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# 1: Introducing Lewis and Chapter 1 of Mere Christianity.

Suffering softens hearts toward God,

World War II had begun with unimaginable losses of human life.

The scene was set for an apologist.

It certainly seems C. S. Lewis was chosen for such a time as this.

C. S. Lewis and the BBC

James Welch, a powerful man with the BBC, though he’d never heard Lewis speak,

wrote and asked Lewis to do a series on the radio that millions would hear.

Lewis’ reply is fascinating — as you will hear this week.

It shows us the secret of why Lewis so impacts hearts and lives.

On a sidenote — I was so pleased with all the book recommendations last week.

Also, I had a computer crash and am working handicapped, so forgive the small print,

and lack of colors!


 

Sunday

1. When you hear “C.S. Lewis’’ what comes to mind and why?

 

My first exposure to Lewis came during the month when I was trying to decide if the claims of Jesus were true or not. My sister left Mere Christianity behind and I read it with a hungry heart. Though it has been 50 years, I still remember some of his points — I think because instead of just content, he was helping me think how to think. Helping me doubt some of the things I had heard and examine their validity. One principle, based on Darwin’s evolutionary theory, is that of survival of the fittest. We do, Darwin said, what will best help us survive. I remember an illustration Lewis gave of a what happens to a person who sees a man who is calling for help because he is drowning.  There is something deep in the heart of man that makes him know he should try to save that man. And often, he does, going against the principle of survival of the fittest. I knew that to be true in my own heart, and it caused me to question, as Lewis wanted his reader to do, why I would risk my life to save a stranger. Who put that law in my heart?

 

Monday: Listening to Lewis

Like Tim Keller, C. S. Lewis became famous first, not through his writing, but through those radio broadcasts. It began with the first 4 chapters, then another chapter was added to answer listener’s questions. Then came Part 2, then Part 3, and Part 4 — all to become Mere Christianity. And then more recordings on other subjects followed. Because it was wartime all of Lewis’s recordings were recycled and lost except one. Here is the remaining broadcast. It is on prayer. Listen and share your observations and comments. (I loved hearing his actual voice.)

3. Observations and comments.

Tuesday: Read Chapter 1 of Mere Christianity

4. Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why.

Wednesday: Reflections on Chapter 1.

5. What does Lewis say quarreling people demonstrate?

6. What does Lewis mean by the law of human nature? While animals and vegetables are subject to the laws of nature, such as gravity, they are not subject to the law of human nature. Why, do you think?

 

7. Just as some people are colorblind, you will find a few who don’t seem to have this law of human natures. Today they are termed sociopaths, for they behave as if they don’t have a conscience. It is also possible to deaden this sense. How do you see this in the discussion Paul has in Romans 1?

 

8. Lewis contended that even the Nazis knew in their innermost heart that what they were doing was wrong, though out of fear they suppressed it. What do you know about the psychological state of Nazis after the war that corroborates this?

 

In Lilac Girls, which is historical fiction, the account of the female doctor becoming deadened to the experiments she was performing on the Jewish prisoners was illuminating. Pressure was put against her family and her, until she found a way to justify it, though she was destroyed emotionally. I see the same happening, for example, in those who choose abortion. Repentance or attempts at justification. The Romans 1 cycle. What do you see?

9. Lewis also made the point that though we know the law, no one keeps it. How does Scripture corroborate this?

10 Lewis concluded with two main points to help us understand the universe. What are they are why do they help us understand the universe?.

 

Thursday: Background information from the C. S. Lewis Institute

11. Watch and share your comments and observations.

 

Friday: Reflections on Yesterday’s Video

12. Why didn’t Lewis want to plunge directly into Christianity, but rather do some teaching on logic?

13 Discussion question: Research shows that Christian young people who become involved in, for example, sexual immorality, begin to disbelieve in God. Why, do you think?

 

14. Challenge: This week, ask God for an opportunity with friends or family that may not know the Lord to tell them a bit about this first chapter. Tell them about the interesting book you are reading and ask for their opinion on Lewis’s supposition about “the law of human nature.” Then come with feedback.

 

Saturday:

15. What is your take-a-way from this week’s material and discussion and why?

 

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122 comments

  1. 1. When you hear “C.S. Lewis’’ what comes to mind and why?

    Gratitude, I am grateful for the way he had of putting into words the way the gospel meets the deepest needs of our hearts. I am grateful too for his friend Tolkien speaking with him while the Holy Spirit brought him to the place where he believed. I am grateful for the impact this book we will study has had on my husband. After he read it he bought it on audio and has played it in the garage while he has worked on cars with our unbelieving sons. I am grateful for the ways God gifted Lewis and how his work still is impacting the church.
    And I am grateful to you Dee for leading us in this…I love it!

  2. 1. When you hear “C.S. Lewis’’ what comes to mind and why?

     

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. That’s what I know him for writing.

    1. Hi Laura, my wife, Kerry, and I first began reading that book the Christmas after we had just gotten married.  We both got so sick that throughout our Utah State University holiday break all we could do was lie in bed, reading it and the other Narnia books.  A close friend, Carlos Kelly, checked in on us and prepared us food (though we couldn’t really eat much). We lived a block from Central Park in Logan, Utah, where a little river winds through.  One night we saw a huge beaver come padding along the sidewalk, another time a stately owl.  They didn’t speak with us on those occasions, but we were sure they would the next time we saw them.  We attended  a magical (as Lewis understood the term) Maranatha church led by James and Georgia Herod.

