Analysis of the Concept Brought by C. S. Lewis in His Novel Mere Christianity
In Book 1, Chapter 1 the main topic is that of the idea of the Law of Nature, or the Law of right and wrong. The idea that there is a preset moral code present in every human. The start of the chapter states that people often appeal to this idea of a set moral standard in an argument to state why the other person should submit to their idea. Later in the chapter Lewis talks about the idea that the moral code is used in every human by comparing different countries moral codes and stating that they are all generally similar.
In Book 1, Chapter 2 Lewis goes further into the topic of morality. He forms the argument that states that morality is not an instinct but rather its separate from it. He states that there are several reasons for this. First instincts are not always moral, there are some instincts that go against morality. Second, if morality was an instinct then other instincts would your weight it such as the instinct to protect oneself. For example, if someone called for help but it would put you in danger your instinct to protect yourself would outweigh the instinct of morality.
In Book 1, Chapter 3 Lewis describes that the Law of Nature is not a way for others to avoid harm. In the chapter he shows an example of a man trying to trip him and failing to show that he would get angry even if he did not fall. This to show the example that the Law of Nature is not just a binary what harms and what does not harm. A society may want that to be true because then the society benefits as a whole, but Lewis argues that the idea is similar but not the same.
In Book 1, Chapter 4 Lewis describes the two ways to view the universe, the scientific and religious ways. The scientific view of the universe is recording observations of matter in the universe and then applying them. This is moster common view in modern times. Then there is the religious view where people believe that a creator created the universe. Lewis’s view is a combination of the two where science can describe most of the universe, but when it comes to the reason why humans follow a moral code it can not. This is where his religious views comes in to show that a creator put those core ideas into humans.
In Book 1, Chapter 5 Lewis describes his intentions of talking about a being that created the universe. He states that talking about a god or being is important to understanding the “Moral Law”.
In Book 2, Chapter 1 Lewis talks about the ideas of other religions should be respected, and that many of the ideas are present across many religions. Lewis then compares the ideas of Chirstians and Pantheists. He shows their similarities and differences, and importantly ask the question if God made the universe wouldn’t everything in the universe be good. He also argues against the idea of Atheism, and this is based on the idea of the world having meaning.
In Book 2, Chapter 2 Lewis describes the ideas of good and evil in two major forms. The first being that of the Christian idea. This view is that the world is good, but something has caused it to go bad, but there is still the remnants of the good world. The second idea is that of Dualism. This idea is that there are two powers, good and evil, that are constantly fighting one another. Lewis points out the problems with the Dualistic idea. He states that how can humanity judge which god is truly evil or good between the two beings. He questions how it would be possible for us to distinguish clearly between the two. This is because some acts that are considered bad are just an excess of a good thing. The core idea of Dualistic ideal is that good and evil are on equal power, but that is not true; the good is always placed over the evil.
In Book 2, Chapter 3 talks about the idea of free will.
In Book 2, Chapter 4 Lewis talks about why Jesus died on the cross for the sins of mankind, and how it relates to the ideas of theory and reality. Lewis goes over several theories trying to understand why Jesus would do this. Finally, he lands on the metaphor that mankind had a debt of sorts because of the actions of Adam and Eve, and that Jesus died to relieve that debt.
In Book 2, Chapter 5 describes ways in which christians worship those being ritual, belief, and baptism. These ideas he doesn’t know why Christians perform them besides the fact that they come from the authority of God. He then goes into the idea of authority, and states that most ideas come from the idea of authority. He uses the idea of knowing that New York is a real place, but never visiting it to observe that it is there.
In Book 3, Chapter 1 Lewis dives deeper into the Moral Law, a set of rules that keeps humanity in check. Lewis says it’s important to describe the Moral Law as a law because it keeps humans in check rather than them deciding what to follow. Lewis states that there are three things that morality describes. First, the inner peace of person. Second, the peace between individuals. Third, the purpose of one’s life.
In Book 3, Chapter 2 Lewis discusses the Cardinal virtues. These virtues being prudence, fortitude, justice, temperance. Prudence is the idea of thinking about the actions that you are doing. Lewis says that God wants people to be pure and innocent, but not unintelligent. He believes that God wants mankind to be able to think and grow in knowledge, rather than just blindly follow. Fortitude is the idea to have the courage to perform actions that may cause you danger, and then the courage to still continue that action when in danger. Justice is a simple concept in theory, it is mainly about fairness and responsibility, but it is hard to properly define what is just. Temperance is the idea of a limitation. It is the idea to limit yourself when you have had an excess of a good thing.
Lewis also discusses the difference between moral behavior and a moral person. He argues that a person can do a moral behavior, such as saving someone, but that does not necessarily make them a moral person.
In Book 3, Chapter 3 of the book talks about the idea of a Chirsitan society. A society that is good, charitable, and hardworking where people give more than they receive. The society must be formed by the people and run by the leaders of the people, rather than led by religious leader.
In Book 3, Chapter 4 Lewis talks about “a good man” a person who understands both good and evil, but still chooses to do good actions. Where as “a bad man” does not the difference between good and evil.
In Book 3, Chapter 5 Lewis speaks on his views on sex. His view being that sex should be limited, and that it is a probelm of modern society where the idea of sex is glorified. He argues that if people gave into the desire to have sex all the time there would be no good outcome.
