Friday, February 10, 2012

Mere Christianity

Just finished this book this morning. I have to say, it left me feeling very inspired. I love the way C.S. Lewis approaches Christianity with such beautiful logic. Of course, the reader has to reach certain points of agreement for that logic to work, but that is expected and necessary with any "logical" argument for religion. 

Already being a Christian, the book didn't do a lot of convincing. It didn't really have to. What it did offer, were some really excellent perspectives on Christian doctrine in ways that I hadn't really thought about it before. And behind all the commandments, ritual, and doctrineextracting the real essence of Christianity. The whys behind it all, I suppose. I can't say that I agreed with all of his points, but in all honestly, probably about 97.9% or somewhere around there. 

a few highlights that I especially loved:

+ I love how he takes much of the emphasis in Christianity off whether one is a sinner or not, and instead, focusing on where your heart is. Christianity is about trying to be better every single day, even after you make a mistake, and never giving up that pursuit. It is one's fate to become either a more "heavenly creature" or a more "devilish creature." But that test lies in every individual's own heart.

+ his chapter on pride, entitled "The Great Sin." Ouch! I felt like I took a great spiritual beating here. This is a pretty famous line in there: "A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” 

+  "God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare of reach one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world."

+ “The command be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He [Christ] is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.” 

p.s. it seems like Mormons receive a lot of attacks from other Christians on this concept. Well, i guess we aren't the only ones who believe it! Thanks, Lewis. 

+ I especially loved his exploration of what Christianity has to offer vs. common moralitythe difference between being "nice people" and "new men."

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