       

      1. Tim this story is so sweet! You took me into that magical world this morning….

        1. Thank you, Laura, my wife and I went on to re-read the books with our two children.   Just like Lewis experienced from reading George Macdonald’s wonderful stories, they changed us and baptized our imaginations!  We came to think of Jesus and Aslan interchangeably, with Jack on Aslan’s back 🙂

  3. When I hear the name C.S.Lewis, I immediately think of The Chronicles of Narnia. I love those stories & read most of them with my children. I just saw the Movie:  “The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe” again, & it moved me to tears of joy. C.S.Lewis has such a gift of transporting us to another world where Aslan reigns…such a beautiful picture of Jesus. It just stirs my soul so much, no matter how many times I revisit the story.   🙂  It will be my first time reading “Mere Christianity”.

  4. Sunday

    1. When you hear “C.S. Lewis” what comes to mind and why?
    So many things come to mind when I think of CS Lewis. 
    I didn’t grow up with a familiarity with him or his writings. Not even “The Chronicles of Narnia”.
    “The Screwtape Letters” may be the first thing I read that he had written. Then later I had occasion to become familiar with “Mere Christianity”.  After that I also read “The Great Divorce”, “A Grief Observed”, “The Problem of Pain” and “Surprised by Joy”.   His writing  made me think and I liked that challenge. His perspective interested me because I grew up always having a Christian point of view but it was a little narrow in scope.   Learning from someone who came to Christ and found a personal relationship with Jesus later in life gave me a greater appreciation for the works of God. 
    I loved the movie “Shadowlands” with Anthony Hopkins about Lewis’s relationship and eventual marriage to Joy Davidman.  I also read some biographical sketches about him and just found him to have a fascinating story. 

     

  5. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors but I have never read Mere Christianity. I love the Chronicles of Narnia. I never read them as a child but as a university student I reviewed it for a Children’s Lit course. Now my children and grandchildren are have had the stories read aloud to them by parents and grandparents.  I also have appreciated Screwtape Letters and many other books by C.S. Lewis and about him.

    I truly hope to read and follow along with  you, as my schedule permits.

  6. 1. When you hear “C.S. Lewis” what comes to mind and why?  Intelligent, articulate, a great thinker. My first exposure to him was The Screwtape Letters and I loved the way he wrote and the thought provoking points that were made.

  7. 1)  The first thing that comes to my mind is The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.   And the fact that through that story, many people world-wide have heard the gospel without even realizing it.

    1. I never thought about that Wendy (unbelievers hearing the gospel and not knowing)!

  8. Sunday

    1.  When you hear “C.S. Lewis” what comes to mind and why?  I have very fond memories of watching the movie, The Witch, The Lion and The Wardrobe on VHS with my kids over and over again and I couldn’t believe the same man who wrote that, wrote Mere Christianity…a book recommended to me but I never had the patience for “deep reading”!  I am looking forward to reading it now 😀!

  9. Sunday
    1. When you hear “C.S. Lewis’’ what comes to mind and why? – When I hear his name I think of a man that is knowledgeable,  influential and loved. Our Pastors quote him often and would jump for the chance to have met him. He wrote in a way that would make people think and dig deep and even wrote to capture the young.

  10. 1. When you hear “C.S. Lewis’’ what comes to mind and why?

    – When I hear his name, I think of The Chronicles of Narnia; His Space Trilogy; Surprised by Joy; Mere Christianity and Screwtape Letters. I also think of a man who was incredibly brilliant and a true gift to the world and the cause of Christ.

  11. Just a “shout out” to some of our sisters who might have participated “live” and are just following silently now…Sue “seeker” how are you doing? Jill? We miss you and would love to “see” you here 😉.

  12. I’m working a bit ahead because I wanted to start the book tonight.
     
    Tuesday: Read Chapter 1 of Mere Christianity
    4. Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why.
     

    The nature of people is knowing intrinsically right from wrong. He called it the “law of nature” and said that everyone knows it. He also said that we break it; we can’t seem to abide by it. This reminds me of Paul who said he couldn’t seem to do right even though he knew he should.

     

    “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    http://bible.com/59/rom.7.15.esv

     

  13. 3. Observations and comments.

     

    I loved how how he said something like (may have been in the book though; I can’t remember now), I know it must be odd to listen to me in a time of great pain…he was being an encourager to people. Funny because my weekend began with listening to a podcast about encouraging and being encouraged, and I have been reminded in different ways of that word over and over this weekend; encourage. It must be something God wants me to know.

     

    I like how he talked about time and how theologians studied it, then the philosophers had it and now the scientists are trying to figure it out. He was basically alluding to what we call today string theory…Where there could be a universe next to you and you don’t even know it. He must have known of Einstein and others scientific research.

     

    I have a quote from him from this first recording (I guess? I think you posted it once Dee) on my refrigerator and he talks about it here. The quote is something like “look for yourself and you find nothing, look for God, and you find Him and everything else.”

     

    1. Fascinating and beautiful to think of the unseen worlds just around the corner, as experienced by the young children and marvelous animals in Lewis’ stories and our own adult lives, if we can just somehow let our eyes and hearts be opened, even as I sit on a sunny back porch in Dallas, Texas.

  14. 3. Observations and comments.

    Prayer: That we live moment by moment in time and God doesn’t. It is hard to grasp, yet delightful and heart melting that God doesn’t live moment by moment in time like we do but that he lives in infinity. If a million people are praying to him at once, he isn’t listening to them in one little snippet. I like how Lewis expressed it, that He has infinity in which to listen in a split second. So He is intensively listening to us-each one of us. This so flamed my desire.

    Becoming like Christ: That our true self-our personality- is who He intended us to be in Christ. So when we give up our soul to Him, for the first time we will have a real personality. lewis helped me see this for the first time. I haven’t thought about my personality changing or not changing and connecting with Jesus changing me into His image. So good.  I loved when he tied our “personality” with this: The first step to getting a new self is forgetting about yourself. Give up yourself and you will find yourself. Lose your life and you will save it. Look for Christ and you will get him and with him everything else thrown in. look for yourself and you will get ruin-loneliness despair and ruin. 

