Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis – A Book Review

Originally a series of talks given over the radio to the people of England during WWII, this collection of said dialogue explains in laymen’s terms what Christianity is and why C.S. Lewis, originally a non-believer, eventually came to Christ.  It does not give his personal story, mind you, but rather is a mixture of philosophical lectures and entertaining anecdotes as to why Christianity is a valid belief. 

Beware, this is not a light reading romp.  I found myself concentrating diligently to follow his ideas and contemplations.  In the end, I thought he did a superb job of explaining why he believes what he believes, and why everyone else should as well.  Never does he take a condescending tone, and always he appeals to the heart as well as the intellect. 

C.S. Lewis has long been considered one of the most highly respected Christian writers of the last few centuries and I’d have to agree.  However, I have a great deal of trouble believing the “common man” followed his talks on an intellectual level during the time period it originated, but perhaps I’m looking at that from a 2005 perspective.  Perhaps people were more willing to listen to complicated lectures then than they are now.   

If you are a Christian needing a contemporary view on your beliefs to serve a purpose much needed, or if you are a non-Christian just wanting to know what it is all about but without the usual stories and Scripture, then I highly recommend this book.  Put your thinking caps on though, ladies and gentlemen, this one requires intense focus.

Out Of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis – A Book Review

I am a big C.S. Lewis fan. He won me over as a child with his Chronicles of Narnia books, but it was his thought-provoking and inspiring Mere Christianity that solidified his genius in my mind.

That being said, it is with great vacillation that I must reveal I did not care for his science fiction novel, Out of the Silent Planet, the first in the Space Trilogy series.

I did not like it for the reason I don’t care for much of the science fiction I read, and that is specifically the use of ridiculous words that are supposed to be the natural language of the foreign environment. I believe that doing this in abundance, as Lewis did, distracts from the overall story and breaks up the cohesion and fluidity.

Also, for me, Lewis really opened my eyes with Mere Christianity. He literally knocked me out with his elegance and ingenuity. But, most of what he talks about in Mere Christianity is employed as themes throughout Out of the Silent Planet. Ordinarily this would not be a bad thing, but it just didn’t work in my mind for this particular novel. I won’t ruin the plot for you if you choose to read it, but a man travels to a far off planet and there is life there that seems to represent everything we were meant to be. Where the story fell short was in the fact that Lewis spent so much time explaining everything, not very much actually happened.

Now, I’ve heard the second book in this series gets much better, and that the third is even better still. Based upon this news alone, I may try the second book. But, if I were to base my further reading of the Space Trilogy off of Out of the Silent Planet only, it would be the last.