8 Weeks With C. S. Lewis: Book 1 of Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity is often regarded as C. S. Lewis’ greatest works. In book one Lewis begins unwrapping this sense of a “Moral Law,” which claims that everyone has, within the core of their being, an understanding of right and wrong. Lewis saw the on coming storm of post modernism and he hated it with a passion. Lewis lived and wrote in a word that was moving on from Christianity into subjectivity and relativism. Lewis hated the lie that all truth is subjective to one’s perspective and ventures to prove that all peoples have at their core being a sense of good and bad.

The moral law is a sense that we have been made with a want to do well toward others and not be selfish. This is not an instilled sense that has been taught to us by our parents, teachers nor friends. What we are taught by the influential people in our lives, is what our culture holds valuable. Like not sagging your pant and looking presentable; or not scraping your teeth on the fork while you’re eating. These are things that our parents and friends teach us, mainly I think, because it annoys them. But, what happens to be offensive in this culture is not in another. For instance, here in America we eat usually something sweet in the morning, like cereal. But in most other countries they treat it as though it’s any other meal for the day. I for one cannot image eating brisket just after waking up, but that is my prerogative.

The moral law goes far beyond that. Lewis is trying to establish that there is deep inside of our beings that we want to be unselfish and mindful of others. There are ways of being unselfish cross-culturally such as not stealing and being generally respectful to others. Why though, do we have this urge to want to do right by others if there in general if, as the postmodernist would say, there is no right and that everything is relative.

Lewis was writing in an time where Christianity had just started seeping its way out of mainstream culture and being passed off as just some people’s opinion or worldview. This is exactly what is happening today in America if not completely already. The problem with this age is not apathy, though that could be a big problem, but the whole notion of the spiritual is gone. Now all we tend to base facts on is what science can prove and science cannot prove anything in the spiritual realm. Therefore the spiritual aspect of all life must not exist at all, and it is much more easier to chalk it up to personal feelings (some go so far as to say delusions).

What the scientific world hasn’t proven to us yet is what love is, why people feel  the need to help someone in distress, why we have a desire to do good when survival of the fittest says we must look after ourselves and how people all across the globe have, with variations here and there, the same set of standard rules as how not to be selfish. And yet after all of this, as Lewis says, “We have not yet got as far as the God of any actual religion, still less the God of that particular religion called Christianity.”

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2 thoughts on “8 Weeks With C. S. Lewis: Book 1 of Mere Christianity

  1. I don’t think you need science to prove anything in order to have a different opinion than Lewis on this. The mere fact that there are or might be universal notions of right or wrong does not have anything to do with spirituality. If anything Lewis shows that you can rationalize just about anything even Morality. Once you can rationalize it you can explain the mechanisms behind morality and then realize that morality exists even amongst animals.

    Why? Because even more universal than morality, all living creatures universally are moved by the desire to live and reproduce as individuals or even more remarkably as a group. Once the chances of survival of an individual with respect to a group are identified… one can quickly derive the “morality” that will prevail. Whether it is a human group or animal. Morality is essentially the group of rules that one buys into which make society function/survive better.

    To see that in action, it sufficient to remark that the less one group or an individual seem to belong to another group, the less morality matters with respect to that group or individual…. we could go on and on. But the point is the following…. Lewis does not help his case, or least does it only on the surface.

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