    Lastly, this stood out: Any man who reaches Him will find that what he has abandoned isn’t lost. This is so true and yet I need to abandon SO much more-and honestly I know it is hard, yet He will empower me-and deep inside I am scared because for me lately it is comfort-(giving of my time for others)- yet thrilled because over and over again He is here on the blog helping us persevere-become more like Him.

  15. 1.  I know he was a prolific author, a contemporary of JRR Tolkien. He was not only a literary man, but a scholar and professor. I have loved the Narnia series, and the Screwtape Letters. Most of what comes to my mind is heavily influenced by my own experience with his works, and the rest by what others have said about him.

     

    3.  Observations and comments on the audio. He started out talking about prayer, that since God is outside of our time He has no problem listening to all of us in what we would consider the same moment. What got me, though, was his talking about how we think we’ll lose our personality by losing ourselves to gain Christ. That is certainly what I thought, even after being a Christian for several years. Lewis says it is more like adding salt to food, it brings out the real flavor. So as we become more like Christ, we actually get more like who God made us to be, adding more personality to us. He also said that we can’t lose ourselves by trying to. It is a byproduct of going after something else. That when we strive to have and know Christ, we will lose ourselves and at the same time gain much more. It is a confirmation of much that God has done in my life up till now in my walk with Him. It came as such a shock to me that God actually likes my personality. That He purposely created me as I am for a reason. For years I thought I needed to have core areas of myself carved away to really be acceptable to Him. So Lewis’ analogy of salt really speaks to me.

  16. 1. When you hear “C.S. Lewis”, what comes to mind and why?

     

    When I hear his name, I think, “Here is a Christian for the ‘thinking man'”, because the argument of many unbelievers is that you have to throw your brain in the trash to believe the claims of Christianity, and Lewis seems to refute that argument as he was a highly intelligent man, a thinking man, well-educated. Also, when my son was in the 7th grade, he did a report on C.S. Lewis, and at that time, I caught in our local paper that a nearby Catholic university was hosting a talk on Lewis. The man who was giving the talk was a very old (I think he was 92) priest who had personally known Lewis when he was at Oxford. So, I took my son to the evening talk, and this priest shared about their friendship, Lewis’ friendship with Tolkien, and each attendee left with a copy of a personal letter written by Lewis to his friend, the priest, not long before his death. Of course, though he never converted himself, many converts to Catholicism credit the influence and writings of Lewis for their conversion. The priest who gave the talk did speak about Lewis’ belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

      1. I wonder if his close friendship with Tolkien, who was Catholic and was instrumental in Lewis coming to faith, influenced him in any way. Of course, most Catholic sites will write that Lewis was leaning more on their side….I’d have to research it more!

        1. Susan–this is so interesting! Maybe that’s why my mom suddenly picked it up to read a few months ago–I was wondering!

  17. 3. Observations and comments.

     

    Lewis spoke about prayer: we wonder how God can listen to a million people all at the same moment? But God’s life doesn’t exist in moments, like ours. This is a warming thought: You’re as much alone with Him as if you were the only thing He ever created.

    Lewis spoke about the Christian life, saying that The Christian life is simply a process of having your natural self changed into a Christ-self. This process goes on on the inside – one’s most private wishes, point of view, are the things that have to be changed.

    He talked about doing good, and that when people who are still acting from their old, natural selves try to do good, they won’t do much real, permanent good to others. Example: charitable people can become conceited, trying to be religious, you become a Pharisee, unselfishness becomes a form of showing off. (This made me realize why even our good deeds are so unacceptable to God because our motives are so often tainted). Lewis said that the real cure lies deeper….out of ourselves and into Christ we must go.

     

    Lewis talked a lot about this issue of “losing yourself” and how that will affect our personality, who we are. He said, It isn’t true that we shall lose our personal differences by letting Christ take us over. But, I don’t think Christ can take us over as long as we’re bothering about what will happen to our personality. Lewis used the analogy of salt: it doesn’t kill the flavor of a dish but rather brings out the real taste. Same with Christ, in that when you give up yourself to Him, you will, for the first time in your life, be developing into a real person. Our real selves are, so to speak, waiting for us, in Him. Lewis said, What I call myself now is hardly a person at all; it’s mainly a meeting place for various natural forces, desires, and fears, some of which come from my ancestors, some from my education, some perhaps from devils. There are personalities in God – there are no real personalities anywhere else; full, complete personalities.

     

    I found this fascinating, because, just like the apostle Paul, who thought ahead to answer what might be an argument (what then, shall we sin all the more because of grace? No!), Lewis then said that it is no good at all to go to Christ for the sake of developing a fuller personality. And I thought, wow, he read my mind! That is so like I and we humans think….I’m thinking, okay, I sure have short-comings in my personality, so I need to focus on fully turning myself over to Christ so that I can be the true person I was meant to be, and then Lewis says, No! As long as that’s what you’re bothering about, you haven’t begun, because the very first step toward getting a real self is to forget about yourself. It will come, only if you’re looking for something else.

    This reminded me of Keller’s little book  called The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness. These principles are so true, yet how much of my sinful nature wants to make things all about me in a “self-improvement” sort of way. I wonder about some of the things I have heard talked about lately, even in Christian circles, like the Enneagram, or other ways to figure out “who you are”….isn’t that backwards, then? It seems what Lewis is saying is that the key to understanding and unlocking yourself is to focus on Jesus and to forget about the “I’m a 7 on the enneagram”, or some other method.

