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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic from Lewis - Arguably his best
Personally, I think that this book is a classic from Lewis. His style of writing is fantastic and enables those with a range of intellects to understand his theories. His clear, succinct style, which raises important issues relating to the misconceptions of Christianity, is admirable and incites thought and philosophy. Furthermore, his use of the English language is...
Published on 18 Nov 2003 by Al

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well reasoned but tedious to read
This book is generally considered a classic of christian litrature. I found what Lewis has to say as well argued and certainly both interesting and useful to find someone who has obviously given considerable thought to christianity and can logically argue with natual reasoning rather than simply repeating accepted christian dogma. Presumably it was through such...
Published on 26 May 2012 by Vet with a mission


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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic from Lewis - Arguably his best, 18 Nov 2003
Personally, I think that this book is a classic from Lewis. His style of writing is fantastic and enables those with a range of intellects to understand his theories. His clear, succinct style, which raises important issues relating to the misconceptions of Christianity, is admirable and incites thought and philosophy. Furthermore, his use of the English language is gripping and fluid.
For Christians, I would say that this book is a must-buy. It helps to edify the case supporting Christ and raises thought provoking issues that any Christian should think about. It is a brilliant book that serves to stimulate Christian thought as to the real identity of Christ and other pertinent issues regarding morality and much more.
For non-Christians, I can understand if some do not like this book. However, in my opinion, Mere Christianity steers a balanced approach to Christianity which serves the non-Christian just as much, arguably more than, as the Christian. If people are interested in seeking further clarity as to the identity of their own moral being, God and Christ, with an open mind - this book is fantastic for such readers. Moreover, I think that this book is suited to those who 'believe in God' but in reality such an proposition does not change their life the slightest, nor do they know anything about their God.
I highly recommend this book for everyone who intends to broaden their mind if nothing else. However, I would confidently presume that the high majority of readers would be more than satisfied with this read. One of Lewis' best!!
Enjoy!!!!
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended!, 23 May 2006
By 
T. P. Ang (Singapore) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is probably one of Lewis's most famous and oft-quoted works, and for good reason. It is an honest and intelligent - not to mention brilliantly written - examination of the many facets of the Christian faith and human nature: the existence of and belief in God, the Trinity, faith, love, pride, morality etc. Although written during World War Two, the subjects explored still resonate powerfully with contemporary concerns.

I found the opening chapters particularly helpful in presenting a well-argued case for the rational foundations of Christianity, or at least belief in the existence of God. It offers a challenge to Christians to question the intellectual grounds for their faith, and the reassurance that sufficient answers can be found. Non-Christians looking to investigate the rational basis of Christianity, or of religion in general, will also find this an accessible and thought-provoking read.

The book is also an ideal place to start for anyone thinking to dip into the non-fiction works of C. S. Lewis. No book in my opinion gives the reader a better first taste of the prolific author's delicious prose, keen intellect and razor-sharp wit.

I cannot recommend this book more. For the Christian, for the non-Christian, and for the fan of `good books': this is a must-read!
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended!, 19 May 2006
By 
T. P. Ang (Singapore) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mere Christianity (Paperback)
This is probably one of Lewis's most famous and oft-quoted works, and for good reason. It is an honest and intelligent - not to mention brilliantly written - examination of the many facets of the Christian faith and human nature: the existence of and belief in God, the Trinity, faith, love, pride, morality etc. Although written during World War Two, the subjects explored still resonate powerfully with contemporary concerns.

I found the opening chapters particularly helpful in presenting a well-argued case for the rational foundations of Christianity, or at least belief in the existence of God. It offers a challenge to Christians to question the intellectual grounds for their faith, and the reassurance that sufficient answers can be found. Non-Christians looking to investigate the rational basis of Christianity, or of religion in general, will also find this an accessible and thought-provoking read.

The book is also an ideal place to start for anyone thinking to dip into the non-fiction works of C. S. Lewis. No book in my opinion gives the reader a better first taste of the prolific author's delicious prose, keen intellect and razor-sharp wit.

