Mere Christianity

 

“I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behavior known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities.

 

But this is not true. There have been difference between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching, of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own … for our present purpose, I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to – whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or every one. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.

 

But the most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him, he will be complaining ‘It’s not fair’ before you can say Jack Robinson. A nation may say treaties don’t matter; but, then, next minute, they spoil their case by saying that the particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one. But if treaties do not matter, and if there is no such thing as Right and Wrong – in other words, if there is no Law of Nature – what is the difference between a fair treaty and an unfair one? Have they not let the cat out of the bag and shown that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else?” (5-7).

 

The passage above is excerpted from C. S. Lewis’ acclaimed Mere Christianity. Mere Christianity is a logic-driven, foolproof argument for Christianity and its fundamental doctrines. Lewis first delves into the laws of human nature that guide man’s moral choices before asserting in chapter four, “[there] is a Something which is directing the universe, and which appears in me as a law urging me to do the right thing and making me feel responsible and uncomfortable when I do wrong” (25). Each chapter builds on the preceding one, arriving at well-reasoned conclusions before advancing into theological territory. Mere Christianity is brilliantly written and compellingly argued, inviting believers and nonbelievers alike to take a hard look at the mirror to scrutinize their moral code and question the logic of their belief systems. This book challenges the misconceptions about Christianity, debunks the case for atheism, and builds a rational defense for the existence of God before addressing the three-tiered morality that compromises Christian behavior. Whether you have been a passionate follower of Christ for years or are skeptical about the very idea of God, this book applies to you! Mere Christianity can be purchased at retail bookstores or online.  

 

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity: A Revised and Amplified Edition, with a New Introduction, of the Three Books, Broadcast Talks, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. Print.