    1. I thought about the ‘Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness’ too Susan 🙂
      Our pastor once said he his job isn’t to come up with anything original, it is fun to look at how much Lewis’s work has influenced Keller’s isn’t it?

      I like to wonder what our ‘true’ selves, the part of us that images God will be like in the new kingdom.

  18. I am excited about reading Mere Christianity with the opportunity for reflection and feedback.  Thanks, Dee.

  19. Good morning…this should be a very interesting and enlightening book study.  When I think about C.S. Lewis, I think about Mere Christianity, the Problem of Pain, the Great Divorce, and Screwtape Letters.  When my hubbie and I participate in Alpha many years go, we were introduced to the books/C.S. Lewis.  My husband isn’t a reader, but Mere Christianity is a book that he read.  Mere Christianity is thought provoking; it stretched me, really making me think about what I was reading.  I look forward to reading it again with you all.
     
    I wanted to recommend Tessa Afshar as an author who writes historical fiction.  I have read all of Tessa’s books written thus far; I think you would learn from and like any of the books she has written:  Pearl in the Sand (Rahab), In the Field of Grace (Ruth), Land of Silence (the woman who bleed), Bread of Angels (Lydia), Harvest of Rubies/Harvest of Gold (Nehemiah).

  20. For some reason, my first thoughts of CS Lewis go to his conversion to Christianity from atheism. I think that always gives me hope for some who seem so lost. I also loved The Four Loves in high school.

    This video clip was so full I feel like I should listen several more times to keep gleaning, but some things that stood out the first listen:

    We try to put God in time, if everyone is praying at the same time, how can He hear, but God is not in time.

    He said “you are as much alone with Him as if you were the only thing He’d ever created.” I loved that. And when Christ died, He died for me individually.

    The Christian life is simply a process of having your natural self changed into a Christ self, and that this process goes on very far inside.

    When you completely lose yourself, giving up yourself to His personality, you will then for the first time in your life develop your real self. *The very first step towards getting a real self is to forget about the self.

  21. 3 & 4)  I had the same observation as Laura.   Lewis says “human beings..have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, & cannot really get rid of it.”  “…they do not in fact behave in that way.  They know the Law of Nature; they break it.”  Romans 7 immediately came to my mind also.

  22. 3. Observations and comments.

    ~Human life is lived moment-by-moment, past/present/future.  We wrongly assume that this is true of all in the universe, including God, but God is infinite, not confined by any given moment; He is always in the present, outside of time.

    “you’re as much alone with Him, as if you are the only thing He ever created.”

    ~The Christian life is a process of having the natural self (e.g., our most private wishes, our point of view) transformed into the “Christ” self.

    “what you are comes out in what you do” … “as long as the old self is there, it’s taint will be all over what we do.”

    ~We don’t lose our personal differences by allowing Jesus to take us over…as with salt, Jesus enhances who we are to be.  Jesus created each of us how we are intended to be, our real self is waiting for us in Jesus.  What we presently call our self is not our “real” self at all; our present self is a compilation of natural forces, desires, fears, etc.  Apart from Jesus we will never have our real, full, complete personalities.  The first step is self-forgetfulness.

    “give up yourself, and you will find your real self” … “lose your life and you’ll save it.”

    ~In movement towards Jesus, it cannot be movement with anticipation of retroactive vision.

    1. Nancy, I wrote down all the same things in my journal. It was a powerful 15 minutes.

  23. Well, I just posted a long post, and then tried to edit out spaces, and the comment editor said “marked as spam”. I’ll try once more, sorry if it duplicates

  24. 4. Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why.

    I really love his thinking, so logical! I kept thinking as I read “he sounds so like Keller”, and of course it’s the other way around! This–“We have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people.There may be all sorts of excuses for this.” OH how that hits home!

    “If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently?”

    Human beings believe we ought to behave a certain way and yet we cannot behave in that way.

    5. What does Lewis say quarreling people demonstrate?

    Quarreling is unlike fighting in that quarreling is trying to point out the other side is wrong, and by doing this, you demonstrate a belief in right and wrong.

    6. What does Lewis mean by the law of human nature? While animals and vegetables are subject to the laws of nature, such as gravity, they are not subject to the law of human nature. Why, do you think?

    The Law of Nature was believed to be known by man and not necessary to be taught.It is given only to man, as only we are made in God’s image. We are given the ability to reason and have free will, to know and to choose to do good.

    7. Just as some people are colorblind, you will find a few who don’t seem to have this law of human natures. Today they are termed sociopaths, for they behave as if they don’t have a conscience. It is also possible to deaden this sense. How do you see this in the discussion Paul has in Romans 1?

    I was just pondering over this idea last week. Now, true mental illness is a tricky subject because I do not believe it is a result of sin. As with some physical ailments can be directly linked to a habit–an alcoholic with fatty liver disease, and yet my son’s liver enzymes are terrible & he’s never had alcohol. I have been close to many who suffer various mental illness, and some were predisposed genetically and seemed to simply split overnight. But I do believe there is a type of behavior, and perhaps personality disorder that is fed by habitual sin. As I read this passage last week, in a strange way, it brought me peace to see clearly in God’s Word, that He warns us of the consequences of choosing not to honor Him, and not to thank Him. We shouldn’t be surprised by some of the evil we see, when we can trace the thread back and find a heart that does not honor or thank God. It also sobered me to again recognize the critical importance to God that we honor and thank Him.

    Romans 1: 22-25 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

     

      1. Dee–when I hear “interesting”, I think I may need my thoughts challenged 😉 and you know I love you to challenge and teach me–so I’d love your thoughts here

  25. 3. Observations and comments. I liked his explanation of time from God’s perspective.

