I have never read a more convincing Christian apologetic or a more enlightening Christian theological work. Fast moving. Designed for the thinking person.
I selected this book because of recommendations that this would give me insight into what it means to be a Christian in the twentieth century. What I found was the ramblings of a misogynistic (his outlandish justifications of why a woman should be secondary to a man -pg88-89) homophobe (he labels homosexuality "the perverted desire of a man for a man" and "quite unnatural", calling it a psychological disease - pg70). Pretentiously arrogant assertations and a dubious use of the word fact. I'll chose the soft soap anyday over the coarse old bar he is selling.
No. I'm going to still try other books.
The narrator was fine.
Don't walk away. Run.
Seriously though, if you are looking for insight the mind set of a born again Christian, this is the book. If you are looking for "mere" Christianity, this isn't it.
I've already recommended this to a few friends.
The narrator was enjoy to listen to and the writing was excellent. The positions and arguments were solid and well verbalized.
C. S. Lewis has an unparalleled way to use simple and relatable comparisons to explain the views of Christianity that are otherwise complicated by our own misunderstandings. A must read!
It's very refreshing to here such a clear view of Christianity. C.S. Lewis paints an amazingly unbiased picture of the whole of Christendom. In my opinion this book should be read or listen to by any Christian wondering where they stand on Christian issues.
This ranks near the top for C.S. Lewis, though not completely timeless (there are some outmoded ideas and a few idioms that are no longer familiar), the book remains an essential source for powerful quotes and ideas for supporting Christian thought. Although I've heard of cases of conversion attributed to this work, I'm not convinced that the book alone would be sufficient to convert a non-believer. I doubt most would even give it a chance. I enjoy the voice of Geoffrey Howard sufficiently to use this book as background noise when I'm trying to sleep.
I got this book from a Christian friend (Thanks JJ) after a bar debate about Christianity and atheism. I have always been an atheist and I am still an atheist and in recent years, I have been influenced a lot by the thinking of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.
It is a well written book and it gave me new insights into how Christians think. It was well worth listening to even though I already knew quite a lot about Christianity. As non-american atheist, I continue to be puzzled by why so many Americans are still religious, whilst so many more Europeans have moved on from such old fashion and irrational beliefs.
I will not criticize Lewis for the views he puts forward on the place of women in society or homosexuality, even though I do not agree with him. The book was written a long time ago and these kind of views were mainstream and they are not really central to his argument in the book.
Lewis dwells a great deal on the subject of morality/ethics. He is right that perfect morality is very difficult (impossible) for a person to achieve and he is also right that a person's circumstances, e.g. a loving childhood or the opposite, will influence how easy it is for a person to be moral. I would argue that the Christian morality that Lewis presents is not particularly conducive to promoting the well being of conscious creatures, which I believe should be the focus of defining good morality. Approaching life like Lewis suggests by viewing your natural urges as sinful, thinking that mankind leans towards wrong doing (sin) and worrying as much or more about the after-life than this life is unlikely to maximize the well being of conscious creatures in this life. Instead it leads to unnecessary feelings of shame and misguided obsessions with avoiding things that does no harm to yourself or other conscious creatures. This is especially apparently when it comes to Christian views on sexuality, but it negatively affects progressive, rational and scientific thinking in many other areas that can lead to a better and more moral human society.
The principal difference between Christian morality and secular morality is that Christian morality is not only concerned with the current life, but also with the after-life (saving souls). This means that sometimes the well being of souls in the after-life is given more importance than the well being of conscious creatures in this life. With this kind of thinking, murder or other horrible acts could be justified in the name of saving souls for the after-life. Christians are thankfully not running inquisitions anymore, but it shows that caring about the after-life leads to a distorted morality.This kind of medieval thinking is not helpful if we are to create a thriving human society in the 21st century. If you are interested in morality I suggest you read The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris.
Lewis's argument that, Jesus must have been god because it is unlikely that he was mad or bad, does not hold. How many conmen and delusional prophets has the world not seen? If the accounts of Jesus on earth are true, then perhaps it is more likely that he was delusional (mad) than a conman (bad), but no further conclusion can been drawn.
Lewis rightfully argues that free will is central to Christianity, because without free will, people cannot choose between good and evil and then consequently being judged to go to heaven or hell based on your actions and thoughts does not make sense. Interestingly enough the concept of free will can be challenged by our modern understanding of how the mind works, if you are interested, I suggest you read Free Will by Sam Harris.
Over and all, an interesting book, but it does not make a good argument for why Christianity is true nor is it helpful in creating a better and more moral society.
Despite the fact that Lewis originally wrote these essays during World War II, he is able to connect with this reader. The book is understated and he often encourages readers to skip sections they don't find relevant or where they disagree with his approach. Very refreshing compared to modern writers who can't imagine that anyone would disagree with anything they said.
There is plenty to agree and disagree with in the writings. But you come away with the feeling that you have grappled with Lewis' arguments. This leads to a testing of my own ideas against a first class mind. And all the while, he is being so reasonable that you give his arguments the weight they deserve.
I try to listen to the book annually. It helps me to see where I have drifted from prior thoughts (for good or ill) and to see if I like the direction I am going.
Thank you, Mr. Lewis.