three Parts of Morality" Lewis begins by noting several overly simplistic ideas about morality—for example, that it is primarily something meant to interfere with people’s lives rather than to help them. We cannot, however, pick and choose. These three beings are at play in the world and in every Christian as we become “little Christs,” which Lewis tells us is the sole purpose of Christianity. They are appealing to some kind of standard of behavior they expect the other person to know. Lewis argues against Dualism, the notion that good and evil are two independent forces that are at war in the universe. Lewis also tackles the apparent contradiction of an all-knowing God who gives humans the gift of free will—one would think that, if God knows everything, then humans don’t truly choose their fates at all. He analyzes the Holy Trinity, and the strange-sounding idea that God is both one thing and three. God comes in and begins to make improvements and at first you understand what he is fixing, but then he begins to knock things down that seem to be destructive. Each choice brings us closer or farther from the person God intended. Lewis’s forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. “Mere Christianity is C.S. In short, Lewis argues, one must sacrifice one’s earthly needs and desires in order to be a Christian—but as a reward, one will find Christ, and rejoice in Heaven for eternity. Christians also believe in the existence of an ultimate evil, the Devil. Mere Christianity Summary Mere Christianity was written by C.S. Lewis points out that reality is usually complicated and not what a person could have guessed, and notes that this is one of the reasons he himself believes Christianity. Suggestions Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis). An Inspector Calls Othello The Odyssey The Picture of Dorian Gray To Kill a Mockingbird. Atheism, therefore, is too simple, as is what Lewis calls “Christianity-and-water” which is a belief that there is a God and everything is good, leaving out the dark parts of theology. This, he argues, is where one must arrive before one can except Christianity. 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