  26. Can’t wait to jump in. just finished chapter 1. At work so I can’t but I’m enjoying reading your comments on my lunch break! 💓

  27. 9. Lewis also made the point that though we know the law, no one keeps it. How does Scripture corroborate this?

    I remember when my son, probably 8 at the time, first read Romans 7:15-20 in his Bible and was so blown away that Paul was just like him! “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

    Psalm 53:3 “They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

    Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

    10 Lewis concluded with two main points to help us understand the universe. What are they are why do they help us understand the universe?.

    1. All humans believe we ought to behave a certain way

    2. We do not behave the way we believe all ought to

    We know the Law of Nature, and we break it.

    I think I have to revise my thoughts on mental illness (above). I struggle with one older woman I know who is correctly diagnosed as bipolar, and yet, I knew her “before her break” and she was always the most sincere, kind person and loved God. So I struggle with that one because there is not an obvious choice of sin in her life that led to her mental destruction–and yet, I stop myself because truly all illness I do believe is ultimately a result of the Fall.

    ps–I just have to say again how glad I am that we are reading this together! I think it will help me be accountable to stick with the reading, and I’m glad it was just one chapter this week…he’s so meaty! 🙂

  28. Monday

    3.  Observations and comments.  I liked what he said about prayer and how God is outside of our time.  It brings new meaning to the saying  “His timing is perfect”.

    Tuesday

    4.  Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why?  (1)“Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to – whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone.  But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first.  Selfishness has never been admired.”  This stood out to me as I see just the opposite today.  We live in a society of me, myself and I.  (2)”If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently?”  Ouch!  So true.

    1. Sharon I was thinking the same thing on Gods life is not moment by moment like ours is.

  29. Hello, everyone from hot and humid Philippines. I was hoping I would findmy  copy of mere Christianity before I left but I didn’t. Tried to borrow online from library and not available. So I am just reading comments and enjoying the “thinking man” in Lewis! He is deep indeed and it takes me awhile to process his thoughts in English! Lol

    I will probably be a silent follower for the course of my visit here but would like to say hello today and thank everyone for your prayers.

    1. Hi Bing, praying your visit has been wonderful so far. Enjoy your time away.

    2. Blessings to you, Bing…enjoy a lovely time in the Philippines!

    3. Hi Bing! Have a wonderful visit with your family!

    4. Bing, I’ve been thinking of you and praying! My husband returned last night from his trip to Philippines and Singapore. He said everyone he met was so friendly! (He also said that the women in the Philippines are very beautiful)

    5. Bing, I noticed that YouTube has some audio versions of Mere Christianity.

  30. 3. Observations and comments. – In that short 15 minute recording, there was so much in it. The part I liked the best was that the things that happen in our lives are moment by moment, but God has an infinite life. He doesn’t have to respond in the moment. He has an infinity to listen and respond. Is this why answers to our prayers are not instant? Perhaps God’s answer will come, but in his life moment and not ours? And the other part was, when you look for Christ you will get him and everything that goes along with him, but when we look for ourselves we get only hatred, ruin, despair and loneliness. How sad for those who aren’t looking for God to live a life of misery.

  31. Tuesday: Read Chapter 1 of Mere Christianity
     
    4. Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why. – The first was right on page 3, where he is talking about people quarrelling, that because we believe in a certain standard of living, that everyone else should as well. I see this happening so much in today’s world where we can’t have our own thoughts without some else calling us names or pointing fingers because they don’t think like us or agree with what we have said. 
    I also liked on page 7 where he calls attention to the fact, “that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people.” How true this is in my own life. I like to follow rules and I try hard to do it, but how easy it is too, to point fingers at someone else when in turn I’m doing the same thing. 

    It amazes me how God used C.S. Lewis long ago to be relevant still today. WOW!

     

  32. 4.  Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why?
    1. “human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.
    To me, this speaks to the human conscience…we know in our mind and heart what is clearly wrong (e.g., stealing, lying, rape) and what is right (e.g., justice, respect). There may be “gray” areas in some circumstances, but for the truly important things, and for the most part, humans know (or should know.)
    2. “they do not in fact behave in that way.  They [human beings] know the law of nature; they break it.”
    Unfortunately, this tends to be “human nature,” the mentality of look out for #1, get them before they get me, self-focus…it is a sad commentary, but true.

    5. What does Lewis say quarreling people demonstrate?
    An understanding of what is right/wrong, fair/unfair, just/unjust, etc.

    6. What does Lewis mean by the law of human nature?
    Knowing what is right from what is wrong.

    While animals and veggies are subject to the laws of nature, they are not subject to the law of “human” nature…why?
    Animals don’t have the mental faculties for reasoning, for questioning why/why not.

     

  33. 3. Observations and comments.

    It was really nice to hear his actual voice- I do love a UK accent & he doesn’t sound like Max McLean 🙂
    I listened to some more of CS Lewis stuff being read aloud on YouTube

    4. Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why.

    The idea that there is a moral law written inside of us, that we universally agree on certain standards of behavior, that the particulars of the standards vary but a little between cultures And the Idea that none of us lives up to our own interpretation of those standards.
    This is all sound logic, it is hard to imagine anyone arguing an opposing viewpoint convincingly.

  34. I am not sure if you all know this about us but we have a little apologist living under our roof-that is if he turns back to God. So my husband and I have been challenged for a year or more to have an answer when he asks questions, or desires to debate, and there are answers-there is proof God exists. We must give more than personal testimonies although those are powerful too. It is up to The Holy Spirit to woo my son, but God exhorts us all over to be prepared to give an answer and to love Him with our mind. 🙂 So this study is so helpful and God is augmenting this with our apologetics study in our community group right now. Here HE is once again equipping us-coming to our rescue and hopefully my son’s. If you don’t think you will need this-trust me you will at some point in your journey.