In Book 3, Chapter 6 Lewis talks about marriage. A marriage is the joining of two people for a lifetime. This jointment is not that of a purely sexual nature, but a union for each to join and improve one another. Lewis says that the idea of love is not necessarily going to be there throughout a marriage. He states that there are times when “love” will leave a marriage, but the two must stay together to keep improving one another.In Book 3, Chapter 7 Lewis discusses the importance of forgiveness. Lewis talks about the idea of forgiving your enemies even when they have wronged you immensely. He states that the accurate punishment for your enemy is what you would do to yourself. That is the essence of forgiveness, it is a sense of forgiving them but still giving a punishment.
In Book 3, Chapter 8 is about the idea of pride. Lewis says pride is a prime evil because it is an emotion that causes others to clash with one another. It is when a person thinks of himself above others that it truly causes an evil. A person who believes himself to be above others is mostly likely not following God, but rather a fake god that supports this idea.
In Book 3, Chapter 9 Lewis now starts to discuss the Theological virtues. Those virtues being: hope, charity, and faith. In this chapter he focuses on charity. Charity is simply the concept of helping others, and not simply helping the poor. Lewis states that people do not necessarily have to be “warm” to others while being charitable, but the act of doing charity will generally make a person “warm”.
In Book 3, Chapter 10 Lewis continues with the theological virtues with hope. Hope is the idea of looking forward towards an outcome. For Chirstians it is the idea of looking towards Heaven. Lewis states the idea of hope is very difficult to follow because humans are very fixated on what is in front of them now. They focus mainly on the now, rather than the idea of the future.
In Book 3, Chapter 11 Lewis now begins to talk about the concept of faith. Lewis breaks down the idea of faith into two parts. In this chapter Lewis discusses the first part of faith. Faith is the belief in Christianity, and this belief requires a lot of willpower to maintain. As one’s ideas change and evolve a major amount of willpower is required to keep one’s faith.
In Book 3, Chapter 12 goes into the second part of faith. This part of faith is only understood who is part of a religion. This part of faith is leaving it to a higher being. Believing that a higher power has a plan for you, and that every action is part of that plan.
In Book 4, Chapter 1 discusses the idea of leading a normal life and a spiritual life. Lewis likens the idea of a normal life to a statue, and a spiritual life to a living man.
In Book 4, Chapter 2 Lewis brings up two important concepts the ideas of bios and zoe. Bios is the idea of life now, the physical realm where everyone inhabits. Zoe is the spiritual realm where God resides. Lewis says that humans can achieve small portions of zoe through prayer. This is because prayer is the act of directly communicating to God.
In Book 4, Chapter 3 Lewis talks about the idea of God existing outside of time. Lewis talks about the subject because the idea of God watching over every living being at the same time would be impossible. Therefore, he suggests that God exists out of time all together. The objection has no basis if God is not affected by time. Lewis suggests that it is important to study time to further understand theology.
In Book 4, Chapter 4 Lewis talks about the structure of the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. He compares this structure to a group or family. Lewis states that to achieve lasting peace you must become close to all three aspects of the Holy Trinity.
In Book 4, Chapter 5 Lewis begins chapter 5 by going back to bios and zoe. Further stating that bios is selfish, and zoe as selfless. Then Lewis brings up an example of tin soldiers coming to life. The tin soldiers representing man without spirituality, and the soldiers coming to life representing man with spirituality.
In Book 4, Chapter 6 Lewis talks of two solutions to the objection why God didn’t make humanity divine if he wants them to achieve divinity. The first solution, Lewis gives, is that God wanted humans to achieve rather than just bestoing it onto them. The second solution, Lewis gives, is that God could not make infinite number of deities, rather an infinite number of humans in a space. Lewis then goes into the subject of unity among humans. Lewis states that is important for humans to be individual, but act as a group towards a common goal.
In Book 4, Chapter 7 Lewis reinforces his previous idea that pretending to feel a certain way will eventually cause you to actually feel that way. He displays this by using the analogy of the Beauty and The Beast. However, Lewis states that it is not possible to lead a Christian life through that process. This is because the Christian life requires the person to look deeply at themselves while performing the action rather than just performing it.
In Book 4, Chapter 8 Lewis states that the goal of Christanity is for man to be one with God. The only way to achieve this is to give yourself fully to God.
In Book 4, Chapter 9 talks about the idea of perfection. Many believe that the idea of “perfection” can never be fully achieved, but Lewis argues that it is possible if humans believe and give themselves to God. He believes if they do this then God will make them perfect. Lewis believes that Christanity is trying to make people into saints.
In Book 4, Chapter 10 Lewis discusses the idea of “niceness”. Lewis argues that Christanity’s goal is not to make people “nice”, rather it is to make them perfect, as discussed in chapter 9. The goal is to show them the spiritual life.
In Book 4, Chapter 11 Lewis talks about the worry of the destruction of individualism in Christanity. Lewis argues this point by saying that the more we give ourselves to Christ, the more we truly become ourselves. He supports this point by showing an analogy of a people in the dark never knowing light. Then a light is about to descend upon them, and they are worried that it will completely destroy them. Lewis argues that the light would just show the differences of everyone. This is similar to The Allegory of the Cave by Plato. Lewis states that to be truly a Christain a person must be willing to give everything up to God.
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