Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mere Christianity

So I warned you my blog was going to be a little bit of everything.

This post is focused on the book, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

I usually alternate back and forth with my book choices from Spiritual or educational (parenting, makeup, health...) to pleasure (The Last Song-Nicholas Sparks, Twilight Saga, Mortal Instrument Series- Cassandra Clare...). My latest choice was Mere Christianity. I had read parts of it before but never all the way through for some reason. Have you ever had a book like that? One where you start it a million times or just read in a few spots but never finished the whole thing? Well that was this book for me until recently.

It is an AMAZING book. It is a great introductory book explaining Christianity. Just as he once was an atheist, he starts from the very basic principles and builds on that making it easy to understand for the non-believer. He is presenting his side of the "case for Christianity" so to speak. His analogies and written pictures are brilliant! He makes it easy for non-believers and believers alike to understand why we need a Savior and how it all works.

I loved to read his simple explanations because sometimes it's hard for me to explain to others exactly how or why the Atonement works and why agency is important (etc). This book is refreshing. I highly recommend it to all.

There is only one section I disagree with. There is a short section discussing the trinity. I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy being 3 separate and distinct beings that work together with such unity that they are one; just as Shannon and I are one in marriage.

Here are some great quotes from the book that I found inspiring. I hope you enjoy.

  • ...the great religious struggle is not fought on a spectacular battleground, but within the ordinary human heart, when every morning we awake and feel the pressures of the day crowding in on us, and we must decide what sort of immortals we wish to be.
  • If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong?... But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of straight line... Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were  no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should  never know it was dark. "Dark" would be a word without meaning.

  • It may be quite sensible for a mother to say to the children, "I'm not going to go and make you tidy the school-room every night. You've got to learn to keep it tidy on your own." Then she goes up one night and finds the Teddy bear and the ink and the French Grammar all lying in the grate. That is against her will. She would prefer the children to be tidy. But on the other hand, it is her will which has left the children free to be untidy.... That is not what you willed, but your will has made it possible.

  • If a thing is to be free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having... He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes...when you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on. 

  • A car is made to run on petrol...He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

  • People say, "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be the Savior." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic- on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman...

  • Does it not make a great difference whether I am so to speak, the landlord of my own mind and body or only a tenant, responsible to the real landlord? If somebody else made me, for his own purposes, then I shall have a  lot of duties which I should  not have if I simply belonged to myself.

  • If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself.

  • People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed. The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see... (This is why it is important to attend church be reminded of the basic principles of the gospel!)

  • The New Testament gives us a pretty clear hint of what a fully Christian society would be like. Perhaps it gives us more than we can take. It tells us that there are to be no passengers or parasites: if man does not work, he ought not to eat. Every one is to work with his own hands, and what is more, every one's work is to produce something good... (We are not supposed to be a lazy people! We are supposed to work for everything! For ourselves..but also to help others! This is why people out of work right now riding unemployment without actively seeking another job drives me CRAZY!!!!!)

  • I may repeat, "do as you would be done by" till I am black in the face, but I cannot really carry it out till I love my neighbor as myself: and I cannot love my neighbor as myself till I learn to love God: and I cannot learn to love God except by learning to obey Him. And so, as I have warned you, we are driven on to something more inward...

  • ...the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil bad people do not know about either.

  • God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. Before we can be cured we must want to be cured. 

  • A man has overcome cowardice, or lust, or ill-temper, by learning to think that they are beneath his dignity-that is, by Pride. The devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Price... For Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.

  • some have said, "Faith is all that matters. Consequently, if you have faith, it doesn't matter what you do. Sin away, my lad, and have a good time and Christ will see that it makes no difference in the end." The answer to that nonsense is that, if what you call your faith in Christ does not involve taking the slightest notice of what He says, then it is not Faith at all- not faith or trust in Him, but only intellectual acceptance of some theory about Him. The Bible really seems to clinch the matter when it puts the two things together into one amazing sentence, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (meaning you have to be obedient and follow God's commandments) and "For it is God who worketh in you" (meaning God does the work and we must have faith in him) we must have both faith and obedience to become one with God.

  • He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has...Every Christian is to become a little Christ.The whole purpose of becoming Christian is simply nothing else... is it so strange really? Is not that how the higher thing always raises the lower? A mother teaches her baby to talk by talking to it as if it understood long before it really does.

  • When I was a child I often had a toothache... But I did not go to my mother-at least, not till the pain became very bad. and the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more. (taking him to the Dentist which would permanently fix those teeth and possibly result in more teeth being fixed that had not started to ache) People go to Him (the Savior) to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of. He will cure it all right: but He will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you call Him in, he will give you the full treatment. The question is not what we intended ourselves to be but what He intended us to be when He made us. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. 

  • The command "Be ye perfect" is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He 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...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. The job will not be completed in this life; but He means to get us as far as possible before death.

What book has inspired you?

No comments:

Post a Comment