      1. ❤❤❤

    1. I love this Rebecca and will be praying for the study to equip you well 🙂

  35. 4. Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why.
    1. What was helpful to me is his answer to different civilizations having different moralities. My son has mentioned this and so this helps me to be able to give an answer and hopefully get him to think.

    2. The truth that there is a moral “written law” on our hearts. Who cheers when someone runs away in battle, such as when the resource officers didn’t enter the building in  that one school shooting when they should have. That was all over the news and everyone was upset about it. Where does that natural law come from? Or would a man feel proud about double crossing the people who have been kind to him? I think one might act like it on the outside-rarely, but on the inside there is this huge tinge of guilt, or on the outside he would feel horrible or come up with an excuse to justify it, or never admit it. Why? Because it is written on our hearts.

    3. That all of us break this law of nature and we know we should behave in a certain way and can paste it on, but it never really sticks. When we paste it on, it turns into bragging about ourselves, or giving to get a good feeling about ourselves because we feel so unclean inside.

  36. I just want to share a praise with y’all and thank you for your prayers.  A while back I shared my mother-in-law, Carolyn (91) had a stroke.  She spent more than a month in the hospital and had intense therapy…physical, speech and occupational.   She is now back home where her oldest daughter is taking care of her and doing well!  

    1. That’s great Sharon!

      1. 😊

    2. Thanks for that update Sharon.

      1. 😊

      1. 😊  Thank you Dee, she is a jewel!

  37. Monday: Listening To Lewis

    Observations and comments. 

    In talking about prayer Lewis makes the point that God is outside of time. He is in infinity. That allows Him to be fully engaged into hearing all our prayers without being bound by the constraints of time as seconds, minutes, hours,  etc.
    I would comment that our concept of time often affects our view of God and limits Him in our minds from being Who He really is in His omniscience. When we expand and accept a view of God in all his unlimited power and majesty we better understand his amazing works. 

    “The Christian life is simply a process of having your natural self changed into a Christ self.”
    “Out of ourselves and into Christ we must go.”
    “The self we were intended to become comes from God. “
    “Give up your self and you get Christ.” 
    These comments by Lewis bear out the biblical principle of laying down our lives to find them in Christ. 

    Ephesians 4:20-24 “But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
    It is Jesus Who brings about change in our lives from the old self into a Christlike self. 

     

  38. Uh-oh! Now I’m behind!!

     
    5. What does Lewis say quarreling people demonstrate?
     

    He says they are funny and unpleasant. He  says they believe there is some standard they are trying to meet and each knows intrinsically what that standard is. Quarreling people are trying to show the other is in the wrong; they know there is a difference in right and wrong.

     
    6. What does Lewis mean by the law of human nature? While animals and vegetables are subject to the laws of nature, such as gravity, they are not subject to the law of human nature. Why, do you think?
     

    Human nature is that, that we know intuitively. It is a law that we can choose to disobey as humans. Normally, laws of nature can’t be disobeyed; gravity, and such. Animals don’t have that reasoning about them.

    7. Just as some people are colorblind, you will find a few who don’t seem to have this law of human natures. Today they are termed sociopaths, for they behave as if they don’t have a conscience. It is also possible to deaden this sense. How do you see this in the discussion Paul has in Romans 1?
     

    Paul speaks of people who are doing evil things in chapter 1. They knew God but did not honor Him. They were fools. They turned their focus to things of this world. They lusted, abused themselves, and hated God. They knew in their hearts they would be condemned but they committed the acts anyway.

    8. Lewis contended that even the Nazis knew in their innermost heart that what they were doing was wrong, though out of fear they suppressed it. What do you know about the psychological state of Nazis after the war that corroborates this?
     

    I don’t know much about this topic. I never liked studying war in school so I haven’t really any knowledge of the specifics of it. Didn’t Hitler commit suicide though? Maybe others did as well?

  39. Wednesday

    5.  What does Lewis say quarreling people demonstrate?  That both parties have some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are.

    6.  What does Lewis mean by the law of human nature?  The law of human nature is a rule or law about Right and Wrong.  While animals and vegetables are subject to the laws of nature, such as gravity, they are not subject to the law of human nature.  Why, do you think?  Because they have no reasoning and sense of Right and Wrong.

    7.  Just as some people are colorblind, you will find a few who don’t seem to have this law of human natures.  Today they are termed sociopaths, for they don’t have a conscience.  It is also possible to deaden this sense.  How do you see this in the discussion Paul has in Romans 1?  One phrase I see over and over again in Romans 1:18-32 is, “God abandoned them to their shameful desires.”  Why?  They began thinking up foolish ideas of what God was like and their minds became dark and confused.  They became fools.  Instead of worshiping God, they worshiped idols.  They traded the truth about God for a lie.  What was the result?  Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, gossip and homosexuality etc and worse yet…they encourage others to do them too!

    8.  Lewis contended that even the Nazis knew in their innermost heart that what they were doing was wrong, though out of fear they suppressed it.  What do you know about the psychological state of Nazis after the war the corroborates this?  I’m not real familiar with this but I did google this article that isn’t too long and found it quite interesting.  Here is a link https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-the-nazi-mind-at-the-nuremberg-trials

    9.  Lewis also made the point that though we know the law, no one keeps it.  How does Scripture corroborate this?  Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags.”  Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous, no not one.” (Paul is quoting from Psalm 94:1 and Psalm 53:1).  Romans 3:23 “ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

    10.  Lewis concluded with two main points to help us understand the universe.  What are they and why to they help us understand the universe?  (1). “Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.”  (2). “They do not in fact behave in that way.  They know the Law of Nature; they break it.”  It gives me an understanding of why humans act the way they do!

