Posted by: abidavs | January 24, 2008

Mere Christianity – Is Christianity hard or easy? by C.S. Lewis

200px-merechristianity.jpgWhat is the author’s Christian perspective?

Clive Staples Lewis, more popular as C.S. Lewis, was born in 29 Nov 1898 into a Protestant family in Belfast, Ireland. However, he lived mostly in England.

At a young age, he has suffered great losses. His favorite pet died when he was four and his mother died when he was 10. He abandoned his childhood Christian faith at the age of 15, following several school transfers including one which was due to school closure because the headmaster was admitted for insanity. C.S. Lewis studied privately with his father’s old tutor. (I wasn’t able to find any mention of their family’s social status but I assume that implicitly, this part means that he cannot pursue university education).

He loved literature and poetry including Greek literature and mythology. He used several forms of art such as epic poetry and opera.

In 1916, he won scholarship to Oxford. However, he joined the British Army for World War 1 in 1917, against his father’s wish.

In his early youth, Lewis proclaimed that he was an atheist. In his book, he said that “he was angry with God for not existing”. However, many interpreted this, seeing his life, not as a rejection of God’s existence but a demand on God’s unfairness in life. He equated his life’s sufferings to the inadequacy of God.

He was later won over by the arguments made by his Oxford colleague and Roman Catholic, J.R. R. Tolkien wherein he slowly rediscovered Christianity. IN 1929, he believed in God’s existence in a prayer.

In 1931, through Tolkien and another friend, Hugo Dyson, he joined the Church of England.

What are the author’s 3-point ideas?

The author’s idea is that Christianity is both hard and easy. Hard because it is not what we think of it and we do not look into the right directions BUT easy because it is the most logical thing. – Handing over completely our self

In his explanation, C.S. Lewis said that our idea is that our ordinary self and all its desires and interests are “wrong” – which should be given up. The other things – which our ordinary self – does not usually want are labeled as ‘morality’, decent behavior’ or ‘good of society’. These so called good things naturally interfere with our desires. So, we try our best to give up what our self wants to meet the demands of being good. However, in doing this, we still hope – that after everything has been meet, we will still have some chance to get what our self wants. In the end, we either give up trying to be good OR become very unhappy in doing so.

The Christian way would be – to give up everything and hand over all your desires and interests to God. It is not just ‘changing your clothes’. However, he said, that this is not usually our approach. We are fond of short-cuts. We try to get away – we keep our personal desires but still pursuing ‘goodness’. His very good example is an egg. He said that it is very hard for the egg to turn into a bird, but the bird cannot learn how to fly if he remains an egg. So the egg has to either hatch or go bad.

It may be hard at first but we should let God work on the right parts. “Moments at first” until a new life starts flowing in. Church exists for nothing else but to draw men to Christ and make them little Christ. Unless the church is able to draw men to Christ, it has ceased to do its function. A comparison is the function of the State/Government. The State consists of different objects – military, political, economic, etc. However, it simply exists to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. And unless the State/Government is able to do that, all other things – laws, parliaments, regulations, rules, etc. – is a waste of time. When intelligent creatures entered into Christ, they would bring all the other things along with them.

“Higher animals are drawn into Man when he loves them and makes them much more human than they would otherwise be. Dead things and plants are drawn into Man as he studies them and uses and appreciates them.”

In my own words, ‘magnetic field effect’. When a highly energized particle is placed in a field, the energized particle draws other ions to it because of its energy. And unless the energized particle is able to share the energy, he will never reach a stable configuration.

What are the changes that it brought to you?

a. Dressing up as Christian

I have heard several ways this has been illustrated and every illustration has the same effect – na “pag naging Christian ka, meron ka nang t-shirt na dapat isuot upang ma-identify ka ng iba”. It was rarely mentioned that it is not something you can put on and put off – there is no better way of saying this than – it is not a practice, it is the whole of it.

b. The Egg story and the handing over process

I thought of this for 2 days – it was really hard to let it sink. Analogy-wise, easy but real-life.. not really… how do you hand over you’re entire being? And how can you be sure that it is the whole of you that you are actually handing over? Will it not be deceitful? I re-read the part on the “early morning practice” and that is where I understood. Handing over does not happen immediately – it needs to take time. You start thinking it over – then you let it sink – then you acknowledge the process – then you perform the process- then you try and try and try – until everything will be normal as breathing.

I also had some realization on the handing over – it includes not only the bad parts but also the good parts of you. It seems proud to think that there are good things in you but deep inside, we know the good things we do and it’s really hard to dissociate yourself from these and to look at it in equal manner as those you things you want to correct/ give up.

On the final note, Christianity is easy because it is the most logical thing to do. (If equipment is broken, you don’t just hand over the part where you think it should be repaired; you hand over the whole equipment). But you should step back and isolate yourself from all the preconceived ideas your family, church, society, school, etc. has taught you – and this now, makes it hard.


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