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Mere Christianity

Cover of Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity

One of the most popular and beloved introductions to the concept of faith ever written, Mere Christianity has sold millions of copies worldwide.

The book brings together C. S. Lewis's legendary radio broadcasts during the war years, in which he set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times."

Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations, Mere Christianity provides an unequalled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to absorb a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith.

One of the most popular and beloved introductions to the concept of faith ever written, Mere Christianity has sold millions of copies worldwide.

The book brings together C. S. Lewis's legendary radio broadcasts during the war years, in which he set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times."

Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations, Mere Christianity provides an unequalled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to absorb a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    The Law of Human Nature

    Every one has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: 'How'd you like it if anyone did the same to you?' -- 'That's my seat, I was there first' -- 'Leave him alone, he isn't doing you any harm' -- 'Why should you shove in first?' -- 'Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine' -- 'Come on, you promised.' People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

    Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man's behaviour does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behaviour which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: 'To hell with your standard.' Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behaviour or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

    Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the 'laws of nature' we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong 'the Law of Nature', they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation, and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law -- with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.

    We may put this in another way. Each man is at every moment subjected to several different sets of law but there is only one of these which he is free to disobey. As a body, he is subjected to gravitation and cannot disobey it; if you leave him unsupported in mid-air, he has no more choice about falling than a stone has. As an organism, he is subjected to various biological laws which he cannot disobey any more than an animal can. That is, he cannot disobey those laws which he shares with other things; but the law which is peculiar to his human nature, the law he does not share with animals or vegetables or inorganic things, is the one he can disobey if he chooses.

    This law was called the Law of Nature because people thought that every one knew it by nature and did not need to be taught it. They did not mean, of course, that you might not find an odd individual here and there who did not know it, just as you find a few people who are colour-blind or have no...

About the Author-
  • Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. His major contributions in literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature, and popular theology brought him international renown and acclaim. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include The Chronicles of Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet, The Four Loves, The Screwtape Letters, and Mere Christianity.


    Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales mÁs importantes del siglo veinte y podrÍa decirse que fue el escritor cristiano mÁs influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeÑÓ hasta que se jubilÓ. Sus contribuciones a la crÍtica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantÁstica y teologÍa popular le trajeron fama y aclamaciÓn a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribiÓ mÁs de treinta libros, lo cual le permitiÓ alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aÚn atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada aÑo. Sus mÁs distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las CrÓnicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.

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