    At my daughters high school graduation several years ago the valedictorian, who was an atheist, in her speech said “there are no absolutes, there is no right and wrong, do what makes you happy.”  I knew this young lady, my daughter played soccer with her and I wanted so badly to ask her if she was absolutely sure about that statement.

  40. “Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”C.S. Lewis (Screwtape)

    1st Timothy 6:10

    The pursuit of wealth leads to that color-blinded morality in personal, business, and government life.

  41. Looking forward to the Lewis blog study!

    1. Welcome Tim!

      1. My wife and I live in Utah’s beautiful northern mountains.  We love Lewis, walking, biking and a little traveling, recently in Mexico. Georgia is a long-time friend from our college days in Logan at Utah State University.

    2. Welcome Tim!

  42. Tuesday: Read Chapter 1 of Mere Christianity
    4. Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why.
    1. “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. ….. the law which is peculiar to his human nature …..is the one he can disobey if he chooses.”

    I see this as the reality of free will in man to go against what is the idea of decent behavior.   The God given reality of right and wrong.  Going against God’s standard is going against God and that is sin.  Therefore we are all sinners because we want our own way.

    2. “…..we believe in decency so much —we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so—that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility. “

    He pointed out we make all kinds of excuses for our bad behavior but we will take credit for our good temper. Man apart from God is self deluded.

  43. Wednesday: Reflections on Chapter 1.
    5. What does Lewis say quarreling people demonstrate?

    They are appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which they expect the other person to know about. 

    6. What does Lewis mean by the law of human nature? 
    A law of nature unique to man and his choices. 

    While animals and vegetables are subject to the laws of nature, such as gravity, they are not subject to the law of human nature. Why, do you think?

    Because they do not have a soul like man does. 

    7. Just as some people are colorblind, you will find a few who don’t seem to have this law of human natures. Today they are termed sociopaths, for they behave as if they don’t have a conscience. It is also possible to deaden this sense. How do you see this in the discussion Paul has in Romans 1?

    It all happens as a result of man rejecting God and from Verse 18 “suppressing the truth”.  God then gives them over to their sin. 

     
    8. Lewis contended that even the Nazis knew in their innermost heart that what they were doing was wrong, though out of fear they suppressed it. What do you know about the psychological state of Nazis after the war that corroborates this? 

    I don’t know anything about this  and haven’t read about it in particular. But I can surmise problems that stemmed from it. Sounds like an interesting subject. 

    9. Lewis also made the point that though we know the law, no one keeps it. How does Scripture corroborate this?

    Verse 21 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

    10 Lewis concluded with two main points to help us understand the universe. What are they are why do they help us understand the universe?.

    First that human beings have an inherent  sense of how they should behave and secondly that they do not behave that way. 
    God created man in His image and the Universe in perfect balance in all respects but that perfection which reflects God has been marred by man’s failure to obey and sin entered in and disrupted the Universe. Our hope rests in the truth of Christ dying to redeem sinful man from our fallen condition and restoring us to Himself. 

    These were hard questions 🤔
     
    Like Lewis Dee, you make us think. 🧐

  44. Tuesday: Read Chapter 1 of Mere Christianity

     

    4. Highlight as you read and share two things that stood out to you and why.

     

    I highlighted this: ” Now what interests me about all these remarks (referring to quarreling) is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about.”  This make sense. If there truly were no expectations, no unspoken standards of behavior, what would be the necessity of quarreling at all? One might argue right away that it could simply be pride that is the cause, or a sense of being wronged or not treated as one deserves, but who sets the standard of how a person deserves to be treated?

    And this: “First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature, they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.” I paid attention to the words: are the foundation of all clear thinking, because the foundation we lay, in anything, is of most importance to everything we lay on top.

    1. Susan as I read your comments about the foundation of all clear thinking I thought of this verse:

      Isaiah 11:9

      They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.

  45. What do you see? With respect to abortion…I do think abortion is justified in many ways in people’s minds. “I’m too poor for a child,” “it’s not a real baby,” “my mom will kill me,” “I didn’t mean to let this happen,” “I can just have an abortion if I get pregnant.” Such weak thoughts when we are talking about a life. So sad.
     
    9. Lewis also made the point that though we know the law, no one keeps it. How does Scripture corroborate this? 
     

    In Romans, I mentioned in another post. Paul explains that we all continue to sin even though we know it’s wrong. He even admits doing this.

     

    “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭1:32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    http://bible.com/59/rom.1.32.esv

     
    10. Lewis concluded with two main points to help us understand the universe. What are they are why do they help us understand the universe?

    The two points are that 1) we know we should behave a certain way and can’t deny it, and 2) we don’t behave the way we should.

     

    He claims that these two thoughts are the foundation of all clear thinking of our understanding the universe.

     

    1. In his three classes of men, Lewis talked about

      “those who live simply for their own sake and pleasure.”

      Concerning abortion, so often men are allowed to simply abandon women in their time of great need and vulnerability.

  46. Wednesday: Reflections on Chapter 1

     

    5. What does Lewis say quarreling people demonstrate?

     

    Though they are disagreeing about something, and therefore quarreling, there is something about which they really do agree, and that is that there is some kind of law or rule of fair play, decent behavior, or morality that has been violated. Lewis says, “Quarreling 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.”  If I say to someone, “You shouldn’t talk to me like that”, that means there must be some acceptable standard of what is the right way to talk to someone (respectful, politely, gently…)

     

    6. What does Lewis mean by the law of human nature? While animals and vegetables are subject to the laws of nature, such as gravity, they are not subject to the law of human nature. Why, do you think?

