- Publisher Probably the 20th century's most influential Christian writer, C.S. Lewis sought to explain and defend the beliefs that nearly all Christians at all times hold in common. His simple yet deeply profound classic---originally delivered as a series of radio broadcasts---is a book to be thoroughly digested by believers and generously shared with skeptics.
- Publisher ^A forceful and accessible discussion of Christian belief that has become one of the most popular introductions to Christianity and one of the most popular of Lewis's books. Uncovers common ground upon which all Christians can stand together.
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About "Mere Christianity"
One of the most popular and beloved introductions to Christian faith ever written Mere Christianity has sold millions of copies worldwide. The book brings together 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 denominations, C. S. 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.
Probably the 20th century's most influential Christian writer, C.S. Lewis sought to explain and defend the beliefs that nearly all Christians at all times hold in common. His simple yet deeply profound classic---originally delivered as a series of radio broadcasts---is a book to be thoroughly digested by believers and generously shared with skeptics.
^A forceful and accessible discussion of Christian belief that has become one of the most popular introductions to Christianity and one of the most popular of Lewis's books. Uncovers common ground upon which all Christians can stand together.
Meet the Author
C S Lewis
C S Lewis (1898 -1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. This Irish-born Oxford and Cambridge academic wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular writings include his seven-part fantasy series for children The Chronicles of Narnia (1956); the science fiction Space Trilogy (1938-1945); the apologetical The Problem of Pain (1940), The Screwtape Letters (1942), Miracles (1947), Mere Christianity (1952), and The Four Loves (1960); and the autobiographical Surprised by Joy (1955) and A Grief Observed (1961). Countless Christian writers, pastors, thinkers and artists have credited C S Lewis as a key influence on their faith journey, and his Narnia books have become classics of children's literature.
Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland on 29 November 1898, the son of Albert James Lewis, a solicitor of Welsh ancestry. Lewis became known as 'Jack' as a young child after he adopted the name of his pet dog who was killed by a car. His mother Flora was the daughter of an Anglican priest, and died when Lewis was just ten. Lewis had one brother, Warren - known affectionately as Warnie - who was three years his senior. The two would remain close friends and creative collaborators throughout Lewis' life. When children, they shared a fascination with humanised animal characters like Beatrix Potter's, and wrote and illustrated stories of an imaginary world they called 'Boxen', run entirely by such fanciful beings.
Lewis' childhood home was full of books, and he became a keen and intrepid reader at an early age. Until his mother's death, Lewis was educated by private tutors, then moved on to a series of boarding schools in both Ireland and England. It was during his time at the last of these, aged 15, that Lewis gave up his childhood Christian faith and became an atheist. It was also at this time that he developed an intense love for ancient Norse legends and the natural world - an aesthetic complex which he called 'Northernness' and associated with the mysterious inner longing of 'joy'. Under the influence of his tutor William Kirkpatrick, Lewis would go on to a deep involvement with ancient Greek literature. Lewis' academic acumen won him a scholarship at Oxford in 1916, but shortly afterward his studies were interrupted by military service in World War I. Lewis was commissioned as a lieutenant in a light infantry regiment and sent to the Western Front in France, where he experienced the horrors of trench warfare, and was wounded by what would now be called 'friendly fire'.
After the war, Lewis resumed his studies at Oxford, and in the years between 1920 and 1923 received firsts in Greek and Latin literature, philosophy, and English. By 1925 he was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Magdalen College, Oxford - a position he would hold for nearly three decades. In 1954, Lewis transferred to Cambridge, where he had been awarded professorship in the new chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature.
In the late 1920s, Lewis' circle of literary friends at Oxford coalesced into a discussion group known as The Inklings, which would meet regularly over about two decades. Members shared an enthusiasm for narrative tales, myths, legends - particularly Norse, Celtic, folkloric and mediaeval material - and fantasy fiction. They would read aloud their own works-in-progress and receive suggestions and criticism from their fellows. Members included J R R Tolkien, Hugo Dyson, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and Warnie Lewis. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Lewis' science fiction novel Out of the Silent Planet were among the material workshopped with The Inklings.
