Simply put Transcendentalism is a philosophy that asserts the spiritual and romantic world over the material and empirical world. As such, I wanted to share with you my reading of Mere Christianity by C.S. Complete summary of C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. All our attempts at the Christian virtues will ultimately fail. The most shocking part is the appearance of Jesus, who claims to forgive sins. Mere Christianity Summary. Jesus is begotten, and we are made; we are like statues, not sons, but through Christ we are brought to life. He is within us and beside us as he brings us toward him. 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. Lewis’s forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief. Mere Christianity Summary Mere Christianity was written by C.S. 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. So today we offer an excellent summary of his important and very popular apologetic work, Mere Christianity. What is the problem in ingnoring the other two parts of morality. 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. The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal sold through Homeschool Adventure Co., is a wonderful tool to strengthen critical thinking while building a biblical worldview. 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. All virtues uphold the three parts of morality, and all sins contradict at least one of these parts. He distinguishes the Law of Human Nature, or Moral Law, from the herd instinct. By becoming human, then, Christ has infected humanity with his Spiritual life. We are the instruments through which we see God, but if our instruments are not kept well, we see a distorted version of God. God, who is all-powerful, casts them out … 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. It can be applied to any society. We should not approach Christianity to find support for our beliefs, we should approach it to find out what to believe. LitCharts Teacher Editions. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Introductory Study Guide for Mere Christianity Created by: Liz Evershed, C.S. Anonymous "Mere Christianity Summary". The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. 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. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. It analyzes Christianity and gives some of the author`s views on it. He argues that “Pride leads to every other vice” (122). Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland on November 29, 1898. To love one’s neighbor is to wish him good, not to feel fond of him or to say nice things that are untrue. He argues against the notion that we should be free to follow our impulses; no impulse, sexual or otherwise, can be followed freely at all times without restraint. In Book IV, Lewis says that Theology is like a map. In Heaven, people lose their desires for earthly things, and thus, the basic components of their so-called “personalities” on Earth. In order for there to be any comparison at all, there must be some true or correct morality to compare them to. 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. 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. This is like free will. C. S. Lewis defends Christianity by building a logical foundation for belief and constructing an entire theology upon that foundation. 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. Among the summaries and analysis available for Mere Christianity, there are 2 Full Study Guides, 4 Short Summaries and 2 Book Reviews. 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). We hope this study program provides you with greater understand-ing as you explore Lewis’s timeless book. Lewis argues that we must not claim that Jesus was merely a great moral teacher. He compares the individual to a living house. When studying human history, he claims, one is struck by how similar different societies’ moral codes are, at least at a fundamental level. Search all of SparkNotes Search. 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. Christians also believe in the existence of an ultimate evil, the Devil. Lewis spends time defending the most unpopular aspect of Christian morality—the notion of chastity. Book 1: Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe Chapter 1: The Law of Human Nature 1. (Mere Christianity must be purchased separately.) The rule … While there are many different Christian sects that worship Christ in different ways, Lewis argues that they can agree on the basic facts about Christ’s existence, and therefore can all attain salvation. 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). 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. 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. 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. Things can go wrong because we want to be the center, we want to be more than God. By pretending, we make it a reality. We could not say that Nazi morality is inherently worse than any other set of morals. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. He also wrote some delightful books for children and some science fiction, besides many works of literary criticism. More is expected of us, but God helps us in ways that others do not. The Screwtape Lettersis predicated on an eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil. He says that, “wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way” (44). In the second part of the book, Lewis discusses a few competing theories about the all-powerful being’s identity. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. He compares this to a writer writing a novel; though the novel’s events are bound by time, the writer is not. The act of making choices involves what he calls our “raw material” and that is different for every person. Problem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, The Four Loves and the Posthumous Prayer: Letters to Malcolm, are only a few of his best-selling works. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. But one of the miracles of virtue, Lewis claims, is that when we pretend to respect other people, we eventually do respect them. Mere Christianity Summary Mere Christianity was written by C.S. Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis). Lewis’s Mere Christianity. Therefore we cannot judge based on someone’s outward appearance or action; it may be that they have done far more with their raw material than someone who began in much better place and have not made use of it. C.S. 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. You may have heard of her. Lewis also defends the institution of marriage. This, he argues, is a rather ridiculous claim, since he purports to forgive sins made by other men against other men; he is forgiving things in which he has no part. 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. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. If you do not feel love toward someone, act as though you do. Christian morality does not offer details about how to apply its virtues to a particular society at a particular time. He analyzes the Holy Trinity, and the strange-sounding idea that God is both one thing and three. 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. Lewis then discusses what he calls the “worst sin” which is pride, the opposite of humility. He distinguishes between making and begetting and between biological life, or Bios, and spiritual life, or Zoe. This, he argues, is likely where evil came from in the first place. 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. A Christian has God in him to make him good. The way the content is organized, “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. 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. Mere Christianity. Of his own qualification to speak on Christianity he said: We have a duty to forgive our enemies. 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. 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. 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. C.S. He then delves into the notion of a three-person God, which is something that we cannot understand. Lewis briefly discusses the four “Cardinal virtues”—prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude, and explains why they’re necessary for living morally. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. 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. MERE CHRISTIANITY by C.S. 