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Page history last edited by perrinatisha 9 years, 3 months ago

Perrin Atisha

Wayne State University

Mere Christianity by Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis

 

 

     In this world there are many religions and many people who are against these religions. Everyone believes in something whether it’s a superior being or god or even a certain prophet or master. In this day and age it is hard to know what the “true religion” is. It is difficult to understand and put together everyone’s beliefs into one way of thinking, but that is what makes us unique, for if everyone believed in one thing this world would not be interesting and we would not be as knowledgeable. In C.S. Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity, he uses many rhetorical strategies such as pathos, logos, and ethos to argue that indeed there is a God and he explains through these strategies the beliefs of Christians and the Christian behavior that we must all attend to.

 

            Lewis starts off his book by explaining that he is not writing this to offend anyone. He uses an analogy before delving into the book; he explains that life is like everyone in a big room. This room has many doors and everyone will not be choosing the same door, so we must not become angry or hostile to these people who choose a different door than us. We have to be kind to those who do not walk into the door that we walk into, we have to pray for them, and we have to love them. To analyze this, Lewis is explaining these doors as different religions, cultures, and sects. Not everyone is going to be Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. People are different, everyone believes in something different. This does not mean we must hate those with different views or beliefs than us; all we can do is pray and show them love that our Christian God has shown us. Lewis is correct, he is trying to show that he is not writing this book to offend anyone and he is not sitting here saying that if you are not Christian then you will burn in hell. The keyword is love and he explains this later in the book.

 

            Christianity in general: Lewis places a strong emphasis on what it means to be a “true” Christian. This is the general subject. The subject of Christianity brings forth many controversial topics such as: is there a God, what does it mean to be good, and is Christianity the true religion? I personally relate to this subject because I myself am Catholic. I live my live for my religion and my God. Lewis does not talk for Catholicism but he also does not talk against it. He does the same with Islam and Judaism. He is neutral and that is what makes this book interesting to read. He analyzes different religions and brings them all back to how Christianity is a great religion and way of living.

 

            Doing good for the reward: Lewis’ does not write to persuade people to be Christian. He writes to explain, to inform, and to motivate those about what it means to be Christian. He used humor and sarcasm. Talking about morality he explains, “People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, ‘If you keep a lot of rules I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.’ I do no think that is the best way of looking at morality” (92). This gives a valid point that we should not just do good because there is a reward at the end of the tunnel and we should not just avoid evil because we are scared of what will happen. We should do good because we want to do good, we should stay away from evil because we know it is bad. For example, we should not murder someone because we should know that that person’s life is valuable and they mean something to this world. To me this was rather sarcastic and humorous because he looks at Christianity and points out the flaws and tries to change them around to make them more comprehendible. He grabs the reader’s attention by using these strategies.

 

     The Mark: Throughout the book Lewis gives examples and a deeper view of thinking of certain Christian beliefs. Sin is a large factor in the Christian religion. As Lewis said previously, we should do good because we want to do good not because we expect a reward. So now this brings us to the point of what if we do bad? Lewis says, “What Christians are always thinking about is the mark which the sin or action leaves on that tiny central self which no one sees in this life but which each of us will endure” (93). Lewis is explaining that yes sin is wrong but it’s the mark that matters. When you kill someone you are going to leave a mark on that persons family and friends. You are not only affecting the person you killed but also all those that are in that person’s life. If you gossip about someone it’s not just a sin because you are judging and talking bad but because when that person finds out how do you think they are going to feel? This is what Lewis is talking about, sin is bad but it’s the mark. He goes on to explain, “Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either” (93). What does this mean? Truly good people will not be prideful and say they don’t sin, good people will know they sin, they will confess to it, and they will know the difference.

 

     Hypocrite: This is a topic that is on everyone’s mind and is a big controversy throughout religions. Lewis talks about how some people look at Christianity as a burden and how they look at sex as “bad”. Sex is not bad, sex is beautiful but it needs to be used in the right way. He goes on to explain that we should not look down on people who fall into the temptation of sex before marriage and prostitution. “A cold self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell then a prostitute” (Lewis 103). WOW, what an amazing point but this brings much anger towards Christians and why some oppose his book. Some might say, ‘How can you say a sinner, a slut, is closer then a man who goes to church.’ This is how…a man who goes to church but is rude, angry, and negative is not living by what God teaches. He should know better than to act that way, but a prostitute who is selling herself on the streets to probably provide for herself and her family does not know any better. So this man is a hypocrite because if he is sitting and praising his God and learning about God’s love then why isn’t he showing it? Practice what you preach.

 

     This book brings up great points and some people do not agree with them because how absurd they may sound. But Lewis speaks of the truth. He speaks about Christianity as if he isn’t Christian himself. In fact, he does not explain what religion he is apart of at all, he only explains that he was once atheist but now he has found God. I would recommend this book to all people from all religions because Christians tend to put up a front that they are better than everyone but Lewis tries to shut those people down and tries to show the true side of Christianity, the loving side, the side preached by Jesus Christ himself, the mere Christianity.  

 

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