His friend Tolkien's devout Catholic faith decisively influenced Lewis' return to Christianity between 1929 and 1931. The way was prepared also by Lewis' love for the fantastical fiction of Scottish writer and Congregational pastor George MacDonald (1824-1905), as well as G K Chesterton's apologetic work The Everlasting Man (1925). Lewis famously described himself as a stubbornly difficult convert in his spiritual autobiography Surprised By Joy (1955):
"In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England."
As a Christian, Lewis maintained a commitment to the Anglican communion in which he was raised, though he tried to downplay sectarian differences in his apologetic writings, extolling instead the perennial essence of orthodox belief. It was the latter which Lewis presented in his popular work Mere Christianity, adapted from a series of radio talks he made for the BBC from 1942 to 1944, and which has become one of the most influential Christian books of modern times. Lewis' theology was basically Anglican, with an ecumenical breadth shaped by the formative influences of Tolkien's and Chesterton's Catholicism, and the Christian universalism of MacDonald.
Lewis married relatively late in his life at age 57, in unusual circumstances. He had befriended Joy Davidman Gresham - an American intellectual of Jewish background, and a convert, like Lewis, from atheism to Christianity. Joy was trying to remain in the UK with her two sons, having escaped an abusive marriage, and Lewis kindly agreed to a civil union to enable her to stay. Shortly afterward, Joy was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. What had begun as a marriage of convenience between friends became much deeper, and Lewis and Joy obtained a full Christian marriage in 1957. As it turned out, Joy was the love of Lewis' life, and when she died after three years of remission, Lewis experienced a shattering grief from which he never really emerged. Lewis related his profound loss in A Grief Observed, which he published under a pseudonym. The story of Lewis' and Joy's love became the subject of the film and stageplay Shadowlands.
Lewis died of renal failure in 1963, less than an hour before the assassination of John F Kennedy. Lewis is buried at Holy Trinity Church, Headington, the Oxford parish church with which he and his brother Warnie were actively involved from 1930.
Customer Reviews For "Mere Christianity"Write Your Own Review
This book is an eye opener for Christian. C.S. Lewis explained Christianity in a very radical way that I have never thought that before. The ground of Christianity that breaks denomination lines is explained brilliantly in this book. Well written book.
The book was excellent condition and worth the read, although I found many of Lewis' analogies and explanations to be largely unsubstantiated and irrelevant to 21st century christian living. Having said this, however, it was still interesting to read to see what all the 'fuss' was about for this book. There are some great chapters and I got some good insights on some key topics (e.g. Christian marriage), but would recommend reading this book with a grain of salt.
This book by CS Lewis gave me clarity at a time when I was lost and confused about my life. Although it was written 50 years ago the truths in the book are very relevant and timely. this book is not only well written but truly cuts through any questions that skeptics in the Christian faith might raise.
This book builds a ground-level-up argument for not just the existence for God, but for why Christianity is the only religion that adequately makes sense of the universe as we know it. It begins with an exploration of human nature, which is followed by an explanation of what Christians believe, it's morality, and finally a section on the trinity. Although the last section of the book is, biblically, theologically sketchy, it is a great book to give to those who are seriously questioning Christianity, or for Christians who wish to understand God (and themselves) better, and is understandably considered one of the most influential books in Christian literature in the modern era.
I read this book for the first time in my early twenties and I have quoted from it on a regular basis for the last twenty five years. The analogies that CS Lewis uses in this book to help us understand and grapple with fundamental doctrinal concepts are so brilliant that I have never forgotten them and can repeat them to help others who bring up questions with me to this day. While being a book on doctrine, it is incredibly easy to read and absolutely fascinating. I think this is a must read if you haven't read it yet.