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. 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). Many people who think of morality just focus on fair play. In Mere Christianity, C.S. We can only become perfect when we put ourselves into his hands. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Mere Christianity. 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. 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. Lewis then explains this in terms of the Trinity, or three-person God. 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. Lewis reviewed "In Behalf of the Fool" (1979) It was suggested to the Fool some time ago that C.S. It is not God, but it points us to God. Lewis discusses the overlap between Christianity and psychoanalysis. Read the Study Guide for Mere Christianity…, View Wikipedia Entries for Mere Christianity…. Four are “Cardinal virtues,” recognized by all civilized people, and three are “Theological virtues,” recognized specifically by Christians. 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. In becoming what Lewis calls “little Christs,” there is an element of pretending. He can take days to write a single scene. LitCharts Teacher Editions. 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. 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 … Thereare six to seven questions for each of the lectures. In the Christian view there is an evolutionary “Next Step” that is already at work. C.S. However, the world is not split into fully Christian and fully non-Christian. Ultimately, Lewis explains, we must give ourselves over to Christ completely in order to both become like him and to fully become ourselves. There are seven virtues in Christianity. In Book I, Lewis explores the notion of right and wrong, which he argues is, at its core, an inherently human characteristic that is not, as some would argue, merely a social construct. Not affiliated with Harvard College. At the end of part two, Lewis introduces Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the Christian religion. When the feeling of being in love fades, it is replaced by a deeper, quieter love. 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. Each choice brings us closer or farther from the person God intended. We can hate what a person does without hating them, which we do for ourselves all the time. Lewis was invited to give the talks by James Welch, the BBC Director of Reli… My copy of Mere Christianity is covered in red ink and riddled with dog ears. 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. Instant downloads of all 1392 LitChart PDFs (including Mere Christianity). Mere Christianity – Book I (Summary) July 2, 2017 pilgrim Leave a comment You can look at my more detailed notes , but this is an overview of the content of Book I of “Mere Christianity”… Pantheists believe that God is the universe, meaning that everything in the material universe is divine. The Question and Answer section for Mere Christianity is a great A human must be right with himself, he must be right with those around him, and he must be following a certain purpose. 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. However, that we do have more inside information into mankind, since we are ourselves human, than we would have just by observation. This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Mere Christianity. 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. It means that, once you have accepted something on the basis of evidence, you continue to believe it in spite of your changing moods. When we act as though we are better than we are, we turn ourselves into people who are better. Lewis, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. If there is a Mere Christianity SparkNotes, Shmoop guide, or Cliff Notes, you can find a link to each study guide below. 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. Some religious groups, the Pantheists, believe that the all-powerful being, God, is neither good nor evil. In Book II, Lewis tells us that Christians do not have to believe that all religions are absolutely wrong; some wrong answers, he says, are closer to being correct than others. This complex notion is where theology began. Christianity is not about mere improvement but about Transformation. SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. However, there is a difference between loving one’s neighbor and feeling affection toward them. 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. 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. 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. Charity is a challenging virtue, because it requires humans to be gracious and generous to people they might not necessarily like. 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. There have been objections to his argument over the years, as Larry brought up in the comments on yesterday's post: 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. A good Christian must trust their fate to God, while also working hard to be good. Find summaries for every chapter, including a Mere Christianity Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. 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. Our, "Sooo much more helpful than SparkNotes. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. 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 was born in Belfast, Ireland on November 29, 1898. 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. 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. Lewis's preface explains what Mere Christianity is and what it attempts to do. 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. Mere Christianity was originally published as three texts based on the radio talks he gave between 1942 and 1944. Next, he examines forgiveness. C.S. Lewis explains this through the metaphors of a fleet of ships and of a musical band. None of us, he argues, would probably like a fully Christian society, since we have all departed from God’s plan in some way. Lewis notes here that he is not “within a hundred miles of the God of Christian theology” (25); he has merely arrived at the existence of “Something which is directing the universe” (25) and which seems to urge us toward morality. We must keep trying and failing, and trying again. 1. (including. OTHER SEARCH RESULTS (6) The Screwtape Letters Themes My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, Easy-to-use guides to literature, poetry, literary terms, and more, Super-helpful explanations and citation info for over 30,000 important quotes, Unrestricted access to all 50,000+ pages of our website and mobile app. 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. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. There is, however, a dark power at work in the universe, and the world we live in is “enemy-occupied territory” (46). 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. Lewis goes on to argue that God is beyond and outside of time. He is beyond personality, but he is not impersonal; he is super-personal. We cannot, however, pick and choose. Since Christ is our example, and because we can become like Christ, there is a “Christ-life” that is spread to us in three ways: baptism, belief, and Holy Communion/Mass/The Lord’s Supper. Mere Christianity, by Clive Staples (“C. Evil is, instead, a parasite; it is a defected form of goodness, and cannot exist on its own. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 GradeSaver LLC. He acknowledges, however, the apparent irony in that not all Christians are nice than non-Christians. He then examines Christian marriage, a promise that must be followed. 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. 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. This is important because God cannot be love unless he contains two or more beings. She’s kind of a big deal. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. You can help us out by revising, improving and updating 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). The fact that we are made by someone else for a purpose means we have more duties than if we only belonged to ourselves. There is no other option. After a Christian becomes familiar with obeying the moral law of God, they sometimes reach a point of despair, during which they realize their own sinful nature. Instant downloads of all 1393 LitChart PDFs The third Theological virtue is Faith. 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