I cannot recommend this book more. For the Christian, for the non-Christian, and for the fan of `good books': this is a must-read!
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving and thought-provoking, 5 Jan 2005
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
In the foreword it is explained that this book is not one of philosophical musings but a work of oral literature addressed to a people at war. It was originally broadcast by the BBC from 1942 to 1944, hence the gripping metaphors like the image of the earth as enemy-occupied territory. Mere Christianity is a book of plain but moving language.
In Book One: Right and Wrong As a Clue To the Meaning Of The Universe, Lewis looks at the law of human nature (inherent knowledge of right and wrong), certain objections, the reality of the law and that which lies behind the law. Here he discusses the materialist, the life-force and the religious views of life.
Book Two is a discussion on what Christians believe, in terms of the aforementioned occupied territory, a coming invasion, the penitent, and the practical conclusion. This section also deals with pantheism, dualism, free will, the divinity of Christ and God's intentions with the world.
Book Three investigates Christian behaviour, in terms of the cardinal virtues, social and personal morality, morality and psychology, marriage, forgiveness, the great sin (narcissistic pride; in this regard, please also read People Of The Lie by M Scott Peck), and what charity, hope and faith really mean.
Book 4 is a captivating explanation of the doctrine of the trinity. I found this part very interesting and sometimes deeply moving. Lewis speculates on the nature of time, the nature of man and the nature of God, as the Father the source, the Son an emanation of the source and the Holy Spirit as the spirit of love between Father and Son. Lewis explains what he thinks is the process whereby the individual receives a higher nature. This change in consciousness (infusion of the Holy Spirit) leads to a transcendence of the mortal nature by transforming the individual into a child of the divine.
He argues convincingly for personalities in God and God as the ultimate personality. I found this very illuminating, also in light of having recently read the books by Deborah Whitehouse and Alan Anderson on Process New Thought, especially their view of the personhood of God and panentheism as it emerges from the work of Alfred North Whitehead.
Mere Christianity is a most memorable work that expresses ideas that are relevant to our times. It is a very refreshing expression of a personal Christian belief system that could serve as a strong antidote to the dictatorship of dogma or the staid boredom often associated with 20th century religion in the West. Deeply illuminating, I am sure Lewis' words make many people reconsider many ideas that they had taken for granted.
I am not sure how close Lewis came to the truth in every respect, but much in his vision is inspiring, noble and infused with a sense of logic and common sense. Lewis' writing has an uplifting effect on the spirit. I recommend Mere Christianity to all people of faith and those in search of meaning. One might not ultimately agree with everything, but the ideas expressed here certainly make you think.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An appeal to the reason rather than the to the emotions, 16 April 2002
By A Customer
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This review is from: Mere Christianity (Paperback)
Lewis takes the reader on a step by step logical journey to Christianity. He does not say that you can reason your way into the kingdom of heaven, but accepts that it is our response of faith to God's grace that is the key to salvation. However,whilst many writers appeal to the emotions eg Look at what Christ did for you, Lewis appeals to the intellect. By giving us reasons to believe he shores up rather than minimises our faith. I particularly like his lack of arrogance exemplified in his offering of ideas for our consideration. He acknowledges that although they may have helped him they may not help others, and if they do not help you, you can discard them without incurring his disapproval. In fact, a lack of disapproval is one of the book's most attractive features. He encourages us to paint a bigger picture of God and not seek to contain him within our senses and personal experiences. I like his 'lowest common denominator' approach to the fundamentals of Christian discipleship and his resistance to denominational squabbles. He discusses only those things about which all the mainstream Christian churches agree. Within the Church of England, Lewis says that he is not particularly low nor particularly high. He treats his reader as a friend of equal intellect to whom he is offering help with a knotty problem. He comes across as very much one of us and has the knack of explaining coherently are own half formed thoughts which is very reassuring. I found this an interesting and enjoyable read during a difficult time on my Christian journey, and I hope it can do the same for you.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merely wonderful..., 9 Feb 2004
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
C.S. Lewis was a rare individual. One of the few non-clerics to be recognised as a theologian by the Anglican church, he put forth the case for Christianity in general in ways that many Christians beyond the Anglican world can accept, and a clear description for non-Christians of what Christian faith and practice should be. Indeed, Lewis says in his introduction that this text (or indeed, hardly any other he produced) will help in deciding between Christian denominations. While he describes himself as a 'very ordinary layman' in the Church of England, he looks to the broader picture of Christianity, particularly for those who have little or no background. The discussion of division points rarely wins a convert, Lewis observed, and so he leaves the issues of ecclesiology and high theology differences to 'experts'. Lewis is of course selling himself short in this regard, but it helps to reinforce his point.
The book looks at beliefs, both from a 'natural' standpoint as well as a scripture/tradition/reason standpoint. Lewis looks both at belief and unbelief - for example, he states that Christians do not have to see other religions of the world as thoroughly wrong; on the other hand, to be an atheist requires (in Lewis' estimation) that one view religions, all religions, as founded on a mistake. Lewis probably surprised his listeners by starting a statement, 'When I was an atheist...' Lewis is a late-comer to Christianity (most Anglicans in England were cradle-Anglicans). Thus Lewis can speak with the authority of one having deliberately chosen and found Christianity, rather than one who by accident of birth never knew any other (although the case can be made that Lewis was certainly raised in a culture dominated by Christendom).
