“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Clive Staples Lewis, a former atheist who later turned to Christianity, tackled the doctrine of the Christian belief in several informal radio broadcasts during the 1940s.
Originally published as three separate books — The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality — Mere Christianity brings all three books together to discuss several different theories, theologies, and beliefs regarding the Christian faith. Lewis tackles everything from the idea of Intelligent Design to what the Christian faith has to say about sex.
Witty and whimsical are the only two ways I can think to describe C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity–and in general. His atheistic background gives his arguments depth and delivers insight on his personal spiritual journey to finding the Christian faith. Lewis also has a way about him, making the most serious analysis about a particular idea so riveting, while at the same time so humorous that you’ll find yourself questioning what you believe one minute and laughing out loud, alone in your reading nook the next.
Lewis, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest writers of his time. His careful use of language makes this book beautifully well-written (or spoken as a broadcast) as well as personal and easy for any reader to read and understand. Don’t get me wrong–this book is heavy. It requires a great deal of active reading. You’ll often find yourself reading a paragraph, scratching your head, and having to reread it over a couple of times. Not because it is confusing or poorly written, but rather because he introduces concepts you may never have stopped to think about before.
Isn’t that why we read? Yes, sometimes to escape reality, but to learn, to grow, and make us think about the way the world works around us. Lewis is one of the best at this. For this reason, I’m inclined to give Mere Christianity a 5 out of 5 stars.
Seriously, go get it. Go turn some pages. Go grow.