     

    Lewis explains that all bodies are governed by laws, such as the law of gravity, or biological functions, but the law of human nature is unique to man and is the only law that a person can choose to obey or disobey. Animals’ behavior is guided by instincts, and some animals can be trained in behaviors, but animals, and certainly not vegetables that don’t have a brain, cannot grasp the complexities of morality and right and wrong.

     

    7. Just as some people are colorblind, you will find a few who don’t seem to have this law of human nature. Today they are termed sociopaths, for they behave as if they don’t have a conscience. It is also possible to deaden this sense. How do you see this in the discussion Paul has in Romans 1?

     

    One way a person may deaden his conscience is by suppressing the truth by his wickedness. The evidences of the existence of God surround us, so that, as Paul says, “men are without excuse”.  Another way is by refusing to glorify and acknowledge God, and refusing to give Him thanks, and opening your arms to and fully embracing idols. People exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve created things. Running throughout all this, Paul says that “God gave them over” to what their hearts really craved. God even gives men over to a depraved mind, and the results are things like murder, envy, malice, inventing ways to do evil.

     

    8. Lewis contended that even the Nazis knew in their innermost heart that what they were doing was wrong, though out of fear they suppressed it. What do you know about the psychological state of Nazis after the war that corroborates this?

     

    I don’t really know anything about their psychological state after the war. I only know, for example, that Hitler, rather than facing what would lie ahead with defeat, chose to kill himself. Some of the most infamous Nazis escaped and went into hiding after the war. My son read The House on Garibaldi Street, which tells how the Israeli Mossad tracked Adolf Eichmann down in Argentina, where he was living under a false name, and flew him back to Israel to stand trial for his crimes and when he was found guilty, he was executed. So it would seem that some of the Nazis buried what they had done, fled, and tried to keep their secret while living normal lives.

  47. 5. What does Lewis say quarreling people demonstrate?
    That there is indeed built within us the law of human nature (via God ). There wouldn’t be any sense in quarreling unless both quarrelers had an agreement to what right and wrong are.
    6. What does Lewis mean by the law of human nature? While animals and vegetables are subject to the laws of nature, such as gravity, they are not subject to the law of human nature. Why, do you think? 
    1. The Law of Human Nature is a standard of right and wrong built in humans giving us the ability to choose to obey it or not. It is called the  law of nature because everyone knows it by nature and doesn’t need to be taught it.

    2. Animals don’t have the ability to choose to obey moral standards or not. They aren’t subject to the law of human nature because it isn’t built in their nature.

  48. 7. It is possible to deaden this sense. How do you see this in the discussion Paul has in Romans 1?
    Paul speaks of people who “suppress the truth by their wickedness,” they “refuse to understand,” and “know God’s justice…yet they do them [wicked, shameful acts] anyway.”  It is not that they don’t know right from wrong, it is that they choose to do what they want regardless of whether it is right or wrong.

    8. What do you know about the psychological state of Nazis after the war that corroborates this [Nazis knew they were doing wrong]?
    “Blind allegiance” comes to mind…following orders without any thought as to whether it is right or wrong.  I can understand fear of Nazi consequences in not following orders, but when someone with heart came to terms with what they have done (i.e., atrocities taken part in), the knowledge of this could drive one mad/crazy.

    [abortion] repentance or attempts at justification…the Romans 1 cycle…what do you see?

    I see this being an extremely tender, heart wrenching topic, one often filled with hind-sight regret.  Initially abortion appears to be an answer, but after the abortion, reality sets in, and it becomes a lifelong sorrow.

    9. Lewis also made the point that though we know the law, no one keeps it–how does scripture corroborate this?
    1 John 1:8 says that if we claim that we have no sin within us, we are only fooling ourselves; v. 9 states that if we confess our sin, God will not only forgive our sin, but “cleanse us from our wickedness.”  We are all on a continuum of sin in need of the Lord’s deep cleaning.

    10. Lewis concluded with two main points to help us understand the universe–what are they? 
    1) humans have an idea of how they ought to act.
    2) humans don’t act in the manner they ought.

    and how do they help us to understand?
    I guess in knowing that there is always a “right” choice, albeit it may not be the easiest or most desirable.  Human tendency is not necessarily to do what is “right,” but to do what is desirable in terms of personal ease and/or gain.

  49. Thursday: Background information from the C. S. Lewis Institute
    11. Watch and share your comments and observations.

    I appreciated the overview of the first chapter of “Mere Christianity“ and what was behind Lewis’s thought processes in his first talks of trying to bring back a sense of guilt to people during a time when Scientific Naturalism was the primary thinking in society. 
     
    The speaker’s story about a man named John who believed in moral relativism was interesting in the fact it just doesn’t work and even that man couldn’t maintain his stance when confronted by something he saw on the streets of India that disgusted him.  John had to concede there was wrong. 

  50. Welcome to all the new people chiming in!

    4.  I would never have thought of there being a ‘law of nature’. I am aware that all people have a consciousness of there being something higher than humans, but the law of nature is new to me. Yet it is so obvious once he explains it. I am trying to work my mind around how this can be used in talking with believing resistant persons.

    the fact that we are continually breaking even our own ideas of right and wrong is easy to see, and corroborated in the Bible. It is no wonder that I can’t keep God’s laws!

     

    5.  People quarreling demonstrate that underneath it all, they do believe in standards of right and wrong.

     

    6.  Why are other forms of life not subject to ‘the law of nature’? Humans are different. In the same way that an animal is different than a plant, we are different from both. Others have already said it so well here, about instinct and free will.

     

    7.  Paul discusses hardening our hearts. The more we choose against God, the harder we become. The more we yield to Him, the more supple we become.

    1. Good point about remaining “supple,” teachable and open to learning, even when it can hurt pride.