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Mere Christianity Paperback – Deckle Edge, April 21, 2015
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“C. S. Lewis understood, like few in the past century, just how deeply faith is both imaginative and rational.” (Christianity Today)
“It is not surprising that Lewis’s time-proven views are still flourishing while most other mid-20th-century works are nearly neglected.” (Wall Street Journal)
From the Back Cover
One of the most popular introductions to Christian faith ever written, Mere Christianity has sold millions of copies worldwide. The book brings together C. S. Lewis's legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times." Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many de-nominations, Lewis provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith. It is a collection of scintillating brilliance that remains strikingly fresh for the modern reader and at the same time confirms C. S. Lewis's reputation as one of the leading writers and thinkers of our age.
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Go buy this classic somewhere else.
- It has NO text justification so that each line is a random length and many lines are a single word (see picture)
- It has NO paragraph spaces, chapter headings, or page numbers
- It has weird text at the start for what appears to be a digital version of the book (see photos)
It looks like someone copied all the text from a webpage, put in a document and just hit "print" without any editing or formatting or anything. DO NOT BUY this version.
The book is horribly formatted: it is missing breaks, indentations, chapter headings, etc. There is no variation in font or type size to distinguish between sections...it looks as though the text were copy-pasted into an editing program (which was not used to edit) and printed.
I have included a couple of photos to illustrate what I am complaining about.
This shabbiness has rendered a classic unreadable. 1 star for the low price only.
For the non-believer, it is a great opportunity to get a bare-bones explanation of everything Christians believe. For the believer, it is a great help in understanding why you believe what you believe. Many Christians, without really realizing it, believe things without knowing why. Lewis's explanation of Christian doctrine from the ground up helps the Christian fill in the blank parts of their theological understanding.
There is not one single day in which an idea from this book doesn't pass through my mind, and I use logic from the book on a regular basis to explain what I believe and why. I would highly recommend this book.
Top international reviews
However, there is a section in the book that I strongly disagree with and which I believe could potentially mislead people, hence the low rating.
In the chapter entitled “The Great Sin” he speaks about “Pride” and mentions this is the “utmost evil” of all vices. He states that sexual immorality, anger, greed, drunkenness’ etc are mere “flea bites” in comparison and I think that this could be a very dangerous statement to make.
To me it comes across that he is suggesting that, compared to pride, all these other sins are nothing. Ergo, if I am caught up in any of these carnal practices, it’s not really a major issue, as long as I’m not puffed up with pride!
I want to focus on “sexual immorality” because I believe that this is up there as one of the greatest sins that displeases God most and I will try to back up my comments based on what we find in Scripture.
Allow me to start with the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians:
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Let us now look to the words of our Saviour, Jesus Christ:
“Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man...”
Matthew 15:19- 20
Again sexual immorality (fornication/adultery) is mentioned.
In this next passage of Scripture Paul mentions that sexual immorality was the one of the reasons why many Israelites lost their lives:
“Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.”
1 Corinthians 10:8
When there was a dispute over whether the believers of the nations should adhere to the Jewish Law or not, the church leaders came to the decision that as long as they were to abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication “ye shall do well”
And, again, sexual immorality (fornication) is mentioned.
In the writings of Jude (A half brother of Jesus) he also speaks of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrha that were destroyed by God because of “fornication” amongst other sins (Jude 1:7)
Revelation 2:14 and 2:20 also mention the sin of fornication/sexual immorality.
The last scripture I’d like to mention is again in Revelation in which God is speaking and warning us about the seriousness of sin and the eternal consequences that will face those who choose to disobey.
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Once again, sexual immorality (whoremongers) is mentioned.
From the scriptures we’ve looked at I think it’s pretty clear that sexual immorality in particular is far from being a “flea bite” of a sin compared to pride. The Bible is literally saturated with warnings against this particular sin.
Now I’m not in any way trying to diminish the sin of pride - Pride is a MAJOR sin which God hates and is perhaps the greatest sin next to that mysterious sin against the Holy Spirit in which there is no forgiveness as Jesus mentioned in Matthew 12:31 - but what I am trying to do is show that sexual immorality is in fact also a very serious sin and one that can cause the wrath of God to be upon us, as is revealed to us in His word.
In summarising I think that Christian authors really need to be more careful with what they publish as they could potentially lead many down the wrong path and cause them to err in a great way.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”
2 Corinthians 13:14
As a teen I was staunchly atheistic and proudly touted my allegiance to the Dawkins' and Hitchens' of the world, yet as the public discourse and political/cultural landscape shifts I, along with many people, have found a new level of patience and understanding with (Anglican?) Christianity.
CS Lewis shows tremendous wisdom and understanding in the manner which he breaks down core Christian tenets such as Charity, Marriage and Faith in such inventive, modern and sensible ways that you can't help but be swept along with the reasoning and depth with which he puts forward his explanations.
With Mere Christianity, Lewis is not looking to promote religion, or faith, but rather gently point out the many ways in which civilisation, emotion and human decency (and it's counter-part) are so fascinatingly intertwined, so no one should avoid this book fearing it to be a chest-thumping propaganda piece for the author's own religious views.
Overall, it's a beautiful book, well worth a read.
For a MUCH more enjoyable, challenging and inspiring Christian apologist may I recommend G K Chesterton's "Orthodoxy"!
I don't fully agree with all of his theology but that is irrelevant. The thought sand passions expressed I. This book are a great starting point for any believer with questions about the subjects covered.
I've been hearing recommendations of this book for a long time. And now that I have read it I understand why. Extremely intelligent, annoyingly honest and beautifully put together by an amazingly imaginative mind.