This is my review of the book Mere Christianity by C S Lewis.
I have had this book on my shelf waiting to read for around 6 months, and I have been keeping it for a holiday time so I have plenty of time to take in what I am reading.
The historical context of how the book came about is very relevant. Originally C S Lewis was asked by the BBC to give a series of lectures/talks which were broadcast. During the second world war. The talks were to help give some meaning and understanding to the lives of adults as they coped with the war around them.
One of the biggest shocks on reading this was how people regarded life at that time. Life expectancy for a lot of people was not high especially if you were just about to fly off and fight the enemy (I think a 1 in 13 chance of survival) or to be posted abroad somewhere. So people thought about the afterlife and what is to come next.
Today for most people this is a totally alien thought. People get up and go about their work and assume that they will be around tomorrow. At the time of these talks that was not the case. This was made all the more real to me when sorting out my brother's estate, he evidently had no idea when he got up in the morning that he would never be coming home again. I think if we assume that things are permanent then we do not appreciate them so much. Maybe even taking them for granted.
Anyway moving back to the book, as the book is based on the transcripts of the talks, the chapters are short and concise. He also makes sure that each chapter is a distinct and understandable in its own right, accepting that people may not have heard the preceding talk, or may not be able to hear the next one.
To achieve this he breaks down his ideas into everyday concepts that people can understand and get their head round. He then uses these concepts to present a clear and precise argument about some aspect of belief, or everyday life.
His skill is using these ideas and words in a way that you would chat over a cup of tea (or coffee) and not as a lecture or sermon that goes over ones head and sends you to sleep.
It is certainly a book that will make you think about life and the future. It presents a number of profound challenges, and I think it is a book I will read again as it has far more in it than I could take in at one go. A good choice of book for Christmas. This was book 44 week 31 fiction 41 (12 on audio) non fiction 3
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