Lewis also looks at practice - here we are not talking about liturgical niceties or even general church-y practices, but rather the broad strokes of Christian practice - issues of morality, forgiveness, charity, hope and faith. Faith actually has two chapters - one in the more common use of system of belief, but the other in a more subtle, spiritual way. Lewis states in the second chapter that should readers get lost, they should just skip the chapter - while many parts of Christianity will be accessible and intelligible to non-Christians, some things cannot be understood from the outside. This is the 'leave it to God' sense of faith, that is in many ways more of a gift or grace from God than a skill to be developed.
Finally, Lewis looks at personality, not just in the sense of our individual personality, but our status as persons and of God's own personality. Lewis' conclusion that there is no true personality apart from God's is somewhat disquieting; Lewis contrasts Christianity with itself in saying that it is both easy and hard at the same time. Lewis looks for the 'new man' to be a creature in complete submission and abandonment to God. This is a turn both easy and difficult.
'Mere Christianity' was originally a series of radio talks, published as three separate books - 'The Case for Christianity', 'Christian Behaviour', and 'Beyond Personality'. This book brings together all three texts. Lewis' style is witty and engaging, the kind of writing that indeed lives to be read aloud. Lewis debates whether or not it was a good idea to leave the oral-language aspects in the written text (given that the tools for emphasis in written language are different); I think the correct choice was made.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your questions answered...., 9 Jan 2004
By A Customer
I believe many people claim that this was the book that helped them to become Christian, and for those setting out on the path to spirituality you would be hard put to find a more intelligent and sympathetic guide. Written originally as a series of talks for radio, CS Lewis simply and clearly builds the case for the existence of God, the reality of Jesus Christ and the meaning of being a Christian. I found this book deeply thought-provoking, beautifully argued and tremendously rewarding. I recommend it to you wholeheartedly.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mere Genius, 9 Jan 2006
This review is from: Mere Christianity (Paperback)
Personally, I think that this book is a classic from Lewis. His style of writing is fantastic and enables those with a range of intellects to understand his theories. His clear, succinct style, which raises important issues relating to the misconceptions of Christianity, is admirable and incites thought and philosophy. Furthermore, his use of the English language is gripping and fluid.
For Christians, I would say that this book is a must-buy. It helps to edify the case supporting Christ and raises thought provoking issues that any Christian should think about. It is a brilliant book that serves to stimulate Christian thought as to the real identity of Christ and other pertinent issues regarding morality and much more.
For non-Christians, I can understand if some do not like this book. However, in my opinion, Mere Christianity steers a balanced approach to Christianity which serves the non-Christian just as much, arguably more than, as the Christian. If people are interested in seeking further clarity as to the identity of their own moral being, God and Christ, with an open mind - this book is fantastic for such readers. Moreover, I think that this book is suited to those who 'believe in God' but in reality such an proposition does not change their life the slightest, nor do they know anything about their God.
I highly recommend this book for everyone who intends to broaden their mind if nothing else. However, I would confidently presume that the high majority of readers would be more than satisfied with this read. One of Lewis' best!!
Enjoy!!!!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mere Christianity = Mere Genius, 9 Jan 2006
This review is from: Mere Christianity (Hardcover)
Personally, I think that this book is a classic from Lewis. His style of writing is fantastic and enables those with a range of intellects to understand his theories. His clear, succinct style, which raises important issues relating to the misconceptions of Christianity, is admirable and incites thought and philosophy. Furthermore, his use of the English language is gripping and fluid.
For Christians, I would say that this book is a must-buy. It helps to edify the case supporting Christ and raises thought provoking issues that any Christian should think about. It is a brilliant book that serves to stimulate Christian thought as to the real identity of Christ and other pertinent issues regarding morality and much more.
For non-Christians, I can understand if some do not like this book. However, in my opinion, Mere Christianity steers a balanced approach to Christianity which serves the non-Christian just as much, arguably more than, as the Christian. If people are interested in seeking further clarity as to the identity of their own moral being, God and Christ, with an open mind - this book is fantastic for such readers. Moreover, I think that this book is suited to those who 'believe in God' but in reality such an proposition does not change their life the slightest, nor do they know anything about their God.
I highly recommend this book for everyone who intends to broaden their mind if nothing else. However, I would confidently presume that the high majority of readers would be more than satisfied with this read. One of Lewis' best!!
Enjoy!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An ardent, but flawed, defence of Christianity, 1 July 2013
This review is from: Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis Signature Classic) (C. Lewis Signature Classic) (Paperback)
As an atheist, I am always keen to read books that make an impassioned plea for Christianity and religion in general - the atheist literature is so samey (There are only so many ways of saying: 'There is no God, all religions are bad').

The CS Lewis Signature series was recommended by a Christian colleague; and, as he was a professor of English I felt that if anyone could make a compelling argument for Christianity, it would be Lewis.

Overall, I think Lewis excels at the emotional level in his descriptions and gives a very appealing role model in the striving for a Christ-like state of eternal God-ness. It is at the intellectual level that he falters, like so many others. Since Lewis himself was an intellectual I was a little disappointed - but I think this is due to the book being aimed at a mass audience. I am looking forward to reading `Surprised by Joy' and hope to get an insight into the more intellectual transformation that Lewis experienced.

At a more specific level, Lewis tends to caricature the atheist view, often using simplistic scientific analogies. This leads to arguments that lack sophistication and depth of analysis - probably necessary in a book that was aimed at a mass audience.
This is very much a book of the time in which it was written, during and post 2nd World War - hence Lewis believes in an absolute moral code, and a `God is on our side' view of world, as applied to Nazism.

Lewis is best when he writes at the personal emotive level - e.g. Jesus is by our side when we pray. I can see how arguments based around us striving to be Christ-like and live forever would be very compelling. However, he does get himself tied in knots - mostly when he is attempting to argue with rationalists on their own ground, hence the scientific analogies. Hence, we have a neat answer as to how God can hear millions of prayers simultaneously, but Lewis is silent on why God only answers a few of them.

Lewis' arguments are sometimes self-contradictory - e.g. God is not bound by time and so sees every moment simultaneously, but for us to have free-choice, God is a passive observer and does not know what we will do next. So we are bound by time, God does not know what we will do next, so therefore he is bound by time. In fact, Lewis does veer between a passive and an active God.

I was also struck by the last chapter. Here, Christ could be replaced with The Buddha and it would still make perfect sense. Lewis talks about subsuming our own mundane personalities to that of Christ, so that we can reach a higher state of existence (the next stage in evolution as Lewis amusingly calls it). Christianity does not have the ascetic tradition of Buddhism, but what Lewis is describing is essentially Nirvana. Maybe that's the great attraction of Christianity: the Christ-like state can be achieved without having to give away all our possessions.

Lewis has a neat sleight of hand for the nonsense that is the Holy Trinity involving 3-sided cubes in higher dimensions. So we have God within us, by our side when we are praying and sat at the destination waiting for us to arrive. But we don't get an explanation of why God liked Dick Firkin enough to give him a pleasant personality, but cursed Miss Bates with a bad temper. Only the social engineering view that must all try to be more Christ-like. Although Lewis starts with a attempt at an almost axiomatic derivation of Christianity from the premise of an absolute moral code that must have a supra-human origin, his best writing is when he is appealing at a visceral level, as in the three-person God. Unfortunately, the lofty ideals of convincing the reader (well this reader) by reasoned argument fail.

Nevertheless, I found this a very thought provoking read and I would recommend it, whatever your view of Christianity.
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